The tri-band Eero Pro 6E ($299 to $699) is Eero’s latest top-of-the-line mesh Wi-Fi router and another step ahead in home Wi-Fi for the firm that popularized mesh Wi-Fi systems. And the Pro 6E does not disappoint. In my tests, I saw much faster speeds than the previous version Eero Pro 6. However, I noticed significant network drop-offs, which Eero claims is due to a problem with the Thread implementation, which is a major aspect of Eero’s support for the upcoming smart home standard Matter. The new 6GHz Wi-Fi spectrum and some extra 160MHz channels on the 5GHz band are responsible for the overall enhanced speed. While 6GHz devices are still few, many more can benefit from the 160MHz channels, and I noticed speed improvements on all devices, not just those that could use the new band.
This is also the first Eero to handle speeds more than gigabit, so you may use it with a multi-gigabit connection. The Eero Pro 6E, however, is not a pro-level router; while it supports incoming cable rates of up to 2.5Gbps, wireless speeds are limited to 1.3Gbps. If you have a multi-gigabit connection, a more powerful router may be necessary.
If you only need single gigabit speeds, the Eero 6 Plus ($139 to $299) – a new dual-band (without 6Ghz) gigabit system — is a better option. The Eero 6 ($89 to $169) may be more suitable if your internet speed is less than 500mbps. As a result, the Pro 6E has a small target audience: those with gigabit speeds and 6GHz capable devices now or in the future.
You will not be disappointed if you are in that audience and are seeking for a sophisticated plug-and-play configuration for gigabit internet service. The Pro 6E, like all Eero devices, has a straightforward setup, an intuitive app interface, and handy features like parental controls and network data consumption history (although these are behind a paywall).
You won’t get a professional setup or management choices (despite the name). The app is the only way to control your network, which is good for most people but not for true networking gurus. Because each router only has two ethernet ports, you’ll need to use a network switch if you need more. Furthermore, Eero’s system is entirely cloud-based, making self-troubleshooting more difficult. This has implications for the Amazon-owned company’s privacy (see Smart Home Data Privacy sidebar for more details).
WHY DO WE REQUIRE 6GHZ?
Eero introduced its initial mesh Wi-Fi system six years ago, promising to repair home Wi-Fi. Eero was one of the first consumer mesh routers, providing a straightforward solution to the complex challenge of home networking. You could make video calls from the comfort of your bed with mesh, rather than needing to camp out in front of your modem to get a strong enough signal to FaceTime on your iPad.
In today’s world, the Eero Pro 6E aims to solve the next home Wi-Fi issue: congestion. We’ve loaded up our networks with gadgets and gizmos galore in every corner of the house since Wi-Fi has become so widespread and the smart home has flourished. Most of us have many Wi-Fi-dependent devices in our homes, whether it’s laptops, robot vacuums, televisions, wireless speakers, smart lamps, or a smart plug or two. With so many devices vying for coverage, it’s simple for a mesh Wi-Fi system to lose a few megabits, slowing down your network and inflicting serious discomfort.
DOWNLOAD TIMES FOR PRO 6E WERE TWO TO SIX TIMES FASTER.
The Eero Pro 6E attempts to address this by utilizing the new 6GHz Wi-Fi frequency. It’s a tri-band mesh router that adds this additional band to the current 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Wi-Fi 6E introduces a completely new frequency band, unlike Wi-Fi 6 (which was more of an incremental update). The 6GHz band on the 6E lets traffic go at peak speeds thanks to its ability to accommodate 160MHz of bandwidth. However, just a few high-end smartphones and gaming laptops are capable of running at 6GHz right now.
If you have one of those gadgets and aren’t happy with your existing router’s speeds, switching to a Wi-Fi 6E router is a simple decision. Even if you don’t, there are a few reasons to consider the Eero Pro 6E, the most important of which is that it supports 160MHz wide channels on both the 5 and 6GHz bands, which helps minimize network congestion and boosts speeds dramatically.
The Pro 6E mesh router is also slightly less expensive than comparable tri- or quad-band 6E mesh routers, starting at $299 for a single router that covers up to 2,000 square feet, $499 for a two-pack that covers 4,000 square feet, and $699 for a three-pack that covers 8,000 square feet (for 6,000 square feet). The Asus ZenWifi Pro ET8 costs $530 for two units, while Netgear’s quad-band Orbi costs $1,500 for a three-pack. However, competition in the lower end is heating up, with TP-Link launching a $300 option last month.
