You want Wi-Fi that just works, everywhere in your house. You don’t want to think about it. And maybe, you’d prefer it were invisible, too — no garish alien spider routers creeping in the corner of your room.

In fact, the Eero Beacon doubles as a nightlight.


Josh Miller/CNET

That’s why you’re considering the Eero, with its new Eero Beacons. They’re about as simple and unobtrusive as can be: just download the app, plug the chic white base station into your modem and stick a Beacon — a self-contained range extender that hangs off your wall outlets like a nightlight — anywhere your internet still can’t reach.

Think of it like a Glade plug-in for Wi-Fi.

After weeks of testing, I’m happy to say the new-and-improved second-gen Eero platform mostly works as advertised. But is it the best Wi-Fi you can buy for the money? 

At $300 (roughly £230 or AU$375) for an Eero with one Beacon, $400 (roughly £305 or AU$500) for two Beacons or $500 (roughly £385 or AU$630) for the Pro set including three Eero routers… not really.

While Eero may be the biggest name in mesh networking (where multiple routers band together dynamically, like Eero and its beacons), it’s still not our top pick — that’d be the Netgear Orbi (RBK40 or RBK50) if price is no object, or the Google WiFi if it is. (The Amped Ally Plus is also a great pick, but only has one extender.)

Besides, we doubt most people will need a mesh system to begin with: For apartments and smaller homes, a single powerful router may do the job just as well for hundreds of dollars less. (Here are our top picks.)

In fact, in some scenarios, I found the new Eero system wasn’t any better than the original.

The complete Eero Home Wi-Fi set comes with one primary Eero (right) and two outlet-mounted Beacons (left). There’s also a $500 Eero Pro kit that comes with three of the primary units instead.


Josh Miller/CNET

Getting started

eero-beacon-setup

Eero’s app is where you do all the setup. It’s also where you can buy an optional subscription to the Eero Plus network protection service, which we didn’t test.


GIF by Sean Hollister/CNET

The basic idea, as before, is that Eero combines multiple access points into a single seamless Wi-Fi network that spans your entire house. Setup is a breeze: It took under 20 minutes for me to download the app, plug everything in and finish downloading software updates.

The hardest part (which wasn’t very hard) was simply needing to move the Beacon a couple of times before the base station was happy with its position. It took a couple minutes each time.

Since I was replacing an existing router, I was impressed to find 95 percent of my existing gadgets had no trouble automatically connecting to the Eero’s network, just by making sure the Eero’s name and password were the same as my previous setup. (My Philips Hue lighting hub was the only exception.)

Speaking of hubs: since the primary Eero only has two Ethernet jacks and the new Beacons have none, you’ll probably need to plug any wired devices into a network switch near your primary Eero.

It’s also worth noting that Eero doesn’t offer many advanced router features. You can pause the internet for certain devices or certain users (Hey Billy, it’s bedtime!), set up a guest network (also useful if, like me, you previously maintained separate 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks) or use the Eeros solely as wireless access points instead of routers if you need to — but that’s about it.



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