I’ve had more than 10 different Eero configurations in my house for long periods over the last four years.
Most people will be happy with the entry-level Eero (Eero 5) because it’ll improve your WiFi range, stabilize your network, and it’s dead simple to use compared to traditional router systems.
But if you pay your ISP for 200Mbps or higher and achieving those speeds are important to you, one of the higher-end Eero models should be considered instead.TL;DR? Skip to the conclusion
Eero is the easiest mesh system to install. And you get the same experience on all four models.
It holds your hand with the simplest steps and leaves no room for confusion. You get placement tips along the way.
I’ve installed Eero over a dozen times and never had any issues. It usually takes me 5-10 minutes to get a whole system running. People with no technical skills can get a system set up easily.
Eero’s app is dead simple to use.
When you open the app, you’re faced with all of your devices grouped by category (e.g., computers, entertainment, etc). Each device can be renamed, then grouped into a “Family Profile.” From there, you can create scheduled access for the group of devices, set downtime periods, or just pause your whole network with one tap.
Eero is perfect for parents who want to monitor how much and when their kids use the internet because of the combination of Family Profiles and the user-friendly setup.
Eero is compatible with Alexa. Pause someone’s profile or find which node your phone is closest to with one command.
You can create a guest network with a name that differs from your main network. In the settings, there are options to choose your DNS server, create static IP reservations or port forwards, and enable UPnP. These features are more than the average user needs, but there are networking nerds who will want more, but this system isn’t built for nerds.
There’s an interface that displays your devices in order of real-time bandwidth usage, which can be helpful for troubling shooting. The amount of bandwidth each profile or device is consuming for the current week is displayed too.
There are a few downsides to Eero’s software though.
- Basic features that are free on Google Wifi are behind the Eero Secure paywall ($3/month).
- View cumulative bandwidth on a per day or per month basis.
- Advanced parental controls like filtering, ad blocking, and site blocking.
- Eero automatically updates the firmware. It’s a great feature for most people, but it’s not ideal for people who are working deep into the morning. Some angry gamers had their game interrupted at 3 AM. Eero should let you toggle off auto-updates.
- Eero doesn’t have a web-based interface. Everything is managed on the phone.
How do the models differ with software?
Eero and Eero Pro have HomeKit compatibility, but Eero 6 and Eero 6 Pro don’t have it yet. According to Eero employees on Reddit, they’ve submitted everything to Apple and they’re just waiting for Apple’s approval. It shouldn’t be much longer until the entire lineup is HomeKit compatible.
With Eero added to the Apple Home app, HomeKit creates a firewall between your network and your smart devices. If one of your smart home devices becomes compromised, it won’t take down your entire network.
Eero 6 and Eero 6 Pro have a Zigbee hub inside, but unfortunately, the only way to add Zigbee devices is with the Alexa app, which means your devices won’t work with the Apple or Google ecosystems. The Zigbee hub will be irrelevant unless you’re using exclusively Alexa devices or you’re just starting a smart home.
Eero uses a “true multi-channel mesh network,” which means all the bands on the system are used for node to node and client communication.
Eero makes lots of behind the scenes optimizations to keep your network running smoothly. With most mesh systems, when you walk around, your devices have a slight hiccup when your device switches its connection to a different node. This doesn’t happen with Eero.
Your devices are smoothly handed off from one node to the other without being apparent.
I’ve had Eero in my house for years and never notice the internet, which is the best thing you can say about a WiFi system.
Eero has a feature called “Band Steering” that helps push your 5 GHz capable devices on to the 5 GHz channel for faster speeds.
How do the models differ with stability?
Eero and Eero Pro have been around for a long time. These are the stablest networks I’ve ever tested.
Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 have been in my house for two months. Overall, they’ve been great, but I had a cutout while on my MacBook where the WiFi was lost for five seconds. Since the release of firmware version 6.02, both models have been flawless.
Firmware version 6.1.1 has fixed most of the early issues a small number of people faced, but some are still experiencing problems achieving proper speeds. I can’t speak to these issues first-hand because I haven’t seen them myself, but I’m sure Eero will fix it soon. Keep in mind, the WiFi 6 Eero systems are brand new, and early problems are inevitable.
The “Optimize for Conferencing and Gaming” feature that prioritizes video streaming devices is missing from Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6, but it will eventually get added across the lineup.
Specs For Each Model
|Model||AC/AX Rating||Mesh Mbps||Coverage Per Node|
|Eero Beacon||AC1300||350||1,500 sqft|
|Eero 6||AX1800||500||1,500 sqft|
|Eero Pro||AC2200||550||1,750 sqft|
|Eero Pro 6||AX4200||1,000||1,750 sqft|
I created an iPerf3 server on my MacBook Pro, which plugged into my Eero via an Ethernet cable. This tests the throughput speed rather than factoring in my internet speed, which is a more realistic representation of what can be expected compared to Eero’s spec sheet.
My house is just 1,200 square feet, but I want to cover the entire backyard too. For each model tested, I used a two-node configuration and they were placed in the same optimal spot for my house.
I used the iPerf3 app on my iPhone 12 Pro (WiFi 6 enabled) to check the throughput speeds from ten set locations in my house and backyard, then averaged my numbers together.
There are many variables at play when comparing my house to yours: which node your device connects to, how many nodes you have, your home’s layout, your ISP speed, and the capabilities of your client.
Remember, when a device is plugged into Eero 6, Eero Pro, or Eero Pro 6 directly, you should be able to get close to gigabit internet speeds. I’m testing for wireless mesh speeds.
Thoughts On Results
Eero 5 is just fine for most people and should be able to deliver close to 200Mbps in a mesh setup.
