There are some companies that have been in the Wi-Fi router business since its inception but in recent years we have seen some new players such as Google and Amazon.
Amazon are now a few generations in and have managed to make a very compelling Wi-Fi mesh system with a very small footprint in the Eero 6+. The triple pack we received to review has obviously three identical routers that can be the primary or the satellite.
What is it?
Each router measures just 99.4 mm x 97 mm x 65.9 mm with that size actually deceptive due to the slope of the router from the back to the front. It is a small, sleek white box that is unobtrusive and looks good, blending into its surrounds easily.
The rear of the device houses the USB-C power port along with two Gigabit ports so it is possible to set it up using an Ethernet connection to handle the backhaul. This is what I did for a more stable and faster connection between the satellites. Keep in mind though that Amazon has only included a single Ethernet cable in the box so if you want to use an Ethernet connection for the backhaul you’ll need your own cables.
The Eero 6+ is a tri-band AX4200 system which has a theoretical maximum speed of 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, up to 1,201Mbps on one of the 5GHz bands and up to 2,402Mbps on the secondary 5GHz band. There is also additional Wi-Fi bandwidth on the 160MHz radio channel for devices that support this. It supports Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) as should be the minimum in 2023. So, in theory, it has everything you want from your basic Wi-Fi mesh system.
A basic Wi-Fi mesh system is what the Eero 6+ although each satellite can cover up to 460sq.m. Unlike some router specialty companies, the Eero 6+ is super easy to setup and super easy to use – but in saying that it is too easy to use with many of the more detailed settings others offer just simply not possible with the Eero 6+ (more on this later).
Some of the usual standard features are hidden behind a paywall subscription of $160 a year – which is not cheap and to be honest very disappointing. Most router manufacturers, if they offer these features, offer them as part of the package, not as a subscription that continues to hit you each and every year. I should not need a subscription to view my data usage yesterday, to block ads, to apply a parental filter (this is a huge miss by Amazon) or site blocking. If you are going to want to use any of these I suggest you look elsewhere as Amazon are charging you for these standard features — maybe Prime members should get it included?
Personally I don’t use them much so it is not a deal breaker for me.
One thing that Amazon/Eero has included in the Eero 6+ is a built-in Zigbee hub with Matter support. You can use this to control any Zigbee smarthome devices you want. With Matter support you will be able to control all Matter devices once we start seeing them arrive as well. I am looking forward to using this a lot more in the future given that all of my smarthome devices are either Wi-Fi or Z-wave (backed the wrong horse there it seems).
Setup and Performance
Setup is super basic – plug in the router to your modem, turn it on and open the app. The app will find the router and ask you to name the new Wi-Fi network and give it a password. For easier use and setup of the mesh you give that point a name as well – Server Cabinet in my case.
One big plus that I must mention is the size of the AC adapter. Too many devices have large plugs making it difficult to fit them all on a powerboard — the eero 6+ AC adapters are incredibly small and fit easily next to larger adapters.
The app then asks you if you want to set up another Eero device. Plug in your second one, name it and you are good to go. The app will test how well placed the second point is. The third point is as easy to setup as the second.
You can then check the connection of each device to your network easily, naming each one and assigning a category to it. There really isn’t much to setup and for a majority of people they won’t need nor want to.
If, like me, you like to buy random smarthome products from Aliexpress that operate on the 2.4GHz band only and there is no way to make it so that the router only uses that band while setting up the device. It is very hit and miss and unfortunately the easiest way to do this is to try and connect the device further from the router where the 2.4GHz band alone is functional. Many routers will allow you to force the router to operate in either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band – or both but unfortunately that is not possible with the eero 6+.
So how are the speeds?
Given the size of the router and satellites I was surprised with how good the coverage and reception was. I was able to get my full 100GHz speeds (yes, I live in a slow HFC NBN area) at a greater distance from the house than I could with my previous router. This is easily able to cover my entire house which is not small – including the driveway where my Ring Floodlight Cam is situated.
This will be improved even more once Amazon bring the Echo Dot as a Wi-Fi extender functionality to Australia.
The Eero 6+ is the ultimate set it and leave it mesh router. Once set up, assuming you don’t get the expensive subscription, there really isn’t much you can do within the app anyway. You can use profiles, set up a guest network, and turn the Wi-Fi off. That’s about it and to be honest is about all most will ever need to do.
You can also do the above actions using Alexa if you add it to your Alexa app. This works great, although I can’t see when I’d ever need it.
One of the big features for the Eero 6+ is the ability to use a 4th or 5th generation Echo Dot as a mesh extender rather than have to purchase an expensive extra point. The performance of the Echo Dots as a mesh point is not as good as that of the Eero 6+ points with an extra couple of milliseconds of latency (so very very little) but they provide that extra bit of coverage you may need.
Unfortunately, this feature is only available in the US and Canada at this stage and there is no word when or if it will arrive in Australia. I am not sure why they haven’t just made this available wherever Eero is sold but it’s an oversight as it is a huge pro for the mesh system.
The eero 6+ Mesh Wi-Fi system from Amazon is the perfect home mesh hardware for someone who doesn’t care for the fancier options that a more expensive system from a bigger name may have. It is incredibly simple to set up and once set up will work and continue to work without any interaction from you. The ultimate set-it-and-leave-it mesh Wi-Fi.
The ability to use the system as a Zigbee hub with support for Matter is a great addition and one I will certainly make use of in the future when we see more Matter devices.
If you want some of the more advanced features on the eero 6+ you will need to get yourself an eero plus subscription but considering that will set you back $160 per year it’s a tough sell. Considering the eero 6+ retails for $599.99 it’s only a year or two before you have reached the cost of a more advanced mesh router system by subscribing to eero plus.
Eero plus also doesn’t give you everything that those more expensive systems do. Amazon and eero need to offer these options for free (or part of a Prime membership) if they want folks who want these advanced options to buy their system. For $600 I would certainly expect to get at least some of these options included.
The market for the Amazon eero 6+ is people who want the basic set it and leave it mesh Wi-Fi system that will deliver great Wi-Fi signal to a large area. For those people this is perfect. The Amazon eero 6+ costs $599.99 in a 3-pack so it is not cheap but given it is an Amazon product it is on sale fairly often so if you are interested keep an eye out for sales.