Eero 6 review

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Eero Pro 6 review: less pro than expected

Eero was the company that first popularized mesh networking for the home, fixing Wi-Fi for millions. It has built a reputation for its simple setup and minimal maintenance, reliably broadcasting a Wi-Fi connection throughout your home much better than a traditional standalone router could. Now that it is owned by Amazon, it promises to repeat that trick for customers who have access to gigabit internet speeds with its top-tier Eero Pro 6.

Fixing most home Wi-Fi problems doesn’t have to cost a lot. A basic mesh system can provide reliable Wi-Fi coverage in most homes without costing more than $250. If the speeds you’re getting from your ISP are 300Mbps or less, there’s no real need to buy anything more.

But if you do have the privilege of access to faster home internet, such as what gigabit fiber can offer, you might want something more. That’s where high-end Wi-Fi 6-enabled mesh systems like the Eero Pro 6 come in. They can spread your fast connection throughout your home without having to deal with pesky wiring and let you take full advantage of the bandwidth you’re forking money over for each month.

Earlier this year, I looked at one of the first Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers to see if it could give me better speeds on my gigabit Fios service than earlier Wi-Fi 5-based systems could. And it did: the Arris Surfboard Max Pro was able to deliver more of the bandwidth I pay for to my devices, even if I wasn’t in the same room as the router. But each Arris node is a massive unit, the app to manage the router is clumsy at best, I ran into some frustrating reliability issues, and it cost $650 at the time of my review.

The $599 Eero Pro 6 I’ve been testing, on the other hand, is compact, reliable, and just as easy to set up as Eero’s lower-tier models. But unfortunately, it doesn’t bring the performance that justifies its price tag.

Our review of Eero Pro 6

Verge Score6.5 out of 10

Good Stuff

  • Compact size
  • Easy setup
  • Great coverage
  • Solid stability

Bad Stuff

  • It’s expensive
  • Parental controls are locked behind a paid subscription
  • Speeds are only slightly faster than Wi-Fi 5 systems
  • Few advanced features and limited control options
  • Just two Ethernet ports on each node

Buy for $599.00 from AmazonBuy for $599.00 from Best Buy

Eero Pro 6 pricing

The Eero Pro 6 system that I tested is the top-tier package, which includes three nodes and sells for $599 (though it’s been marked down to as low as $480 during the holiday shopping season). Eero also sells single units for $229 each or a two-pack for $399.

These pricing details are important because, frankly, every tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh system is expensive, and Eero is no exception. Compared to Eero’s prior-generation Pro model, the Eero Pro 6 is 20 percent more costly. It is also a lot more expensive than Eero’s non-“Pro” lineup, which starts at just $249 for a Wi-Fi 5-based system with three nodes (and can frequently be found for a lot less). Eero’s entry-level Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems are similarly approachable at $279 for a three-pack.

How many nodes you require depends on the size and layout of your home. Eero claims each unit covers up to 2,000 square feet, but that’s in a perfect scenario, which your home most certainly is not. My test environment is a 2,100-square-foot split-level home built in the 1960s, with the internet connection coming in on the middle floor. I placed the other two nodes on the lower and upper floors, where my home office and the bedrooms are. The Eero Pro 6 system allows for hard-wiring each node together, which you can’t do with the base Eero 6, but my home is not wired up to support this, so I have to rely on wireless connections.

Eero is not alone in charging a premium for a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 based system targeted at those with gigabit internet service. As mentioned, the Arris system I tested earlier this year is $650, while Netgear, Linksys, and others all have options in the $500 to $700 range and sometimes even more.

If you’re going to pay more for faster speeds, you damn well better get them. You should be able to get the majority of your gigabit bandwidth throughout your home. After all, that’s the whole point of a mesh system. And if you’re thinking of upgrading from a Wi-Fi 5 mesh system, you should see a measurable increase in speeds to your devices. Basically, any mesh system on the market can blanket thousands of square feet with a strong wireless signal and support dozens of simultaneously connected devices. What you’re paying for here is the speed.

Eero Pro 6 performance

Unfortunately, speed is where the Eero Pro 6 disappoints the most.

I tested the Eero Pro 6 using gigabit Verizon Fios service and compared its performance to the Wi-Fi 5 Eero Pro, Linksys’ Velop MX4200, and the Arris Surfboard Max Pro AX11000 I reviewed previously. As this is a live home network (aka not a lab) and I have a lot of connected devices, there are anywhere from 60 to 70 devices on the network at the same time, of which half a dozen or so actually support Wi-Fi 6.

The Eero Pro 6 did perform slightly better than the Wi-Fi 5 version, but not significantly so. On average, speeds to my devices were about 10 to 15 percent better than the Wi-Fi 5 Eero Pro, averaging 300Mbps no matter how close to the router I was. Frustratingly, many times, my smaller Wi-Fi 6 devices, such as phones and tablets, couldn’t hit more than 200Mbps down, though they were able to double that speed on uploads.

A note on Wi-Fi 6 itself: Wi-Fi 6 brings a long list of advancements to wireless networking, including support for many more connected devices on a single network, faster theoretical top speeds, and improved battery life on devices connected to a Wi-Fi 6 network. To take advantage of many of the features, such as the improved battery life and faster top speeds, you need to be using a Wi-Fi 6 device, such as a very recent smartphone or laptop.

Wi-Fi 6 is specifically designed to address the changing dynamics of home networks where more and more devices are connected at the same time. But to get that improved network management and reliability, every device that’s connected needs to be Wi-Fi 6. (Wi-Fi 6 is backwards compatible with the older Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5 technologies, so everything you currently have will connect to it just fine.) That isn’t to say using a Wi-Fi 5 device on a Wi-Fi 6 network will ruin the experience, but you won’t get the full benefit of everything Wi-Fi 6 has to offer until all of your devices are updated to support it. For more detail on what Wi-Fi 6 brings to the table, go read my colleague Jake Kastrenakes’ breakdown of it here.

What Wi-Fi 6 offers right now is the ability for the nodes of a mesh network to send data to the main router faster than what was available over Wi-Fi 5. Those speeds can then be sent directly to your smartphone, laptop, or gaming console that’s connected to a nearby mesh node, even if those devices aren’t using Wi-Fi 6 themselves. You can get even faster speeds if you connect your computer or console to the mesh node with an Ethernet cable, even if you are a few rooms away from where the internet connection comes into your home, an ideal benefit if your home isn’t wired up for networking, such as mine.

With a desktop computer hardwired into one of the secondary Pro 6 nodes (which then uses a Wi-Fi connection to link to the main router a floor above), I was able to get download speeds above 400Mbps and sometimes up to 500Mbps, or about half of my available bandwidth. That’s a good 100 to 200Mbps faster than I typically saw from the Eero Pro 5 system, but still makes a lot of my bandwidth inaccessible. Again, upload speeds were much stronger, but when you’re downloading a massive AAA game and just want to get playing, fast upload speeds are a small consolation.

The Linksys Velop MX4200, which has similar specs to the Eero Pro, performed almost identically, with speeds capping out at just over 300Mbps and most smaller devices not pulling more than 200Mbps down. That’s not enough of a difference for me to recommend spending $500 or $600 to upgrade from a Wi-Fi 5-based mesh system if you already have one.

The Arris’ more complex antenna array did provide a significant speed bump over Wi-Fi 5 systems and both the Eero Pro 6 and Linksys units. My mobile devices were consistently able to achieve connection speeds over 400Mbps, while hardwiring into the remote node allowed me to see near gigabit downloads.

Though the Eero disappointed me on actual speeds, it proved very reliable, with great stability throughout my weeks of testing. It hops devices from one node to another well as I move around the house, and it’s able to handle the load of remote working and schooling that often includes multiple concurrent video calls without dropping connections or choking. 4K video streams are possible anywhere in my home, and I never had to worry about what my kids were doing on the network if I needed to make a critical video call or upload a large file for work. It bested the Arris in this respect, which often needed to be rebooted to get its mesh node to reconnect to the main router and had trouble roaming devices from one node to the other as I moved through the house.

But I was able to get that same kind of reliability with the older Wi-Fi 5 system and the same internet service, so you don’t need to buy an Eero Pro 6 setup to experience it.

My test results are far from scientific. I’m testing in a single home with a single service and using internet connection speeds averaged across a variety of speed test services as a metric, which network administrators would turn their nose up at. But while some folks might be more concerned with how fast they can shuffle files around their home network, the vast majority of people just want to have a fast connection to the internet no matter where they are in their home. It’s why you’re paying for a gigabit internet connection to begin with. Dong Ngo’s testing over at DongKnows shows that in file transfer scenarios, the Eero Pro 6 sits about middle of the pack, despite its top-shelf pricing. Numerous user reports on Reddit also complain about modest to no internet speed increases over Wi-Fi 5-based systems.

During my test period, the Eero Pro 6 system received a handful of software updates (which are delivered automatically; there’s no way to force an update), including a recent update to version 6.1. Some users have reported noticeable speed increases with the 6.1 update, but after redoing a number of tests, the speeds on my network have remained consistent with earlier software versions, with the most noticeable improvement seen when I am hardwired into a mesh node.

Eero Pro 6 design

Something that the Eero Pro 6 has over all of its Wi-Fi 6 competition is aesthetics. The Eero Pro 6 node is so much smaller than any other tri-band system, which makes it easier to place in your home and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb if you do have to keep it in a living area. It’s a little larger than the old Eero Pro and certainly not as discreet as the Eero Beacon, but it’s tiny compared to the high-end Wi-Fi 6 routers from Netgear, Linksys, and Arris.

Another feature that sets Eero apart from most of the other Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems is you can mix and match the new Wi-Fi 6 units with older Wi-Fi 5 nodes. If you already own an Eero system and don’t want to wholly replace every unit, buying one or two nodes and integrating them into your existing network could be an appealing option, though you will only get the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 when you’re connected to one of the new nodes, which you can’t always predict or rely on.

