The ideal user-friendly WiFi system for larger homes.
You can never underestimate the power of a good wireless router. A bad router has the power to cause you endless frustration when is not pushing a strong enough signal. I’ve had many different kinds and when I finally upgraded to a mesh system, I actually started enjoying the internet again instead of just being frustrated with it. The problem is that changing out your router for a new more advanced system can be horribly overwhelming. It can be — but it doesn’t have to be. Meet eero 2.
So, you might ask yourself, why eero and why do I need a mesh system? A mesh network provides multiple access points into a space — in this case a home. In 2016, eero was introduced as a home WiFi system that could ensure that no matter where a person was in a home they would have steady, secure internet access. Eero operates off of a proprietary TrueMesh software that is built to work perfectly with the eero hardware. The eero system will update automatically once a week so that it is always optimized for the best possible internet signal to your home. The second generation eero (base unit) features the same design as the first gen eero, but it has twice the power. It is a triband system with the addition of a third 5Ghz radio. This updated system also has a Thread radio for low-power systems like locks, doorbells, and other sensors.
In addition to the automatic updates, which keep the system secure, the eero feature WPA-2 encryption and single-use codes for secure app login. Speaking of the app, the eero app has seen some remarkable updates, too. It now includes a home-type selector with helps the system to adapt to its placement within the home. The dashboard of the app has been updated so that you can quickly check the network status, connected devices, and run speed tests at-a-glance. The eero app gives you the option to view device usage, too. You can see which device is using the most data and you can even block devices from your network in this space.
A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of testing out the first generation of eero. It was my first experience with a mesh router system and I was completely blown away by the simplicity of its setup process. Eero has maintained that infrastructure into the second generation product but updated it to offer more speed and range inside consumers’ homes. I used to have the biggest headache setting up wireless networks. Eero is different. To get started you download the app (iOS or Android) and plug in the eero base into power and your network modem so that it pulls in a signal for the internet. Once that’s set-up, you can open your app and follow the instructions provided on-screen. You will need to set up an account with eero. If you already have an account, you will be sent a verification code to the email address you have on file in order to connect to your eero. I actually prefer this method because it ends up being more secure about who is connecting/controlling your network.
So aside from noticing how fast your machines and devices are running on a network, how do you go about testing a WiFi system? Well, you use a network speed test. There are a few options out there, but I tend to use Speedtest by Ookla on my MacBook Pro through Safari and I compare the results on my iPhone 7, which is using the same system, but in app form. I got some very interesting results. Since Internet signals can vary depending on when you run the test, I ran the speed tests back-to-back on the MacBook Pro and iPhone. All the tests were run within about 2 minutes. I first ran the speed test while I was connected to the eero and then I jumped over to our other network run by a Netgear Orbi. Both systems were tied into the same modem (Netgear Nighthawk DOCSIS 3.0 C7000). At the time I ran these tests, I was using very minimal internet resources.
Speedtest iOS App
|Download 235 MB/s
Upload 23.3 MB/s
|Download 235 MB/s
Upload 22.4 MB/s
Speedtest by Ookla
|Download 234.95 MB/s
Upload 22.08 MB/s
|Download 234.5 MB/s
Upload 18.7 MB/s
I also want to point out that both the eero and Orbi apps have their own speed tests built into the iOS apps. Here are the results from those apps as well. Orbi’s speed test is actually powered by Ookla, too.
|eero App||Download 205 MB/s
Upload 23 MB/s
|Orbi App (Ookla)||Download 238.25 MB/s
Upload 23.98 MB/s
I was very happy to see that no matter which system I was connected to, I was getting a strong signal. I found the eero to be a very stable network no matter where I was in our house.
One of the things I love about the second generation system are the redesigned Beacons for the eero. The 2nd Gen Beacon is half the size of the original and all you need to do it plug it into a wall outlet. The older version was bulky and required tabletop space. They were just about the same size as the base unit. The new beacons also act as nightlights and have a built-in ambient light sensor. I found that with the addition of the Beacons, I was able to reach out to our garage, which I’m not able to do with a single router. The nice thing about the eero system is that you have the flexibility to design your system depending on the layout of your home or small business. The single eero base unit is said to cover a 1-2 bedroom home. If you add a Beacon, you can extend your coverage to cover a 2-3 bedroom home and 2 beacons will cover up to a 4 bedroom home. The Beacons are sold as add-on units so if you find that your original setup isn’t providing enough coverage, you can add a Beacon at any time to your base unit. The new Beacons are compatible with first and second generation eeros.
Eero provides a very strong, stable network for homes of varying sizes. I can recommend this system to any type of user since it’s so easy to set up and maintain. I’ve not had any issues with drop off or weak signals. It’s a little pricey (starting at $199 for a base unit only; $399 for 2-4 bedroom kit), but well worth the investment if you find that you need a stronger signal all the way through your home.
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