Disclaimer: I’m no expert on wireless networking, but I know enough to be dangerous. And there are hundreds of other reviews out there, many of which are much more scientific.
When I read this review on Eero, I immediately purchased two of the 3-packs, setting me back about $1,000 (more on that later). One was for the office and the other for home.
The pitch is great: “Blanket your home in fast, reliable WiFi.” Which speaks to me, as there are certainly some “dead zones” in my building, even with the $300 Netgear super-router in the middle of it.
I put one (the source) Eero in my home office, which is in the middle of the home. The other in the living room, which is on the same level and 3 rooms (about 60 feet) away from that, and the third downstairs underneath the office.
- The product’s form is beautiful, which is lacking in the WiFi router market. It’s Apple-esque style.
- Setup was a breeze, much easier than your typical Sonos setup or even the Amazon Echo — kudos to the Eero team for that.
- The accompanying app is simple and a delight to use.
- It wiped out the dead zones.
- It eliminated multiple SSID’s that come with range extenders
The first thing I did was a few speed tests around the house and near the previous dead zones (downstairs), the download and upload speeds improved drastically. And near the source Eero in the office (the one plugged into the modem), speeds were just as fast as my previous router. However, I noticed that as I got further from the source, download and upload speeds were actually worst and more bursty. But, Eero states that it might take up to a day to settle and improve, so I stuck with it.
The Not so Good
After about two weeks of use, I noticed at least a few times per day that speeds would awkwardly slow to a crawl and regular Internet usage became spotty. I can’t exactly blame Eero (Comcast is the usual scapegoat), but it certainly happened far more frequently after installing Eero. I even found myself connecting back to my modem’s WiFi just to resolve the issue. I have a 200Mbps connection with Comcast.
I think Eero could do a better job of explaining the net result of its technology.
Eero forms a mesh network, and the technology is great, but the fact of the matter is that the second link in a mesh drops the throughput by 50%. This explains what I was seeing as I got closer to the second link in my living room.
In it’s explanation of why Eero is better than Range extenders, states ‘Range extenders can cut bandwidth in half because they rely on a single wireless radio to both listen to, and broadcast, data.’  Which is true, but the default setup of Eero will do the same.
In fact, I noticed that Eero does state that hard-wiring each device will result in better performance (this makes sense, as it won’t need to hop). ‘Hardwiring your eeros means you won’t lose any throughput because there aren’t any wireless hops.’  This seems a little conflicting.
Now, Eero will certainly continue to improve through firmware and software upgrades, and take advantage of things like it’s BLE 4.0 support. But I don’t see defeating the 50% drop any time soon.
I respect and admire how Eero has managed to bring mesh technology to market in such a delightful and simple package!
But if someone asks me if they should try it, I say “Depends.” If the following are true, then I’d say go for it!
- If you have a fast ISP and a large enough area to cover such that a single powerful WiFi router doesn’t cut it.
- If your problem is bad enough that it warrants the $500 price tag of Eero.
- You read this and are still interested: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-wi-fi-router/#eero
(Given above, the Eero I purchased for my office was just plain dumb, as we all work in a single, large room together and didn’t need the extended range.)
That said, maybe it’s best just to wait, because I’m sure that a similar offering from Apple, built into their Airport line, is right around the corner. I also know Google has an amazing product up their sleeve. In other words, I think mesh technology is feature, not a product.
Follow me on Twitter at @davidbyttow