Google appears poised to launch an updated Nest router equipped with Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth Low Energy, and Thread mesh networking radios later this year, according to a new FCC filing. It has the model number A4R-G6ZUC, which is similar to IDs assigned to not only the previous Nest Wifi but also the Nest Mini, Thermostat, and even the Google Glass.
The filing’s internal and external pictures remain confidential and unlisted but break down the wireless technology onboard as well as an “Internal Proprietary Antenna Solution consisting of 6 antennas”:
- 2 x 2.4GHz / 5GHz dual band antennas for BT, Thread, 5GHz Wi-Fi Primary
- 2 x 5GHz Wi-Fi Diversity
- 2 x 2.4GHz / 6GHz dual band antennas for Wi-Fi
Unlike their Wi-Fi 6 predecessors, Wi-Fi 6E routers have a new 6GHz band — in addition to 2.4GHz and 5GHz — for compatible devices to connect to, reducing signal interference and providing faster speeds. Even if you don’t have many devices that can connect on 6GHz yet, the band can be used to backhaul local communications between access points, taking some of the noise out of the network that can increase performance for other connected devices.
While the 9.6Gbps theoretical top speed is unchanged from Wi-Fi 6, the new spectrum should allow devices to use the maximum allowed channel size and reach higher speeds in real-world situations, perhaps around 1–2Gbps with lower latency than you’re used to from a wireless connection.
Since the release of the original Nest Wifi, smart home devices like the HomePod Mini adopted Thread — a part of the smart home interoperability standard Google adopted known as Matter. Thread can create a dedicated network just for smart home devices, making them more reliable and responsive no matter the manufacturer.
It’s possible that the new Wi-Fi 6E Google / Nest router will be out by the end of the year. The current Nest Wifi package comes with a router and single mesh point and sells for $269 regularly, but the price could increase like the competition’s this time around. TP-Link’s mesh Wi-Fi 6E option, for instance, comes in a pair as well for $299, and the Eero Pro 6E from Amazon comes in at $499 for a pair.