Tuesday October 04, 2022

Eero’s top-of the-line mesh Wi Fi router is faster, but less reliable.

The Eero Pro 6E mesh Wi Fi router is the most powerful in the company’s lineup. It retails for $299 to $699 and is another step forward in home Wi Fi for the company that pioneered mesh Wi Fi systems. The Pro 6E delivers. In my tests, I noticed significantly faster speeds than the previous generation Eero Pro 6. However, I did experience network drop-offs. Eero claims this is due to the Thread implementation. This is a critical part of Eero’s support for the forthcoming smart home standard Matter. The new 6GHz Wi Fi band and 160MHz channels on 5GHz are responsible for the overall speed increase. Although 6GHz devices are rare, many devices can benefit from the 160MHz channels. I noticed speed increases on all devices, not just those with the new band.
This Eero is the first to support speeds greater than gigabits, so it can be used even if you have a multigigabit connection. The Eero Pro 6E router isn’t a professional-level router, and while it can support incoming wired speeds of up to 2.5Gbps, wireless speeds are limited to 1.3Gbps. If you have a multigigabit connection, you might consider purchasing a more powerful router.
The Eero 6 Plus ($139 – $299) is a cheaper dual-band gigabit system that doesn’t use 6Ghz. The Eero 6 ($89-$169) may be more suitable for you if your connection speed is below 500mbps. The Pro 6E is aimed at people with gigabit speeds or who might be able to use 6GHz devices in the future.
If you’re in this group and are looking for a plug-and-play setup to gigabit internet service, you won’t be disappointed. The Pro 6E, like all Eero devices offers a simple setup, an intuitive app interface, useful features such as parental controls and historical data usage (though these are behind a paywall).
You won’t get a professional setup or management options, despite the name. The app can only manage your network, which is fine for most people but not for networking experts. Each router has only two Ethernet ports. If you need more, you will need to use a network switch. Eero’s cloud-based system makes it more difficult to troubleshoot your own problems. This has privacy implications for Amazon-owned companies (see Smart Home Data Privacy sidebar)
The Eero Pro 6E adds a brand new 6GHz band for your home Wi-Fi. This gives you more space for more devices.
Eero launched its first mesh Wi Fi system six years ago with the promise to fix home Wi-Fi. Eero was the first consumer mesh router to be launched. It offered a simple solution for the complex problem of home networking. Mesh allows you to make video calls from your bed, rather than having to stand in front of your modem in order to FaceTime on your iPad.
Today, the Eero Pro 6E is addressing congestion in the home Wi-Fi network. We’ve all stocked up our homes with gadgets and gizmos since Wi-Fi is so widespread and the smart home has proliferated. Many of us have multiple Wi Fi-dependent devices in our homes, including robot vacuums, televisions and smart bulbs. It’s easy for a mesh WiFi system to become overwhelmed by all the devices competing for coverage. This can cause real problems and slow down your network.
The Eero Pro 6E is a tri-band mesh router that aims to solve this problem by taking advantage the new 6GHz Wi Fi band. It is a tri-band mesh router that adds this band to the existing 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. Wi-Fi 6E is not to be confused with Wi Fi 6, which was more of an incremental update. Wi-Fi 6E adds another frequency band. 6E’s 6GHz band allows traffic to travel at the fastest speeds possible, as it supports 160MHz of bandwidth. However, 6GHz is not yet supported by many devices. It’s only available to a handful of high-end smartphones and gaming laptops.
Upgrade to a Wi Fi 6E router if you own one of these devices and are unhappy with the speed you get with your current router. Even if you don’t have one of these devices, there are still reasons to consider the Eero Pro 6E. It supports 160MHz wide channels on both 5GHz and 6GHz bands. This reduces congestion and greatly improves speed.
The Pro 6E is slightly cheaper than other tri- and quad-band 6E mesh routers. It starts at $299 for one router that covers up to 2,000 sq. feet, and $499 for two routers covering 4,000 sq. feet. A three-pack costs $699 (for 6,000 sq. feet). The Asus ZenWifi Pro ET8 costs $530 for two and Netgear’s quad-band Orbi starts at $1,500 for a 3-pack. However, competition is increasing at the lower end, with TP-Link offering a $300 option last month.
Pro 6E devices have two ethernet ports as well as a USB-C power connector.
The Eero Pro 6E has a similar small, attractive design to the Pro 6, but with a few minor adjustments. Eeros’s main selling point is their ability to fit in your home without having to store them in a cabinet. Although I don’t like the “dead black Spider” aesthetic, Google Wi-Fi is my favorite design.

