The eero Pro 6 is a powerful tri-band mesh router designed around simplicity and capability. Simplicity in looks, usability but rocking a high bar in capability. These guys are not a cheap investment, but are they worth it?

eero Pro 6

 

First Impressions

I have been using the eero Pro 6 for about almost two months now to really give it a good run, but let’s go back to the beginning.

The eero Pro 6 aren’t your run of the mill router bristling with bulky and ugly antennas. It is a gloss white, low profile square that is inoffensive in any space you might have to place it. There is just the one LED in the front to give you an at-a-glance status.

Each mesh node, and my review kit has three of them, comes with dual gigabit LAN ports with a power port nestled between the two.

The units are also surprisingly heavy for the size, and it will sit happily on a surface without too much fear of it getting knocked around.

 

Getting Started

The eero Pro 6 are the bee’s knees of the latest in WiFi technologies.

To get started, you just need to place the nodes around the house. Each node are identical, there is no need to find a “primary” node. My “primary” node is connected to my NBN router and sits up high in the kitchen which is the heart (in so many ways) of my home.

A second node is in the lounge room to eliminate a dead spot in the master bedroom. A third node will end up in my garage when I make some space for a workshop area.

Once the nodes are in place, connected and powered on, all you need is your smartphone and the eero app.

All the configuration is done via the eero app, and yes you require an Amazon account to sign in there. From there, the app will guide you through and it truly is one of the easiest setups I have done. If you have a basic network configuration, then you are off and racing.

eero Pro 6eero Pro 6 rear view

In Use

The basic mesh network is one of those things that you generally set and forget. In that regards the eero Pro 6 does extremely well in the 2 months I have been running it.

The app rules over everything for the eero Pro 6, the home screen gives you a status of your internet connectivity and each mesh node at a glance. All perfectly good when you have internet connectivity.

Next section of the home screen is a little advertising by Amazon, gives you information on additional features if you subscribe to eeroSecure. We will go into that in more details later.

If you have profiles set up, such as for members of your household, IoT, etc, then this shows up next.

Lastly on the home screen is a list of all your devices that are currently online and recently online.

It’s a lot of information on the front page, but it does give you at a glance and scroll down view of the network, and access to some key functions.

 

The Core

The eero Pro 6 is a Wi-Fi 6 tri-band mesh router with up to 186 square meters of coverage (using 3 nodes), with support for WPA2 and WPA3. Looking under the hood, there is a lot going on, with all the expected technical standards being supported. The claim to fame is the support for the latest standards – Wi-Fi 6, WPA3 and AX4200. The eero Pro 6 claims up to Gigabit speeds on a wireless connection.

In terms of basic setup and day to day use, it is genuinely simple and unless you have quite specific needs as I do, or technically inclined, then really your job is done.

The make life even easier, you can enable Amazon Frustration-Free Setup which requires you to link your eero account with your Amazon account. But what that offers is compatible devices purchased with said Amazon account will join the network automatically and stay connected even if you change your network name or password. That’s pretty handy! It does leverage off helper devices such as compatible Echo devices, Fire TV, routers or smartphones with certain Amazon apps. The FAQ is here which will give a much more in-depth view of the function.
<https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=GMPKVYDBR223TRPY>

Stepping up a little bit, you can group your devices into profiles. For example all your IoT devices can be grouped into an IoT profile, or the teenager with his gaggle of WiFi enabled devices.

Profiles goes beyond just grouping devices for easy viewing. You can pause internet connectivity on demand, or on a schedule. 9pm bed time? Internet is blocked from 8:30pm. You can create multiple schedules per profile, for example for school nights and weekends, or homework time after school.

Additionally, on a subscription basis you can have additional features such as ad blocking, content filtering, and advanced security. There are different levels of subscriptions which I will go into later.

The great part of these features is that you can enable them per profile, and it will only affect the devices added to that profile.

If I take IoT as an example, they are notorious for security vulnerabilities. In this case the logical configuration would be to enable:
Advanced protection to give an additional level of protect against online threats
Block ads, because, why would I want ads on an IoT device?

In the case of the younger children, I would be needing:

  • Advanced protection
  • SafeSearch
  • Content filtering
  • Block/Allow websites as I discover gaps in the coverage

It can be very powerful when you have groups of users with differing levels of needs and maturity. The only requirement from an administration perspective is to make sure the correct devices are assigned to the profiles.

eero App
eero App
eero App
eero App
eero App
eero App
eero App
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eero App

 

Other Features

Much of the extra features for the eero Pro 6 are on a subscription. At the time of writing there are two levels of subscription: eeroSecure and eeroSecure+. The table below shows the list of features and differences. Which one you should subscribe to really depends on your actual needs.

eeroSecure plans

The eeroSecure+ comes with VPN service, password management and virus scanning. If you don’t already have at least password management, then you really want to sort yourself out there. The other two really is on a needs basis. It is never a bad thing to have multi layered security using multiple vendors, it comes down to costs.

Also available via the eero app is eero Labs, where new features can be previewed. At the time of writing there is:

  • local DNS caching to help speed up page loads
  • traffic optimisation for conferencing and gaming
  • WPA3 – note that this is currently a labs feature with expectation that it will go into standard support

There are handy features such as share a QR code with guests to get them on the network, it sure beats having to rattle off a complex password.