You give up some things, though. Just like the older Eero Pro, the Pro 6 has just two Ethernet ports on the back, one of which will be occupied by the cable coming from your modem. If you have any number of devices that you plan to hardwire into the router, you’ll definitely need to get a multiport switch. There is no way to hook up a storage drive directly to the Pro 6, either, as its lone USB-C port is used for its power adapter.

There’s just one LED light on the front of the Eero. It glows blue during setup, is a static white when everything is working as it should, and glows red when there isn’t an internet connection. For any more detail than that, you’ll have to go to the Eero app.

The Eero Pro 6 is rated as an AX4200 system, which is an obtuse way of describing what its peak networking speeds are. That rating puts it in the middle of the pack of tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: it’s the same as Linksys’ $499 Velop MX4200 but lower than the AX6600 and AX11000 systems from Netgear and Arris.

As this is a tri-band system, the Eero Pro 6 supports three Wi-Fi bands: the standard 2.4GHz and 5GHz ones most Wi-Fi routers offer, plus another 5GHz band to allow the nodes to send data back and forth without competing with your device traffic. Unlike other systems, which separate device traffic and mesh node traffic between the two 5GHz bands, Eero’s system will just use whatever lane it determines is the most efficient, so it doesn’t have a “dedicated backhaul” band that others advertise. In theory, the two 5GHz bands should provide enough bandwidth for gigabit speeds to your devices, though one of them has half as many antennas as the other, which does have an impact on throughput. That’s why Eero’s AX4200 rating is lower than others, which offer more antennas.

In addition to its Wi-Fi radios, the Eero Pro 6 has Thread and Zigbee smart home radio support, so you can use it as a hub for smart home devices, which are then managed through the Alexa app.

Eero Pro 6 app and setup

Setting up the Eero Pro 6 is just as easy and straightforward as the company’s prior models. You download the app to your phone, plug in the first node, and follow the prompts. The app walks you through adding the additional nodes, creating your network and password, and turning on features such as a guest network or Eero’s subscription-based security and parental control features.

Unfortunately, the app is the only way to manage the network. Eero doesn’t offer any web interface at all, and using the app requires you to create an Eero account and have an active internet connection on your phone before you set up the network. This is becoming a popular trend among mesh systems — both Arris and Google’s systems work the same way — but Eero was arguably the first to popularize an app-only experience.

The Eero app is also surprisingly limited, especially for a high-end system that’s ostensibly designed for power users. It offers very few network management controls, lacks things like Dynamic DNS, and doesn’t let you separate out the 2.4GHz network from the 5GHz one for greater transparency. It displays a list of all of my connected devices, but it does a poor job of automatically identifying them, so I had to go in and manually figure out which one was which through its IP address before I could apply parental controls or other filters to it. (Eero is not alone in this issue, every other router management app I’ve used struggles with it as well.)

Most of these limitations are easy to ignore on entry-level mesh systems where the main thing that matters is reliable coverage. And Eero would likely argue that its algorithms are more effective at managing network load than the average person futzing with settings. Most people just want to turn the thing on and have it work. But on a $600 system that’s advertised for gigabit home internet service and has “Pro” in its name, the hands-off approach is frustrating and limits how much control over your own network you have. As it is, Eero offers the exact same app experience whether you pay $100 for an entry-level node or the full $600 for the top-tier system. It could do well to add more pro features to its “Pro” router.

The Eero Pro 6 does not support Apple HomeKit, even though Eero’s older models do. I asked Eero, and the company said it is working with Apple to get it certified for HomeKit, but there isn’t a specific release date for it. Another option not yet available on the Eero Pro 6 is the toggle for “optimizing for conference and gaming” in the Labs section of the app’s settings. This is the closest thing Eero offers to quality of service management and is designed to prioritize devices that are currently on video calls or playing games. The company says it is working on adding it to the Eero Pro 6 in future updates.

Like its other routers, Eero offers some subscription-based services on the Eero Pro 6. These include ad filtering, malware protection, content filters, and access to paid apps such as Encrypt.me and 1Password. The base Eero Secure plan costs $29.99 per year and includes everything but the paid apps; the Secure Plus plan runs $99 per year and adds those apps in.

I’m hesitant to recommend paying for either of these services, as competing routers offer content filtering and parental controls for free, both of which are table stakes features. The other problem is Eero is not transparent at all about what the threat blocks and security features are actually doing. It just shows you a report of blocks it made on specific devices but doesn’t say anything about what they were or what caused the threats. The ad filtering is also less effective than content blockers on your browser in my experience.

The only way the subscription makes sense is if you were planning to pay for 1Password and Encrypt.me anyway, as the bundle is less expensive than parting them out separately.

Lastly, it’s important to note that Eero is wholly owned by Amazon and that using its routers requires an Eero account. You can further link an Amazon account to your Eero account to make use of Amazon’s Simple Setup features and the built-in Zigbee smart home hub. Eero outlines the data it collects in its privacy policy, and, well, it’s a lot.


Thanks to rapid iteration over the past few years, mesh routers have reached levels of maturity and accessibility that were unthinkable just a short time ago. (Eero’s first model, which arguably broke the door open on mesh Wi-Fi routers, came out in 2016.) That means if a company is going to charge a significant price for a router and claim that it’s ideal for gigabit connections and “pro” uses (whatever that means), it has to really prove that worth with performance.

Unfortunately, based on my experience, the Eero Pro 6 doesn’t bring the performance I’d expect at this price tier. It’s slightly faster than the prior generation, but not nearly enough to make an upgrade worthwhile. And it’s not so much better or faster than the less expensive mesh router options currently available, even ones made by Eero itself. That’s not a huge surprise, as Eero’s older systems were never the fastest in the field, but I was hoping for a bigger jump in performance with the Pro 6 than I’ve seen so far, especially given the price increase.

Eero isn’t alone here. My tests showed Linksys Velop MX4200 doesn’t carry its weight either. And even with the routers that do provide faster speeds, you compromise things like aesthetics, reliability, and features (not to mention having to pay even more). The Arris router brought the performance increases I’m looking for, but it’s bigger, uglier, needs more maintenance, and costs more. Wi-Fi 6 routers are still a new thing, only coming to market in the past year, and it seems like they have a ways to go before they are demonstrably better than their Wi-Fi 5 predecessors in everyday use cases (aka outside of a controlled lab).

If you’re thinking of making an investment and can wait, my recommendation would be to do just that. Wi-Fi 6E, which is the next step in the Wi-Fi technology chain, is expected to arrive in the near future and bring more significant speed and capacity increases. None of today’s routers (or devices) support it yet. But if you are in need of a mesh router right now, you might want to look at options other than the Eero Pro 6.

Photography by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Sours: https://www.theverge.com/22193059/eero-pro-6-review-mesh-router-wifi-6-test-speeds-network
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There are two big, recent developments from the world of routers that are worth paying attention to. The first is the rise of the affordable mesh router, with an abundance of new, multipoint Wi-Fi systems that cost a lot less than the initial crop of mesh routers did three or four years ago. The second is the arrival of Wi-Fi 6, the newest, fastest and most advanced version of Wi-Fi. Either one makes for a tempting upgrade -- but hey, why not both?

Enter Eero 6, a new mesh router from the company that helped bring mesh to the mainstream several years ago, and which Amazon bought outright in 2019. It's the second new version of the Eero mesh router since Amazon acquired the company, and it adds in full support for Wi-Fi 6 while keeping the cost of a three-piece setup down at a reasonable $279 -- just $30 more than the Wi-Fi 5 version sold for last year. Meanwhile, a two-piece setup with the Eero 6 router and one range-extending satellite costs $199.

Like

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Built-in Zigbee radio for pairing devices with Alexa
  • Steady network performance with no dropped connections during testing

Don't Like

  • Not fast enough to take full advantage of gigabit speeds
  • Poor band-steering and signal routing causes speeds to drop when they shouldn't
  • Only one spare Ethernet jack

Mesh networking and Wi-Fi 6 can indeed make for a pretty killer combination, but Eero 6 comes with some caveats. For starters, though Amazon now says Eero 6 can hit top speeds of up to 900 Mbps, those top speeds are limited enough that Amazon initially recommended it for homes with internet connections of up to 500Mbps, well beneath what Wi-Fi 6 is capable of. If you're paying for internet speeds any faster than that, then you'll want a mesh router that's designed to take advantage of them, like the Netgear Orbi AX6000 ($700 for a two-pack), the Asus ZenWiFi AX ($450 for a two-pack), or Amazon's own upgrade model, the Eero Pro 6 ($600 for a three-pack). And note that all three of those alternatives are tri-band routers that include the usual 2.4 and 5GHz bands, plus a second 5GHz band dedicated to moving data between the router and its satellites. That's a key feature if you want a mesh router that gets the most out of Wi-Fi 6 -- and the dual-band Eero 6 doesn't have it.

All of that is understandable at this price, but the underpowered hardware puts a lot of pressure on Eero's mesh software to help this thing feel like an upgrade -- and throughout my at-home tests, Eero came up short. The system seemed to struggle to make good decisions about when to route my connection through a satellite extender and when to connect me direct to the main router. Worse were the system's band-steering algorithms, which are designed to automatically move you between the 2.4 and 5GHz bands depending on which is best for your connection at any given moment. In too many cases, Eero failed to move me to the faster 5GHz band even when I was well within its range, and that brought my speeds crashing down by as much as 80%.

Here's the shorter way of saying all that: The Eero 6 mesh has too many holes in it for me to recommend.

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Design and specs

Arriving in a tidy, rectangular box, the Eero 6 three-pack makes a decent first impression. The devices inside look identical, but they aren't -- one is designed to serve as the main router, and along with the USB-C power port, it includes two gigabit Ethernet jacks, one of which you'll wire to your modem. The other Eero devices are range-extending satellites, and they don't include Ethernet jacks at all.

That means that you only get a single spare Ethernet jack that you can use for hardwired connections to the router. That's not ideal if you're like me and living with a handful of streaming devices, gaming consoles, smart home hubs and the like, all of which work best with, or require, a wired connection to the router. It also means that you can't wire the range extenders back to the router for faster performance.

