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Eero appears to have solved most of my home’s wifi problems

Dead zones, drop-outs and damn frustration might be a thing of the past after adding an Eero wireless mesh networking system to our multi-story house.

It’s a universal struggle throughout much of the modern society. A first-world problem that many can relate to: how to get a reliable wifi signal into all of those places in your how where you need it. My home was no different in that there are wall and levels and it made reliable and strong wifi seemingly impossible. I had tried to mitigate this before moving to an Apple Airport Extreme and a fancy (though big and ugly) Comcast router that gave me a new 5.0 Ghz network that Comcast said would help. It didn’t.

Roku reception
With a couple of kids in the house and desire to watch Netflix “Signal strength Poor” isn’t what you want on your Roku. And this is our third or fourth wireless router in this house.

Side note rant: Comcast said I needed to move my router to a central location in my house which, in this house, is a kitchen/dining room with no cable outlet nor any place to set the monolithic cable router without it’s cacophony of flashing lights being out on full display. But Comcast will run me a new cable outlet … for a price.

I decided to try this wireless mesh network route as that seems to be the things that the cool kids are doing. I love the concept and it seems to make much more sense than just a repeater or signal boosting antenna. Plus I like the idea of being able to take this somewhat expensive gear with me when I move to another ISP or another house.

I asked for Twitter advice and got a few responses.

This one from Comcast (for all its faults Comcast is great with Twitter support) was of interest.

What could be easier then plugging in a Comcast-supported wifi mesh network device to my Comcast network? Since they aren’t yet available in my area a little googling revealed that these Comcast XFi Pods are just a re-branded Plumes and I could buy Plume today. A little more internet research reveled billions of articles on wireless mesh network products with tons of different options. In the end I chose the Eero.

The Eero with two beacons

After reading a number of comparison tests and Amazon reviews I went with system that was the Eero base station and two beacons, a system designed for 2 – 4 bedroom homes. These mesh systems aren’t cheap and this Eero was $249 with a $50 holiday discount. The Eero was available from Amazon while the Plume wasn’t but more on the shipping debacle at the bottom of this article.

Eero in box
I went with the “2 – 4 bedroom homes” option, $349 with a regular price of $399. Additional beacons can be added for $149.

This particular kit arrived packed in an easy to understand box. You pull out one of the components and you’re instructed to download the Eero mobile app which is where all the setup happens. There is the Eero base station that I plugged into my (well Comcast’s because I have to rent the thing) router via Ethernet and then the two beacons that plug into wall outlets to create the mesh. Setup couldn’t have been any easier.

Eero email setup alert
You have to create and account within the Eero app to setup the system. I found this rather odd since it’s a piece of hardware I’m using with existing hardware in my home. But that’s what they ask you to do.
Eero download card
They let you know upon pulling anything out of the box you have to download a mobile app to setup the Eero in your home. You can’t setup an Eero with a web browser. They even answer why a data connection is necessary to setup an Eero.
Eero base station
The Eero base station plugging into the Comcast router via ethernet. This was placed in an upstairs corner room used as an office.
Eero beacon plugs
The Eero beacons plug into your AC outlets. Thankfully one of the plug prongs aren’t grounded/neutral (this is US 120-volt we’re talking about here) but the beacons have to be placed tall side up.
Eero app testing placement
Once the Eero beacons are placed the mobile app goes through the setup. My first beacon was placed in a central kitchen area the floor below the base station.
Eero beacon two
The second Eero beacon was placed in the family room where we usually had horrible reception. Though it’s not recommended to place a beacon near a large electronic device this was about the only easy accessible spot not hidden by furniture. This room is a floor below the base station with a couple of walls between.

When your mesh is setup and working you create a new network with the Eero gear as opposed to it latching onto an existing network and strengthening it. This is important to note in that you might have to reprogram some devices around the home like thermostats, alarms or Christmas lights.

So how are those signals and speeds?

Eero new networks
The red outlines are the old networks broadcasting from the Comcast wireless router. The orange outline is the new Eero network. Yes I like 2001: A Space Odyssey. I also couldn’t hijack the neighbor’s wifi.

