technology

My powerful WiFi system has been a game-changer while working from home


My boyfriend and I moved into a new apartment at the beginning of February, and one of the important decisions we had to make was how to handle our internet situation.

You see, in our old apartment, we had a 300 Mbps connection and used a router rented from our internet provider (which rhymes with Horizon), but we weren’t happy with its performance. My boyfriend does a lot of online gaming with his friends, and the internet often couldn’t keep up, causing him to lag out. Similarly, I was often underwhelmed by our internet speeds when trying to work in my home office.

Upon moving, we decided to upgrade our internet speed to a Gigabit connection (high rollers over here!), and after much debate and internet research, we also decided to purchase an eero home WiFi system.

While it certainly wasn’t a small investment, I think I speak for the both of us when I say it was totally worth the money—especially given the current state of the world. With both of us home and incredibly bored due to our state’s stay-at-home mandate, our strong WiFi setup has played a key role in maintaining marital harmony (or whatever the equivalent is when you’re not actually married).

What is eero?

Unboxing

Credit: eero

Eero is a mesh Wi-Fi system that you can use to replace a traditional router.

If you haven’t heard of it, eero is a mesh WiFi system. Instead of having one router that’s responsible for transmitting the internet signal across your whole home, mesh systems use several units placed around your home. Basically, all the eero units are connected to a single wireless network, and they capture the internet signal from the main unit and rebroadcast it, providing a stronger, more consistent connection throughout your home.

Why is this beneficial? It eliminates the common issue of dead zones in rooms that might be too far from the main router, and it’s also a useful solution for people who live in brick or concrete buildings, where internet signals often have trouble getting through walls. Eero also features dynamic routing algorithms, which figure out the quickest path from the router to your device, helping to give you consistently fast internet speeds.

That’s not all, either. Eero also boasts an easy-to-use app that lets you monitor all the devices on your network, and it automatically installs software updates. Its devices come with world-class encryption and security protocols, and you can even use it to set up parental controls, creating profiles for your kids’ devices, monitoring their usage, and scheduling internet breaks. (Have I threatened to do this to my boyfriend? I’m not at will to say.)

Even with all these features, eero is still incredibly easy to use, but this high-end technology comes at a price. A single eero unit costs $79, and a three-pack like the one we bought is $199. (These prices have actually decreased recently—we paid $250 for our three-pack back in February.)

Why we chose the eero WiFi system

Eero and Alexa

Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

One of our eero units lives in the living room with Alexa.

When we headed to the store to purchase a new router, we actually weren’t planning on buying the eero system.

After all my research, I had decided the Netgear Orbi Mesh WiFi System was the way to go, mostly because I was concerned about compatibility with our internet provider. As you might expect, internet providers want you to rent their routers, so there’s limited information available about compatibility of third-party routers.

When we got there, a genuinely helpful salesperson started helping us, and after listening to what we needed, he recommended the eero instead. He said the Orbi was good, but since we have a 1,800-square-foot apartment with several brick walls, he thought we would benefit from a system with more nodes. Not only does the eero come with three units, but it’s endlessly extendable, allowing you to add as many units as you need (other systems cap the numbers of units per network). Plus, eero is easy to use, has lots of useful features, and is only a little more expensive than the Orbi.

With his assurance that the system would work with our internet provider, we went with the eero router, and oh man, I’m so glad we did!

All the reasons we love our eero WiFi system

Phone

Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

I like being able to see a list of all the devices on our network.

As promised by the nice salesman, it was incredibly easy to set up the eero system in our new apartment. All we had to do was plug the router into our modem, and the eero app walked us through setup. It took us longer to choose a punny WiFi network name than it did to actually set up the router.

Ever since upgrading to a faster WiFi plan and investing in a mesh router, we’ve had no complaints about our internet performance whatsoever—and that’s saying something given the number of devices we connect to it. By my last count, we had close to 20 devices connected to our network, including everything from both our phones and computers to our Peloton bike and smart litter box. Even with all these gadgets vying for a connection, our streaming never buffers and my boyfriend’s games don’t lag.

Plus, there are no dead zones in our two-story apartment, even though our main router is in a weird closet tucked away in the corner of the second floor. We placed one eero unit in the living room with the TV and the third in the “man cave,” and we’ve been incredibly pleased with the seamless coverage.

I also love being able to log into the app and see all the devices connected to the network, as it gives me peace of mind none of our neighbors are leaching off our WiFi. The app also makes it easy to test your download and upload speeds, letting us see if we’re truly getting the internet speeds we’re paying for.

Then came quarantine…

Xbox

Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

My boyfriend has spent… a lot of hours playing Xbox lately.

I had already fallen in love with the eero WiFi System before the term “COVID-19” was even in our vocabulary, but now that it is, I’m even more grateful we decided to upgrade our internet setup.

I work from home, so I spend my days on the computer, writing articles and doing research online. A bad internet connection can completely disrupt my workflow, and in our old apartment, there were times I actually had to ask my boyfriend to stop streaming videos because it was slowing down my connection.

Now that my boyfriend and I are under stay-at-home orders from the Rhode Island governor, we’re using our devices more than ever. I’m still working, and he spends a large part of his days gaming or editing videos on our desktop computer. I can only imagine the bickering that would take place if we were competing for a limited amount of internet bandwidth, but thanks to eero, we can both do our own thing, stay out of each other’s hair, and ride out this unprecedented time in peace.

Bottom line? The upgrade is worth it

Conclusion

Credit: eero

If you want better internet coverage, eero is the way to go.

If you’re sick of internet dead zones, endlessly buffering video content, slow browsing speeds, or lagging games, I’d definitely recommend checking out eero. This WiFi system turned out to be a worthwhile investment for us, especially given the number of internet-connected devices we own, and so far, it’s been able to handle everything we’ve thrown at it—even in quarantine.

I was definitely a little hesitant to spend $250 on a router, so I totally understand concerns about the price. However, I do think a mesh WiFi system is worth the cost, especially for people with larger homes and/or an impressive roster of smart gadgets.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.





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