Eero 6 check: Sensible dwelling administration made straightforward

Eero 6 Wi-Fi 6 System (3 Pack)

“When a growing smart home needs to be covered, the Eero 6 is a cost-effective solution.”

  • Affordable Wi-Fi 6 mesh system

  • Intuitive device management via app

  • Solid speeds from the router

  • Few ethernet ports on the router

Routers are likely a priority for many people. It’s one of those underrated devices in the home that only works in the background, and the only time it ever comes to mind is when things aren’t working properly.

A growing smart home presents some challenges as more and more devices require connectivity. This is why you should look into a router that can manage them all. With integrated Wi-Fi 6, mesh networks and a system that can be controlled with Amazon Alexa, the Eero 6 is certainly an attractive option for the average consumer.

Cover for the whole house

Growing your smart home includes not just the devices, but adequate coverage to ensure they stay connected and are not compromised in any way. The Eero 6 is a dual band Wi-Fi 6 mesh network that allows you to provision extender nodes to cover large rooms. For smaller spaces like my apartment, which is a smidge over 1,000 square feet, the Eero 6 is a bit of an overkill – but others will appreciate its 5,000 square foot range for larger homes and rooms.

John Velasco / Digital Trends

In my setup, the system packs a router and two extender nodes. I use it as a secondary, complementary network that contains my Internet of Things (IoT devices) – while my main network serves as the primary network for surfing the Internet with my smartphones and computers. Similar to other mesh routers I’ve checked out, the Eero router is connected to my modem gateway via one of its two gigabit ports. When you urgently need to connect other devices, there isn’t much left. I know how quickly things can get out of hand when you introduce smart home devices that require their own hubs or bridges. So it would have been nice to have more ports.

This is exactly what the growing smart home needs.

The extender nodes only act as Wi-Fi hubs to extend the range of the network to every corner of your home. Depending on the signal strength, I like that the Eero 6 automatically selects which node / router the devices are connected to. For example, the two smart displays in my bedroom connect to the extender node, which is in the same room – unlike the main router in the living room. In contrast to the router, the node extenders do not have any Ethernet ports for expansion. Not too surprising, but I still wish they had one or two.

Convenient smart home management

Today’s routers are more consumer-friendly than ever, and the Eero 6 is no exception. Setting up is a breeze and all it takes is plugging the router into my gateway and downloading the Eero app. From there, you can attach it to your Amazon account to access voice control with Alexa.

The app does a good job of breaking down which devices are connected to the Eero 6. Since the naming conventions for some devices can be unclear, I would recommend going back to the app as soon as possible to change them. My smart home consists of more than 50 connected devices. So it is useful that I oversee their activities, especially if you notice that a gadget appears to be sending larger amounts of data. It’s a red flag that can help users better understand the behavior of their devices.

When it comes to the smart home, disabling access to a specific device is made easy with Alexa’s help. Once you’ve enabled the Eero Alexa skill, you can instruct the voice assistant to stop WiFi for a specific device or the entire network.

It’s worth noting that the Eero 6 has an integrated ZigBee smart home hub, much like the latest Amazon Echo (4th generation). This makes it a breeze to connect ZigBee-enabled accessories and devices through the Alexa app without the need to use other third-party apps. That way, you don’t have to manage another app or service. So, if you’re already deeply involved in Amazon’s ecosystem, the Eero 6’s ability to control ZigBee devices comes in handy.

Speed, speed, speed

The Comcast Xfinity router I’ve been using for a while now offers average download and upload speeds of 250Mbps and 40Mbps, respectively. Interestingly, switching to the Eero 6 has boosted performance to around 350 Mbit / s and 41 Mbit / s. The faster download speed is only achieved through the main Eero 6 router.

Eero 6 Wi-Fi Mesh RouterJohn Velasco / Digital Trends

However, when connected to one of the extender nodes, the performance will drop to about the same as my Xfinity router. For most smart home devices, this shouldn’t be a problem, unless it’s a security camera that uploads footage to the cloud for you to access. The latency response via the extender nodes is roughly the same as that of the main Eero router. This is therefore useful for real-time video conversations that you may have on a smart display, security camera, or other device.

Our opinion

You can’t go wrong with the Eero 6 – this is exactly what the growing smart home needs to keep expanding. It has it all: a built-in ZigBee hub, expansion through extenders, device management, Alexa control, and an affordable $ 279 for a 3-pack system. For comparison, a similar Google Nest Wi-Fi kit costs $ 349. However, Google’s offering has the added value of its Node Extenders, which use Google Assistant for voice control so that they can effectively act as smart speakers.

How long it will take?

The minimalist all-plastic construction of the Eero 6 feels decent, but since they’re unlikely to ever move once they’re set up, there’s little chance they’ll get damaged. In the event something goes bad on its own, there is a 1 year limited warranty to cover it.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes and no. The Google Nest Wi-Fi costs more, but the added convenience of the Google Assistant built into its extender nodes provides useful features for the smart home.

Should you buy it?

This is a good option if you are looking for a mesh network system that does not require an expensive investment.

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