SPECS AND DESIGN OF THE EERO PRO 6E
With a few minor changes, the Eero Pro 6E maintains the same tiny, beautiful form of the Pro 6. Eeros are easy to integrate into your home without having to hide them in a cupboard, which is a huge selling feature. While I enjoy the lack of a “dead black spider” appearance here, in terms of style, Google Wi-Fi remains my preference.
The Pro 6E includes a few notable improvements over the Pro 6, including a 6GHz channel (which replaces one of the Pro 6’s 5GHz channels, making the Pro 6E a tri-band system) and support for 2.5Gbps wired and 1.3Gbps wireless maximum speeds. The AX5400 system rating is lower than that of other 6E routers on the market, which may include quad-band systems (2.4GHz, 5GHz low, 5GHz high, and 6GHz) or more advanced antenna arrays. This rating is a cryptic way of expressing the router’s capabilities and theoretical maximum wifi speeds, but it doesn’t imply the real speeds you’ll see when you use it.
The Pro 6E can support up to 100 devices at once (compared to 75 with the Pro 6). Each Eero node has two ethernet ports, but the Pro 6E features a 2.5GbE and a 1.0GbE port for multi-gig internet, whereas the Pro 6 only has two 1.0 GbE ports. A USB-C wall adapter provides power. The 6E can support incoming internet speeds of up to one gigabit, but because it lacks two 2.5GbE ports, the rates it can transfer to your wired devices are limited to one gigabit.
EERO PRO 6E SPECS
- AX5400 Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band concurrent 2:2:2 (802.11ax) with support for 160MHz channels in 5GHz and 6GHz
- 2.4GHz: 2×2 (600Mbps)
- 5GHz: 2×2 (2400Mbps)
- 6GHz: 2×2 (2400Mbps)
- 1 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB flash storage
- One auto-sensing 2.5 GbE port
- One auto-sensing 1.0 GbE port
- 802.15.4 radio (Zigbee, Thread)
- Bluetooth Low Energy 5.0
- Security and network services: WPA3 WPA2, TLS v1.2+, VPN passthrough, IPv6, NAT, UPnP, port forwarding, DHCP, static IP, and cloud connectivity
- Dimensions: 5.50 x 5.50 x 2.20 inches
Despite the fact that the Pro 6E, like the Pro 6, is a tri-band mesh system, it lacks a dedicated backhaul channel. Eero’s software, on the other hand, “dynamically” selects which band to use at any given time. The Pro 6E Eeros additionally supports wired backhaul for direct 1Gbps connections between nodes.
The Pro 6E, like the Pro 6, is a smart home hub with a thread-capable 802.15.4 radio that can also be used as a Thread border router (you can turn this on or off). Through Amazon Alexa integration, it can also link Zigbee-based lights, locks, and sensors to your network.
You can also use Alexa voice control to manage your network, such as shutting off Wi-Fi for specific devices or profiles, and setting up Routines to coordinate multiple tasks, such as turning off the TV and the kids’ Wi-Fi at dinner time. This is a useful and simple feature. “Daughter’s iPad isn’t set up for Wi-Fi control,” Alexa remarked the first time I tried to halt the Wi-Fi to my daughter’s iPad. Do you want me to set it up and turn off the Wi-Fi for you?” The Wi-Fi was turned off with a simple “yes.” You must use the app to unpause Wi-Fi. The Pro 6E, unlike the Pro 6, does not offer Apple’s HomeKit secure router feature.
EERO PRO 6E: SPEED AND PERFORMANCE
Download speeds with the Eero Pro 6E were two to six times faster than with the Pro 6. Despite the fact that my home is significantly less than the “6,000 square feet” of coverage stated by the Eeros, I tried it with a three-pack based on the company’s recommendation.
This review was conducted in a 2,400-square-foot home built in the 1960s. It has three floors and is made of brick. I have an extremely large number of devices on my network as a smart home reviewer, averaging around 105 at any given moment. Three PCs, two smart TVs, various smart displays, and a variety of smart light bulbs, switches, robot vacuums, door locks, and other devices are all connected but not constantly consuming data.
I have a Comcast cable internet connection with 1.2 gigabit upload speeds and an Xfinity X1 modem with 35 Mbps upload rates. I ran tests on a Pixel 6 (which supports the 6GHz band), a MacBook, and an iPhone 13. All three devices had significant speed bumps. The Pixel 6 increased from 172Mbps to 713Mbps while standing near the gateway router, while the iPhone 13 went from 233Mbps to 551Mbps despite the Apple devices not being able to use the 6GHz band or the 160MHz channels. At each of my four testing locations, though, the Pixel 6, which can use both, was much faster than the iPhone.
