The Eero Pro 6 Is an Easy To Use Mesh Router… Until Something Goes Wrong

The Eero Pro 6 Is an Easy To Use Mesh Router… Until Something Goes Wrong
Image: Amazon

The Eero Pro 6 is a powerful set of routers designed around two key things – simplicity and capability.

It absolutely nails both of these things, providing a mesh network suitable for big households or bandwidth-demanding applications.

This being said, it’s not a faultless product and although it’s designed with simplicity centre of mind, I think there are parts of the design that are a bit too simple. While I’ve been using it for about three weeks and my experience with it has been mostly terrific, I’ve been let down by a couple of things that should be considered as standard for a mesh network.

The Eero Pro 6

WHAT IS IT?

Amazon's mesh network routers.

PRICE

$439 for one, $999 for three.

LIKE

Simplicity, bandwidth strength, configuration via an easy-to-use app.

NO LIKE

Big price tag, no gateway and poor PPPoE support.

The Eero Pro 6 is easy to use

I’ll start with pleasantries. The Eero Pro 6 is an absolutely easy-to-use router, possibly the most user-friendly router I’ve ever used.

Now, routers and modems are a tricky thing to compare for a casual audience. Most routers you buy today, between the $100 mark and the $1,000 mark, will physically do the same job with similar results, being an essential cog in the machine that is your home network.

That’s why it’s hard to consider a router or a modem upgrade if you want faster internet – I’m not gonna pretend that this thing offers that. What it does offer is a better experience around your home internet service, be it NBN 25, NBN 50 or NBN 100.

When I took these Eero Pro 6 routers out of the box, I was immediately wowed by how slick they were. Routers don’t have to be big and bulky with ugly antennas out the sides or back, but they often are. As such, I’ve dotted them all throughout my home in inconspicuous places – because of how sleek they are, they don’t hurt the eye.

I imagine this is a big part of the design of a mesh router network, ideal for big households where you want to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones. By having a few of these things placed around the house, you can say goodbye to Wi-Fi dropouts in the home (that being said, I’m reviewing these routers in a relatively small apartment. Regardless, they rock for that use).

Eero Pro 6
I’ve spaced them evenly throughout my house. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

When setting up the router, too, I was astounded by how easy it all was. I didn’t even have to connect my PC or laptop to it. It was all through the Eero app, where I had to sign in with my Amazon account (this I wish was otherwise but I’ll go with it) and go through the steps prompted to me. You set up as many nodes as you need individually and place them throughout the home, ideally equal distances apart, as if to cast an invisible net over your home.

While using these routers, I’ve had zero problems when it comes to network connectivity (admittedly as many problems as I had with my much older Belong 4353 router) and I’ve been treated to a wide range of network customisation options via the app (like blocking devices or seeing what the most recent automatic speed test clocked in at).

eero pro 6
Look at all those settings! Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

The Eero Pro 6 app makes things so easy and I can’t really understate it. You can share a QR code with guests to get them on the network and you can change any settings you want without even being on the network (for example, you can pull a deadswitch on your router when you go out).

All that is well and good, but what about a practical test? Well, I had one in mind.

The VR test

I love writing about my Oculus (cum Meta) Quest 2 antics whenever I get the chance. One of the toughest things about using a VR headset is the long-ass cable you have to attach to a computer if you want to play games not installed on the headset itself.

eero pro 6
The Meta Quest 2 atop Celest 2B, my beautiful gaming PC. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

This gets in the way and often drops out if you have a dodgy cable, which is common, but Oculus (cum Meta) has a fix for it: Oculus Air Link. Air Link leverages your local area connection to effectively stream data from your PC to your headset, no cable required. This is massive, but also has some tough requirements, like needing a quality router for local bandwidth (5Ghz without mesh configuration is recommended) For comparison, my Belong 4353 modem struggles with Air Link and is pretty much incapable of doing it.

The Eero Pro 6 absolutely crushed this test. Through two or three hours of playing Beatsaber and Garden of the Sea, I maybe encountered two frame drops, without any response time issues.

And why shouldn’t it have? It’s a powerful router. This gives me confidence that, if you’re looking for a router with strong LAN capabilities, the Eero Pro 6 might be worth considering.

Unfortunately, it’s not all good

As you may have read in my PPPoE rant, the Eero Pro 6 is not without its problems.

Let’s start with the price. The Eero Pro 6 is priced at $439 for a single unit or $999 for three units. These prices put the Eero Pro 6 on the more expensive side of the router price scale, so before you go ahead and buy these, make sure you’re getting them for the reason you’re shopping for, not just cause they’re flashy.

Now, let’s get into my Eero Pro 6 critiques, which I’ve already written at length about, but will rehash for this article.

Firstly, why the heck doesn’t this thing have a gateway? For every router I’ve ever used, you can simply access the backend and configure its settings by typing 192.168.1.1 into a browser. Not this one. It’s entirely accessed through the app. This wouldn’t be an egregious thing for a casual user after a simple solution router, but I could not believe it just didn’t have a browser-accessible LAN gateway. I see it as massively confusing to leave out, a major turn-off to networking-minded users and those who maybe don’t like having to rely on an app.

What made me need to access the non-existent gateway was even more confusing. This router has very poor PPPoE support, meaning you’ll likely encounter issues with some NBN providers that offer this internet delivery type (like Spintel). DHCP automatically configures and is as smooth as butter, but I simply wasn’t able to make PPPoE work with this router, even after updating it to the latest settings. PPPoE isn’t overly common, but it’s common enough to raise concern for this router.

The Eero Pro 6 Is an Easy To Use Mesh Router… Until Something Goes Wrong
I couldn’t believe how poor the PPPoE support was for the Eero Pro 6. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

The cherry on top of all this was that I couldn’t access the router settings if the router was offline. Turned off, sure, but I mean offline without internet. Of all my complaints with the Eero Pro 6, this is by far the most egregious thing. It simply doesn’t make sense that you can’t access the settings of the Eero Pro 6 if it’s offline. While WLAN supposedly stays active if the routers are offline, I was unable to access settings for the router unless the router was actively online with an internet connection. Not good. That’s bad for anyone, especially for the example I gave in my PPPoE article.

Should you buy the Eero Pro 6?

I think the Eero Pro 6 gets a lot right, but a lot of what it gets wrong is strange for such an expensive device. For large households after a simple solution (whose internet providers use DHCP) I recommend the Eero Pro 6. If you’re not in a large household but still have dead zones or want to use it for high-bandwidth things, it might also be worth your attention.

However the price is a bit high, not having a gateway is questionable, having poor PPPoE support is annoying and not having accessible settings offline is ludicrous.

Someone out there would benefit from the Eero Pro 6, but I don’t think it’s me.