Bye-bye, spotty Wi-Fi. How a mesh network can help.
In a connected world, a stronger, more reliable signal can make a big difference.

Who knew there was such a thing as horsehair plaster, or that it was five times more resistant to Wi-Fi than regular drywall?

Chuck Smith didn’t, until he and his wife, Lisa Rapaport, moved into their historic 2,500-square-foot home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Built in 1752 – the same year as Benjamin Franklin’s famous experiment with a kite and a key – the house seemed determined to block wireless router signals from reaching more than a room away.

“The router had worked fine in my 1,000-square-foot apartment in Manhattan, but that wasn’t the case here,” says Smith, a mechanical engineer. Before long, Rapaport, a freelance journalist, was doing her work in a chair in the basement, tethered to the cable modem that brought the internet connection from outside. “We got this house in part so she could have a nice office, not be forced underground,” Smith says.

At the suggestion of some engineer friends, Smith decided to try a mesh network, an approach that ties together multiple Wi-Fi routers for better coverage. 

By placing them throughout a home to create overlapping coverage areas, mesh networks reduce “dead zones” without Wi-Fi coverage. Extender devices used with traditional Wi-Fi routers, on the other hand, lose strength the farther away they are placed.

Intrigued, Smith ordered a three-piece Nest Wifi system: a router to connect to that cable modem in the basement, with two additional points to increase their coverage for the ground floor. “I was super pleased with how easy it was to set up with the Google Home app, and we got great coverage in two-thirds of the house,” he says.1 A few more Nest Wifi points were added to cover the remaining third.2

More than just good coverage: Control who accesses the Wi-Fi, plus a convenient speaker

For the Privette-Youngs, the problem was the L-shaped layout of their house near San Francisco. With the router in the home office on the short side of the L, movies streamed to the living room at the far end were continually glitching due to constant buffering. 

“And heaven forbid you try to get a connection on the patio,” says Jody Privette-Young, a public relations executive. After hiring a local IT expert who failed to figure out a fix, they solved the problem with a Nest Wifi system.

Nest Wifi points also double as smart speakers that have Google Assistant built in, making it easier to give voice commands to nearby speakers.3

Nest Wi-Fi Router
Strong connection. Every direction.

“Now, I can yell ‘Hey Google, play some jazz’ from three rooms away,” she says. “If I’m cooking, I don’t have to leave the kitchen. It’s not a huge deal, but it is kind of amazing.”

Nest Wifi also comes with ways to control how the network is used, including the ability to turn on guest access or limit how much time kids can spend online and which apps they can use. 

Few people want to know the details of how networks work, or why they don’t. But in an increasingly connected world, the advantages of mesh are more important. 

“Thank goodness we got Nest Wifi before the pandemic hit,” says Privette-Young.

While she’d already been working from home, her husband moved his business there as well, their daughter came home to finish college, and her mother-in-law spent more time there, often streaming movies in that once unreachable living room – all of which would strain access through a single router.

“Nest Wifi really helped us,” she says.

  1. Based on use of at least 1 Nest Wifi router and 1 Nest Wifi point. Home size, materials and layout can affect how Wi-Fi signal travels. Larger homes or homes with thicker walls or long, narrow layouts may need extra Wifi points for full coverage. Strength and speed of signal will also depend on your internet provider.

  2. This is based on only using connected devices at a maximum data rate of 1Mbps. Requires sufficient broadband internet connection and connected devices must be located within Wi-Fi coverage area described at g.co/nestwifi/coverage. Strength and speed of signal will also depend on your internet provider.

  3. Internet connection required.

Takeaways
Create full coverage and reduce dead zones with mesh Wi-FiNest Wifi points double as voice-controlled speakersControl how much bandwidth is used in areas of the house, or by family members
Nest Wi-Fi Router
Strong connection. Every direction.
Related products
Nest Wifi
Google Wifi
Related stories
7 ways a smart home can help seniors A day in the life of a smart home How one family turned their new home into a smart home
Share this article
Read on
A day in the life of a smart home
Pixel 6 features you didn’t know you had