I love technology. I love that technology solves problems and makes them obsolete. There are many people who will argue that technology only makes our lives much more complicated, and it makes us less intelligent. I would counter those arguments by saying we are evolving and are becoming more intelligent because we waste less time doing the mundane things like driving to the library to research a science project. We save time with technology, and sometimes it is so ahead of its time that we don’t realize we need it until we have it.

Many people thought the first iPhone was a luxury item that was a waste of money for early adopters. Sure smartphones existed with Windows mobile phones, but Steve Ballmer made the biggest mistake of his career by turning his nose up to mass adoption smartphones. Over the last decade Apple proved that smartphones are essential to our lives and the proof exists in its market value as the richest company in the world.

Where am I going with this?

Imagine your life without WiFi or cellular service. It would be a radical change – some might even say it sucks real bad. Some of us experience life without WiFi or cellular data, but we make adjustments to correct that problem. There are many of us, without thinking, who search for WiFi or data when we are out of range or indoors in buildings with so much mass that they drown out our data signals. In those situations we suck it up, and the second we get a connection back, we check our smartphones instantaneously.

We are so dependent on our data signals that it is second nature that it must exist. Yet so many of us deal with bad WiFi at home and sit close to our routers to maintain a solid connection. Walls, furniture, wiring, electronics, and insulation all degrade our signals. 10 years ago this wouldn’t have been an issue as our dependance on wireless signals was much less.

wifi
Basic needs

Stop for a second and try to count all of the devices in your home that depend on a WiFi signal.

  • Smartphone
  • Laptop/Desktop
  • Tablet
  • Smart TV
  • Chromecast/Roku/Apple TV/Fire TV
  • Nest Thermostat
  • Smart doorbell
  • Security system/cameras
  • Smart refridgerator
  • WiFi speakers such as Sonos/Naim/Raumfeld
  • Amazon Echo

Your answers will vary of course. And the more people you have in your family, the more people that rely on the WiFi signal to get their information, texts, calls, etc.

The average American home built in 2015 averaged 2600 square feet.  According to About Tech, the typical wireless router can reach 150 feet indoors. For an average 2600 square foot house, there shouldn’t be much of an issue getting and maintaining a signal, but walls can degrade range as much as 25% or more on a 2.4GHz frequency. 5GHz suffers even more through walls even though it is faster. Typically lower bandwidth frequencies penetrate walls better than the higher frequencies, which is why AT&T and Verizon perform better than T-Mobile indoors(they own the lower frequency bandwidth).

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Let’s assume your ultra fast WiFi network at 5GHz degrades as much as 50% with all of the walls in your home. Older homes will experience even more degradation as they are built with more dense materials like lath and plaster. That means your effective range indoors with a single wireless router is 75 feet. The further you are from your router, the slower your connection is. Move beyond 75 feet and you will most likely drop your connection.

I can almost guarantee that all of you with homes 2600 square feet or more experience issues with your network. I live in a condominium which is 1500 square feet, and even I deal with bad wireless signals on a regular basis.

At least I used to, until I got eero

As a tech writer, you would guess that I would have all of my tech problems solved. That’s far from reality. I work a normal 8-5pm, M-F job as a Medicinal Chemist and don’t have the luxury of staying on top of all gadgets and technology.

In my 1500 square foot condo, I deal with a whole litany of WiFi networks that interfere with mine. I also have really thick walls that prevent me from hearing my neighbors and vice versa. Part of my problem is my main cable internet connection into my house is near the front door. That means my wireless router must reside on one side of my house. My bedroom is the furthest from the router, with my office in-between.

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While I could take the time to find the right wireless extenders, repeaters, or amplifiers, I simply do not have the expertise to sit and figure them out. I’ve tried wholeheartedly to set them up before to improve my signal. I even tried at my parents house which was built in 1890 and has the worst WiFi I’ve ever experienced because of those damn lath and plaster walls. The WiFi literally only works in one room in that house, and I had to set up five extenders just to have WiFi around the main floor in the house.

Maybe I am dumb, but setting up flawless networks is no small feat. Or according to Gizmodo, maybe I am just super lazy. I beg to differ though. Of all of my college educated, and PHd colleagues, I would bet that one out of 100 could set up a flawless wireless network with extenders, repeaters or amplifiers.

That’s where eero solved my WiFi issues within nine minutes.

What is eero?

eero is a whole home solution for flawless WiFi. It uses access points to create a “mesh network” that blankets your whole home in strong and fast WiFi.

Instead of one wireless router in your home, you need to change your mindset from the last decade, and understand that as dependent as we are on WiFi, the proper solution for home wireless is multiple access points.

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eero is the solution we have all been waiting for, whether we realize it or not. While I could test my home network by running my tablet, computer, phones and stream HD videos off Netflix or YouTube, I won’t because those video service use buffering to manage poor signals. It downloads a portion of video, and will not play it until it can play without stutters. Buffering is an indication of poor WiFi signal, or speed, or a combination of both.

Instead I have been testing my wireless signal strength and speed by using high fidelity wireless speakers from Naim audio. I have been using the Naim Muso and Naim QB which costs $2500 for the pair. Without question, they are the best WiFi speakers I have ever listened to, when the connection is strong. Once I move them into my office or bedroom, and they both stutter and skip parts of songs that ruin the entire experience. I could stream using Bluetooth, but that degrades the sound quality and has even shorter range than WiFi.

So I setup the three kit eero. One in my living room, one in my office, and one in my bedroom.

Setup started like this:

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I opened the extremely well packaged eero kit and started with the one that said “start”.

