The modern smart home is no place for a wonky old Wi-Fi router. Those with droopy aerials, old firmware lacking hacker protection and the latest standards, offering weak reception might be good for a laptop in the living room.
However, with smart home gadgets talking across multiple standards, all over your property, increasingly demanding bandwidth – you really need a modern system, and that future is here.
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Introducing Eero and Luma
Eero and Luma represent the new generation of smart home routers. They are available in single packs or in bundles to power the smart home in properties large and small, with each unit creating a smart network around the home that makes it easy to connect to, without any of the issues of bridges and multiple routers, which cause slow signals and congested networks.
Unlike their predecessors, they don’t look like sci-fi hedgehogs, burying all the antennas within the device, so they can be located near any powerpoint around the home, and will look innocuous on any shelf or wall.
Key Features of both
The Luma is the showier of the two models, it comes in a range of colors and a hexagonal shape. Eero is a more subtle square and only available in white. Luma is the less expensive version at $299 for three units (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) via a pre-order special offer.
Eero is more pricey at $499 for a trio (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), Either kit should cover a 1,000 square feet of property. Pricing will be comparable once the Luma hits retail stores.
Aside from faster WiFi for PCs, smartphones, and tablet around the home, they both support Bluetooth Low Energy standards for the increasing number of smart home devices that use that. You can also plug in any smart hub into one of the Ethernet ports to enable your existing ZigBee or Z-Wave kit.
Suitable for the smart home era, both are easy to setup and install, via a smartphone app, which helps you monitor performance and manage settings. They also adapt to changes in the radio environment to improve performance and can reset automatically if it notices problems with the network.
Pros and Cons of the Eero
One of the Eero units needs to be installed and connected to your broadband access point, and other devices can be set to modem-only mode if you have Verizon FioS or other connections. The other units fit unobtrusively around the home, and will automatically connect to the main unit.
The major benefit is that users will see a faster signal around the home, and those many smart home WiFi or BLE devices will be able to connect, without stressing the network.
Eero provides a strong and fast signal around most homes, Regular firmware updates ensure they work with a growing range of hardware and
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 offers enterprise-security but is also designed with modern homes in mind with guest modes for secure but limited access for friends and visitors.
On the negative side, it is expensive compared to typical routers, and may not solve some WiFi issues. If you want lots of wired devices plugged in, then that small footprint means there’s only a couple of Ethernet ports to use, so you either tack on an Ethernet extender which might ruin the look rather.
Pros and Cons of the Luma
Not yet on the market, the Luma needs to be tested thoroughly to compare performance, but the specs seem broadly similar. We’ll update the piece as soon as we get our hands on a set. Luma does appear a bit more gaudy with its color options and the glowing light ring in the centre, which might put some users off.
On the plus side, it comes with easy to setup family rating system, parental controls, to limit what the children can access via the iOS or Android app. It can also identify weak passwords, compromised machines and other threats, to alert the owner and help them fix these issues.
This might make it more appropriate for family homes, but it is something that Eero could easily add via a firmware update.
|Single unit||$199 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||$149 (pre-order) $199 retail (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
|Dual pack||$349 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||n/a|
|Triple pack||$499 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||$299 (pre-order) $499 retail (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
|Specification||1.0GHz dual-core CPU, 512MB RAM, 4GB flash storage||Quad-core CPU|
|Wireless||Dual-band WiFi radios, simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless, 2×2 MIMO, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth Smart
|IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Simultaneous dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Bluetooth 4.0 with low energy
|Color options||White||Silver, gold, orange, white|
- Can this be used instead of a Beacon to extend range?
“Yes, it can be used as a range extender as well as to create a mesh network (which is better than a range extender)” Richard M, Amazon on the Eero Home Mesh Wi-Fi System
“While a single Luma will outperform most routers, we designed Luma to work best as a system. Each home is different but a set of three Lumas covers a typical home.” Richard Smeck, Amazon on the Luma Whole Home WiFi Wireless Router
- Do all the nodes need ethernet, or, is one hard wired and the other two wireless?
“One is hardwired and rest are wireless except that they have power cords and must be plugged in. We love ours and it works flawlessly! First system that has worked in our home. We have 5 nodes total split between 3 floors” Molly Leck, Amazon regarding Luma Whole Home Mesh Nodes
Other Options to Consider?
My Final Recommendation: Luma or Eero?
While we need to test them both to make a definitive comparison, you should be able to expect a comparable performance envelope from either set.
There are some clear benefits to Eero in that it offers a dual-pack for mid-sized homes, saving $150 if you don’t need that third unit. It is also more subtle with just a single light and a restrained square design.
Eero certainly seems to be winning rave reviews, boosting Internet speed and reliability compared to some existing class-leading models of Wi-Fi router. We do expect the Luma to keep pace, but as mentioned, a head-to-test will be great fun for us to try out.
Luma also has the benefit of a family friendly solution built in, but that might be something that Eero could rapidly match with an update.
As the vanguard of a new wave of smart home Wi-Fi network, these might be the poster boy products and will offer great performance for years, but we guess it won’t be long before traditional WiFi product vendors come to market with their own smarter products.
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!