 

Eero speedtest 01
This was my first speedtest using the Speedtest.net app after setting up the network in the central part of the house. Not too bad.
Eero speedtest test in app
The Eero mobile app also has can run a speed test. Oddly it was showing quite slow speeds right after setup but it didn’t feel like the network was running that show on the connected devices.
Eero speedtest xfinity
So I tried a few other speed tests. How about the XFINITY Speed Test since that’s my ISP! They always seem to show fast downloads.
Speedtest verizon
A Verizon speed test? Seems worth trying since I am on a Verizon phone but yes, connected via Comcast wifi. That’s looking fine.
Speedtest googled
If you Google “internet speed test” there’s an option for an in-browser speedtest but that result was terrible. I don’t know how exact some of these things are anyway. I’m sure there are many factors to consider. Or some of them are unreliable.

I contacted Eero support which was very helpful and they said just to monitor it over a few days but if I was getting good speeds on most of these speed tests and the network seemed to be working right (and fast) then everything was probably okay.

Eero speedtest in app again
Within the Eero app it tracks recent speed tests and those tests did seem to come into line with the other tests. But then they went back down in the Eero app but still have stayed fast in the other tests.

 

A few notes on the Eero …

Eero support was nice and responsive via Twitter and I was able to have a DM conversation with them as well as send them images of my speed tests without us following each other. I was surprised to know they can partially access my Eero system just from the email address I had to provide during setup.

Eero DM support
Eero support via Twitter DMs went well. I didn’t expect them to be able to see things on my network just from my email account setup!

Putting one of the Eero beacons on the outlet in my kitchen meant I had to remove a very useful nightlight as they wouldn’t both fit into the outlet. But low and behold each Eero beacon has a built-in nightlight! That is convenient.

Eero nightlight
The Eero beacons have a built-in night light. A nice touch.

You have to install the beacon (and by install I mean plug it in) in the proper orientation and it prompts you to do this correctly. I assume this is for best reception by the antenna but it also means you get the option of using the built-in nightlight. You can turn the nightlight off in the app as well as set a schedule or have it use the ambient lighting of the room. It’s a nice touch.

Eero app
The Eero mobile app can do a lot of useful things to help manage the hardware and the new network you’ve set up. Since it’s a mobile app hopefully it will continue to be upgraded with more useful features.

When things are up and running the app can track all of the beacons and devices you have connected as well as things like signal strength, which beacon the devices are connected to and how much data they are consuming. Any of the connected devices can be blocked from the Eero network from within the app.

Eero plus
For $99 per year you can get Eero Plus which is “premium protection for your network.”

The best thing about this Eero install?

Eero Roku excellent
Our family room Roku now shows “Signal strength Excellent” for the first time ever. Crisis averted.

What about your solution for extending the range of your network? What solutions do you use? If you’ve got another alternative please let us know in the comments.

About that shipping …

Amazon (and the Prime membership) is usually quite reliable. I placed the order on a Sunday and since our area has a distribution outlet there was an option for same day delivery (by 9 PM on a Sunday!) by regular Prime and not Amazon Prime Now which is also available in my area. The package didn’t show on that Sunday so I assumed that it would just by default come on Monday. But then I got this notification:

Eero amazon lost
This Amazon notification said the first Eero was lost in transit and I had to buy it again, which I did. But it wasn’t lost, it arrived a few days later.
The “replacement” Eero that I had to buy again arrived before the lost in transit one. Even though I used the “buy it again” from the lost shipment you can see the price was different, more expensive. Something seems fishy here.

That would be the first time we’ve seen Amazon shipping issues but okay, it happens. What I found strange was that Amazon wouldn’t just automatically resend the item but instead showed an option to buy it again. I still wanted it so I did … buy it again.

That bought again Eero showed up as planned. But then the next day another unexpected Amazon package showed up.

Other Eero amazon
And here’s the second, supposedly damaged Eero. Or maybe the other Eero that came which I have already installed was supposed to be the damaged one. Who knows.

So much for the bulletproof Amazon system. What’s more odd is that I now have two Eeros and the Amazon app doesn’t seem to know. Anyone want an Eero?


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Scott Simmons was born in rural West Tennessee and didn't really realize that movies and tv had to be made by actual people until he went to college. After getting degrees in both Television Production…

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