 

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I then installed the app from the Google Play Store. Then I plugged in my first eero into the main wireless router and let the app detect it. (check the screenshot time stamp at the top right)

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The eero app then asked me to create my own network. Since eero spoke so highly of its product, I had to name my network “The Best Network” just so my neighbors would know that someone had the best and it wasn’t them.

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Once I set up my network, with my own password, it then asked if I wanted to set up another eero. I hate the passwords that come with wireless routers. They’re impossible to memorize which meant I left the password taped to the router and had it written on a post-it note on my refrigerator. Not quite the safest way to keep my network secure.

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eero even tells you where to place the next unit.

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By 9:43PM my entire eero mesh network was functional (check the screenshot time stamp at the top right).

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How does it perform?

Flawlessly. Netflix no longer buffers in my bedroom. My $2500 Naim speakers no longer stutter and sound like a concert hall in my office. eero even resets my network when it detects errors. If you have Time Warner high speed internet like I do, you would know that it drops at least five times a week. It’s aggravating to lose WiFi signal when watching a movie, but it’s downright angering when I am in the middle of a 2000 word post like this one and WiFi drops before I save my work. Many of you who work from home know exactly what I am talking about.

eero solves all of those problems. I get a sense of pride when I come home from work and know I can write without issue, watch Game of Thrones in full HD streaming from my iPad to my Chromecast, to be followed by high fidelity music on my Naim WiFi speakers before bed. eero is a dream come true.

The funny part is, I never thought about how bad my internet connection was until I learned what a good connection is. eero is now apart of my life and I can’t live without it. Sure there isn’t much glory to a great WiFi network, but I can tell you that there are those who maintain their home networks and get all of the blame for issues. Like my dad who has to answer to my brother and sister whine when we are all visiting him and my mom during the holidays. My dad is 67, and he just ordered his eero three pack so he never has to listen to them whine about WiFi again. I am 100% confident my dad will be able to set up eero on his own.

eero is so smart you can even create a guest network and invite users via text, tweet, or email. You no longer have to give out your crazy long and confusing password that most people will type in wrong on the first and second attempts. It’s one of my favorite features.

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In a recent update, eero added family controls which does not apply to me. However, I know plenty of people with children who would care about the new family features. Best of all, eero updated itself with the latest software upgrade.

Family Profiles allows eero users to:

  • Create Profiles: Create a unique profile for each family member in the eero app and assign devices to an individual’s profile.

  • Set Schedules: Set automatic times when family members cannot access the Internet at home. Rest assured your children aren’t on their devices during certain times without having to constantly monitor them.

  • Pause the Internet: Instantly pause and unpause all devices associated with a specific profile, granting and revoking internet access at the click of a button.

  • Nickname Devices: Now you can nickname each device connected to the home network. No more confusion over which devices belong to which member of the family.

How much does it cost?

$500 for a three pack. Read other reviews about eero and many of them scoff at the price. Sure $500 is a lot of money by any measure, but put into context at how important your WiFi actually is, and it isn’t as expensive as you think it is.

I pay $74.99 a month for 50mbps internet from Time Warner. That is $900 a year. What’s the point in paying for such expensive internet when you can’t get the most from it? Typically routers aren’t replaced more than every three years in my experience. $500 over 36 months is $13.88 per month for three eero hubs.

Other reviewers like to compare the price to a single router in which case it will always be cheaper. Or they compare eero to WiFi extenders which are complicated to setup, sometimes create separate networks, and they slow your internet speed. They’re also a lot of work to maintain with firmware updates as well as manual restarts.

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If you’ve ever tried to give your router a boost with an “extender,” then you’ve experienced true disappointment. That’s because “extenders” can only stretch your signal a single hop — you can’t connect multiple in a row. They often create an entirely separate network (SSID), so you find yourself having to continually switch from one network to the other as you move through your house.

Worse, many range “extenders” cut your bandwidth in half because they rely on a single wireless radio to both send and receive data. In contrast, each eero has two radios — both of which communicate with your devices and sync with other eeros — so your connection is always fast. Not only does an eero system operate on a single network name (SSID), but you can also walk throughout your home and devices like your iPhone will connect to the nearest eero. – eero

Conclusion

eero is my favorite tech upgrade that I have used in 2016. That is saying a lot considering how much access I have to gadgets. I suspect eero will continue to develop features making its mesh network even better than it is now which is hard to believe, because it is awesome. eero is also paving a path for copycats with whole home network solutions, because as people experience eero for themselves, they will want their own creating a massive market for mesh networks. Like the first iPhone, which wasn’t the first smartphone, eero is the first to make entire home WiFi accessible and easy for all. And just like Apple, the eero is not the first solution for WiFi. There are millions of routers and extenders in existence, but none of them are nearly as good as eero.

eero just works.

eero just hit a home run while Linksys, ASUS, Motorola and the likes sit in the parking lot just trying to get into the game.

While $500 is a large chunk of change, eero is a great investment that will allow you to take full advantage of your WiFi signal. Your videos, music, and work will all improve because of it. The engineers at eero recommend one hub for every 1000 square feet, and suggest no more than 10 eero hubs on one network. Although there are customers with triple that amount that don’t experience any issues.

If you suffer from poor WiFi, I wholeheartedly recommend eero to you.

Get an eero three pack at www.eero.com, www.bestbuy.com,or at Amazon.com. You will not regret it.

I have the best wifi network in my condo complex.
I have the best wifi network in my condo complex.
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Derrick Miyao is a former freelance writer of AndroidGuys. These words are his own and do not reflect those of AndroidGuys as a whole.