A new way to Wi-Fi
Starting today, you can pre-order a single Eero for $125 (shipping begins this summer), but unless you're living in a closet-sized New York apartment, that's not a good idea. Eero claims its box can outperform any router from Apple, Asus, or other companies. Even so, the reality is that you'll almost definitely need more than one. Three is the magic number for most homes, according to Eero, and it's offering a three-pack for $299. That's going to strike most people as pretty expensive, and it's way more than some Netgear box from Best Buy. You could buy an Apple AirPort Extreme and an AirPort Express for around the same — and those products are backed by a proven reputation (and extensive customer support options). Eero can't lay claim to either of those things.
But in exchange for that money, Eero claims it will deliver a mesh network that blankets every corner of every room with strong, robust internet connectivity. Is saying goodbye to Netflix interruptions worth $300? The mesh network is seen by your devices under a single name (no picking between 2.4GHz and 5GHz, for example), and it'll automatically hunt for the best frequencies and channels to cut out interference. Above all else, Eero is vowing that you'll never have to pull out the power cord or reset the hardware yourself. It's all automatic. Everything. Again, that's in theory; we haven't been able to try Eero yet, so temper those expectations for now.
THE ONE ROUTER YOU'LL NEVER HAVE TO RESET
Once you're set up and you've chosen a network name, Eero promises its devices will handle most everything else on their own. Each router regularly connects to the cloud to automatically download and install security updates. The network will even run its own speed tests (never while you're downloading something or streaming a movie) to gauge performance. If Eero detects an issue, it'll notify you with an alert to your phone. It'll work to fix whatever's wrong and will automatically reboot itself. That's what co-founder and CEO Nick Weaver recently told The Verge, anyway. Everything should be hands-off on the user's part — until you feel like taking control yourself. We won't get to test how well all of this holds up until we get our hands on a review unit. In concept it sounds promising, but we can't predict how well Eero will execute on these features once it enters real homes.
Wi-Fi is already the foundation to most everything else we do at home. It's the life blood for Netflix, Spotify, your web browsing, Xbox Live gaming, connected thermostats, and who knows what else. And that's right now. Pretty soon, it'll need to handle even more without crumbling down and sending us into troubleshooting hell. Eero says it can obliterate the stress that would normally come with preparing for that future. Can it really stand up to companies that have been at this game for years, though? Belkin and Linksys have stuck around for a reason. We're looking forward to seeing if it delivers on those lofty ambitions (and is worth the serious investment) in the months ahead.
Update February 3rd 1:05PM ET: Article has been updated to emphasize that The Verge has not yet been able to test Eero's claims.