Eero 6 evaluate: Amazon’s Wi-Fi 6 mesh router underwhelms


An Eero 6 three-pack prices $279.


Ry Crist/CNET

There are two massive, current developments from the world of routers which are value listening to. The primary is the rise of the affordable mesh router, with an abundance of latest, multipoint Wi-Fi programs that value loads lower than the preliminary crop of mesh routers did three or 4 years in the past. The second is the arrival of Wi-Fi 6, the latest, quickest and most superior model of Wi-Fi. Both one makes for a tempting improve — however hey, why not each?

Enter Eero 6, a brand new mesh router from the corporate that helped carry mesh to the mainstream a number of years in the past, and which Amazon purchased outright in 2019. It is the second new model of the Eero mesh router since Amazon acquired the corporate, and it provides in full help for Wi-Fi 6 whereas conserving the price of a three-piece setup down at a reasonable $279 — simply $30 greater than the Wi-Fi 5 version bought for final yr. In the meantime, a two-piece setup with the Eero 6 router and one range-extending satellite tv for pc costs $199.

Like

  • Straightforward to arrange and use
  • Constructed-in Zigbee radio for pairing gadgets with Alexa
  • Regular community efficiency with no dropped connections throughout testing

Do not Like

  • Not quick sufficient to take full benefit of gigabit speeds
  • Poor band-steering and sign routing causes speeds to drop once they should not
  • Just one spare Ethernet jack

Mesh networking and Wi-Fi 6 can certainly make for a reasonably killer mixture, however Eero 6 comes with some caveats. For starters, although Amazon now says Eero 6 can hit prime speeds of as much as 900 Mbps, these prime speeds are restricted sufficient that Amazon initially really helpful it for homes with internet connections of up to 500Mbps, effectively beneath what Wi-Fi 6 is capable of. If you happen to’re paying for web speeds any sooner than that, then you definately’ll desire a mesh router that is designed to reap the benefits of them, just like the Netgear Orbi AX6000 ($700 for a two-pack), the Asus ZenWiFi AX ($450 for a two-pack), or Amazon’s personal improve mannequin, the Eero Pro 6 ($600 for a three-pack). And notice that every one three of these options are tri-band routers that embody the standard 2.four and 5GHz bands, plus a second 5GHz band devoted to shifting knowledge between the router and its satellites. That is a key function if you would like a mesh router that will get probably the most out of Wi-Fi 6 — and the dual-band Eero 6 would not have it.

All of that’s comprehensible at this worth, however the underpowered {hardware} places a number of strain on Eero’s mesh software program to assist this factor really feel like an improve — and all through my at-home checks, Eero got here up brief. The system appeared to wrestle to make good choices about when to route my connection by means of a satellite tv for pc extender and when to attach me direct to the primary router. Worse had been the system’s band-steering algorithms, that are designed to robotically transfer you between the two.four and 5GHz bands relying on which is finest to your connection at any given second. In too many instances, Eero failed to maneuver me to the sooner 5GHz band even once I was effectively inside its vary, and that introduced my speeds crashing down by as a lot as 80%.

Here is the shorter approach of claiming all that: The Eero 6 mesh has too many holes in it for me to advocate.

img-5860

The Eero 6 router (left) consists of two gigabit Ethernet jacks, one among which you may wire to your modem. The Eero 6 vary extender (proper) would not embody Ethernet jacks in any respect.


Ry Crist/CNET

Design and specs

Arriving in a tidy, rectangular field, the Eero 6 three-pack makes an honest first impression. The gadgets inside look similar, however they don’t seem to be — one is designed to function the primary router, and together with the USB-C energy port, it consists of two gigabit Ethernet jacks, one among which you may wire to your modem. The opposite Eero gadgets are range-extending satellites, they usually do not embody Ethernet jacks in any respect.

That signifies that you solely get a single spare Ethernet jack that you should use for hardwired connections to the router. That is not supreme for those who’re like me and dwelling with a handful of streaming gadgets, gaming consoles, sensible house hubs and the like, all of which work finest with, or require, a wired connection to the router. It additionally means that you could’t wire the vary extenders again to the router for sooner efficiency.

The Eero 6 incorporates a built-in Zigbee radio that Alexa can use to pair with issues like sensible locks and sensible lights.


Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

As for the specs, the Eero 6 router is an AX1800 gadget — the “AX” denotes help for 802.11ax, or Wi-Fi 6, whereas the “1800” tells you the mixed prime speeds of every band. Simply remember that these speeds come from lab-based checks that do not take issues like obstructions, distance and interference into consideration, so your actual speeds will be a lot lower. Plus, you’ll be able to solely join to 1 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 additionally helps 2×2 MU-MIMO connections, which lets it use two antennas to separate its consideration to 2 separate gadgets at a time, or combination the sign from these antennas two a single gadget with a number of antennas of its personal. That is good, however you will discover higher — as an illustration, although it would not function Wi-Fi 6, final yr’s Nest Wifi helps 3×3 connections.

Together with Wi-Fi 6 help, the Eero 6 router additionally consists of its personal Zigbee radio. That allows you to join issues like sensible locks and sensible lights with Alexa with out want for an extra Zigbee hub. You may want to attach the router to an Amazon account in an effort to put it to work, however when you do, you may unlock good, frequent sense options like Gadget Title Sharing, the place your customized names for community gadgets within the Alexa app robotically port over to the Eero app. It’s also possible to allow Thread, an extra Wi-Fi protocol that permits you to join with sure sorts of sensible house gadgets.

I bemoaned the dearth of additional, Alexa-specific options with final yr’s Eero, so all of that may be a good, user-friendly step in the precise route — although Amazon nonetheless hasn’t gone so far as Google, which constructed absolutely useful Google Assistant sensible audio system into every Nest Wifi satellite tv for pc.

The Eero 6 setup course of couldn’t be any simpler.


Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

The setup course of

Not a lot to say right here, actually. Simply plug the Eero 6 router into your modem and into an influence outlet, then comply with the onboarding directions within the app in your Android or iOS gadget. You may title your community, decide a password, add your satellites, and voila — your private home community is up and operating.

That form of ease of setup is pretty frequent with routers today, most all of which make good use of companion apps to stroll you thru the method with out headache. Nonetheless, give the Eero app some additional credit score right here — it is well-designed, simple to navigate, and fewer complicated than most. Simply remember that the simplified method additionally means that it’s not filled with superior options — there is no high quality of service engine for prioritizing site visitors to particular gadgets, as an illustration, and no possibility to separate the unified Eero community into two, separate networks for the two.four and 5GHz bands.

One thing else to contemplate throughout setup is whether or not or not you need to subscribe to Eero Secure. The $three per thirty days plan consists of advert blocking and parental filters, in addition to menace detection scans that may assist forestall you from wandering onto an unsafe web site. In the meantime, the $10 Eero Safe Plus plan provides in password administration for as much as 5 relations by way of 1Password, VPN entry by way of Encrypt.me, and anti-virus scans for as much as three gadgets by way of Malwarebytes. The very best a part of that bundle is 1Password — it is our favorite subscription-based password manager, and the five-person plan usually costs $5 per month on its own. It is as much as you if the remainder of the Safe Plus bundle is value an extra $5, although I am going to notice that the US-based Encrypt.me isn’t one of our top picks among VPN services.

By way of general common speeds throughout all corners of my house, Eero 6 completed lifeless final within the mesh router class. The issue? Dangerous band-steering left me on the slower 2.4GHz band too typically, inflicting my speeds to plummet once they should not.


Ry Crist/CNET

Efficiency and speeds

Yep, that is Eero 6 on the very proper of the graph above. You are most likely questioning the way it obtained there.

All report scratches and freeze frames apart, that graph exhibits the general common add and obtain speeds all through my house for all the mesh routers I’ve examined right here up to now yr. Eero 6 completed lifeless final amongst all of them, with slower common speeds than Nest Wifi, the bargain-priced, AC1200 model of Netgear Orbi, and even final yr’s model of Eero. None of these help Wi-Fi 6. What offers?

eero-6-speed-tests-bandsteering

A fast peek at my pace check spreadsheet. Within the first spherical of checks, I began in the lounge (near the router) and labored my approach down. Within the second spherical of checks, I began within the again rest room (removed from the router) and labored my approach up. The outcome was a night-and-day distinction in my common obtain speeds.


Ry Crist/CNET

For probably the most half, the reply is poor band-steering. In contrast to routers that cut up the two.four and 5GHz bands into two separate networks, leaving it to you to resolve which one to hook up with, Eero 6 places out a single community that robotically “steers” you from band to band with out you noticing it it. At the least, that is the way it’s purported to work. If the router screws up and leaves you on the a lot slower 2.4GHz band when it should not, then your speeds will plummet. You may positively discover that.