SPEED TEST RESULTS
|Eero Pro 6E||iPhone 13||Pixel 6||Eero Pro 6||iPhone 13||Pixel 6|
|Living room (gateway)||551/34||713/37||Living room (gateway)||233/31||172/31|
|Office (node)||314/26||424/36||Office (node)||162/29||211/32|
|Upstairs bedroom (node)||279/25||248/35||Upstairs bedroom (node)||177/24||187/34|
|Sitting room (farthest distance)||185/6||305/33||Sitting room (farthest distance)||55/14||45/19|
Surprisingly, when measuring the farthest location from the router, the Pixel 6 showed a speed increase of nearly six times when compared to the Pro 6, whereas the iPhone only increased three times. This means that a device capable of 6GHz and/or 160MHz will benefit more from the Eero Pro 6, but all devices should benefit in some way.
Because wiring the nodes directly in my home is difficult, I tested the Pro 6E with a wireless backhaul. This usually results in a major reduction in speed, and that was the case here as well. When my Macbook was hooked into the primary mode, I got half the speeds when I was adjacent to a node or gateway wirelessly.
The ability to roam about your house with a device and maintain communication as it switches from node to node is a significant selling point of mesh. This worked great in testing, and I was able to have a Zoom call on my laptop from every room in the home without losing connection. I did experience significant signal deterioration, particularly with the MacBook, as it clung to one node for much too long.
The last and perhaps most important Wi-Fi test is reliability; it doesn’t matter how fast your internet connection is if it doesn’t work. The Eero Pro 6Es battled with semi-regular connection drops, which lasted a few seconds at times and required a system reboot at other instances.
Eero discovered a problem with the Thread implementation during my two-month testing period. According to Eero, the devices were rebooting due to a memory leak. Although I did encounter similar claims of dropouts in several user reviews, it was unclear whether this was tied to a Thread device on my network or not. Turning off the Thread radio in the app helped, and Eero issued a software version (6.10) this week to fix the problem. My network has down and reconnected three times in five days since the update and with the Thread radio turned on, which is still three times more than I’d like to see.
Because Eero’s network administration is all cloud-based, I had little options for debugging other than resetting the devices when the internet went down. Although a feature in the program claims to assist you troubleshoot network issues, it does so only with an internet connection. This was not useful in my tests because I have very intermittent cellphone connectivity at home.
There are six options in that troubleshooting section that cover frequent concerns (slow internet, offline, red light on the Eero). These links will take you to a Health Check page that will examine your network for problems. This never addressed any problems for me or provided me with measures to take to solve them, however it did provide me with a phone number to call Eero assistance.
EERO PRO 6E SMART HOME DATA PRIVACY
Bringing connected gadgets into your house raises concerns about the security of the data they collect. The Verge inquires about the data collected and the precautions in place to protect that data from each manufacturer whose smart home products we analyze.
The Eero Pro 6E is a mesh Wi-Fi system that is cloud-based. This means it operates, maintains, and improves your network using data from your network. Eero claims to put customers’ privacy first and actively reduces the amount of personal data required to run its products.
Your network status, devices connected to your Eeros, their assigned IP addresses, signal strength, and data usage are all collected by Eero. Eero claims to only use minimal personal data to offer desired product functionality and develop the products. Eero, for example, provides customer support using account setup information such as the customer’s name, email address, and phone number. It also gathers and analyzes data like device temperature, CPU usage, and wireless signal strength to optimize the efficiency of its devices and network.
Eero devices do not track your internet use, and the firm has no plans to do so in the future. Your network traffic’s content is also not collected by the devices.
All customer information is protected using industry-standard security measures like access restriction, encryption, monitoring, and security testing.
SETUP AND FEATURES OF THE EERO PRO 6E
Getting an Eero network up and running is still a breeze, especially if you’re upgrading an existing Eero device. It does, however, necessitate the use of a smartphone with an internet connection.
The Eero app (iOS or Android) is used to complete the setup process and to manage connected devices, add a guest network, receive notifications when a new device joins your network, and view data use information (useful if you have a data cap on your network).
The software also provides a quick overview of all the devices linked to your network. It tries to give them recognizable names like iPhone, Chromecast, and Nest Hub, and succeeds around 80% of the time. Surprisingly, it had the most trouble with Amazon Echo devices. While the program recognizes the name, you must manually designate a device type, such as laptop, phone, game console, digital assistant, or oven, from a list of options. Some gadgets, such as a connected kitchen faucet, may require a substitute kind if you have a highly modern smart home.