As for the specs, the Eero 6 router is an AX1800 device -- the "AX" denotes support for 802.11ax, or Wi-Fi 6, while the "1800" tells you the combined top speeds of each band. Just keep in mind that those speeds come from lab-based tests that don't take things like obstructions, distance and interference into account, so your actual speeds will be a lot lower. Plus, you can only connect to one band at a time.

Inside, the Eero 6 router runs on a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 512 MB of RAM and 4GB of flash storage. It also supports 2x2 MU-MIMO connections, which lets it use two antennas to split its attention to two separate devices at a time, or aggregate the signal from those antennas to a single device with multiple antennas of its own. That's good, but you can find better -- for instance, though it doesn't feature Wi-Fi 6, last year's Nest Wifi supports 3x3 connections.

Along with Wi-Fi 6 support, the Eero 6 router also includes its own Zigbee radio. That lets you connect things like smart locks and smart lights with Alexa without need for an additional Zigbee hub. You'll need to connect the router to an Amazon account in order to put it to work, but once you do, you'll unlock nice, common sense features like Device Name Sharing, where your custom names for network devices in the Alexa app automatically port over to the Eero app. You can also enable Thread, an additional Wi-Fi protocol that lets you connect with certain kinds of smart home devices.

I bemoaned the lack of extra, Alexa-specific features with last year's Eero, so all of that is a nice, user-friendly step in the right direction -- though Amazon still hasn't gone as far as Google, which built fully functional Google Assistant smart speakers into each Nest Wifi satellite.

The setup process

Not much to say here, really. Just plug the Eero 6 router into your modem and into a power outlet, then follow the onboarding instructions in the app on your Android or iOS device. You'll name your network, pick a password, add your satellites, and voila -- your home network is up and running.

That sort of ease of setup is fairly common with routers these days, most all of which make good use of companion apps to walk you through the process without headache. Still, give the Eero app some extra credit here -- it's well-designed, easy to navigate, and less confusing than most. Just keep in mind that the simplified approach also means that it isn't packed with advanced features -- there's no quality of service engine for prioritizing traffic to specific devices, for instance, and no option to split the unified Eero network into two, separate networks for the 2.4 and 5GHz bands.

Something else to consider during setup is whether or not you want to subscribe to Eero Secure. The $3 per month plan includes ad blocking and parental filters, as well as threat detection scans that can help prevent you from wandering onto an unsafe website. Meanwhile, the $10 Eero Secure Plus plan adds in password management for up to five family members via 1Password, VPN access via Encrypt.me, and anti-virus scans for up to three devices via Malwarebytes. The best part of that bundle is 1Password -- it's our favorite subscription-based password manager, and the five-person plan usually costs $5 per month on its own. It's up to you if the rest of the Secure Plus package is worth an additional $5, though I'll note that the US-based Encrypt.me isn't one of our top picks among VPN services.

Performance and speeds

Yep, that's Eero 6 at the very right of the graph above. You're probably wondering how it got there.

All record scratches and freeze frames aside, that graph shows the overall average upload and download speeds throughout my home for all of the mesh routers I've tested here in the past year. Eero 6 finished dead last among all of them, with slower average speeds than Nest Wifi, the bargain-priced, AC1200 version of Netgear Orbi, and even last year's version of Eero. None of those support Wi-Fi 6. What gives?

eero-6-speed-tests-bandsteering

For the most part, the answer is poor band-steering. Unlike routers that split the 2.4 and 5GHz bands into two separate networks, leaving it to you to decide which one to connect to, Eero 6 puts out a single network that automatically "steers" you from band to band without you noticing it it. At least, that's how it's supposed to work. If the router screws up and leaves you on the much slower 2.4GHz band when it shouldn't, then your speeds will plummet. You'll definitely notice that.

That's exactly what happened as I tested Eero 6 at my 1,300 square foot, shotgun-style house. It's a boxy little one-story home where I pay for internet speeds of up to 300 Mbps. When I test a router here, I take multiple speed tests across five spots starting in my living room, where the router is located, and ending in my back bathroom, the farthest spot from the router. Then, I repeat all of that, but backward -- I start with a fresh connection in the back bathroom and move my way back toward the living room. I repeat that entire forward-and-backward process across multiple days during morning, afternoon and evening hours.

It was those back-to-front rounds of tests that did Eero 6 in. When I'd start up close to the router, it would start me off on the 5GHz band, and speeds would look great. But when I'd connect in that back bathroom, it would start me off on the 2.4GHz band -- and then, more often than not, it would leave me there even after I made my way back to the living room. As a result, my average speeds fell by as much as 80% in almost half of my tests. Eero 6 was performing like a batter in baseball who can't hit against left-handed pitchers, which had the same deleterious effect on the batting average, so to speak.

I asked the team at Eero if they had any suggestions for improving performance, and they noted that Eero's latest band-steering algorithms actually need to be enabled as a beta-feature in the Eero Labs section of the app. I found it surprising that band-steering wasn't already fully implemented given Eero's pedigree in the mesh category, but I gave it a shot and ran my tests again. Performance was slightly better. In one back-to-front test, the router correctly moved me from the 2.4GHz band to the 5GHz band after I made it back to the living room, but speeds were still much too slow in the nearby hall bathroom and kitchen, and my overall average speeds were still weak.

The problem, Eero says, is that the system's band-steering feature is designed to steer you correctly when you first connect -- and steering you as you and your device move about the house is still a work in progress.

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"Eero's initial implementation of band-steering, which has been in Eero Labs for a while, focused on steering the client as it connected. This helped a lot with 2.4GHz vs. 5GHz. But it isn't ideal for solving the sticky client problem which is essentially what you are testing," Eero's engineering team explained. "We are working on an improved version of client steering that will use some standards based methods to steer the client after it has associated and plan on moving the feature out of Eero Labs when we have good data in the future."

I'll look forward to retesting Eero 6 when that happens -- and hopefully, it helps the system perform a lot better. I'll update this review once I have that data, and after we've had a chance to test the system out at the 5,800-square-foot CNET Smart Home. For now, it seems like a shame that proper band-steering wasn't fully implemented in time for launch.

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The verdict

At $279 for a three-piece system or $199 for a two-piece system, the Eero 6 is a value among mesh routers that support Wi-Fi 6, and the system did a fine job of maintaining a steady connection as I tested it, never dropping me once. But my average speeds suffered heavily from the poor band-steering -- enough so that its performance ranks below some systems that don't support Wi-Fi 6 at all. That's the last thing you want.

I'll continue to test the Eero 6 and I'll let you know if the outlook improves, but at this point, I think you've got better options. If you're willing to spend, a tri-band mesh router like the Netgear Orbi AX6000, the Asus ZenWiFi AX and Amazon's own Eero Pro 6 will do a much better job of showcasing Wi-Fi 6. Meanwhile, top-performing Wi-Fi 5 systems like Nest Wifi and Netgear Orbi AC1200 offer more bang for the buck. Eero 6 sits right in the middle, where it overpromises and underdelivers. I say shop around.

Sours: https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/eero-6-review-amazons-wi-fi-6-mesh-router-underwhelms/
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Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 Review and Speed Tests

Originally Posted: January 18th, 2021
Last Edited: August 6th, 2021

On One Hand,

The Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 are great. They are easy to use mesh Wi-Fi systems which deliver Wi-Fi 6 speeds through attractive hardware and a well-designed mobile app. Setup is simple, and the network will improve itself over time from software updates and a constantly running optimization process. If you want Wi-Fi that just works, Eero is a good option.

On The Other Hand,

The Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 are a disappointment. Some basic features are locked behind a subscription. The early firmware was buggy, and Wi-Fi 6 performance sometimes doesn’t live up to expectations. Most of the same limitations from the previous models remain. None of the new models support Wi-Fi 6E, and the Pro models are expensive.

The Truth is Somewhere in the Middle.

Eero Generation 3: What's New?

2nd Gen Products:

3rd Gen Products:

Before we dig into the two sides of the story, let's cover the new hardware and what's different about them.

The biggest new feature is the use of Wi-Fi 6 rather than Wi-Fi 5. Wi-Fi 6 radios are more efficient, easier on your batteries, and are better at handling multiple devices and crowded channels. Single client speed should improve slightly, but multi-device throughput is where you’ll see the biggest gains. Another big benefit of Wi-Fi 6 is better mesh backhaul. The new radios are faster due to slightly higher link rates, OFDMA, and most dramatically, additional spatial streams on the Eero Pro 6.

The 2nd generation Eero products were Wi-Fi 5 devices, capable of 400 Mbps over 2.4 GHz, and 876 Mbps over 5 GHz. The basic Eero was dual-band, but the 2nd generation Eero Pro added a 2nd 5 GHz radio, making it a tri-band device. All of the 2nd generation Eero radios — even the 3rd radio in the Pro — are 2x2, meaning they support 2 spatial streams. You can think of a spatial stream as a Wi-Fi highway lane. The more spatial streams you have, the more traffic you can support at one time. Most Wi-Fi client devices like phones and laptops only support 2 streams, but wireless backhaul and are able leverage the additional capacity.

With the Pro 6, Eero is offering a 4 spatial stream device for the first time. The 5.8 GHz radio on the Eero Pro 6 is 4x4, with support for 2400 Mbps. The 5.2 GHz radio is still 2x2, but is now capable of 1200 Mbps thanks to the improvements in Wi-Fi 6. The 2.4 GHz radio is also 2x2, but now tops out at 576 Mbps. There are other internal upgrades as well. Compared to the 2nd Generation Eero, the CPU is approximately ten times as fast. There's twice as much RAM, and it's faster.

Some things didn't change. The Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 are well designed and the hardware itself is higher quality than budget mesh kits like the Deco X60. The antenna design is largely the same, and they still provide very good range. Setup and the Eero app experience are largely the same. Unfortunately you still have to pay for Eero Secure, which adds parental controls, content filtering, ad blocking, and more activity monitoring options.

