Eero Review (2019): Reliable home Wi-Fi that makes it easy – CNET

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A renaissance of the mesh router is underway, with many new options that cost a lot less than before. This is not least thanks to the enormous amount of networked home devices that we distribute in our homes. After all, the signal strength on your porch may not have mattered much five years ago, but there is cause for concern if you include this back door a Wi-Fi Smart Lockor install a wi-fi surveillance camera Keep watch while you're gone.

To like

  • Excellent value for a three-part mesh system
  • Simple, app-based setup with automatic security updates
  • Stable network performance without compromising on our tests

I do not like it

  • Limited maximum speeds and range from every single device
  • No Wi-Fi 6 or WPA3 security support
  • No special integrations with Alexa

Mesh routers promise to remedy this by using multiple units with extended range to send a fast signal to all corners of your home. Eero was the first to publicize this approach in 2016and earlier this year The company was taken over by Amazon, A few months later, the company released a new version of its three-part mesh WiFi system for $ 249. half the cost of the previous Eero Pro system,

$ 249 for a three-piece mesh setup is a very good deal – $ 100 less than for a three-piece Nest wifi Setup and also cheaper than the two-part Nest Wifi system. With this third device, you are better equipped to distribute a stable internet connection in your home (up to 5,000 square feet according to Eero). If you need more range, additional satellites cost $ 99 each.

Eero also performed well in our tests. It does not support next generation Wi-Fi 6 speeds (and it doesn't offer the highest maximum speeds currently available for Wi-Fi 5), but it's certainly fast enough to take full advantage of an above-average internet connection. More importantly, Eero's algorithm, which controls users from band to band and from satellite to satellite while moving around the house, is among the most stable we have tested. Together with user-friendly app controls and regular automatic security updates, Eero is therefore an easy-to-recommend system.

The Eero app does an excellent job of guiding you through the setup.

Screenshots from Ry Crist / CNET

Just like 1-2-3

Each of the three devices included in an Eero starter kit is identical. Simply select one, connect it to your modem with an Ethernet cable, connect it and follow the instructions in the Eero app to get your network up and running. These instructions are among the most helpful and easiest to follow that I've seen from a mesh system. They contain handy illustrations and quick signal strength tests to ensure that you have chosen good positions for the satellite devices.

You won't find many advanced features or controls in the Eero app, but it does enable automatic updates and supports Amazon's easy Wi-Fi setup, which allows you to connect Wi-Fi gadgets to Alexa in fewer steps.

Screenshots from Ry Crist / CNET

As for the Eeros themselves, each is a harmless piece of white plastic that's about the size of a really impressive cupcake. The design may be a bit boring, and despite Amazon's ownership, the Eero devices don't have built-in Alexa speakers that match the speakers built into Google Assistant Nest wifi, You can ask a separate echo speaker to turn on the Eero's guest Wi-Fi network. However, there are numerous routers that support basic voice controls like this. Eero can also activate Amazon Wi-Fi Simple Setup functionThis makes it almost automatically possible to connect Wi-Fi devices to Alexa. However, this feature is already available for most Echo devices of the current generation, so it is superfluous for most Alexa users.

Still, they don't take up too much space, aren't nerve-wracking, and I guess they include multiple user Ethernet ports that provide direct, wired connections for media streaming devices, desktops, smart home hubs, and other Eero Devices need units. Neither nest wifi nor the new dual band Netgear Orbi including Ethernet sockets on the satellite devices at all.

Like most mesh systems, Eero does not split your Internet into separate networks for the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. Instead, you connect to a single, unified network. When you are at home and Eero finds out how best to route your signal back to the router via the satellites, you will be automatically passed from band to band to ensure the best signal strength.

All of this worked perfectly during my speed tests, where I used a laptop to move from room to room to track the performance of the network in a typical home environment. Eero never disconnected me. This is the same high network reliability I've seen from the more expensive Nest Wifi and better than from Netgear Orbi.

All of this makes Eero one of the least intimidating routers you can buy. The hardware is simple, the setup is simple, and once it works, you practically no longer have to think about it. Users who want a lot of advanced features and controls for how their network works are likely to prefer a different view, but for most, I find that "Internet that only works" is a very appealing view.

This graph shows the highest wireless transmission speeds of a single device from any mesh system we tested. Eero's speeds will drop once you connect about 30 feet away.

Ry Crist / CNET

speed limits

Eero failed our speed tests. In our first speed test, in which we measured the highest wireless transmission rate of a single device from each system at different distances, Eero was the last to finish. It's clear like a day in this graph above. A single Eero device connected to a local server transferred data over WLAN to a laptop 5 feet away at a remarkable speed of 488 Mbit / s. However, the speed dropped from a cliff as soon as we were more than 30 feet away.

This doesn't look particularly good, but keep in mind that the Eero system doesn't have a dedicated router like most other mesh systems. It is designed for multi-point, mesh internet and not for single-point, standalone connections. However, the data suggests that you do not want to place your satellites more than 30 feet from the router or apart. I think most users would have no problem keeping things in this area, but there is definitely something to think about before shopping.

