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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Easy setup via phone app
Eliminates Wi-Fi dead zones
Great wired speeds
Wi-Fi speeds are a little slow
Only one Ethernet port
No web interface
No way to prioritize devices or traffic
The Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi system is an expandable router-and-beacon networking solution that virtually anyone can set up with zero prior experience.
The Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi system is a Wi-Fi networking solution that makes use of a base station router and remote beacons to extend your wireless network throughout your home or office. It’s a remarkably flexible system that allows you to use multiple Eero Pro routers, a single Eero Pro router and multiple beacons, or whatever configuration works best for your circumstances.
Mesh router systems can be tricky to set up and use, so we recently took an Eero Pro and a couple of beacons home to see how they work under real-world conditions. We checked things like wired and wireless speed, ease of setup and use, range, and more. Keep reading to find out the results of our exhaustive testing.
The Eero Pro is a mesh system that allows you to use a couple of modular components to build out a wireless network that works with your living space or office. The main component is the Eero Pro router itself, which is a sleek little unit that’s significantly smaller than most routers. It’s also a lot simpler, with just one indicator light, no external ports or antennas, and only two Ethernet ports.
In addition to the Eero Pro router, you can also mix and match Eero beacons in with your system. The beacons share the same sleek white design aesthetic, and they’re even simpler. Each beacon is designed to be plugged directly into a power outlet, and they don’t have any Ethernet ports at all.
In the configuration we tested, we set up a basic network with a single Eero Pro and then connected two beacons. Depending on the layout of your home or office, you can stick with just a single beacon, add multiple beacons, or even use multiple Eero Pro routers, with the additional units in bridge mode.
If you’ve hesitated to set up your own wireless network, or shied away from mesh networks, because it seems too complicated, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the Eero Pro. The entire setup process is accomplished with the help of a smartphone app that walks you through every step, and the overall experience is one of the easiest we’ve ever seen.
You can place your Eero Pro and beacons wherever you want, but the app is designed to help you find the optimum locations. You can even tell the app how many floors you have and choose a floor plan that looks similar to your home to receive customized suggestions.
When you place each Eero beacon, the app automatically tests to see if the placement will work. We received the go ahead on our first try in each case, but it’s nice that the app has the ability to let you know if you might have placement issues.
The one issue with Eero that may bother some people is that you have to sign up for an account during the setup process. This includes providing Eero with your phone number so that they can send you a confirmation code. It was a quick and easy process, but it was a bit of an annoyance all the same.
The Eero Pro is a MU-MIMO tri-band router that broadcasts one 2.4GHz channel and two 5GHz channels, and the beacons are dual-band with one 2.4 GHz and one 5GHz channel each. Unlike most routers, Eero does not provide an AC rating for the Eero Pro. They do, however, give some numbers.
According to Eero, their maximum rated transmit speeds are 240 Mbps at 2.4GHz and 600Mbps at 5GHz. That would make the tri-band Eero Pro an AC1440 device, which is on the low side for a router in this price range.
The issue, of course, is that a router with a massive AC rating won’t necessarily reach those numbers in the real world, and the point of a product like the Eero Pro is to create a large mesh network rather than provide the highest possible speed from a single access point.
The biggest shortfall of the Eero Pro, in terms of connectivity, is that it only has two ethernet ports.
The Eero Pro does support MU-MIMO, which is a technology that’s designed to seamlessly provide the highest possible connection speeds to devices that use different underlying wireless technologies. You even have the option to broadcast a single Wi-Fi network ID for all of your devices to connect to, so you don’t have to choose between the 2.4GHz network for distance or the 5GHz network for speed.
The biggest shortfall of the Eero Pro, in terms of connectivity, is that it only has two Ethernet ports. One connects the router to your modem, and the other can be connected to a device like a computer to provide a wired internet connection. If you want to connect other devices via Ethernet, you’ll need a network switch.
We tested network throughput performance on a Mediacom gigabit internet connection, testing both the wired Ethernet connection and the automatic system that’s designed to automatically switch between 2.4GHz and 5GHz based on speed and performance.
When connected to the Eero Pro via a wired connection, we averaged about 937Mbps over several tests. The wired connection obviously isn’t the main attraction here, in a Wi-Fi mesh system, but it’s worth noting that this is one of the fastest wired speeds we’ve seen out of the various routers we’ve tested using the same connection and hardware.
Using the wireless system, without any beacons connected, we averaged 265Mbps down and 67Mbps up with our test device about three feet from the router. This is significantly slower than other 5GHz routers we’ve tested on this connection, but it’s still plenty fast enough for streaming 4K video, playing games, and other similar purposes.
If you need to extend your Wi-Fi network through a very large space, or you have a history of Wi-Fi dead zones, our hands-on testing shows that the Eero Pro can get the job done.
