For something so necessary, WiFi routers are a pain.
They're ugly. They have complicated setup processes that you need a computer science degree to figure out. When they stop working, you have to reset them and pray to the WiFi gods that solves the problem.
But we're entering a new era in WiFi routers. Eero is a new router that promises to solve all the common headaches with WiFi routers. (A similar solution from the startup Starry is coming soon too.)
I've been testing the $199 Eero router for a little over a week, and I'm amazed something like Eero hasn't been released earlier.
Setup was incredibly easy
Setting up traditional WiFi routers is usually not an easy task, but it was a cinch with Eero.
You just download the Eero app on your smartphone and follow the instructions. The Eero router will communicate with your phone via Bluetooth to setup.
After you've set up the Eero with a network name and password, you're ready to go. It was much easier than installing drivers and software on a computer and going through confusing setups, like I used to do with traditional routers.
It's much better than using an extender
The Eero creates what the company calls a "WiFi system" when you use multiple Eero routers in one home. This makes sure your signal is strong, no matter where you are in your house.
I set up a secondary Eero in a WiFi dead-spot upstairs in my house as if it was a traditional WiFi extender. Except, unlike a traditional extender, I didn't have to manually switch to the extender's own network, which is separate from my original router's main network.
My devices could switch between the main Eero downstairs and the secondary Eero upstairs seamlessly without having to do anything. I was getting a strong WiFi connection wherever I went in the house without switching to my extender's network.
It also works a lot better than traditional extenders, which used to cut my WiFi speeds in half because most extenders only have one radio to send and receive WiFi signals. The Eero, on the other hand, has multiple dedicated radios to handle incoming and outgoing data.
When I set up a second Eero upstairs, it gave me the same WiFi signal and speeds as if I was right next to the original Eero downstairs. I had strong, fast WiFi internet throughout my house.
It makes sure you always have a strong WiFi connection
One of the best parts of Eero is that it only broadcasts one WiFi network for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and it switches seamlessly between each band depending on the connection strength with my devices.
My traditional WiFi router used to broadcast two WiFi networks for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band, and I had to manually switch between them from my devices, which isn't as convenient. The Eero is smart enough to do the work for you.
It takes care of itself
The Eero routers can update themselves with the latest security and performance updates without any input from you at all.
You might not have known that WiFi routers need to be updated to secure them against the latest threats and performance upgrades. As a result, your WiFi router might be running on outdated firmware.
Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider
Traditional WiFi routers rely on you to update them, and, from my experience, it's not an easy, one-click affair. You're also never told that you should update your WiFi router, let alone how to do it.
The Eero routers also reset themselves if they sense they're not working. I used to fix that problem like we all did, by physically unplugging the router's power cord, waiting 10 seconds, and plugging it back in. You know the drill.
There was one instance when my internet cut out while using Eero. I decided to see if it would fix itself instead of going over and doing the unplugging routine. After a short while, I was back on the internet. The Eero fixed itself.
Who should buy it
If you have a larger home and you're using an extender, you should absolutely look into the Eero WiFi System, which comes with three Eeros.
Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider
At $499 for the Eero WiFi system three-pack, it is quite expensive, but it will cover your house in solid, speedy WiFi. Ultimately, because it's so expensive, you need to evaluate and decide for yourself whether your current WiFi performance is bad enough that it's worth upgrading.
For my 2,700 square-foot two-story house, two Eeros worked just fine. You can get two individual Eero for $199 each, which is cheaper than the three-pack.
It's a little harder to recommend Eero if you live in smaller space like an apartment and you only need one router, especially if you're not experiencing any problems with your current router. If you do experience slow WiFi in your apartment, however, you should also check out the single Eero, which goes for $199.
The only drawback here is the price. You can get a powerful router for half the cost of one Eero, and the $499 three-pack has quite the sticker shock. But that could be worth it for a lot of people who value connectivity in their home.