You can also attach devices to profiles, which allows you to categorize them into functions or family members, which is useful for seeing network activity and pausing or resuming Wi-Fi to specific devices (such as your children’s tablets at dinner time). You may also create routines — one of which is advised for Bedtime — to turn off and on Wi-Fi at specific hours. This service is free, however there is a charge if you want real parental controls.
I separated my devices into categories like “gaming” and “appliances,” as well as family members. This way, I can check how much data my dishwasher has used (9.6 megabytes last month) or how much data my robot vacuum has uploaded (108.5 megabytes).
You can’t split the three networks on Eero’s routers, unlike routers with more advanced management. When trying to connect gadgets that only function on 2.4GHz, this can pose problems for smart home users. If you’re trying to connect a 2.4GHz device, Eero provides a nice tool in the troubleshooting part of the app that allows you to temporarily turn off the 5GHz network.
While there is no quality of service optimization — which would allow you to prioritize bandwidth to your work computer over, say, your child’s Xbox — the Eero Labs Beta section does have an option to optimize bandwidth for conferencing and gaming. WPA3 is also supported in the Beta segment.
Eero’s Eero Secure paywall ($2.99 per month or $29 per year) hides a variety of features that are free on many other routers. These features include content filtering, ad blocking, network data consumption history, and parental controls. You can turn on or off age-specific content filtering using these options. From limiting social networking and chat applications to shopping and streaming alongside mature websites, it’s a useful list. As your child gets older and you may allow them explore more of the internet, you can choose which are on and which are off. You may also block or allow certain websites, and a list of prominent apps in all categories makes blocking apps like Instagram, Tik Tok, and Reddit in each profile straightforward.
Encrypt.me VPN, Malwarebytes antivirus, 1Password, DDNS remote network access, and threat blocking are all included in Eero Secure Plus ($9.99 monthly / $99 yearly). This sends you a weekly report detailing which devices were affected by threats and what type they were (phishing and deception, botnet, or malware).
Compare Eero products
|Eero Pro 6E||Eero Pro 6||Eero 6+|
|Ratings||3.7 out of 5||4.5 out of 5||4.4 out of 5|
|Wi-Fi connectivity||Tri-band, Wi-Fi 6E||Tri-band, Wi-Fi 6||Dual-band, Wi-Fi 6|
|Wifi antennas||2.4 GHz: 2×2 5 GHz: 2×2 6 GHz: 2×2||2.4 GHz: 2×2 5 GHz: 2×2 5 GHz: 4×4||2.4 GHz: 2×2 5 GHz: 2×2|
|Wifi coverage||Covers up to 6,000 sq. ft.||Covers up to 6,000 sq. ft.||Covers up to 4,500 sq. ft.|
|Network Speeds||Up to 2.3 Gbps: (Up to a gigabit wired; Up to 1.3 Gbps wireless)||Up to a gigabit||Up to a gigabit|
|Number of devices supported on network||100+||75+||75+|
|Channel width||20, 40, 80, 160 MHz||20, 40, 80 MHz||20, 40, 80, 160 MHz|
|Wired connectivity||6; 2 per eero Pro 6E (1 x 2.5Gb 1 x 1Gb Ethernet ports)||6; 2 per eero Pro 6 (2 x 1Gb Ethernet ports)||6; 2 per eero 6+ (2 x 1Gb Ethernet ports)|
SHOULD YOU BUY EERO PRO 6E?
The Eero Pro 6E is a fantastic mesh system that upholds Eero’s reputation as a user-friendly consumer router. There’s no incentive to upgrade to this router if you don’t have any 6E devices, gigabit internet, or plans to upgrade your laptop or phone in the next several years.
If you’re in the market for a new mesh network, a 6E router could help you plan for the future. A router should last you four to five years, and by then, 6GHz gadgets will have become much more common, and you may have quicker home internet than you do now.
Going beyond the Pro 6E’s capabilities necessitates both more money and a willingness to deal with a higher management overhead. Other consumer-level Wi-Fi 6E routers provide more management and control choices, but they aren’t as simple to set up and maintain as the Eero, and their durability isn’t as high. Your network administrator brother-in-law probably swears by Ubiquiti gear, but it requires a lot of additional hardware, installation, and management to keep it working, so it’s not ideal for someone seeking for a plug-and-play solution.
Eero has carved out a market for consumers who want easy-to-use, dependable Wi-Fi service in every room of their home and are ready to spend a premium over simple routers to get it. The Eero Pro 6E isn’t flawless, but it continues to deliver on the promise of Wi-next Fi’s generation.
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