Eero Pro 5 will be more beneficial if you have huge house and require more than a few nodes, while the dual-band Eero 6 will be more beneficial to those who plan to have lots of capable WiFi 6 devices.
Eero Pro 6 is about 15% faster than Eero 6, but neither will achieve gigabit speeds in a wireless mesh setup.
Because Eero Pro 6 is $600, you’re right to be disappointed that it won’t pump out gigabit speeds. But the Eero ecosystem isn’t for people who want great value or to reach top-end speeds. Eero delivers premium stability and seamless device switching and has amazing user-friendly software.
How They Work
Eero and Eero 6 are dual-band systems, which means lots of your bandwidth is used for the nodes to communicate with each other without a ton of room left for your clients.
Eero Pro and Eero Pro 6 are tri-band systems, which means there’s an extra 5 GHz band. The extra band gives more room for your devices because not as much will be used up for the backhaul communication.
Other WiFi 6 Benefits
OFDMA and Multi-User MIMO are two WiFi 6 features that work together. The OFDMA increases the efficiency and reduces the latency of the connection, while MU-MIMO increases the capacity, which gives you higher speeds.
The oversimplified version: Data is sent to multiple devices in the same broadcast, which means with lots of WiFi 6 devices running they’re more likely to maintain top speed.
Did I see any of this in real life?
Sort of. The Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 radios are faster than their predecessors, but more importantly, the backhaul (the communication between the nodes) is faster. The backhaul improvements are even better on the Eero 6 Pro model which has two additional spatial streams. The 5.8 GHz channel has a 4×4 radio, compared to the 2×2 radio on Eero Pro, which improves your speed when connected to the secondary nodes.
On the client-side, smartphones (made between 2014-2018) have a 2×2 MIMO WiFi 5 radio, which can reach about 650Mbps in real speed. While newer smartphones have a 2×2 MIMO WiFi 6 radio, which can reach about 850Mbps in real speed.
With my maximum ISP speed of 117Mbps and only a few WiFi 6 devices, it was hard to see any impact WiFi 6 had on my network.
Eero comes in five different flavors. Each has a glossy white finish and is more attractive than a traditional black router with antennas pointing out of it.
You can put them anywhere in your house without them being distracting.
The standard Eero 6 three set comes with one router and two extenders. The extender name is deceiving because it pumps out the same signal as the gateway, just like any Eero set. However, the Eero 6 “extenders” are missing Ethernet ports, which isn’t ideal if you have more than one smart hub or device that requires Ethernet. The other downside? You can’t create a wired backhaul if you want one.
Eero Beacon has the same specs as Eero 5, but it plugs into an outlet without a cord.
Which is best for you?
Get Eero if you want to increase the range of your current network at an affordable price. If you want WiFi that doesn't require any maintenance. You should average 200Mbps in a mesh configuration.Check Amazon’s Price
Get Eero Pro if you have a big house that requires lots of nodes. Eero Pro has been stable for years and won't come with firmware surprises. Eero Pro has more range, and more room for backhaul communication because of the third band, which will result in a faster network with more than a few nodes. You should average 300Mbps in a mesh configuration.Check Amazon’s Price
Get Eero 6 if you want the best value Eero system. It has WiFi 6 radios that will increase your network’s performance as you buy more WiFi 6 compatible devices. You should average 300Mbps in a mesh configuration.Check Amazon’s Price
Get Eero Pro 6 if you want the best Eero system ever made. $230 each or $600 for the three-set is a lot of money when considering other systems deliver similar speeds for a lower price. If you're mad about Eero's speed, you've missed the point of Eero. You should average 500Mbps in a mesh configuration.Check Amazon’s Price
Where do I place the nodes?
Each Eero node needs to be out in the open and placed on a hard surface. Ideally, the gateway node (the one plugged into your modem), should be in a central location.
The secondary nodes should be placed within a couple of rooms of the gateway node because it needs a strong signal. If you have a poor signal in the bedroom and you want to improve it, adding a node to the bedroom won’t help. There’s no signal. You need to add a node between your gateway and the bedroom.
For optimal performance, each node should get its signal from the gateway router. If you’re constrained by the location of your modem, your network will still work if node #3 gets its signal from node #2, but your performance will suffer.
What about a wired backhaul?
A wired backhaul is when you connect the secondary nodes to the gateway node with an Ethernet cable, allowing your secondary nodes to achieve the same speed as the gateway.
A wired backhaul makes sense if you have a long or tall house where the gateway node can’t be centrally located.
With a wired backhaul, the third band from Eero Pro is less important. Rather than wasting bandwidth space on the nodes communicating with each other, that space is used for your clients.
For most people, the inconvenience of setting up a wired backhaul isn’t a worthy sacrifice to get a few download speed points. The beauty of Eero’s mesh setup is that Eero does a ton of work in the background to make everything run smooth without needing to think. But if you like to tinker, optimize the crap out of your system.
Can I pair different Eero models together?
You can mix and match any Eero model on one network. But I recommend using the highest performance node as your gateway. If you have Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6, the Pro 6 should be the one plugged into your modem.
Can I use Eero with my ISP?
Yes. Eero should work with any ISP. If you have a combination router/modem, you’ll need to disable the router part, by putting it into bridge mode. Then, just plug in your gateway Eero to your modem.
Is WiFi 6 worth the upgrade right now?
Lots of people think they want to get a WiFi 6 network to be future-proof. But that argument doesn’t hold up because the FCC has already approved a new standard, called WiFi 6E.
WiFi 6E takes all the good parts from WiFi 6, plus it opens up a new 6GHz band. The 6GHz band should help to quadruple the amount of space available. The radios to put inside the new routers will be crazy expensive, and I wouldn’t expect Eero to release a new system for a couple of years.