With so many things the same, it’s worth looking at the differences between the two new Wi-Fi 6 models.

Eero 6 vs. Eero Pro 6

The biggest difference between the regular Eero and the Eero Pro 6 is the number and quality of the Wi-Fi radios. The Eero 6 is a dual-band AX1800 device, and the Eero Pro 6 is a tri-band AX4200 device. The additional 4x4 5 GHz radio is the biggest difference between the two. Eero claims 500 additional square footage of coverage and 100 Mbps more speed on the Eero Pro 6, but that is more of a guideline than a guarantee. Eero recommends the basic Eero 6 for "up to 900 Mbps" and the Pro 6 for "up to 1 Gbps", but more on that later.

Besides that, they are largely the same. They both have a built-in Smart Home Hub, with Bluetooth 5.0, Zigbee, and Alexa support. They both have two gigabit Ethernet ports, and are powered via USB-C. They both rely on the Eero app for management.

Eero 6 Extender

The regular Eero 6 comes in two flavors: with two Ethernet ports, and without. The version with Ethernet ports is the Eero 6. The version without is called the Eero 6 Extender. The 2-piece Eero 6 kit I’m reviewing has one of each, meaning only one unit was able to leverage wired connections or act as the gateway. Besides that big asterisk, the Eero 6 and the Eero 6 Extender are functionally the same.

There aren't dedicated satellites or routers in an Eero system, there are just nodes and other nodes. The Eero 6 Extender won’t be able to act as your main gateway due to it’s lack of Ethernet, but all Eero units are compatible. They can all be added to any existing Eero network. I’m a little disappointed that the 3-piece $279 Eero 6 kit uses two Extenders, since the lack of Ethernet ports limits both your ability to use wired backhaul, and your ability to conserve airtime by wiring up your most bandwidth-heavy devices. If you’re planning on using Ethernet, the $349 "3 Routers" kit makes more sense.

Wi-Fi 6 Speed Test Expectations

Wi-Fi is a complicated technology, and it's hard to discuss Wi-Fi performance with the right level of depth. Getting it right requires covering some aspects of how Wi-Fi works, but it's easy to get too in the weeds. It's also easy to gloss over the underlying complexity, show some speed test results, and call it a day. In my opinion, explanations without underlying understanding aren't worth much. Bear with me as a I go over a few Wi-Fi fundamentals.

The biggest benefit of Wi-Fi 6 over Wi-Fi 5 is more efficient spectrum utilization, lower required power for battery devices, and better interference and congestion management. Note that I didn't say higher speeds. There are a couple higher, close-range data rates, but they aren’t often used in practice. Even under ideal conditions, Wi-Fi 6’s higher data rates aren't going to provide the same dramatic speed boost that going from Wi-Fi 4 to Wi-Fi 5 did. In ideal conditions near your AP, speeds are usually around 10-15% better.

Additional spatial streams, like the 4 found in the Eero Pro 6, are more likely to make a big impact. The bad news is those 4 spatial streams are usually only fully utilized for wireless backhaul between Eero Pro 6 nodes, or for improving beamforming. The smartphone or laptop you’re reading this on likely only supports 2 or possibly 3 spatial streams. More spatial streams improves multi-client performance, but they probably won’t give you higher numbers on your speed test.

Another common misconception about Wi-Fi deals with the advertised theoretical maximum speeds, like the 2400 Mbps on the 4x4 radio of the Eero Pro 6. You will never see that speed in practice, because there is always overhead when you use a radio. It is impossible to push that much data due to inter-frame gaps, burst length limits, and other devices using the channel. In most cases, getting around 50-70% of your data rate is what you should expect.

Speed tests are not the beginning and end of measuring Wi-Fi performance. Public speed test servers often struggle to fill a gigabit Internet connection, or max out a Wi-Fi 6 radio. They also often have more bandwidth available on the upload side rather than the download side. That’s why you’ll often see higher upload speeds than download speeds — the speed test server is limiting you, not your local network. Often, Wi-Fi 6 networks are capable of delivering data faster than websites can send it. To achieve those high-end numbers, a local testing tool like iPerf is often a more accurate and repeatable measurement.

Eero themselves claim to pursue stability rather than pure speed with their devices, and I’d argue that is a more important aspect than raw speed. I’d take a slower stable connection over a faster unstable one. When browsing the web, multi-device throughput and latency is often more important than speed. These aspects are hard to capture quantitatively, but Jim Salter at ArsTechnica did a good job when he reviewed the previous Wi-Fi 5 kit. The summary is that Eeros handle real-world uses well. Even if the numbers on the speed test are a little lower than you want, the stability of the network is arguably more important. Stability and latency make a big difference in real world performance, and most reviewers miss that.

Eero’s Auto-Magic Wi-Fi

There are a lot of automatic and intelligent things that happen behind the scenes to improve performance. Eero's secret sauce is that it is a multi-channel mesh. It uses path diversity to increase the overall carrying capacity by using all available methods. For example, when two nodes are connected via Ethernet, backhaul traffic isn't wired instead of wireless — it's both at the same time. This path diversity helps provide a Wi-Fi network that is both stable and fast, without you having to mess with settings.

Eero’s auto-magic also shows up in little details which aren’t clear to most users. During setup, the Eero’s placement test will fail if there isn’t a 5 GHz connection between the two. After setup, there's a signal strength indication in the app. The Wi-Fi symbol next to the node will show four bars if it has at least 100 Mbps of backhaul capability spread across its various mesh links. If you don’t see 4 bars, you may want to adjust the placement of your nodes.

When handling traffic, backhaul decisions are made on a frame-by-frame basis. It's not uncommon for one client's traffic to use one radio and another client's traffic to use a different one. Download traffic can take a different path than upload traffic. This helps conserve airtime, and deliver good mesh performance.

Eero also supports enabling options like band steering, which can encourage devices to join the faster 5 GHz band. It does this by responding to probe requests on 5 GHz first, so your device will connect to 5 GHz before the slower 2.4 GHz band. With band steering turned on, the Eero will attempt to move any associated devices to 5 GHz. If steering fails, it'll let the client connect to 2.4 GHz. Not all devices play nice with this feature, which is why it's off by default. You can enable it in the app under the Eero Labs section.

Another auto-magic aspect is how both 2nd generation and 3rd generation Eeros can selectively ignore sources of RF interference. This allows the radios to tune out sources of interference, like other Wi-Fi networks. Interference comes from other places too, like speakers, Bluetooth devices, microwave ovens, and even USB 3, HDMI or DisplayPort cables. Dealing with this interference can take a significant amount of CPU time, but provides a better wireless experience. It’s another feature of Eero devices that are always working in the background without you worrying about it.

Firmware History

When they were first released, the early firmware versions had a few bugs which negatively affected performance. If you search through the Eero subreddit, you’ll see a lot of people complaining about high-end speeds. The 6.0.1, 6.0.2, and 6.0.3 releases made some minor tweaks to improve stability and fix some cosmetic issues, like inaccuracies in client statistics. The big improvements came in version 6.1.0 and 6.1.1.

With firmware versions prior to 6.1.0, a lot of users were seeing low results from common public speed test servers. According to an Eero developer in this Reddit post:

Firmware version 6.1.0 fixed many of the Wi-Fi side physical layer problems. This speed test issue appears to be latency, packet scheduling and aggregation related.

This was due to the traffic pattern and TCP options that these servers use, interacting badly with the aggregation and transmit scheduling in 802.11ax radios. Some FTTH networks pass these traffic patterns through in a way that DOCSIS networks do not. Notably, not all FTTH networks are seeing this problem.

In my testing with gigabit Verizon FiOS, those issues were resolved by the 6.1.0 and 6.1.1 firmware versions, but some people still report slow speeds. There’s more improvements coming, like Smart Queue Management, but for now, it appears the largest issues have been fixed. Eeros use software defined radios, which means that real and significant improvements can come via software updates. The largest issues seem to be fixed for most users, and the situation should improve as more software updates roll out.

Eero Wi-Fi 6 Speeds

Eero 6 Speed Test Results

TL;DR: Compared to the previous Wi-Fi 5 kit, you should expect around a 10 to 20% jump in speeds.

I’m going to start off with the dual-band Eero 6. I tested with Ethernet, one wireless hop (Eero -> client), and two wireless hops (Eero -> Eero -> Client). I tested with iPerf and public speed test servers, and I tested with a 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 iPhone 12 Mini, and my 3x3 Wi-Fi 5 MacBook Pro. These kind of single-client tests aren’t the best way to measure performance, but it’s often what people focus on and they’re easily repeatable.

For most of my tests, my two nodes were one floor away from each other, giving them the strong 5 GHz connection which is required for the fastest speeds. Distance and placement make a big difference for performance, and it’s always a trade off between range and speed. I chose to favor speed for these tests, to try to get the best performance possible.

When connected over Ethernet, the Eero 6 had no issues fully utilizing my gigabit connection. When connected wirelessly to the main gateway, I saw speeds ranging from 500-700 Mbps depending on how close I was. When using wireless backhaul, performance over 5 GHz dipped further, ranging from 250-350 Mbps depending on the test. 2.4 GHz performance was also good, topping out around 200 Mbps thanks to it’s tendency to favor 40 MHz channels when possible. This is slightly above what I would expect from any 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 device, even though it may be disappointing to a casual observer.

Eero advertises the Eero 6 for Internet speeds up to 900 Mbps, and it isn’t always capable of hitting that number. The Wi-Fi 6 model gets closer to that claim, but it’s only possible under the most ideal of scenarios. The basic Eero 6 is most limited when it comes to mesh backhaul performance, but it’s slightly above average for a typical dual-band Wi-Fi 6 kit.

Real world performance does improve over the Wi-Fi 5 kit, but some people are going to be disappointed that it doesn’t live up to Eero’s claims. I still think these performance numbers are in line with what you should expect, and in other areas which are hard to capture with a number, the Eero 6 delivers. Overall Wi-Fi quality is high, but if you want to maximize your fast Internet connection with the Eero 6, use Ethernet.

