For all their extra aerials, use of super fast protocols and claims of mega-speeds, most broadband routers still struggle to deliver fast performance around a larger home.
Bolting range extenders around the place can help, but in the smart home era, people are generally looking for a solution that’s a little more refined.
Enter the Eero, a pack of three neat white, unobtrusive boxes that work in harmony to bring WiFi to the darkest corner of your home at a pace that would put most of those space-age looking routers to shame.
Eero builds its own mesh network that users can monitor with a smartphone app to see just how powerful it is, a slightly more evolved solution than squinting at the four bars on your Windows PC notification area. Note that single and two-device units are now also available, to lower the cost.
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Eero Key Features
The Eero is billed as a complete home WiFi system, that will wipe out dead zones and replace any existing wireless router and those ugly range extenders.
The three tiny boxes, with no ludicrous aerial farms, that come in the $499 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) kit should cover a 1,000 square feet of property, with a recommendation that the Eero boxes are placed within 40 feet of each other.
If you’ve struggled with WiFi and have spent lots of money on a powerful router, then the Eero solution will come as a bit of a shock, why can’t you use existing WiFi kit? Would be our first question.
Either way, Eero offers Gigabit wired networking and the fastest WiFi speeds, with each box featuring dual-band WiFi radios, simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless, and 2×2 multi-input, multi-output (MIMO).
It supports the latest WiFI standards in 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, plus Bluetooth Smart as a bonus to help connect your smart home technology.
That spec you will find in pretty much any high-end router, so what makes the Eero special?
The idea is that you can unpack the boxes, plug them in around the home and have crystal clear WiFi with WPA2 encryption in all rooms within a couple of minutes, no crazed setup, no remembering IP addresses, no shouting at the walls when they won’t “see” each other, an all too common problem among traditional WiFi boxes.
You will need an iOS or Android device to help the setup along, and an existing broadband connection, but we all have one of those right? Inside each box is a 1.0GHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB flash storage, supporting regular firmware updates to improve performance.
Pros of the Eero Box
Remember all the nightmares you had setting up routers in the past? No more, Eero boxes, which are small – about the size of an Apple TV – simply replace or plug into your existing router box and can sit discreetly on a shelf, without looking like an angry porcupine.
Also gone are the banks of flashing lights, who needs them in the modern home!
- Smart Resets: If you have a hardware firewall or enterprise box at home, you can add the Eero in bridge mode and it happily works away. Perhaps the greatest trick of the Eero is that if it senses the network is hanging, or the connection from your broadband provider is struggling, it can reset on the fly, so no more trudging to the box and turning-it-off-and-on-again. That alone could make it worthwhile for people who spend most of their time in a distant corner of the home.
- Flexible Fit for Rooms: The other units can be placed around the home, all they need is mains power, but since they don’t look ugly can sit in any room and not ruin your stylish decor, or will fit right along with the other clutter, depending on your aesthetic. It’s also not hard to add an additional access point (or two). When you plug in the second and third boxes they connect automatically to the first, so installation is a breeze.
- Streamlines your WiFi: The major benefit of spending all this money is that smarthome owners often have dozens of devices that can swamp a traditional router. Eero provides a strong and fast signal around most homes, enabling those WiFi cameras to stream out their HD feed, and for sensors and other gadgets to communicate seamlessly, and Smart Bluetooth devices can come along for the ride.
- Regularly Updated App: The app and firmware get regular updates to help improve performance and compatibility with the odd tricky device that comes along, When it comes to security, Eero comes with an easy to use guest mode, so friends can connect but remain on a separate network and can’t access the routers. The Eero is also designed around enterprise-level security, something that many cheap routers are sorely lacking in.
- Can Reach Beyond Walls: Finally, Eero seems strong enough that it can happily reach outside the home, so you can WiFi from the garden or veranda and still maintain a decent signal.
Cons of the Eero System
- Pricey: At $499 (at the time of this writing), this is not an inexpensive solution, many smaller properties can use their existing router happily, while other properties can get a $50 network extender, and while the setup might be a bit more of a pain it will do the job. Be sure to check this listing on Amazon for the latest prices.
- Not Technicaly More Powerful (Just Smarter): Also, if you paid $120+ for one of those space age routers with more aerials than CIA headquarters, then this is technically no more powerful. It is only the mesh network that gives Eero an advantage. Generalizations aside, the first issue with Eero is that there’s no Windows Mobile app. Sure that’s a declining market, but there are still millions of Windows 10 Mobile devices sold each quarter and many more millions in use, so this could be a painful oversight.
- Still Needs an Ethernet Box for Game Consoles: From a practical point, each Eero box only comes with a pair of Ethernet ports, so if you want to wire up devices like a stack of games consoles in the hobby room or a bunch of PCs in a home office, then you will need an Ethernet box, but at least those are cheap.
- Some Walls Still Cause Difficulty: Finally, if you have an older property with lots of thick walls, or plenty of metal work or piping around the place, then the Eero won’t magically punch through those and boost your wireless signal. You will need to think carefully about how you arrange the boxes, and may still not get quite the miracle you were hoping for your $500.
Final Recommendation on the Eero
If you like the idea of the Eero but live in a smaller home, a single unit is available for $200 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), and a dual-box package is also available for $349 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here). If you have a super-large property, then you can add as many Eero boxes as you need to have a single network all across your mansion.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!