AX5400 Wi Fi 6E Concurrent 2:2:2 (802.11ax), with support for 160MHz channels at 5GHz and 6GHz
2.4GHz: 2×2 (600Mbps)
5GHz: 2×2 (2400Mbps)
6GHz: 2×2 (2400Mbps)
1 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB flash storage
One auto-sensing 2.5 GbE port
One auto-sensing 1.0 GbE port
802.15.4 radio (Zigbee and Thread)
Bluetooth Low Energy 5.0
Security and network services: WPA3 WPA2, TLS v1.2+ VPN passthrough, IPv6, NAT and UPnP port forwarding, VPN passthrough and IPv6
Dimensions: 5.50×5.50×2.20 inches

The Pro 6E’s core features include the addition of a 6GHz channel, which replaces one of Pro 6’s 5GHz channels. This keeps the Pro 6E a triband system and supports maximum speeds of 1.3Gbps wireless and 2.5Gbps wired. Although the Pro 6E is rated an AX5400 system (which is lower than the other 6E routers available), it is still a high-quality router. It may have quad-band systems (2.4GHz to 5GHz low, 5GHz high and 6GHz) as well as more advanced antenna arrays. This rating is a confusing way to describe the features and theoretical maximums for wireless speeds from the router, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate the actual speeds you will experience when you use it.
The Pro 6E supports more than 100 devices simultaneously, compared to 75 for the Pro 6. Each Eero node can be used as a router and has two Ethernet ports. The Pro 6E has a 2.5GbE port and a 2.0GbE port to support multigig internet. The Pro 6E only has two 1.0GbE ports. The USB-C wall adapter provides power. Although the 6E can handle incoming internet speeds greater than one gigabits, it does not have two 2.5GbE ports. Therefore, the speed it can send to your wired devices is limited to a gigabit.
The Pro 6E is a triband mesh system like the Pro 6, but it doesn’t technically have an dedicated backhaul channel. Eero’s software chooses the band it wants to use at any given moment. The Pro 6E Eeros support wired backhaul to connect the nodes at 1Gbps speeds.
The Pro 6E doubles up as a smart hub with an 802.15.4 radio that can be used as a Thread border router. You can turn this on and off, just like the Pro 6. Through integration with Amazon Alexa, it can also connect Zigbee-based locks, lights, and sensors to your network.
You can also use Alexa voice control to manage the network. This includes turning off Wi-Fi to specific devices or profiles, setting up Routines to manage multiple actions, such as turning off the TV’s Wi-Fi and the kids’ Wi Fi at dinner. This is a useful feature that is easy to use. Alexa told me that my first attempt to pause Wi-Fi on my daughter’s iPad failed because her iPad wasn’t set up for Wi Fi control. Would you like me to set it up and pause the Wi Fi? The Wi-Fi was turned on by simply saying “yes”. You can use the app to unpause Wi-Fi. The Pro 6E does not support Apple’s HomeKit secure router feature, unlike the Pro 6.
Eero’s use a wireless backhaul. However, because there are two ports per node, you can set up a wired backhaul to get faster, more consistent speeds.
Eero Pro 6E download speeds were between two and six times faster than my previous setup using the Pro 6. Based on the company’s recommendation I tested the Eeros with a 3-pack. My home is much smaller than the “6,000 sq. feet” that the set claims to cover.
The Pixel 6 connected to the 6GHz band showed the fastest speeds (the incoming wired connection was 955Mbps).
This review was conducted in a 2,400-square foot home that was built in 1960s. It is three stories high with brick walls. As a smart home inspector, I have an unusually large network of devices, with an average of 105 devices at any given time. This includes three computers, two smart TVs and multiple smart displays. There are also many gadgets like smart light bulbs, switches and robot vacuums. These devices are always connected, but do not consume data.
I have a Comcast cable internet connection of 1.2 gigabits and an Xfinity X1 modem that has upload speeds of 35Mbps. I ran speed tests using a Pixel 6 (that supports the 6GHz band), a MacBook and an iPhone 13. All three devices showed impressive speed gains. The Pixel 6 average speed went from 172Mbps to 713Mbps, while the iPhone 13 was able to go from 233Mbps up to 551Mbps. The Pixel 6, which can use both, was faster than the iPhone at all four of my testing locations.

