Google's routers are already packed with intelligent features like network stats, manual device prioritization, Wi-Fi pause options, or device grouping — not to mention the integrated smart speaker in the Nest Wifi. To further improve on these options, Google has decided to add the ability to automatically prioritize certain traffic via the Home app, such as video conferencing or gaming.
The ability is starting to roll out as part of the Q4 firmware update to the Google Wifi and the Nest Wifi (v13099.118.19), and you'll need to be on version 2.31 of the Home app. When you head to the Wifi settings in the application, you should find a new preferred activities or Gaming preferred menu entry. There's a toggle to activate it next to it, but when you tap the entry, you'll be taken to a list of activities you can mark as preferred. At the moment, it's only populated by gaming and video conferencing. The former includes Stadia while the latter includes Google Meet and Zoom. It's unclear if the network prioritization is limited to the services explicitly mentioned or if traffic from other applications also benefits from the optimization.
The prioritization options already popped up for some people following the Home app update to version 2.31, but back then, we didn't know that a new Wifi firmware was involved.
The update also adds a few Wi-Fi events to the Google Home Feed so you're informed about device connection issues due to a wrong password or poor coverage as well as mesh connection problems because of poor placement. Underperforming WAN ethernet links will show up in the feed, too.
20Q4 Release notes
13099.118.19 Google Wifi & Nest Wifi
Published November 2020
This software update includes:
- The ability to automatically detect and optimize select video conferencing traffic as a preferred activity
- Wi-Fi events in the Google Home App Feed, which provide visibility into the following issues:
- Device connection failures due to password issues
- Device connection issues due to poor coverage
- Mesh connection issues due to poor placement
- Underperforming WAN ethernet link
- Improvements for better client connectivity and roaming
- Better reliability for high rate data frames
- IPTV IGMP robustness improvements
- General security, stability and performance improvements
The new firmware is silently rolling out to Google Wifi and Nest Wifi routers. You can manually check if you've already received it in the Google Wifi app under Settings -> Network & general, where you need to select the device you want to check.