Hardware Review Eero 2nd Generation Review: Now Twice As Powerful! On Top Of The Connectivity Revolution

Clinton McClure

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A quick thought while I'm on my lunch break at work:

Back in February, I made the proclamation that I would never own an eero since I didn’t want Amazon snooping on my household internet traffic. I had a rock-solid Airport Extreme Base Station extended to an Airport Express and that’s all I needed… At least until I needed something new.

Around Memorial Day, my AEBS began to require daily (or several times daily) reboots to maintain internet connectivity. A factory reset and reconfig didn’t fix my issue so the search was on for a new router that could take the place of my AEBS. The more research I did, the more I liked the idea of a mesh network and wanted to future-proof my needs for whenever we move within the next 6 months - year. (That’s an entirely different story that I’m not going into in this thread.) Our current house is about 1350 square feet but our next will almost definitely be larger so I wanted to be ready. During my search, I kept coming upon review after review of the 2nd gen eero platform. I had already read Ron’s glowing review several times and began to take note of IT professionals and tech reviewers who recommended eero above other mesh networks. I listened to John Gruber discuss eero on The Talk Show and it gets a stamp of approval from the guys at Grumpy Old Geeks podcast.

After a lot of thought, I decided to forgo my misgivings and give eero a chance and I’m really glad I did. I bought the two base eero Pro package. The gateway eero is in the dining room where the internet enters our house. The other eero is in the living room under the tv. I could have probably gotten away with just buying one eero base and I know I could have gotten away with a base and a beacon but I wanted the extra little bit of flexibility the second base offered. Plus, I have a feeling the beacon would have eventually gotten unplugged and not plugged back in. I know how things tend to work around my house.

As Ron alluded to in his review, setup is amazingly simple. Almost too simple. In fact, it was so simple that I kept expecting something to go wrong. As an aside, my only complaint with eero setup and post-setup maintenance is that everything has to be done through the mobile app. The app is nicely designed and hasn’t crashed on me yet, but it bothers me that there is no MacOS app. I got used to not using a web-based setup screen with my AEBS so I’m not missing that but I would like to have a MacOS app as well as the iOS app. There are times when I am sitting on the sofa working on my MacBook Pro and my iPhone may be across the room or on the coffee table and I need to look at something on the eero app so I have to put my MBP to the side and go get my iPhone. But I digress… Anyway, the entire setup process was brilliantly simple and took under 15 minutes for both base units. Of course, there was a firmware update that I had to immediately download and apply to both bases but that only took an additional 15 minutes or so. And the great thing about eero updates as I have discovered – If you update one eero, you will simultaneously update all active eeros on your network. It’s an all or nothing proposition.

During setup, I was given the option on how to handle DHCP and NAT. In the past, I had to put my AEBS into bridged mode to get it to work since my ISP doesn’t allow customers to disable the router portion of their broadband antenna. The antenna’s built-in router uses a 192.168.0.0 IP prefix by default. If I took the AEBS out of bridged mode, it would complain of double NAT and would absolutely refuse to connect to the internet. Even changing the IP prefix would still result in the double NAT warning and no internet. During setup, I initially placed my eero in bridged mode and it worked, but I wanted to test the full functionality of what eero had to offer. I went back into the advanced settings and changed the DHCP & NAT option to “Manual IP”. I was then presented a list of IP address prefixes I could choose from for my network: 192.168.0.0, 10.0.0.0, and 172.16.0.0. I chose the 10.0.0.0 prefix and expected to get a double NAT warning and no internet connectivity, however, the eero didn’t complain of double NAT. It accepted the prefix, assigned dynamic IPs to every device on the network and Bob’s your uncle… internet access. I am by no means competent in advanced networking but it is my understanding that double-NATing was once frowned upon because of latency issues among other things. So far, I haven’t experienced any added latency or network dropouts by doing this and Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu all stream fine. I don’t play online games because my internet isn’t fast enough so even if I did add a couple milliseconds of latency, I never see it.

So far I am really liking the ability to remotely monitor my home network, see any new devices that access the network (with an option to block said devices if I wish), see device activity, and even run a speed test if my wife calls or texts me complaining about the internet being slow. Aside from no MacOS app and not completely trusting Amazon to not monitor my network traffic for their own monetary gain, I can’t find anything to complain about. This should have been an Apple product. Apple should have bought eero when it went up for sale, or at least partnered with and propped them up financially. The eero should have succeeded the Airport Extreme Base Station. It’s the most Apple-like non-Apple product I’ve seen since I began buying Apple hardware 10 years ago.

