I upgraded my entire network about two years ago. I swapped my switch with a managed switch, to learn more about switches and my custom DD-WRT wireless router with an access point and then built a custom Pfsense box. I had thought I purchased a decent AP, I didn’t go with a high end Cisco or the low end, kind of went in the middle. Still only operated on the 2.4 Ghz band, but at that time, that was not a concern of mine. At the time my neighborhood was pretty empty, now it is matured an there are tons of Wifi signals floating around. I was always fighting various channels, as more people came around. I remember one instance, we purchased a baby monitor and we turned it on one night and the Wifi went out. I spent well over an hour trying to figure out what is going on, it turned out to be that my wife had put the monitor too close to the AP.
Last year, I heard about eero from Kick Starter. I was hesitant on buying into the hefty price tag. I decided to wait and see what others thought about it before I made the purchase, I believe the Kick Starter price was $300 for a three pack. eero works in mesh network configuration. This means that one unit can be physically be connected to the network and the others can communicate to each and pass network packets back and forth. Or you can have all the devices connected physically, this has no affect on the network. But the beauty about a mesh network is that there is no loss in signal or bandwidth. Whereas a Wifi range extender cuts the bandwidth in half when in use, users will see the difference when they are connected. The more devices you add to the network, the more reliable the network will be.
Fast forward to today, or at least last weekend. I was bored at work and decided to check up on a few links I had saved in the past. eero was one of the links and I started doing research on the product, I even went as far as to contact support before I made my purchase. It didn’t take long for the support team to get back to me, which was very nice, because I was hovering over the buy button on Amazon. Basically, I wanted to know if the eero will be compatible with my advanced network with my custom router and managed switch. The short answer is yes, yes it will work fine. So I clicked the buy button and Amazon delivered it the next day.
Once it was delivered it came in a nice white box and inside was three little white devices, about the size of an Amazon Fire TV. One was labeled start, this is the main router, which had to be setup first before the others. So I started there, under this device had a white power cable neatly rolled and a white network cable that was the same. The network cable felt like it was of high quality, I did not test the cable for quality, only going by looks here.
The first one needs to be plugged into your Internet modem from you ISP, this will replace you old wireless router. If you modem doubles as a wireless router, you may need to consult you ISP to turn it off and make it just a modem. Once this was plugged in, it turned on automatically. It flashed for a few minutes while it booted up. Meanwhile, the app instructed me to wait while it found the eero. It only took about 30 secs for the app to find it. The app asked for a name for the main eero, I named it Basement, because it was in the basement. Then it took a minute or two for the app to configure the eero, then boom, it was done. Just that simple, a few taps of my phone and I was done. Since I had used the same password and SSID from the previous AP, all my devices automatically connected.
On to the second device, since the eero’s connect to each other via Wifi, there is no need to connect to your network physically. So there are no more network cables in the box, just a neatly rolled power cable and device. So I positioned the device on the other side of the house, in the living room. The first attempt to configure the eero failed because it was too far from the base unit. So I moved it to the kitchen where it was happy, I tapped my phone a few times and boom, it was setup. The next step was to setup the final device. Unfortunately, it belongs in our bedroom and everyone was already in bed.
I waited till the next day to plug it in. Over night the eero updated its firmware and when I plugged the final eero in configured but had a hard time staying connected with the other eeros. Being an IT guy I figured I would try to resolve the issue myself. But, since there is little troubleshooting I could do on my end via the app, which is the only thing that communicates to the eeros, I came to a dead end. So I contacted support via email and received a response back fairly quickly. They advised me to plug my problem eero into my main eero and wait for the firmware to update. Since I had waited to plug my last eero in, the firmware updated on the other two so I was having issues connecting. Since it wasn’t clear on what the problem was via the app, it was difficult to figure it out on my own. I let the eero do its thing over night. I removed it from the main eero and put it in its home in the bedroom. After a week there has been no issues and there has been strong Wifi throughout the house.
I do want to say one thing about customer service from eero, it has been very responsive and to the point. I come from a customer service background and this made me happy. For example, I email support with a general question on why my one eero that was showing yellow and wasn’t staying connected. Since all the settings and diagnostics are sent to the cloud, the tech was able to pull up my info and see the problem eero and advise me on what to do. This was all done without me ever asking or them asking probing questions. Honestly, I thought this was the coolest experience by far. For a tech to look at my account, find the issue, advise on what to do, and it be correct! eero if you are reading this, keep up the good work with your customer service and support.
Price tag was a little steep, $500 for three units, most people won’t buy three and may only start with one and go from there. I splurged and bought the three pack to see if it would really work like others are saying it does. I would have loved to see more advanced features in the app, maybe a log for us advanced users, and perhaps a web interface for people that don’t have a smartphone? I haven’t went through any of the other advanced settings like bridge networking or manual configurations, but I plan to and will write something about it. All in all, eero just works, even after the hiccup, which was mainly my fault. Easy to setup for those people that are not tech savvy. An the ability to add more eero’s any time is probably the best part about the whole system.