Eero Pro 6 Speed Test Results

TL;DR: Compared to the Eero 6 you can expect more range and higher speeds, but gigabit still requires Ethernet.

The Eero Pro 6 is the more interesting device, since it’s a tri-band AP with a 4x4 radio. The 2x2 5 GHz radio has filters that only allow it to operate in the low band, the 4x4 has filters that only allow it to operate in the high band. The 4x4 radio also has a higher signal strength because of the extra antennas and more powerful beamforming.

Both 5 GHz radios operate at 80 MHz, but individual transmissions may be 20, 40 or 80 depending on what a client supports and what other devices are doing. Most wireless clients only support 2 streams, but the additional streams help the Eero Pro 6 deliver fast speeds to multiple devices at once, and have faster wireless backhaul between nodes.

Over Ethernet, performance was the same as the Eero 6. Ethernet will always have an advantage, since Ethernet doesn't use a shared medium like Wi-Fi does. When wirelessly connected to the gateway, I saw speeds ranging from 700-800 Mbps, a slight improvement over the base Eero 6. Wireless backhaul performance saw the biggest gains, since this is where the additional radio and extra spatial streams come into play. Wireless backhaul from an Eero Pro 6 to another Eero Pro 6 hovered between 500-600 Mbps in my tests.

The wireless backhaul performance is impressive, and in line or better than other tri-band Wi-Fi 6 kits I’ve tested. The main limit for this test was my iPhone which supports 2 spatial streams, or my MacBook Pro which supports 3 Wi-Fi 5 streams. My other Wi-Fi 6 clients had no issues negotiating the full 1200 Mbps link rate for a 2x2 device, and performance was typically 50-70% of that data rate. Again, this comes down to overhead found in all Wi-Fi devices, and is expected.

Most tests I performed on the Eero Pro 6 were limited by things other than the connection between my device and the Eero. Like I mentioned before, public speed test servers often struggle to fill a gigabit Internet connection, and often have more bandwidth available on the upload side rather than the download side. That’s why you’ll often see higher upload speeds than download speeds — the speed test server is limiting you, not your local network.

To achieve those high-end numbers, a tool like iPerf is often a more accurate and repeatable test. With that in mind, the Eero Pro 6 is truly a high-end device. It’s capable of delivering you data faster than most websites are. It also offers higher mesh backhaul performance than the basic Eero 6. If you have a larger home or an Internet connection over 400 Mbps, a tri-band kit like the Eero Pro 6 is worth looking at.

For more detail on the Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 speed, see my Eero vs. Deco vs. Velop comparison.

Other Things: Thread, HomeKit, Ziggbee

The Eero Pro 6 has Thread and Zigbee radios, so you can use it as a hub for smart home devices, which are then managed through the Alexa app. Zigbee is a common protocol for a lot of smart home products, and Thread is basically IPv6-over-Zigbee. These features will prevent you from needing a Thread or Zigbee bridge, but I wasn’t able to test these features since I don’t have any Zigbee or Thread products.

Apple still hasn't officially approved the Eero 6 or Eero Pro 6 for HomeKit, although that should happen soon. From what I have read, the ball is Apple’s court.

Wi-Fi 6E : Not Anytime soon

A lot of people seem to be disappointed that these don’t support Wi-Fi 6E, but I think that disappointment is misplaced. Wi-Fi 6E chipsets are still rare, expensive, and early in their development cycles. It takes a lot of smart people and a lot of time to get these things right. Even several years into Wi-Fi 6’s existence, some current Wi-Fi 6 devices aren’t fully baked, like the Eero 6 and 6 Pro were at launch. Adding a new band will require significant engineering time and testing, and it’s going to be a while until consumer grade networking equipment supports it. Wi-Fi 6E client devices aren’t common yet, and probably won’t be for some time.

Still, many people argue that 6 GHz backhaul is worth holding out for. I wouldn’t be so sure. The 6 GHz band opens up additional spectrum for backhaul, but supporting it removes the possibility of having two 5 GHz radios, which are currently more useful. Dropping 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz isn’t possible because of all the devices that support it. A quad band system would be very expensive to build, even more so than the Eero Pro 6 is now. It would require a huge number of antennas and front-end modules to support them. We’ll likely only see 6 GHz support on tri-band devices, and they won't be cheap.

Wi-Fi 6E isn't the magic bullet that a lot of people are expecting it to be, but it could be worth waiting for if you’re happy with your current network.

Recommendations Are Hard

In my testing, the Eero 6 is a solid mesh Wi-Fi kit. It delivers good performance from it’s 2x2 dual-band radios. The setup and app experience are largely the same, and that’s either going to be a negative or a positive depending on who you are.

I keep coming back to my previous conclusion that Eero networks are great if you don’t want to worry about your Wi-Fi. The Eero 6 is a slight increase in price over the Wi-Fi 5 kit, but it’s also a slight increase in performance. If you want those higher speeds or the built-in Thread or Zigbee support, the Eero 6 is a good buy. If you don’t, the cheaper Wi-Fi 5 version is still a good option.

On the other hand, if you have an Internet connection over 300 Mbps and want to squeeze out the most from it, the Eero Pro 6 provides additional performance. It won’t be faster in every scenario, but the gains are there. What it doesn’t have is any additional “pro” features. The app limitations remain, and the lack of settings and features will leave a lot of networking nerds disappointed. For better or worse, the Eero Pro 6 still relies on Eero’s auto-magic. If you want those extra speeds and better wireless backhaul, the Eero Pro 6 delivers. If you want a more “pro” network with more settings and features, consider a brand like Ubiquiti.

The Eero 6 is easy to recommend for most people, but expensive tri-band kits like the Eero Pro 6 are harder to recommend. The hardest part about recommending the pro model over the Eero 6 is the price difference. The 3 piece Eero 6 kit is normally $279 or $349, but the Eero Pro 6 kit is normally $599. You have to decide if the additional speed is worth twice the cost. I’m inclined to think most people will be happier with the basic Eero 6, but those with more space to cover and faster Internet connections will be able to use the extra capabilities of the Eero Pro 6.

Eero, Review, Wi-Fi, Networking, ComparisonEvan McCannEero, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6, Mesh, Review, Recommendation4 Comments
Sours: https://evanmccann.net/blog/2021/1/eero-wifi-6

The Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi system is instantly a contender for the best mesh network devices around at the moment – the Amazon-owned company has been putting out this kind of kit for years, and the system we're reviewing here is the latest and greatest model.

While you can buy the Eero 6 router and extenders separately, here we're reviewing the bundle that's available – it comes with the main router (to connect to your existing hardware) and two extenders to spread fast and stable Wi-Fi further around your home.

In theory, you should find yourself with no Wi-Fi dead zones after the Eero 6 kit is set up, with stable and speedy wireless internet available everywhere in your home. So does the hardware deliver? Our Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi review tells you everything you need to know.

Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi review: design and setup

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(Image credit: Future)

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(Image credit: Future)

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We certainly can't argue with the polished design of the Eero 6 router and extenders, which are very easy on the eye – as far as networking equipment goes, anyway. The main router and the extenders look the same, except the router has a couple of Ethernet ports on the back to connect to your existing modem. There's an Eero logo and a subtle LED light on the front, and the rest is curved white plastic.

At 99.4 mm x 97 mm x 61.4 mm, these little boxes can fit just about anywhere, and they're not going to do too much damage to your overall home decor aesthetic. Each one does need a power cable, but you get these in the package – they're as slimline and as tastefully done as the router and the extenders. We also like the rubber padding underneath the Eero units, which add an extra bit of stability to them.

Setup couldn't be much easier: there's not much more to it than downloading the app to your phone and plugging in the Eero boxes one by one. The mesh networking devices work with whatever modem or router you already have in place, but you can give your new Wi-Fi network the same name and password as your old Wi-Fi network to save you having to reconnect all your old gadgets. You can also choose whether or not to keep your old Wi-Fi network up and running.

The app will tell you when everything is up and running successfully, and will even give you advice about where best to place the extenders that you've got. Buy the bundle we're reviewing here, and you get a month's free trial of Eero Secure, which includes extras such as priority support, ad blocking, advanced threat detection, content filtering and more – see here for details. Eero Secure normally costs from £2.99/$2.99 a month.

Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi review: features and performance

(Image credit: Future)

The router and two extenders that we're reviewing here promise coverage for up to 460 square metres of space, so most homes should be well covered – if you live in a stately home, you might have to buy more extenders. More than 75 devices can be supported on an Eero 6 network, and Wi-Fi 6 support is included for the fastest possible wireless speeds, as long as your other devices are Wi-Fi 6 ready as well (most new gadgets now are, but older Wi-Fi standards are supported too).

Buying a mesh networking kit like the Eero 6 won't actually improve the speed of the internet coming into your home, of course – that's between you and your Internet Service Provider (ISP) – but it should ensure a faster, more stable connection further away from your main router. Eero says speeds of up to 500 Mbps are supported, and while you're unlikely to get close to that unless you live on top of a broadband exchange, we were impressed with the speed and reliability of the connections we got.

While the home we tested the Eero 6 in is already pretty well covered by a mesh network (and not all that big to begin with), the addition of a third box really made a difference in boosting signal strength from 'weak' and 'medium' to 'strong' in the extremities of the building. Download speeds were slightly up on what we typically get from our existing setup too, so as far as we were able to test the Eero 6, it came through with flying colours.

The app is a pleasure to use as well: you can very easily see which devices are connected, check up on data usage, create a guest account and more. Parental controls are included, but only insofar as you can limit what times certain devices can get online – to use the more advanced content filtering tools, you need an Eero Secure subscription. It's a slick, well-presented bit of software, and it's perfect if you want easy and convenient network management from your phone.

Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi: price and verdict

(Image credit: Eero)

Just about everything the Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi system did impressed us: from the simplicity of the setup to the range of the network it created. The dual-band technology here does a great job of keeping dozens of devices connected and served with high-speed Wi-Fi (assuming your broadband plan can cope), and even for those less confident with networking technology, the app is straightforward and intuitive to use.

