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How Does Google Nest WiFi Work? We Break Down This Mesh Network!

Last Updated Apr 2, 2022

There is a fundamental difference between a mesh network and a traditional router that brings a capability to a home or business that a traditional router is strained to achieve. If you are looking for a seamless network that provides speeds rivaling even the highest-end routers, you should look no further.

The Google Nest WiFi utilizes a wireless router and an unlimited number of nodes that act like miniature routers to bring a seamless “mesh” of a signal. It automatically determines which node to connect to and ensures the transition between nodes is seamless.

While the number and function of the system’s physical components are limited, they are versatile. Installation is a snap, but planning the locations of the nodes may be a little tricky, and utilizing the features to their full benefit should require some guidance.

Physical Parts of the Google Nest WiFi

The actual physical components of the Google Nest WiFi system are very simple. 

Google Nest WiFi only has routers and nodes. You can utilize just one router if you have a small area to cover, or you can add on as many nodes as necessary to cover the area you would like to cover. Google recommends staying under five nodes for optimum performance.

Read on if you would like a fast and customized network to meet even the most demanding needs.

Creating a Mesh Network

The main difference between a mesh network and a traditional router is that a mesh network, whether it is a Google Nest WiFi network or another mesh, is that the routers communicate with each other to ensure continuity of the signal, or “mesh.” Instead of switching between a router and perhaps a repeater to create a large network, the router seamlessly determines that for you.

Once the router determines where your device is requesting the signal, it can bounce your signal off one or many other nodes, as each one acts independently as a router. Once it finds the “hard-line,” your signal exits to the internet via your modem.

The Key to Successful Setup and Placement

There are four key steps to placing, installing, and setting up your network to utilize all of the features to the best of its ability and maximize performance.

  1. Determine the placement of the nodes
  2. Power up and install the nodes and router
  3. Connect a device to the network and run the setup tool
  4. Configure your network to optimize its performance and take advantage of advanced features

If at any point during setup you have difficulties connecting, don’t be afraid to do some troubleshooting to set up your Google Nest WiFi properly. 

Continue reading to learn about each key to successful setup and placement in detail.

Determining Node Placement

There are a few items you must consider when placing the router and the nodes in their final location. To start, you must place the router where your modem is currently. If you do not have a modem, it is best to place it central to the coverage area. You must also take into consideration power and hardline location.

The satellite nodes should be placed throughout the coverage area such that they are spread out throughout the coverage location. Placing them further apart is advantageous, and you should keep them off the ground to maximize your range. Consider power locations and the fact that you may also be utilizing smart home speakers and microphones.

When you place your nodes around your home, make sure you have the space for them. If not, you can always get a point holder to keep it on the outlet.

Power Them Up

First, plug your router into a power outlet and wait for the device to power up. Then plug in your ethernet cable that connects to your modem. Once the router recognizes that it is powered up and is receiving a signal from your modem, it will be ready to find various nodes.

Power up your nodes only after you have installed your router. The first routine that your nodes will run is to attempt to find the signal from the main router. If it does not exist, you will have to work backward to configure the node.

Set Up Your Router and Nodes

Before installing your router and nodes, you must download and run the Google Home app, which you can find in the AppStore or Google Play. Once you have that downloaded, you can then install the network straight from your app. The best way to install individual devices is by scanning the QR code under the router and node.

Give your network a name and secure password, and move from point to point while labeling the rooms. Once this is complete, your network should be set up and ready to use!

Configure Your Settings

Google Nest WiFi has a wide range of settings. You can create a guest network in which guests don’t need a password, set time limits and content filters for members of your family, and even prioritize which locations in the house should get the best bandwidth. To ensure your system is configured to your specific situation, you should locate and set these.

Each feature’s specific settings and capabilities are beyond the scope of this article, but you should be familiar with them to ensure optimum performance.


The Google Nest WiFi mesh system is a very simple way to get WiFi throughout your home. It is better because it doesn’t slow down your internet speed and can have over a hundred devices connected to it at once. It’s extremely customizable and ideal for any household.