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Learn how your Nest products connect to each other and the internet

Nest products are designed to work together, so they can communicate with you and each other in a variety of ways. They use Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, and Thread which is a low-power wireless mesh network for device-to-device communications.

Nest products don’t connect to each other through your Wi-Fi router. In most cases, they use Wi-Fi to send their status to the Nest service which then sends that information to other products in your home and to your app. In other cases, they use Thread wireless networking to directly connect to each other.

Learn about Thread networks

Thread is a type of mesh network. In a mesh network, all devices can act as a router, letting them relay information directly to each other without the need for a central router. This has several advantages:

  • Improved range

    Thread can also reach the far corners of large homes because each device is a network router. Since every device relays information, the more devices on the Thread network, the further the wireless signal can reach. This is especially helpful in larger homes or homes where the construction restricts the wireless signal range.

  • Low power

    Thread requires very little power, so even battery powered devices like Google Nest Protect and Google Nest Detect can connect to the internet and connect to other Nest products while staying charged for years.

  • Independent from Wi-Fi

    Thread doesn’t depend on your Wi-Fi router or network. So if your router loses power or its internet connection, Nest products can still communicate with each other and with you.

    For example, all Nest Protects in your home can still tell you what room the smoke is in and sound the alarm. In addition, if you have Google Nest Secure, Nest Detects will tell Google Nest Guard if there’s motion or a door or window is opened, and sound the alarm if needed.

Although Thread networks have some key benefits over common Wi-Fi networks, keep in mind that they’re also subject to wireless interference that can affect range and performance.

Local and cloud Wi-Fi connections

In most cases, Nest products use Wi-Fi to send their status to the Nest service in the cloud. The service then sends that information to other products in your home and the app. In other cases, Nest products use Thread wireless networking to directly connect to each other.  

Some Nest products can also connect to each other directly over Wi-Fi. Newer Nest cameras including Nest Cam (battery), Nest Cam (wired) and Nest Doorbell (battery) can stream video to select Nest smart displays (Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, Google Nest Hub, etc.) over your local Wi-Fi network instead of using the cloud. Switching between local and cloud streaming happens automatically and seamlessly. There are no manual controls. 

How Nest products use Thread and Wi-Fi

Nest products use Wi-Fi and Thread for various things like downloading software updates, sending app notifications, and devices communicating with each other. Some products only have Wi-Fi, some have only Thread, others have both.

For example, the Google Nest x Yale Lock only uses Thread. It connects to the internet through another product which has both Wi-Fi and Thread, like Nest Guard or Google Nest Connect.

Nest x Yale Lock Nest Connect Router image.

The table below summarizes what each Nest product uses Thread and Wi-Fi for.

Product

Wi-Fi

Thread

Thermostats

  • App notifications
  • App remote control
  • Software updates
  • Heat Link control (Europe only)

Protect

  • App notifications
  • App remote control
  • Software updates
  • Alarms and spoken alerts between all Protects in the home
  • Bridge for Thread only devices to connect to each other and the internet

Cameras

  • Streaming video
  • App notifications
  • App remote control
  • Software updates
  • N/A

Guard

  • App notifications
  • App remote control
  • Software updates
  • Detect status
  • Software updates to Detect

Detect

  • N/A
  • Guard status
  • Software updates from Guard or Connect

Connect

  • Connects Thread-only devices
    to Wi-Fi
  • Bridges gaps in Thread network
    to connect devices to each
    other
Temperature Sensor
  • N/A
  • Room temperature updates to 3rd gen Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Thermostat E

Nest x Yale Lock

  • The lock can only connect to Wi-Fi and the internet through other Nest products that have both Thread and Wi-Fi (such as Nest Connect and Guard).
  • App notifications
  • App remote control
  • Software updates
  • Can disarm Nest Secure

How Nest products use Bluetooth and NFC

Nest cameras, Nest doorbells, and 2nd gen Nest Protects use Bluetooth Low Energy (or BLE) to connect to your phone or tablet during setup. 2nd gen Protects also use BLE for App Silence and to start a Safety Checkup test. Learn more about Sensors in Google Nest devices.

Note: For Google Nest Thermostat E with Heat Link customers in Europe, your phone or tablet must support BLE. 

Turn on Bluetooth on your phone or tablet

Steps to turn on Bluetooth vary by phone.

  • On Android devices, Bluetooth settings are usually found in your Quick Settings or the Settings app.
  • On iOS devices, Bluetooth settings are usually found in the Control Center.

NFC

Nest Tag uses NFC when you hold it on Nest Guard to arm and disarm the alarm.

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