We should also mention that the Eero 6 doubles up as a smart home hub, so if you have Zigbee-compatible smart devices then you won't need a separate hub for them with the Eero 6 installed. As you would expect, considering Amazon owns Eero, this kit works well with Echo devices too – "Alexa, turn off the Wi-Fi" is one of several voice commands you can issue to your smart speaker. The Apple HomeKit standard is supported as well.

Advanced users will want a bit more from their mesh networking – such as the ability to separately configure the 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels, something that the Eero 6 doesn't let you do (it manages connections automatically instead). You can't prioritise certain devices (such as games consoles) either, which is a feature that those with more technical know-how usually look out for. The Eero 6 sticks to the basics and covers them well, at a price that's appealing.

Coming in at £279/$279 for this particular three-pack, we'd say the Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi system is very well priced, at least in this configuration. There is a tri-band Pro option, with more coverage and higher maximum speeds, but of course that'll cost you more – in terms of its simplicity, its performance and its pricing, we'd say the Eero 6 pack is one of the best mesh networking systems you can get right now.

Prices - Amazon eero 6:▼

Sours: https://www.t3.com/us/reviews/eero-6-review

6 review eero

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Eero Pro 6: Specs

Wi-Fi Spec: AX4200
Number of Antennas/Removable: 7/No
Ports: Router and satellites– 2 Ethernet
Processor/Memory/Storage: Quad-core 1.4GHz/1GB/4GB
Wi-Fi chip: Qualcomm IPQ8174
Peak 802.11ax performance: 438.2Mbps (at 15 feet)
Range: 105-feet
Size: 5.3 x 5.3 x 1.9 inches
Estimated Annual Electricity Cost: $10.25 per unit or $30.75 for three devices

With one of the quickest and easiest setup routines in the world of mesh networking, the eero Pro 6 is the best mesh router for those who don’t care about getting top speed, every Wi-Fi 6 feature or customizing their network. The idea is that everything that has anything to do with data delivery with the eero Pro 6 is automatic, including its dynamic tri-band technology that continually balances the data flow.

While it’s throughput can’t compare with the best Wi-Fi 6 routers, the eero Pro 6  provides long range and surprisingly strong mid-range throughput. The eero Pro 6 is for those who are willing to trade customization options and top speed for a swift setup. In other words, it’s for those who want a low-maintenance wireless LAN that they can set and forget.

Eero Pro 6 review: Pricing and availability

The tri-band eero Pro 6 is available in packages that include a single unit for $229 that can fill a 2,000 square foot home with Wi-Fi, according to eero. There are also the eero Pro 6 two- and three-packs for $399 and $599 that can cover up to 3,500- and 6,000-square feet. The units are available on Amazon, eero’s corporate parent, as well as a variety of retail outlets. The pricing progression represents a small volume discount over buying them one at a time.

  • Amazon eero Pro 6, single unit: $229
  • Amazon eero Pro 6, 2-pack: $399
  • Amazon eero Pro 6, 3-pack: $599

There’s also the dual-band eero 6, which limits its top speed to about 500Mbps and might make sense in a smaller home or one that is bandwidth-limited. Single units capable of filling a 1,500 square foot home go for $129, while two units that can work with a 3,000 square foot home cost $199. Finally, eero 6’s three pack sells for $279 and is good for up to 5,000 square feet. The eero 6 extender can fill in a Wi-Fi dead zone of up to 1,500 square feet and costs $89.

Eero Pro 6 review: Design

Produced and sold by Amazon, the eero Pro 6 owes a lot to its family DNA. Like its predecessors, the third generation eero products continue with the rounded white plastic rectangular design and a slightly angled top. The 5.3 x 5.2 x 1.9-inch eero Pro 6 devices are nearly twice the size of the last generation ones. Still, they’re tiny and more easily hidden compared to the Netgear Orbi RBK 752 or 852 models.

Underneath, the eero Pro 6 has a thick rubber base so as not to scratch your furniture and can easily be hidden thanks to the compact design. Without a way to mount it on a wall, several third parties sell brackets for wall installation or a rack that’s directly plugged into an AC outlet. The eero Genie is my favorite at $13.

The three-piece kit includes a trio of identical eero Pro 6 units. Unlike the Netgear Orbi router and satellites, the eero Pro 6 devices are configured as either host or satellite during setup. Forget about the units providing a Wi-Fi light show because each eero Pro 6 device has a single demure LED on top. It glows blue when it’s ready to be configured, white when it’s connected and red when it’s offline; it’s easy to turn them off.

Each eero Pro 6 has internal antennas for Bluetooth (used during setup) and Zigbee (for connecting home automation devices) as well as five Wi-Fi antennas. Based on Qualcomm’s IPQ8174 Wi-Fi chip, the system has a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of flash storage for its settings and firmware. It includes MU-MIMO and beamforming technology to push the maximum amounts of data to the connected devices.

On top of its 2.4GHz data band, the system has two 5GHz bands that equally share in the movement of data to and from the network’s wireless satellites. Using eero’s Modulation Coding Scheme, the system dynamically optimizes and balances the flow of data to and from the host router. By contrast, Orbi reserves one of the 5GHz bands for communication from the satellite to the host, whether it’s needed or not. The eero Pro 6 system is theoretically capable of delivering 574Mbps over its 2.4GHz link as well as 1.2Gbps over one 5GHz connection and 2.4Gbps over the other 5GHz band. Altogether, the eero Pro 6 is capable of 4.2Gbps of throughput.

All this adds up to a lot of heat generated in a small space. Relying on passive cooling, each eero Pro 6 unit has limited ventilation and topped out at 124 degrees Fahrenheit, much hotter than others in its class.

In the back is a rudimentary connection panel with two Ethernet connections. They’re both capable of moving 1Gbps of data, but the system lacks the ability to connect with Multi-Gig 2.5Gbps modems or perform port aggregation. It’s powered by a USB C power port but stick to using the included AC adapters or you’ll risk encountering a compatibility problem and seeing a blinking yellow warning light. It does without a USB data port for adding a hard drive to the network.

While the eero Pro 6 lacks a power switch, there is a reset button underneath. The company continues its long-held view that the Wi-Fi Protected Setup system is inherently insecure and doesn’t offer it.

In addition to the expected security attributes, the eero Pro 6 offers the Secure package. At $2.99 a month or $29.99 a year, it adds basics like content filtering, parental controls and ad blocking that others, like Asus, provide for free. It includes frequent reports on who’s doing what online as well as VIP support. By contrast, the Secure + plan costs $9.99 a month or $99 a year and adds the 1Password password manager, Encrypt.me virtual private network and Malwarebytes antivirus software. It adds up to a $145 a year value and is similar to the annual charges for Orbi’s Armor security software.

The eero Pro 6 has a home automation ace up its sleeve that will appeal to those who want to use online thermostats, lights and locks. It has a full 802.15.4 smart home hub built in and works with Alexa voice control. In other words, the eero Pro 6 can consolidate all this gear.

Eero Pro 6 review: Performance

Using Ixia’s IxChariot networking benchmark software, we created a busy Wi-Fi network in my 100-year old 3,500-square-foot home. With 10 simulated data-hungry clients, the eero Pro 6 was a disappointing performer up close, delivering only 436.1Mbps to a Dell XPS 15 system 15-feet away. This is not only slightly more than Wi-Fi 5 mesh kits could deliver but was well off the pace set by the Netgear Orbi RBR850 (833.6Mbps), the Linksys Velop AX4200 (507.7Mbps) and the Orbi RBR750 (506.7Mbps).

With the router and the test system 50-feet apart, the eero Pro 6’s bandwidth caught up with the others at 239.9Mbps, surpassing the Linksys Velop AX4200 (201.3Mbps), the Netgear Orbi RBR850 (124.4Mbps) and the Orbi RBK752 (100.3Mbps). Meanwhile, at 75-feet, the eero Pro 6 retained the lead at 208.9Mbps, while the Linksys Velop AX4200 moved 139.6Mbps and the Netgear Orbi RBR850 and RBR750 fell behind at 85.9Mbps and 82.5Mbps, respectively.

Happily, the eero pro 6 stayed online at 90-feet with 29.5Mbps of throughput available for the test system; the others were offline at this distance. The eero Pro 6 had a range of 105-feet, as much as 20 feet farther than other Wi-Fi 6 mesh kits.

It was a mixed bag when it came to pushing a strong data signal throughout my old house. In fact, it was able to move 430.9Mbps upstairs to a system directly above the router. This is roughly the same as the Linksys Velop AX4200 (437.5Mbps), but off the pace set by the Netgear Orbi RBR850 (670.1Mbps).

With the receiving system set up 25-feet and a wall away from the eero Pro 6 router, it was able to get 375.6Mbps, about half that of the Netgear Orbi RBR850 (782.9Mbps). Still, it was between the Linksys Velop AX4200 (525.7Mbps) and the Netgear Orbi RBR750 (326.6Mbps).

With a single satellite unit set up 50-feet from the eero Pro 6 router on the same floor, the network delivered 142.3Mbps to the test system positioned another 40-feet away. This was less than the 161.1Mbps that the Linksys Velop AX4200 managed but well ahead of the Netgear Orbi RBK752 (87.7Mbps) and the RBK852 (39.1Mbps).

In another real-world arrangement, we placed the satellite upstairs from the host router and set the test system up 40-feet away at the top of a flight of stairs. The system was able to grab 189.3Mbps of data. That’s the lowest throughput of the class of Wi-Fi 6 mesh kits and well behind the Netgear Orbi RBK852 (405.5Mbps), Linksys Velop AX4200 (329.2Mbps) and the Netgear Orbi RBK752 (209.4Mbps).

On the other hand, a three-piece eero Pro 6 network with one satellite set up a floor above the router and the other a floor below did remarkably well. With the test system set up 40-feet away, it received 190.2Mbps. That’s 45 percent less than the 276.5Mbps that the Linksys Velop AX4200 delivered. Still, it was enough to fill the home with Wi-Fi.

