In 2016, Eero essentially reinvented the router and the way we interact with home wi-fi. Using a system of connected hubs called Eeros, its mesh router system evenly and broadly spreads wi-fi signals throughout houses. (Fewer dead zones; more happy family members.) However, the idea was so popular that a host of other companies, including big boys like Netgear, Samsung and Google, created their own mesh router systems; PC Mag even has a dedicated buying guide, “Best Wi-Fi Mesh Network Systems of 2017.” With more players in the game, Eero needed to re-distinguish itself.
Eero’s new second-generation hubs ($199/ea) and the Eero Beacon ($149) do just that. The Eero hubs are twice as fast and have more range than the original Eero hubs (which Eero has phased out). The Eero Beacon, a completely new product, plugs directly into the wall and acts as a wi-fi extender. Its signal isn’t as fast or powerful as the second-gen Eero hub (although Eero claims that it’s more powerful than the first-gen hub), but the Beacon is more affordable and takes up less space; you can put it in a hallway, kitchen or closet and enjoy powerful wi-fi extension. The Beacon also acts a LED nightlight, which you can control via the Eero app.
What separates Eero’s second-gen system from the likes of Google Wi-fi is its support for Thread, a wireless standard that allows the Eero system to connect with low-power devices. Basically, you’re able to control things like smart locks, smart doorbells and smart lights from the Eero app. (Other Thread control options include proprietary apps for each device, use of a smart speaker like Amazon Echo, or a wireless controller by Z-Wave or Zigbee.) Thread support isn’t a game-changer for Eero, yet, but it will make it slightly easier for people to add smart home devices to their network.
Eero also introduced Eero Plus, a $10/month subscription service that adds an extra layer of security to your network — Eero claims it protects against “millions of malicious websites with ransomware, viruses, phishing scams, and more.” The subscription also gives parents more control over search and sites visited.
The second-generation Eero system is available in a few different packages. You can buy one Eero and two Beacons for $399; one Eero and one Beacon for $299; and three Eeros for $499. You can preorder now and they will ship in a few weeks.
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