Eero wants to "blanket your home in fast, reliable WiFi"

Eero
Credit: Eero

The first thing I do when I move into a new apartment is figure out where the office and cable modem are going to be, and how I'm going to snake a long Ethernet cable from that location to the entertainment center in the living room. Sure I have a WiFi network as well, but I just don't trust WiFi to give me a rock-solid connection for streaming media in the living room.

Maybe the next time I move things will be different thanks to Eero, a new company and device that came out of stealth mode yesterday. Eero calls itself a "WiFi system" and claims it is not a router, but at least part of its features seem very router-like to me (it handles DHCP, NAT and firewall duties), and it replaces your router. OK let's face it, it is a router but Eero says it does so much more! For one thing you can (and probably should) buy several Eero units and distribute them around your dwelling (one of them attaches to your cable or DSL modem) and they'll find each other and build a mesh network that should blanket your living area with a solid WiFi signal. That's the pitch anyway:

You set up Eero using a smartphone app, and you can use the same app to easily see what's going on in your network; an appealing feature to those of us living in close proximity to neighbors who may or may not have managed to breach our WiFi security.

Eero is also supposed to update itself, so you don't have to worry about security updates and such. According to the pitch you'll never have to reboot it.

It all sounds very appealing and you can read more about Eero in this post on Medium, but the bad news is that Eero is fairly expensive.

You can pre-order a single Eero for $125 or a 3-pack for $299 (plus $10 shipping), which isn't totally out of whack. A quick glance through Amazon shows you can spend anywhere from $20 to $180 for a consumer-level WiFi router. Once Eero is released prices will go up quite a bit, though, to $199 for a single Eero or $499 for a set of three, and that seems pretty steep to me.

Since Eero hasn't launched yet, there're no reviews to read and no way of knowing how well it'll actually perform, which makes pre-ordering feel like a bit of a gamble. There's also no indication of how long pre-orders will be available at this reduced price. Eero says it will start shipping this summer (pre-orders will be billed immediately).

I'm urging caution at this point, but I'm not sure I'll take my own advice. I'm finding their pitch pretty compelling and it'd be nice to have a good WiFi signal out on the back porch (currently a bleak and desolate WiFi dead zone) and maybe even convert the entertainment center over to wireless and get rid of all those cables.

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