I used the eero Pro 6 for a week of daily use for emails, video bingeing, listening to music and downloading files. It held up well to this use and passed our saturation test. While I watched YouTube video on a Macbook Air, a ThinkPad T470 played Spotify music and an iPad Pro streamed an Internet radio station. As this was going on, an HP Elite Dragonfly notebook copied and saved data on a network-attached RAID storage system. During the test, there were no audio or video skips, freezes or artifacts.

Each of the three eero Pro 6 units used 9.0 watts of  power, which adds up to $10.25 each if they’re always on and you pay the national average of 13 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity. All three devices together would cost roughly $30.75 a year to operate. That’s about the same on a per unit basis as the Netgear Orbi RBK752 with only two devices.

Eero Pro 6 review: Setup

As has been the case with the first two generations of eero hardware, the emphasis is on making eero Pro 6’s setup procedure as quick, easy and painless as possible. Getting the Pro 6 online started with downloading and installing the eero Home WiFi System app. There are versions for iOS and Android, which I used with my Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 tablet. Unfortunately, there’s no way to use a connected Web browser to set the eero system up.

After opening the eero box, I picked one of the three devices at random and followed the app’s illustrated directions for setting up the router. I created an account with eero that required a phone number. I needed to respond to a verification text to get the installation process going.

Next, I plugged everything in and allowed the eero app to use my tablet’s location. Finally, the tablet started scanning for eero hardware using the device’s Bluetooth radio. At this point the unit’s LED is solid blue, showing it’s ready for a connection.

Within 20 seconds, the eero device was found. If you have trouble with this part, an alternate approach is to enter the unit’s serial number and take it from there.

Next, I needed to fill in what room the router was located and added a new network name and password.

The system incorporated the new settings, optimized the data flow and did a restart. When the unit’s LED glowed white, it was ready and connected. Start to finish, it took only 5 minutes and 30 seconds to set up the router.

Adding eero Pro 6 satellites is even easier. I plugged in the second eero Pro 6 unit about 50 feet from the host and tapped the app’s “Add another eero Device”.

The app scanned for the device and found it in about 15 seconds. The software then optimized the data flow.

Finally, I needed to give a name to its location. I repeated this to get the second node connected. It took all of 11 minutes to put together eero Pro 6’s three-piece mesh network. It was enough to fill my entire 3,500 square foot home with Wi-Fi.

Eero Pro 6 review: Configuration

The only way to configure and customize the eero Pro 6 set is via the eero app. Its Home page has a lot: online status, a list of connected devices as well as whether the host and nodes are connected. There’re alerts for getting new firmware and adding home automation devices. Along the bottom is a menu for Home, Activity and Discover (for IOT devices). The Settings section includes the ability to work with the Guest network and use the interface’s beta Dark mode.

Want more info? Click on any to get details, like IP address and LED light status (and an opportunity to turn it off) for placement in a bedroom, for instance. Tap Advanced for things like the device’s model and serial number and a series of MAC addresses that most should never need to know. There’s a place to restart or remove the device from the network.

The Pro 6 can be set to send usage data weekly to an email account as well as update the software. It can alert you as to new devices entering the network. But that’s about all, with the devices lacking the ability to do things we take for granted with Wi-Fi 6 – from using ultra-wide 160MHz data channels and picking the channels to giving the 2.4- and pair of 5GHz networks different names and passwords. Still, the automatic channel selection finds the least congested data portal on its own, making this the mesh kit for those who don’t know or care about the intimate set up details.

On the other hand, if you have Ethernet cabling in your home, the satellites can be used as wired access points with eero’s optimization. There’s a nice troubleshooting section for when things don’t go well that uses plain English, like “My Internet Connection Drops”.

In addition to eero’s Smart Queue Management software that apportions bandwidth to the devices that need it most, the eero Pro 6 app has three beta programs: Band Steering (to get devices to use the faster 5GHz band), Local DNS Caching (that can speed up page loading by keeping frequently used addresses handy) and WPA3 (for extra security). Others have already incorporated these items into their operations.

Happily, at the bottom of the page are places to email eero’s support staff and the help desk’s phone number. I wish every router maker would do this.

Like many competitors, eero warranties the Pro 6 set for a year. This includes full support and service. While better than Netgear’s 90 days of support for its Orbi line of mesh products, it pales next to the three-years of warranty and support from Linskys. The support site has lots of self-serve items, from articles to set up help to lots of practical info about the inner workings of eero gear.

Eero Pro 6: Verdict

The eero Pro 6 is for the impatient among us. With it taking only about 11 minutes to create a three-piece mesh network, it continues to have one of the quickest, easiest and least frustrating set up procedures. Those who get and install an eero Pro 6 mesh network will be rewarded with excellent mid-range speeds and a long range of 105-feet that uses an innovative dynamic balancing system to streamline the network’s data flow. On the downside, the eero Pro 6 set lacks the high-speed of its competitors up close and really comes into its own at mid-range distances where the performance of others lag. It has only two Ethernet ports available for connecting a storage device or a wired computer and lacks any USB data ports.

At $599 for three units, the eero Pro 6 is moderately priced but more expensive than the Linksys Velop AX4200 mesh kit. All told, the eero Pro 6 is a great mesh kit for those who want to enjoy Wi-Fi data without fiddling with settings.

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Brian Nadel is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in technology reporting and reviewing. He works out of the suburban New York City area and has covered topics from nuclear power plants and Wi-Fi routers to cars and tablets. The former editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing and Communications, Nadel is the recipient of the TransPacific Writing Award.

Sours: https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/eero-pro-6
Is THIS the Future of WiFi? - Eero 6 Mesh WiFi Network Review

Eero 6 Review

Offering decent and stable speeds at a relatively low cost, the Eero 6 is a great budget mesh system that uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology. Integration with Alexa is neat, and the cheap subscription option delivers powerful security, filtering and ad-blocking. It’s quite a limited system when it comes to Ethernet ports, though, and there are faster tri-band mesh systems available.

Pros

  • Decent speeds
  • Integrates with Alexa
  • Neat subscription offers

Cons

  • Few Ethernet ports
  • No Google Assistant support

Key Features

  • Wi-FiA dual-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh system, using the mid-range AX1800 specification. It’s fast, but those who stream a lot and have more devices may need a more powerful system.

Introduction

Eero, an Amazon company, is known for its budget mesh systems. The Eero 6 is part of that category, although it’s a low-cost mesh system that uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard for better speeds and more features.

Among the growing crowd of low-cost Wi-Fi 6 options, the Eero 6 distinguishes itself with Alexa integration and some smart subscription options that add additional features. Good performance helps make this a winner, but the modest number of Ethernet ports is disappointing.

Design and features – Small and easy to set up, but the lack of Ethernet ports on the Eero 6 is a shame

  • Very easy to set up
  • Some neat smart home features
  • Few Ethernet ports

From a distance, the small (99 x 97 x 61mm) Eero 6 devices looks a bit like a key plucked from an oversized keyboard. I quite like it, and the small size means the units can at least be placed easily around your home.

Eero 6 single device

There are a range of options available, depending on the size of your home. A single router (£139) is good for up to 140 square metres, with one extender (£219) taking this up to 280 square metres, and a system with two extenders (£279) covering 460 square metres. Additional extender satellites can be bought for £99 each.

Although all of the devices look the same, there’s one major difference between the router and extender: Ethernet ports. With the router, you get two Gigabit Ethernet ports on the rear. One to connect to the internet and the other for wired devices. It’s likely that you’ll need to buy an Ethernet switch.

Eero 6 Ethernet ports

The extenders come with a USB-C power input and but no Ethernet ports. That’s quite restrictive: I’d expect to see at least one, either for wired devices or so that you can use Ethernet backhaul, where you connect satellites using cables. This type of connection is particularly useful if you have a room that’s out of wireless range, such as a garden office. If you need this feature, the Netgear Nighthawk Mesh WiFi 6 System is a better option. As it stands, the Eero 6 mesh system has to use a wireless connection between satellites.

Eero 6 satellite rear

Configuration is simple using the Eero app, which you can sign into using your Amazon account – this links your mesh to your Alexa settings, too. You’ll then be taken through the quick wizard to install the system in your home, including setting up a secure wireless network.

Once connected, you can dive into the more advanced settings. HomeKit support is present, letting you add your router into your Apple Home account. Once added, Eero can restrict smart devices from communicating with other Wi-Fi devices for security. You can then choose how to have your HomeKit devices communicate, even blocking internet access for some of them for security. Given the prevalence of smart home devices and the potential threat they pose, this is a powerful tool to keep your home safe. It’s worth reading a bit more about how Eero works with HomeKit.

Eero 6 HomeKit

Toggle on Amazon Alexa support and you can voice-control your system. This opens up the Eero 6 as a Zigbee and Thread hub, too, enabling you to connect such devices as Hue lights to the system directly, without the need for an additional hub. It’s a feature that some Echo speakers come with, including the Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation). There’s no support for Google Assistant, however.

For most people, it’s the extras that make the Eero system stand out. There’s the option of Eero Secure (£2.99 a month), which gets you additional security, blocking internet threats to devices on your network – but not outside of it, as you get with Netgear Armor on products such as the Orbi RBK852.

Network-wide ad-blocking and content filtering are two very useful tools. With the latter, you can set up profiles and assign devices for each person, selecting the level of internet filtering and even adding automatic downtimes. Filtering is easy to set up and powerful, particularly for dealing with children and their multiple devices.

Eero 6 profiles

Upgrade to Eero Secure+ (£9.99 a month) and you get all of the same things, plus subscriptions to 1Password (password manager), Encrypt.me (VPN) and Malwarebytes (security software). If you need these things, it’s a good price, but most people will likely stick with the cheaper option.

Since the Eero 6 is built to be simple to use, you don’t get much in the way of advanced features. For example, it isn’t possible to change the channel that the wireless networks use. This won’t be a problem for most people, but those wanting greater control will likely need to look at a different mesh system.

