When it comes to setting up WiFi in a home, especially larger homes, consumers have a couple options. One is to invest in bigger WiFi access points with more antennas in an attempt to push the signal out as far as possible. The other option is to add more access points and create a mesh network where devices can connect to the closest unit. This latter option is one that eero has capitalized on with their product offerings. Today the company announced the launch of their second generation of the eero system which bring an improved base unit, new eero Beacon units, and a subscription service called eero Plus that is described as a “home security system” for your Internet connection.
The new eero does include enhancements to power and connectivity which the company says makes it 50% more powerful than the first generation units. Despite the gains, eero says the new units remain the same size as the older units. If a consumer already has eero units, the new version will be compatible with those older units as well, so any investment is not lost. eero says the new base units are particularly good for locations with high-bandwidth demands like the family room where streaming video services may be getting utilized or locations where a connected device may require an actual Ethernet connection. At least one base eero unit has to be deployed to connect to the Internet modem in a home.
With the original system, consumers just kept buying additional eero units to take advantage of the TrueMesh technology to build out WiFi coverage. eero says they noticed many of their users were putting units in places like hallways, in kitchens or even in bathrooms. This meant the units were taking up valuable counter space or even sitting on a floor somewhere. To address this, eero is releasing the eero Beacon, a self-contained unit that plugs directly into a wall outlet. eero even went so far as to build a night light into the Beacon units. Despite the smaller size, eero says these Beacons are 30% more powerful than the original eero access points.
One of eero’s selling points for the units is the use of a Thread radio, which is another wireless protocol like Z-wave, Bluetooth and Zigbee. eero says it has an advantage in using IPv6 natively which makes it more reliable and secure. Like the original eero system, the company also provides over-the-air software updates for their devices.
Finally, eero is launching a new subscription service called eero Plus. The description sounds like it is a firewall type solution that is also monitoring outbound traffic and will halt a connection if it detects an attempt to connect to a blacklisted destination. eero Plus also gives parents access to a set of parental controls so they can fine tune what is acceptable for their kids. Users will also get priority access to eero support if needed. This new service will launch in the coming weeks.
The new second generation eero hardware will start shipping at the end of the month. Consumers can place pre-orders starting today at eero.com or on retail sites like Amazon, Best Buy, Target or Walmart. A single eero retails for $199 while an eero Beacon retails for $149. eero also sells them as packs designed for different size homes. A pack with a base eero and one Beacon sells for $299 and should work in a 1-2 bedroom home. For those with larger homes of 3-5 bedrooms or who really want to maximize WiFi performance, a Pro WiFi System pack is available that includes three eeros for $499.