All in all, I am quite pleased and this is very tasty crow.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Hi Clinton!

I was very pleased to hear how satisfied you are with eero.

This was a system that wasn't offered to me for review. I had to press the company many times to allow me to purchase it at their cost in exchange for a review. I then bought extra modules at full cost.

I did all this because I believed in their product already owning the first-gen system (this is the second-gen system).

It really doesn't bother me about Google owning eero. Everything we purchase these days involves our personal information being given away. If I had to make a choice about purchasing products based on what information of mine was being shared, I wouldn't have far less of these kinds of devices in my home.

Getting back to the product, I also agree this is a product Apple should have invested in. It is extremely Apple-esque both in form and function.

I am very happy with the speeds I am getting throughout my home.
 

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Dave,

Outstanding ethernet speed. Are you with Fios gigabit?

I have Fios gigabit but with all my cameras and WiFi devices my internet speed via ethernet is around 650-690 mbps
 

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Yep. FIOS gigabit. Upgraded this morning from 50/50 triple play to a gigabit double-play (dropped phone). I called and talked with a specialist and asked if they could get me something closer to new-customer pricing and service. I got lower price, faster service, and didn't have to do the new-customer switcharoo.
 

Clinton McClure

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Last weekend, I started having trouble with Hulu pausing every couple of minutes. Up until then, Hulu had been working fine. Rebooting my tv, both eeros, and my internet antenna didn’t fix the issue. I went back into the DHCP and NAT settings on my gateway eero and changed it back to bridged mode and the issue immediately cleared up and has not returned. Strange that it worked fine for three months...
 

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Yesterday, I lost internet and had to reboot my apple router. Might have been a hiccup from my gigabit change over. Might have been a random hardware glitch. Or maybe my 5+ year old router is starting to have problems. Networks are weird. :)
 

Clinton McClure

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Yesterday, I lost internet and had to reboot my apple router. Might have been a hiccup from my gigabit change over. Might have been a random hardware glitch. Or maybe my 5+ year old router is starting to have problems. Networks are weird. :)
Networking is 5% math and 95% magic.
 
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DaveF

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And I’ve got a friend keeping an eye out for the Netgear Orbi 3-pack to go on sale at Costco. I should have bought it in July when it was down to $330. But I didn’t think I’d upgrade my internet until end of the year so put it off. Hopefully it’s on sale again by Black Friday or sooner so I can upgrade my WiFi. :)
 

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We’re fortunate to live in an area that’s gotten GB fairly quickly, and neighborhood that was built for Fios, and has enough competition to bring prices down.

And I’m impressed that my simple Apple AEBS and bridged AirPort extender are getting me over 400 Mbps sometimes.

I’m realizing I don’t really need to go to a new mesh WiFi immediately. I think upgrading will give me more consistent WiFi performance than I see right now. But it’s not really pressing.
 

Clinton McClure

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I can’t judge whether the performance is any better since my internet is very unreliable but I’m no longer rebooting my router every day and I know I am future-proofed for whenever we move (probably late this year or early next year).
 
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Todd Erwin

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I can’t judge whether the performance is any better since my internet is very unreliable but I’m no longer rebooting my router every day and I know I am future-proofed for whenever we move (probably late this year or early next year).
What I really like about eero is the ability to check current isp speeds coming directly into the main router and check connectivity, all remotely.
 

Clinton McClure

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What I really like about eero is the ability to check current isp speeds coming directly into the main router and check connectivity, all remotely.
Unfortunately, I lost that capability when I had to switch back to bridged mode because of Hulu.
 

Clinton McClure

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I don’t know what the cause is. It worked fine between Memorial Day and Labor Day then Hulu would suddenly begin freezing every minute or so. Rebooting both eeros as well as my fixed wireless antenna didn’t help. Putting my gateway eero in bridged mode fixed the issue. My ISP swears they didn’t change anything Labor Day weekend. It’s all sorcery to me so as long as my streaming services all work, it really doesn’t matter to me whether or not I’m in bridged mode. The extra features of the eero controlling DHCP and NAT are nice but not entirely necessary.
 

Clinton McClure

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Why does Hulu need bridged mode? Are you using the Eero with an cable modem router?
I have fixed wireless internet. It’s barely better and less expensive than satellite internet but it’s the only game in town besides satellite. My antenna contains rudimentary router functions and my ISP will not allow me to put it into bridged mode, hence me dabbling with double-NAT for a few months.
 
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