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Eero 6 mesh routers announced: Amazon’s Wi-Fi 6 upgrade for the work-from-home era – CNET

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The new Eero Pro 6 is the company’s most capable mesh router yet.

Amazon

Last year, Amazon bought the mesh networking startup Eero, then promptly released a new, more affordable version of the Eero mesh router. Now, one year later, the company is back with two new mesh routers: the Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6. As the names would indicate, both new systems add in support for Wi-Fi 6 — the newest and fastest version of Wi-Fi.

“Customers need reliable home Wi-Fi now more than ever,” said Eero co-founder and CEO Nick Weaver. “Many of us are working from home, helping kids with online learning, keeping in touch with friends and family, and streaming and gaming in 4K — often at the same time. The Eero 6 series is the fastest Eero series yet, giving our customers the speed and reliability of Wi-Fi 6 at an affordable price.”

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The new Eero 6 mesh router is available for preorder now.

Amazon

The price in question — $279 for a three-piece, dual-band system — is just $30 more than what the previous version of Eero cost when it launched in 2019. A two-piece Eero 6 system is also available for $199, while a single Eero 6 router on its own will cost you $129. 

That two-piece, $199 system is probably a good enough starting point for most — and you can always add additional extenders to expand your mesh for $89 each.

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The Eero Pro 6 devices are slightly wider than the regular Eero 6, but nearly identical in design.

Amazon

Those willing to spend more for a faster, triband Eero system with an additional 5GHz band for improved performance can pay up for the Eero Pro 6. That three-pack will cost $599, with the two-pack selling for $399 and a single router costing $229.

With multiple devices designed to relay a stronger, more reliable Wi-Fi signal throughout your entire house, Eero’s mesh routers have a good track record for reliability and ease of use in our tests. The addition of Wi-Fi 6 support allows them to take advantage of wonky new features like OFDMA and 1024QAM that make Wi-Fi faster and better suited for situations where lots of devices are trying to connect at once.

Speaking of speed, Eero says that the Eero 6 system is designed for homes with internet connections of up to 500Mbps — half the speed of a standard gigabit connection. That’s faster than last year’s Eero, but a little slow by bombastic Wi-Fi 6 standards, with routers that regularly make big promises of multigig top speeds. Claims like those are often grossly overstated, though, and Amazon and Eero seem more interested in positioning this system as a Wi-Fi 6 value pick. The straight talk on speed is honestly pretty refreshing.

Still, 500Mbps is about one third the top speed we saw from our lab’s fastest Wi-Fi 6 speed test on record. Other, more high-powered mesh routers that support Wi-Fi 6, including the Asus ZenWiFi AX and the Netgear Orbi AX6000, have each notched top speeds well above 500Mbps in our tests, too. Two-packs of those cost $450 and $700, respectively.

That’s where the Eero Pro 6 comes in. Eero says that it’s designed for gigabit connections, and the two-pack costs $399. If it can keep up with competitors like those, then it’ll be an easy upgrade pick for me to recommend.

Eero also does a good job of keeping home networks secure with regular, automatic security updates for all Eero devices. That approach will continue with the new routers, and the company will also continue to offer advanced privacy and parental control features for $2.99 per month with an Eero Secure subscription. A new Eero Secure Plus subscription adds 1Password password management, Malwarebytes malware protection and Encrypt.me VPN access to the package for a total cost of $9.99 per month.

The routers include built-in Zigbee radios to let them connect with things like smart locks and Philips Hue smart lights, and they’ll also continue to work with Alexa, which lets you pair them with an Echo speaker, then tell Amazon’s assistant to cut the kids’ Wi-Fi when they’re misbehaving (among other tricks). But Eero devices don’t include built-in microphones or speakers of their own, like Google’s Nest Wifi, and they won’t double as bridges for Amazon Sidewalk, either, at least not yet. My hunch is that Amazon wants to keep Eero positioned as a more privacy-minded alternative to Nest.

Also missing is support for Wi-Fi 6E, which designates routers and devices that are equipped to tap into a massive swath of newly unlocked 6GHz bandwidth. The first routers like that should start arriving at the end of this year, but Eero won’t be among them. 

In a brief conversation with CNET following the event, Eero founder and CEO Nick Weaver noted that Wi-Fi 6E really only makes sense for triband routers, where the 6GHz spectrum can serve as the third, additional band without replacing the existing 5GHz or 2.4GHz band. Potentially, that would be a good fit for Eero Pro, but Weaver wouldn’t comment on the company’s plans for future hardware.

Each of the new Eero systems is available for preorder on Amazon starting today, and will be available at major retailers later this year. Eero also plans to offer the routers through participating internet service providers, homebuilders and custom installers. We’ll test them both out as soon as we can get our hands on them, so stay tuned for those reviews.

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