We performed our next test about 15 feet from the router, with no beacons connected, with a closed door between the router and our test device. We saw the exact same download speed at that distance, and a slightly lower upload speed of about 63Mbps.
Our next test was performed 30 feet from the router, with no beacons connected, and two walls between the router and the device. At that distance, our download speed dropped to an average of about 210Mbps, while the upload remained unchanged.
With beacons connected, we were able to maintain the baseline 265Mbps connection speed throughout the entirety of our roughly 1,800 square foot space. We even installed a beacon in an RV parked about 50 feet from the router when we had visitors while we were testing this system, successfully extending the same baseline connection speed out there.
If you have a large house with multiple floors, or you suffer from strange Wi-Fi dead zones, we’re confident that the Eero Pro and enough beacons should do the trick.
Eero provides a smartphone app that you can install on your iPhone or Android device. You need the app to set the network up initially, and you also have to use the app to manage the network later on. The app is very easy to understand and use, but it is important to note that this is the only method of managing your Eero Pro. Most routers have a web interface, but Eero doesn’t.
The Eero Pro system is designed to be just about as simple and user-friendly as possible, and that extends to the app. It’s very clean, with a home screen that displays your top devices by usage, the status of each Eero Pro and beacon in your system, and the latest internet speed tests. This information is very easy to digest, even if you aren’t a networking expert.
The Eero Pro system is designed to be just about as simple and user-friendly as possible, and that extends to the app.
The internet connection speed section is primarily aimed at users who aren’t sure how fast their connection needs to be. The system runs tests on a regular basis, with the option to test manually, and provides a little message about the types of activities you can do with that speed. For example, with our gigabit connection, Eero let us know that we could expect to stream 4K video, use video chat apps, and stream games on multiple devices. For a layman, this is all very useful information.
The app also allows you to customize your network, although some features are locked behind a subscription. For example, you can’t set a custom DNS without subscribing to Eero Secure.
Eero Secure is a subscription service that you receive a free trial for when you first set up your network. It automatically scans for problems, blocks threats, and blocks ads at the DNS level, and you can see details about what it has blocked through the app. It also has content filters and parental controls, but we’ll address that in the next section.
Eero Pro comes with powerful built-in parental controls that you manage through the app. It works by creating profiles for each member of your family, assigning devices to those profiles, and then placing content blocks and scheduling internet pauses for your kids if you don’t want them getting online during homework time or in the middle of the night.
The built-in parental controls are great, but the catch is you have to pay extra for this feature. If you want to access parental controls, in addition to threat scanning and blocking, ad blocking, and advanced network security, it will set you back $3.99/month or $29.99/year.
In the configuration we tested, with a single Eero Pro and two beacons, this system has an MSRP of $319. A single Eero Pro has an MSRP of $159, and beacons have an MSRP of $149. You can also buy Eero Pro routers and beacons in a variety of other configurations, like three routers, a router and a single beacon, and others.
At $319, the system we tested is a little on the pricey side. You can typically find superior routers, like the Linksys EA9500, for just a little bit more than that. The catch is that those routers may offer superior performance in some areas, but they don’t offer the flexibility of a mesh system.
If you need to extend your Wi-Fi network through a very large space, or you have a history of Wi-Fi dead zones, our hands-on testing shows that the Eero Pro can get the job done. That makes it well worth the price, although it isn’t the only mesh system on the market.
The Netgear Orbi is one of the closest competitors to the Eero Pro, and there’s a lot to like about both systems. The Orbi is a lot more complicated than the Eero Pro, as you have more choices. The closest to the system we tested is their RBK33 system, which has an MSRP of $300. Like the Eero Pro system we tested, the RBK33 comes with an Orbi router and two plug-in satellites.
Pricing is similar, with the Orbi coming in a bit cheaper, but the Orbi router actually comes with some features you don’t get with the Eero Pro. For example, the Orbi router includes four Ethernet ports compared to just two on the Eero Pro. The Orbi router also includes a sync button, which is something you don’t have to worry about with the Eero Pro.
With Eero, the whole point is to make things as simple and easy as possible. You plug in a router or beacon, the app detects it, and you can add it to the network. Compare this to the Orbi and its system of pushing sync buttons and routers and satellites, and you’ll see just one example where the Eero outshines Orbi in terms of ease of use.
Eero Pro and Orbi both support MU-MIMO, and they have similar base ranges, with the Eero Pro router exhibiting a slight edge in range. The Orbi is marketed as an AV2200 device, which theoretically gives it a slight speed advantage based on our calculated AC rating for the Eero Pro.
This is the mesh router system you want if you’ve never set up a network.
The Eero Pro is a little on the pricey side, and we were a bit disappointed in the speeds that we measured during testing, but the bottom line is that this system offers decent performance while demystifying the process of setting up a mesh Wi-Fi network. If you want a painless setup process and a system that just works, the Eero Plus is what you’re looking for.