Nest having problems staying connected to your Apple Airport Extreme? Try this.

I recently got a new Apple Airport Extreme wireless router.  It performs great, but for some reason my (1st generation) Nest thermostat starting having trouble staying connected to my network.  If you google ‘Nest connection problem’, you get a rabbit-hole of forums and complaints that include various hacky anecdotal fixes.  Well let me add one more, as I have found a solution to my particular problem.

If your Nest Learning Thermostat is having trouble staying connected to your Apple Airport Extreme (or any other dual-band router), try this:

The Apple Airport Extreme (I believe, by default) operates on both the 2.4 ghz and 5 ghz bands (B/G/N, and N/A/AC bands).  It combines both of these bands under a single network name (aka ‘Broadcast SSID’) so that, regardless of the device, they all connect to the same network name.

I have found that this is problematic for the Nest.  It thinks it is connected to the network, when in fact it is not.  The Nest won’t even report any errors, it just won’t appear to be online, even though it thinks that it is.

The solution I have discovered is to separate the 2.4 ghz network from the 5 ghz network, and have them broadcast under separate SSIDs.  This setting can be accomplished through the Wireless settings pane of the Apple Airport Extreme app (for OS X or iOS), via the ‘wireless options’ button and subsequent sub-menu.  Simply check the box for a separate 5 ghz SSID broadcast name.  Here is a (slightly outdated, but the general steps are essentially the same) guide to help walk you through the process: Creating a Dedicated 5GHz AirPort Network

I separated my networks under different SSIDs (a ‘low’ for the 2.4 band, and a ‘high’ for the 5 band), and I forced the Nest to connect to the new ‘low’ SSID (the 2.4 ghz network).

My Nest is now connection-problem free, and is back to working like a charm.  Whether this is an Apple problem, or a Nest problem, I am unsure… I’m just glad everything is back to normal.  Happy Nesting!

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