The activity tab in the eero app gives you a weekly summary of your network speed and data stats. You can even drill down to get a high level breakdown of traffic per day and from which profile or device that is consuming the most bandwidth. To get more granular daily reports or aggregated monthly reports will require a eeroSecure subscription. With an active subscription it will email you a weekly summary as well.

The eero Pro 6 also has a Zigbee Smart Home Hub built-in. At this point I have not proceeded with adding Zigbee devices to my place as plans are still up in the air, but it is certainly handy to have the capability in the one device.

eero App eero App eero App

 

Heads Up

When you play with bleeding edge technology as I do, you set features, test them, and frequently forget what you have turned on. In my case I ran into problems configuring some IoT devices such as my Sengled LED globes and the TCL T-Pro air conditioner.

The eero app allows you to temporarily disable 5Ghz frequency for 10 minutes. You can also downgrade your Wi-Fi to “legacy mode” which turns off Wi-Fi 6. The one I totally forgot about is WPA3 which I left on and was causing issues with the aforementioned IoT devices.

So if you are running into problems with some IoT devices registering in their apps, start with these.

 

Gripes

With advance apologies to eero, I am going to have a whinge here.

When I see a “Pro” in the name of something, I have been set an expectation. An expectation that I have a lot of ability to control the device and configuration. Therefore I was less than impressed when I was forced to reconfigure my core devices in the network, because the eero Pro 6 lacked the ability for me to assign the exact IP address I need the gateway to be. We really did not get off to a good start together when I had to Google how to change the eero Pro 6 from the default automatic DHCP range to my custom range, then spending a healthy amount of time reconfiguring my devices that are on a fixed IP.

When it came to the advanced interface, I feel that the effort to make it simpler had the opposite result. Even for me with my many years of experience working with routers of all grades, I really had to stop and really look at how to do something as basic as setting up my DHCP scope in the range I want. On the other hand, that is pretty much the extent of advanced settings other than port reservation and port forwarding. There is no QoS or any other granular ability to shape traffic.

Unfortunately eero also does not provide a WebUI so I can’t browse to the device and do any configuration or troubleshooting via browser or commandline.

In what appears to be a flaw in the design, there is no means of changing router settings if your internet is offline. I mean, if your WiFi is online, but your connection to the ISP is broken then you are out of luck. Bit worrying if you have a non-standard or trickier connection such as TPG.

The limitation of 2 LAN ports per node can be a deal breaker for some people.

Dynamic DNS or DDNS, is a subscription only feature. And when you have access to that feature, it is locked into the eero DDNS domain with no support for the many other providers out on the internet.

eero App eero App eero App

 

Conclusions

As a mesh node with the latest technology standards, the eero Pro 6 is a solid performer. Looking at purely performance point of view, the backhaul is solid, wireless connection is solid. My newest laptop indicates a link speed of 961/865 Mbps (Receive / Transmit) and file copies over my network is no slouch.

I can understand the eeroSecure subscription as a value add for content filtering and ad blocking. Someone has to maintain the list somewhere. The eeroSecure+ subscription is a harder sell for the average user.

Personally I dislike some of the lock in, such as the eero DDNS, given I have had used DDNS with another provider for a very long time it would have been more effort required to move over to the eero DDNS domain. After having to reconfigure my network for this review, my appetite for that is just not there. But that is quite specific to my needs and how things are configured. Other people will have a less exacting requirement.

The eero Pro 6 is not a cheap investment, but one that will futureproof your network for a while. There are regular firmware updates and new features being pushed out.  The single node has a RRP of $439, and the three node version comes in at $999. There is a limited time deal on right now bringing the single node down to $351, and the three node to $799. That is a quite a significant savings for a very capable device.

DRN would like to thank eero for their support.

 

Specifications

Wifi coverage : Covers up to 560 sq. m. Coverage estimates are based on normal use conditions. Actual range and performance can vary, including due to factors such as interference, device usage, building materials, and obstructions. Throughput and coverage estimates are a configuration reference, not a performance guarantee.
Type : Router (connects to modem as primary router)
Wireless network speed : Best for internet speeds up to a gigabit. Internet connection speeds depend on your internet service provider. Maximum wireless signal rates are derived from IEEE standard 802.11 specifications.
Wifi connectivity : Wi-Fi 6 tri-band concurrent 2:2:4 (802.11ax), compatible with older wifi standards
Wired connectivity : Two auto-sensing gigabit Ethernet ports for WAN and/or LAN connectivity
Speed rating : AX4200
Smart home connectivity : 802.15.4 radio (Zigbee, Thread), Bluetooth Low Energy 5.0. Some features may require linking your Amazon account.
Processor, memory, and storage : 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB flash storage
Network security and services : WPA3, WPA2, profiles, cloud connectivity: TLS v1.2+, AES, SHA-256, RSA, DHCP, IPv6, NAT, VPN passthrough, UPnP, port forwarding, and static IP
Dimensions : 142 mm x 138 mm x 48 mm