Speed results
Eero Pro 6E
iPhone 13
Pixel 6
Eero Pro 6
iPhone 13
Pixel 6
Eero Pro 6E
iPhone 13
Pixel 6
Eero Pro 6
iPhone 13
Pixel 6
Living room (gateway).
551/34
713/37
Living room (gateway).
233/31
172/31
Office (node).
314/26
424/36
Office (node).
162/29
211/32
Upstairs bedroom (node)
279/25
248/35
Upstairs bedroom (node)
177/24
187/34
Sitting room (furthest distance)
185/6
305/33
Sitting room (furthest distance)
55/14
45/19
Figures indicate average download/upload speeds
Table: Jennifer Pattison Tuohy/The Verge

The most notable difference was seen when testing the farthest point from router. The Pixel 6 saw six times more speed than the Pro 6, while the iPhone only saw three times. The Eero Pro 6 will give a faster boost to a device capable of 6GHz and/or 160MHz, but all devices should experience some benefit.
The Pro 6E was tested with a wireless backhaul because it is not possible to wire the nodes in my home. This has been known to cause significant drops in speed, and this was also the case here. I generally got half the speed wirelessly when I was next to a gateway or node than when my Macbook was wired into main mode.

Connected devices can also bring with them concerns about the security of the data they collect. The Verge asked each company that has smart home products reviewed by us about the data they collect and the security measures it has put in place to protect it.
The Eero Pro 6E mesh Wi-Fi system is cloud-based. It uses data from your network to dynamically manage, maintain and improve it. Eero claims it values customers’ privacy and actively reduces the amount personal data required to operate its devices.
Data Eero collects data about your network status, connected devices, IP addresses, signal strength, data usage, and device status. Eero claims it uses very limited personal information to provide the product functionality and improve its products. Eero uses account information, including customer name, email address, phone number, and customer support to provide customer service. It also collects analytics such as device temperature and CPU usage and wireless signal strength in order to improve its devices’ and network performance.
Eero devices don’t track where you go online, and the company has no plans to do so. The devices do not record the content of your network traffic.
All customer data is protected using industry-standard security methods such as encryption, monitoring and security testing.