Performance – The Eero 6 is surprisingly quick for a dual-band mesh system

  • Decent performance compared to the competition
  • Very fast close up
  • Not as quick at distance

The Eero 6 uses dual-band AX1800, which offers two-stream 2.4GHz networking (maximum of 574Mbps) and two-stream 5GHz networking (maximum of 1201Mbps). All bandwidth has to be shared between clients and for communication between satellites; spend more on an Orbi system and you get tri-band networking, with a dedicated network for communication between satellites.

Dual-band systems are usually slower than their tri-band counterparts, particularly at range, but the Eero 6 proved impressive for the price. Testing with a Wi-Fi 6 network, I saw communication speeds of 552.07Mbps at close range, which is better than the dual-band Orbi RBK352 and TP-Link Deco X20.

At 5m on the second floor, I saw the Eero 6 manage 302.36Mbps, and at 10m on the second floor, I saw speeds of 147.31Mbps (the only test where the dual-band Orbi did better). Performance was good in the kitchen, too, where I don’t normally get a signal – I managed throughputs of 164.58Mbps.

Eero 6 graph

What’s good about these results are that they’re both comparatively quick and also stable, showing good network coverage.

Conclusion

Easy to set up and easy to configure, the Eero 6 is a powerful dual-band Wi-Fi 6 system that offers good coverage and stable speeds. If you need to connect satellites via Ethernet, the cheaper Netgear Nighthawk Mesh WiFi 6 System is a better choice, and for the absolute best performance, the Netgear Orbi RBK852 is far faster. You can find other alternatives in the guide to the best wireless routers.

Best Offers

Should you buy it?

Simple to set up and configure, with decent (and stable) speeds, this is a great budget Wi-Fi 6 system that will suit most households.

If you need more speed or more wired device support, the Eero 6 isn’t the right product for you; there are mesh systems with more features.

Verdict

Offering decent and stable speeds at a relatively low cost, the Eero 6 is a great budget mesh system that uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology. Integration with Alexa is neat, and the cheap subscription option delivers powerful security, filtering and ad-blocking. It’s quite a limited system when it comes to Ethernet ports, though, and there are faster tri-band mesh systems available.

FAQs

What is the difference between Eero and Eero 6?

The Eero 6 is the newer product and supports the new Wi-Fi 6 standard.

Trusted Reviews Test Data

5GHz (close)

5GHz (first floor)

5GHz (second floor)

Eero 6

552.07 Mbps

302.36 Mbps

147.31 Mbps

Specifications

UK RRP

Manufacturer

Size (Dimensions)

ASIN

First Reviewed Date

Model Number

Wifi Spec

Special features

Number of Ethernet ports

Eero 6

£279

Eero

97 x 61 x 99 MM

B086PDNNYH

26/05/2021

Eero 6

AX1800 (2×2 574Mbps 2.4GHz, 2×2 1201Mbps 5GHz)

Zigbee and Thread Hubs

2

Sours: https://www.trustedreviews.com/reviews/eero-6

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Two-minute review

Eero isn’t a well-known name compared to the likes of Netgear and Linksys, although the company’s mesh Wi-Fi systems have been available for a few years now. However, it is now owned by Amazon, so you’ll probably see the Eero name popping up at the top of the list if you’re searching for a new mesh system online.

Mesh Wi-Fi systems can be both expensive and complicated to set up, so the aim with the new Eero 6 is firstly to destroy capital letters - it insists on calling the devices ‘eero’ - and also to provide an affordable and easy-to-use upgrade for people who want to improve their home Wi-Fi. And, rather than being ‘version 6’ as the name suggests, the Eero 6 is the first model to introduce the new Wi-Fi 6 technology (aka 802.11ax).

Spec Sheet

Wireless Connectivity: WiFi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax), dual-band 2.4GHz + 5GHz 
Processor: 1.2GHz, quad-core
Memory: 4GB Flash
Storage: 512MB Flash
Beamforming: Explicit for 2.4GHz and 5GHz 
Ports: 2x Gigabit Ethernet
Dimensions (HxWxD): 57 x 90 x 90mm 0.944kg

The most notable feature of the Eero 6 is simply that it’s a lot less expensive than most of its Wi-Fi 6 rivals, costing just $279/£279/AU$499 for a three-piece kit that contains a primary router and two ‘extenders’, which together provide dual-band Wi-Fi 6 capable of covering homes up to 5,000 sq.ft in size.

Alternatively, for smaller homes up to 1500 sq.ft, you can just buy the router on its own for £139/US $129/AU $229. It’s only rated as ‘AX1800’, though - which means 802.11ax wi-fi with a top speed of 1800Mbps. 

There are plenty of faster mesh systems available - including the tri-band Eero 6 Pro - but the Eero 6 still stands out as being one of the most affordable mesh systems to offer Wi-Fi 6, and that 1800Mbps speed should still be fast enough for basic web browsing and streaming video on most home broadband connections.

Design and features

The new Eero 6 has a compact, pod-like design that measures just 90mm wide and deep, and 57mm high, so it’s easy to set them all up without taking up too much space. 

The main router - referred to as the ‘gateway’ in the Eero app - has a USB-C port on the back for its power supply, along with two Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired network connections. 

Just remember that one of the Ethernet ports will need to be connected to your existing modem or router in order to use your Internet connection, so you just have one Ethernet port available for a wired connection on a laptop or games console. 

The two ‘extender’ units don’t have Ethernet at all, which is a little disappointing, but is an understandable compromise in order to keep the price down (US customers do have the option of buying a kit with three routers, giving you two Ethernet ports each, although that brings the price up to $349.00).

Amazon has clearly got its eye on the smart-home market, as the Eero supports both Alexa and the Zigbee networking system, so if you have existing smart devices that use the Amazon Home app - such as the popular Echo speakers - it’s easy to transfer them across to your new Eero network. 

Since our original review, the Eero 6 has been updated to support Apple’s HomeKit, making it a much more useful device for people with lots of Apple devices in their home.

The Eero app is straightforward and easy to use. There’s a built-in speed test that allows you to check the performance of your new network, and even to monitor the data usage of each device on the network. You can also create a guest network for visitors, and set up schedules to control Internet access for different family members. 

However, that ease of use comes at a cost, and other aspects of the app can prove frustratingly limited. The app creates just a single network that combines the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz frequency bands, and while that helps to keep the initial set-up nice and simple, it may also deter more experienced users who prefer to have separate networks on those two bands. 

There’s no ‘QoS’ option - quality of service - that can give priority to devices, such as a games console, that need maximum performance, and while the app does dangle additional features under your nose for parental controls, ad-blocking and security, it turns out that these features require an additional subscription costing either $2.99 per month ($29.99 per year) or $9.99 per month ($99.00 per year), depending on which features you require.

Performance and getting started

Benchmarks

Ookla Speed Test (download/upload)
Within 5ft, no obstructions: 100Mbps/11Mbps
Within 30ft, three partition walls: 100Mbps/11Mbps

20GB Steam Download
Within 5ft, no obstructions:  12.0MB/s
Within 30ft, three partition walls: 12.0MB/s

It doesn’t take long to get started with the Eero 6, as the Eero app for iOS and Android can use Bluetooth on your mobile devices to connect to each Eero unit and guide you through the set-up process (the only minor oversight is that the app does assume that you already have Bluetooth turned on). 

And, as the app automatically creates a single network that combines the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands you merely need to enter a single name and password in order to quickly set up the new network.

The Eero’s relatively low price means that it’s not the fastest mesh system - in fact, the information provided by Eero simply states “best for Internet speeds of up to 500Mbps” - which is a bit confusing, as that actually refers to the speed of your broadband connection rather than the speed of the Eero itself. 

But, as mentioned, the Eero 6 actually supports a maximum speed of 1800Mbps, which is more than adequate for my 100Mbps broadband service. It’s also important to remember that Wi-Fi 6 is about capacity as well as speed, and the Eero 6 is designed to stream data efficiently to up to 75 different devices all at once, which should keep even the most gadget-crazy homes happy for years to come. 

The Eero 6 proved perfectly capable of handling our 100Mbps broadband connection, even in the dead-spot in our back office where I normally rely on a PowerLine adaptor to provide a wired network connection for my office iMac. It recorded download and upload speeds of 100Mbps and 11Mbps, which is the maximum that our service supports, and those speeds remained consistent for devices in the same room as the primary Eero router, and also in the back office with one of the secondary extenders.

Steam downloads were also rock solid, maintaining a steady speed of 12MB/s in both rooms. Admittedly, you’re still paying a bit of a premium for the advanced features of Wi-Fi 6, but if you’re looking for an affordable wi-fi upgrade that is suitable for larger homes with lots of connected smart devices then the Eero 6 fits the bill without costing you a fortune.

Buy it if...

You need ‘whole home’ Wi-Fi
The Eero 6 can provide Wi-Fi coverage for large homes, up to 5,000 sq.ft in size. Or you can buy a single Eero router on its own for smaller homes.

You have a lot of gadgets
Amazon wants to sell you smart speakers, lights and all sorts of smart devices - so the Wi-Fi 6 features of the Eero 6 are designed to support up to 75 connected devices all at once.

You’re on a tight budget
There are cheaper mesh systems that use the older 802.11ac version of Wi-Fi (also known as Wi-Fi 5), but the Eero 6 is one of the most affordable options for getting the advanced features of Wi-Fi 6.

Don’t buy it if...

You’re a speed freak
The 1800Mbps speed of the Eero 6 is actually fairly modest, so people who need high-speed broadband for gaming or other demanding tasks should look at faster alternatives.

You know a bit about networking
The Eero app is easy for beginners to use, but it only creates a single network that merges the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands. More experienced users who want greater control over network settings should look elsewhere.

You want strong parental controls
The Eero app lets you create a weekly schedule for your kids’ Internet access, but content filters and other security features require an extra monthly subscription.

Sours: https://www.techradar.com/reviews/amazon-eero-6


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