Thursday, June 30, 2016

Thoughts on eero WiFi System

Wifi in our house sucked.

I live in a townhouse which is three floors.  The top floor is the "office" which is where the Cable Modem is setup and where our router was located. We had a well reviewed Netgear. Granted, the layout of our office kinda sucks, and is a checklist of all the wrong things to have around a WiFi signal such as right next to a cordless phone, by a subwoofer sitting on top of a glass table.

If you were in the same room as the router, WiFi was pretty fast. Not blazing, but fast enough.

If you left the room, it got worse, and if you went to a different floor, such as the second floor which has the living room and kitchen and the Xbox and the iPads, it was abysmal.  I don't just mean it was slow, I mean you got almost no signal.

So we bought a different router.  Same results.

We changed the location of the router from on top of a table, to underneath it. We added tin foil to it, seriously, to see if that would help. We adjusted the settings and the "channel", switched from 2.4Ghz to 5Ghz.

Nothing helped.

Meet eero.



After reading about it, it seemed like exactly what we were looking for. We tried range extenders in our house but it didn't help.

So I picked up the 3 pack for $499.  Expensive yes, but a good router is about $200 and this is basically 3 routers which work seamlessly together to create a mesh network (pretty much how your office blankets your office with WiFi)

Setup is incredibly simple. Put your Cable Modem into bridge mode and plug the modem directly into an Eero unit.

Now a quick word on the lack of ethernet ports on the Eero. There are only two.  One of them is immediately taken by your modem leaving you one.  I solved this by picking up a simple $20 switch.



After setting up the first Eero I went into our master bedroom about 20 feet away.  The first location I tried to use couldn't see the other Eero.  So I moved it a bit closer and it connected.

I ran a simple test on fast.com and was getting 170mbps down.

Yes, 170.



We pay for 150.

But, 170 is what we were getting.

I probably didn't need to, but I then installed the third eero on the second floor.

Remember the second floor not only had terrible speeds it had no WiFi signal most of the time.

We're getting between 40-80mbps on the second floor now.

After a few hours, we did see some significant slow downs and connection issues.  Within around 24 hours, I received an email stating all my eeros were updated to version 1.10 of the firmware. (most of the negative reviews you'll see are related to the 1.0 version of the software which by all accounts was more beta than ready for primetime) but it seems they have fixed many of the complains you might find on Amazon reviews.

I was also told by eero support that it takes a few days for the mesh network to settle in and optimize. Personally I think that's bullshit, but I'm no network engineer.

After a few weeks, we still have incredibly fast internet speeds and the house is blanketed in WiFi.  It also gave me the confidence to now add things like the Nest Smart Thermostat since our WiFi issues are at hing of the past.

Could we have solved the problem with some network settings within our netgear routers? Maybe? But I shouldn't have to.  The things should just work, and Eero just works. I'm not a huge fan of only being able to update the network settings from the Eero app, or the fact that the system only works if it can connect to the Eero cloud platform ( if Eero goes out of business, than these things will be useless)

But, for now, this is an incredible product that completely solved our problem and I'd highly recommend it if you have any issues with WiFi in your house.


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