Realistic speeds

For our next test, I bring the systems to my 1,300 square meter shotgun house and set them up in my 300Mbps fiber optic internet plan with a router and a satellite. Once the network is set up, I start running speed tests in various places in the house, from the living room where the router is located, to the back bathroom at the other end of the house, where most of the routers I'm testing are having trouble to maintain the connection. After a few days, I put everything together to get a good, comparative impression of how these mesh systems behave in a real environment.

At close range (living room and kitchen), Eero (teal) was one of the fastest routers I tested in this real speed test. As soon as I was connected via the satellite, the speeds dropped at a distance. However, they remained stable and did not sink very much, which indicates strong mesh performance.

Ry Crist / CNET

Eero did well in this test. Over short and short distances, it delivered faster average speeds than Nest, faster average speeds than the dual-band Netgear Orbi and the chic Triband Netgear Orbi Voice, and faster average speeds than two of the three mesh systems. We tested that Wi-Fi 6 is supported. As we saw in the top speed test, these speeds have decreased in range, but not nearly as strong. In fact, they stayed constant at around 150 Mbit / s – half as fast as my house's internet plan allows, and half as fast as I saw from close range from Eero. This is exactly what you would expect if you connect via the satellite, as you will normally lose half of your bandwidth if you route the signal from the satellite back to the router.

These speeds in the rear bathroom were also remarkable. When I ran my tests with just one Eero as a router, the average speed there was around 70Mbps. When I added the satellite, that number rose to 135 Mbps.

What you miss without Wi-Fi 6

It's also worth noting that the first three routers in this diagram above – Linksys Velop, the Arris SURFboard mAX and the Asus RT-AX92U, represented by blue, red and yellow – all support Wi-Fi 6 (Eero doesn't). I didn't see a big difference in speed until I ran these bad tests. At that point, all three were significantly faster than the rest of the field, which is likely due to the fact that the router and satellite could be used in any of these setups Next generation Wi-Fi 6 Transfer data back and forth faster and more efficiently.

These systems cost between $ 400 and $ 700. However, if you choose a Wi-Fi 6 mesh system that fits your budget, you can expect longer ranges. More systems like this are expected to be available next year.

In terms of coverage, a third device in a large room like the CNET Smart Home makes a big difference – and Eero offers you three devices for less money than anyone else.

Steve Conaway / CNET

reporting

The last thing we look at in our performance tests is the signal strength of each system. Instead of telling you how fast a router itself is, you can use the signal strength to visually see how strong your connection to the network is at different distances. A good mesh system should literally cover your home with a strong signal.

With only two pieces in the game, Eero's signal strength is at the level of Nest Wifi, but it's not as impressive as what we've seen from Netgear Orbi.

Steve Conaway / CNET

To test this, we go to the 5,800 square meter CNET Smart Home. There we set up each system with routers and satellites in the same fixed locations and then test the signal strength using the NetSpot software in dozens of locations throughout the house. The result is a handy heat map – yellow is great, green is good enough, and blue is bad.

As the above GIF shows, Eero's three-part setup did a great job here, as there are hardly any "blue zones" indicating a point with a weak connection. The one small point is the cruciform space at the bottom of the basement plan – this is the bourbon room of the smart home (yes, we have a bourbon room) and it is right under the huge concrete slab that makes up the room Veranda of the house. The connection there was weak, two Eero units were operating upstairs, but placing the third device in the basement ensured order.

The other systems we've designed so far – Nest Wifi and the dual-band Netgear Orbi – are both in two parts. So we not only created the full three-part Eero setup, but also a two-part Eero card. I think it's just like Nest Wifi, but not as strong as the surprisingly impressive Netgear Orbi. At $ 129, it's much better value if you only need a two-part mesh setup, but the three-part setup costs $ 229, which is just $ 20 less than Eero. For my money, Eero is worth the money for its network reliability and superior app.

We will test the three-part Nest and Orbi setups in the coming months and then update this area with these comparisons.

amazon-event-092519-eero mesh wifi 0865

James Martin / CNET

The judgment

Eero was the first to publicize a multi-point mesh Wi-Fi system, and it shows. The system convinces with a user-friendly app and extremely reliable mesh connections. It's a well-designed system that you don't have to fuss about.

At $ 249 – half the cost of its original three-part system from just three years ago – Eero is also cheaper than ever. This is because there is a lot more competition now. Have a look around and you may end up choosing the fancier one Nest wifi For high-end functions such as WPA3 security support, 4×4-MU-MIMO connections and the integrated Google Assistant speakers, with which Eero cannot do anything. If your home is not too big, you can save money and join in the new dual band Netgear Orbi, which costs only $ 129 for a two-pack. If you are not in a hurry, it can also be worthwhile to wait and see whether 2020 will make us cheaper Wi-Fi 6 Mesh setups because they should offer faster and more future-proof performance.

But maybe your current router just doesn't cut it, and you just want something simple that can reliably connect to all corners of your home. In this case, you don't need to rethink here – Eero is a very safe, and maybe even excellent choice, since you get three devices for less than two nest fees.