Mesh’s main selling point is its range. You should be able walk around your house with a device, and the same connectivity will be maintained as it switches between nodes. This worked well in my testing. I was able to conduct a Zoom call from every room of the house using my laptop, with no drop-off as I moved between rooms. The signal degradation was noticeable with the MacBook, as it tended to hang on to one node for a bit too long.
Reliability is the most important Wi-Fi test. It doesn’t matter how fast you have an internet connection, if it’s not working. The Eero Pro 6Es was plagued by intermittent connection drops, which could sometimes last for a few seconds but can sometimes cause the system to be rebooted.
Eero discovered a problem with Thread implementation during my two-month testing. Eero stated that the problem was caused by a memory leak. The devices would reboot briefly. Although it wasn’t clear whether this was due to a Thread device on the network, I did see similar reports in some user reviews. Eero released a software upgrade (6.10) this week to address the problem. My network dropped briefly after the update and I had the Thread radio on. However, it reconnected three times in five day, which is still three more than I would like.
Eero’s network management system is cloud-based so when the internet went down, I had no other options than to reboot the devices. The app offers an option to diagnose network problems, but this requires an internet connection. This option was not helpful in my testing because I had very poor cellular service at home.
Six options are available in the troubleshooting section. They cover common issues like slow internet, offline, and red light on Eero. These will take you to the Health Check page. It scans the network for problems. This did not resolve any issues for me, nor did it give me steps to follow to fix them. However, it did give me the direct line to Eero support.
The Eero Pro 6E is simple in design, with just one reset button at the bottom and a small LED status indicator on top.
It is very easy to set up an Eero network, especially if you are upgrading an Eero device. However, you will need a smartphone with internet access.
The Eero app (iOS and Android) is used to set up everything. You can add guest networks, manage connected devices, notify when a new device joins the network, and get data usage reports (useful if your data cap is exceeded).
The app displays all devices connected to your network at once. It attempts to identify them with names like Chromecast, iPhone, and Nest Hub. This is about 80 percent of its success rate. It was most successful with Amazon Echo devices. The app pulls in the name but you must manually assign a device type. This could be a phone, tablet, phone, game console or digital assistant. There are many options. You might need to use a substitute type if you have a smart home that is very current, such as a connected faucet for your kitchen.
Eero’s user-friendly application allows you to identify devices on your network, assign them profiles, and pause, resume, or block them.
You can also assign devices and profiles to devices. This allows you to group them into functions or families. It is useful to see the network activity and pause or resume Wi Fi to specific devices (e.g. your children’s tablets at dinner). You can also create schedules (a suggested one is the Bedtime one) to enable Wi-Fi to be turned off and re-enabled at specific times. This feature is free, but you will need to pay a fee if you want parental controls.
I divided my devices into categories like “gaming” or “appliances” as well as family members. This allows me to see how much data my dishwasher has used (9.6 megabytes last year) and how much the robot vacuum has been uploading (108.5 Megabytes).
Eero routers do not have the ability to separate the three networks, unlike routers that can manage more advanced settings. This can be problematic for smart home users who want to connect devices that work only on 2.4GHz. Eero offers a handy feature in its troubleshooting section that allows you to temporarily disable the 5GHz network when you try to connect a device on 2.4GHz.
Although there is no quality of service optimization, which would allow you to prioritize bandwidth to your computer at work over bandwidth to your child’s Xbox, there is an option to optimize bandwidth to conferencing and gaming in Eero Labs Beta Section. WPA3 support is available in the Beta section.
The Parental Controls feature in the app makes it easy to place blanket restrictions on devices or block or allow certain sites.
Eero Secure pays $2.99 per month or $29 per year to unlock a variety of features on other routers. These include parental controls, content filtering, ad blocking and access to historical network data usage. These controls include age-specific content filters that you can toggle on and off. It offers a variety of options, including blocking social media and messaging apps and allowing you to shop and stream alongside mature websites. As your child grows older, it is easier to choose which sites are allowed and which are blocked. This will allow you to let your child explore more of the internet. You can also block certain sites or allow them. A list of popular apps from all categories makes it easy to block apps like Reddit, Tik Tok, Instagram, and Tik Tok in every profile you create.
Eero Secure Plus ($9.99 per month / $99 per year) adds subscriptions to Encrypt.me VPN, Malwarebytes anti-virus, 1Password, DDNS remote network access, and threat blocking. This will give you a weekly report that shows you which devices it blocked and what type of threats they were (phishing, deception, botnet or malware).
Eero’s routers and nodes are designed to blend with your home so they don’t get lost in a closet.
Eero Pro 6E mesh system is a great choice. It continues Eero’s reputation as a simple and easy-to-use consumer router. There is no reason to upgrade if you don’t have any 6E devices or gigabit internet or plan to upgrade your phone or laptop in the next couple of years.
A 6E router is a smart choice if you’re looking for a new mesh system. A router should last four to five years. By then, 6GHz devices will be more common and you might have faster internet.
The Pro 6E offers more than the Pro 6E, but you will need to spend more and be willing to take on more management. While other consumer-level Wi Fi 6E routers offer more control and management options than the Eero, they are generally less easy to set-up and maintain and don’t have a good reputation for reliability. Ubiquiti equipment is a favorite of your network administrator brother-in-law. However, this requires additional hardware, installation, management, and maintenance. This makes it less appealing for those looking for a plug and play option.
Eero has carved a niche for people who want reliable, easy-to-use Wi-Fi coverage in every part of their homes and are willing to pay more than basic routers. Although the Eero Pro 6E may not be perfect, it still fulfills that ideal for the next generation Wi-Fi.
Photos by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy/The Verge

Every smart device requires that you agree to certain terms and conditions before you can use them. These are contracts that no one actually understands. We are unable to review and analyze all of these agreements. We started counting how many times we had to click “agree” for devices to be used when we reviewed them, since these agreements aren’t something most people read and can’t negotiate.
The company’s mobile application is required to set up the Eero Pro 6E system. You will need to create an Eero account or use your Amazon account to access the app.
Terms of Service for Eero

Privacy Policy of Eero

You must agree to a separate privacy statement if you subscribe to Eero Secure.
It is possible to link Eero with Amazon Alexa to control smart home features and settings. However, you will need an Amazon account and to agree to the Alexa privacy policies.
Final tally: Two mandatory agreements and up two optional agreements.

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