That is precisely what occurred as I examined Eero 6 at my 1,300 sq. foot, shotgun-style home. It is a boxy little one-story house the place I pay for web speeds of as much as 300 Mbps. Once I check a router right here, I take a number of pace checks throughout 5 spots beginning in my lounge, the place the router is positioned, and ending in my again rest room, the farthest spot from the router. Then, I repeat all of that, however backward — I begin with a recent connection within the again rest room and transfer my approach again towards the lounge. I repeat that total forward-and-backward course of throughout a number of days throughout morning, afternoon and night hours.

It was these back-to-front rounds of checks that did Eero 6 in. Once I’d begin up near the router, it could begin me off on the 5GHz band, and speeds would look nice. However once I’d join in that again rest room, it could begin me off on the two.4GHz band — after which, most of the time, it could depart me there even after I made my approach again to the lounge. Consequently, my common speeds fell by as a lot as 80% in nearly half of my checks. Eero 6 was performing like a batter in baseball who cannot hit towards left-handed pitchers, which had the identical deleterious impact on the batting common, so to talk.

Your precise speeds will rely on how far you’re from the router if you first join, amongst different components. In my checks, the place I join from a number of spots in the home after which common all the outcomes collectively, Eero 6 was typically a lot too gradual.


Ry Crist/CNET

I requested the group at Eero if they’d any recommendations for enhancing efficiency, they usually famous that Eero’s newest band-steering algorithms truly must be enabled as a beta-feature within the Eero Labs part of the app. I discovered it shocking that band-steering wasn’t already absolutely carried out given Eero’s pedigree within the mesh class, however I gave it a shot and ran my checks once more. Efficiency was barely higher. In a single back-to-front check, the router accurately moved me from the two.4GHz band to the 5GHz band after I made it again to the lounge, however speeds had been nonetheless a lot too gradual within the close by corridor rest room and kitchen, and my general common speeds had been nonetheless weak.

The issue, Eero says, is that the system’s band-steering function is designed to steer you accurately if you first join — and steering you as you and your gadget transfer about the home continues to be a piece in progress.

“Eero’s preliminary implementation of band-steering, which has been in Eero Labs for some time, centered on steering the consumer because it linked. This helped loads with 2.4GHz vs. 5GHz. However it is not supreme for fixing the sticky consumer drawback which is actually what you’re testing,” Eero’s engineering group defined. “We’re engaged on an improved model of consumer steering that may use some requirements based mostly strategies to steer the consumer after it has related and plan on shifting the function out of Eero Labs when we’ve good knowledge sooner or later.”

I am going to sit up for retesting Eero 6 when that occurs — and hopefully, it helps the system carry out loads higher. I am going to replace this evaluate as soon as I’ve that knowledge, and after we have had an opportunity to check the system out on the 5,800-square-foot CNET Smart Home. For now, it looks as if a disgrace that correct band-steering wasn’t absolutely carried out in time for launch.

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Ry Crist/CNET

The decision

At $279 for a three-piece system or $199 for a two-piece system, the Eero 6 is a price amongst mesh routers that help Wi-Fi 6, and the system did a superb job of sustaining a gentle connection as I examined it, by no means dropping me as soon as. However my common speeds suffered closely from the poor band-steering — sufficient in order that its efficiency ranks under some programs that do not help Wi-Fi 6 in any respect. That is the very last thing you need.

I am going to proceed to check the Eero 6 and I am going to let you realize if the outlook improves, however at this level, I feel you’ve got better options. If you happen to’re keen to spend, a tri-band mesh router just like the Netgear Orbi AX6000, the Asus ZenWiFi AX and Amazon’s personal Eero Pro 6 will do a significantly better job of showcasing Wi-Fi 6. In the meantime, top-performing Wi-Fi 5 programs like Nest Wifi and Netgear Orbi AC1200 supply extra bang for the buck. Eero 6 sits proper within the center, the place it overpromises and underdelivers. I say store round.



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Hey, I'm Sunil Kumar professional blogger and Affiliate marketing. I like to gain every type of knowledge that's why I have done many courses in different fields like News, Business and Technology. I love thrills and travelling to new places and hills. My Favourite Tourist Place is Sikkim, India.

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