Eero has unveiled a new generation of its mesh-router systems, featuring tri-band networking, parental controls, security protection and three different product sets for differently sized homes.
The most powerful (and most expensive) set is the Eero Pro package, the direct descendant of the original Eero set. It includes three identical mesh routers, covers homes with three to five bedrooms and can be pre-ordered today for $499.
Eero is also introducing a subscription plan called Eero Plus that, for $10 per month, will add parental controls and security protection to the user's home network. For the moment, the security protection mainly blocks access to known malicious sites, while the parental controls filter access to websites featuring violent, pornographic or illegal content.
The Eero Home package comes in two configurations. The first includes one Eero router unit and one smaller "Beacon" units that plug directly into a wall socket. It covers small homes — one or two bedrooms — and retails for $299. The second adds a second Beacon to cover a two-to-four-bedroom home and costs $399. All three sets can be ordered from Amazon, Best Buy and Eero itself.
The second generation of Eero routers uses three, not two, bands to communicate with client devices and each other. In our lab tests, we've found that tri-band mesh routers, such as the Linksys Velop and the Netgear Orbi line, hold up much better in complicated network configurations than do regular dual-band mesh routers. We're looking forward to testing the capabilities of the Eero Pro set.
However, the Eero Beacons that come with the Eero Home packages are only dual-band and can't use the router's third band. Owners of small and medium-size homes who buy the Eero Home sets should keep their networks simple, placing the Eero router between the Beacons to guarantee maximum throughput.
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Both the new routers and the Beacons are backward compatible with the first-generation Eero devices, so that owners of existing Eero systems can add individual units. The Beacons also come with a nightlight, handy for people stumbling around in the dark.
The second-generation Eero devices are compatible with Thread, a smart-home networking protocol that's based on the same technical specifications as ZigBee but should be more secure. There aren't many Thread-compatible devices available yet, but Eero representatives hope that will soon change.
Stay tuned for our reviews of the Eero Pro and Eero Home packages.