Rid yourself of home ethernet with a Wi-Fi 6 mesh network

(Image credit: eero)

Modern Wi-Fi might be pretty decent, but it's not without its faults. 

Most routers tend to offer connection quality at the edge of their coverage radius that could charitably be called 'spotty.' Interference from certain types of building materials can make connectivity in certain areas of your home downright impossible. And finally, loading up your network with too many devices is a surefire way to kill your network speed.

Up to this point, the solution for most of these problems has simply been to connect to ethernet wherever possible. Setting up your PC in close proximity to your router, using devices that pipe ethernet through the wiring of your home, or manually running massive lengths of cable to wherever you need connectivity. And while mesh networks do offer an alternative to this, even they have their limitations — even they can only support a certain number of devices before quality begins to drop.

Wi-Fi 6 is the answer. As the newest generation of Wi-Fi hardware, Wi-Fi 6 is an update that feels tailor-made for smart homes and the Internet of Things. In addition to supporting nearly double the maximum speed of Wi-Fi 5, it's designed for improved efficiency in highly-congested wireless networks. 

The benefits of Wi-Fi 6 include: 

  • The ability to communicate simultaneously with up to 8 devices at once. The maximum number of simultaneous connections allowed by the previous generation, Wi-Fi 5, was 4. In plain English, that means you can have more IoT devices on your network with no noticeable drop in performance.  
  • The ability to transmit data to multiple endpoints in a single broadcast. Rather than having to individually send packets to each endpoint, it can simply send the information in a single 'burst.' This cuts down significantly on network congestion, meaning even greater gains in performance.  
  • Target Wake Time for connected devices. Not all IoT devices need to be connected and online every waking hour. Wi-Fi 6's Target Wake Time feature is designed with this in mind. It allows endpoints to schedule automated check-ins with a router, improving both network and power efficiency. 
  • WPA3 security. The first major update to wireless encryption since 2014's WPA2, WPA3 offers significant improvements across the board. This includes stronger encryption,better authentication, and safeguards against network monitoring and brute force attacks. 
  • Faster speeds and better reliability at the network's edge. Traditional wireless networks tend to fall off in both performance and connectivity as one moves closer to the edge of an access point's coverage. With Wi-Fi 6, this is no longer a concern. It's architected to provide equal coverage across the entire network, even at the very edge.

(Image credit: eero)

So not only is Wi-Fi 6 pretty much perfect for the Internet of Things, it's also great for mesh networking hardware in particular. With a Wi-Fi 6 capable mesh network, the number of smart devices you can bring online increases exponentially. Better yet, you no longer need to worry about areas with spotty connectivity — you can extend your Wi-Fi to wherever it needs to be, without any noticeable drops in performance.  

Basically, if you're looking to cut the cord and do away with ethernet for good, this is the way to do it. And that's where eero comes in. In addition to significantly-enhanced performance over previous models, its new line of eero 6 mesh networking hardware features full support for Wi-Fi 6 and includes a Zigbee smart home hub.  

Both the eero Pro 6 and the eero 6 are now available for preorder, with a target release date of November 2, 2020.  

  • WillSmartHome
    I would like to add a bit more info about this article. Wifi 6 is not going to displace ethernet any time soon. WiFi 6 is at best Gigabit shared across the network and is probably much less depending on how you connect to the backend and how many devices are connected.

    Ethernet depending on the cable and the switches can be at least 40 Gbit. Theoretically, fiber is faster but not affordably so for home networks at this time. Although 40 Gigabit ethernet is not exactly affordable either, still it is much faster than a WiFi 6 mesh network. So at least for the backhaul or mesh to internet connection ethernet still makes a lot of sense to avoid eating up the WiFi network speed with back channel traffic. So do not abandon the idea of ethernet and if you are cabling by all means plan on Cat 7/8 just to be on the safe side.