Wi-Fi 6 in the new eero Pro 6 can totally keep up with full gigabit internet speeds!

Posted by Paul Braren on Nov 17 2020 (updated on Nov 30 2020) in
  • Wireless
  • Network
  • Review
  • SmartHome
  • Ubiquiti
  • TLDR

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    If you have a lot of devices, or rooms where your first generation eero just doesn't quite cut it, the eero Pro 6 is likely to be a good boost for your performance, at the expected cost premium. It's delightful to actually regularly get over 90% of the claimed gigabit speeds (details below), at least in my admittedly unique mesh-less bridge-mode configuration. It's also great to see that each of these always-on devices each sip a mere 7 to 8 watts, even under load!

    Since I have gigabit internet speeds, I only plan to test and likely keep the 1000 Mbps eero Pro 6, with no plans to test the 500 Mbps eero 6 or any of eero's Wi-Fi 5 based products including the eero Extender or eero Beacon.

    Just because I use a wired backhaul and bridged mode and a separate more customizable router doesn't mean you have to. If your home has gigabit internet speeds, just connect these eero Pro 6 devices the way eero recommends, and use the eero's built-in dns/dhcp/routing for simplicity. I feel comfortable that readers will likely be pleased with their eero Pro 6 purchase.

    Shop

    Nov 30 2020 update - I pre-ordered my "eero Pro 6 - 3 pack" at full price directly from eero on the day they were announced. Finding these in stock on Amazon as we get close to the 2020 holidays is proving to be a challenge, so I've pulled together a number of reputable sources to increase your odds.

    Disclosure: some of these affiliate links may be income-earning for TinkerTry, at no cost to you, with details below every TinkerTry article.

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    The 3 pack (6,000 sq. ft. coverage) of eero Pro 6 is available for between ~$540 and $599 USD at:

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    The 2 pack (3,500 sq. ft. coverage) of eero Pro 6 is available for $399 USD at:

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    The 1 pack (2,000 sq. ft. coverage) of eero Pro 6 is available for between ~$206 to $229 USD at:

    eero-pro-6-1000
    Click/tap to visit product page, these are the exact model I've TinkerTry'd.
    eero-6-500
    Click/tap to visit product page. I won't be testing these since I have a full gigabit internet connection and want/need top speeds.

    History

    • Oct 2013 - I moved to 802.11ac
    • Jul 2016 - I moved to 3 eero 802.11ac devices, adding a 4th for my basement in 2018.
    • Nov 2020 - I moved to 3 eero 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) devices, and might still want a 4th for my basement in 2020, we'll see. The original eeros will likely find new roles in relatives' homes and apartments.

    MY HOME NETWORK REQUIREMENTS

    Blanket all floors

    What I wanted most in my Wi-Fi for these past 2 decades is seamless access in my whole home. Let me clarify. With full basements here in New England, that means about 2250 sq. ft. to cover, on 3 floors. A Wi-Fi router upstairs never quite covered the whole home, no matter how many antennas stuck out of it, and performance was quite poor in some corners of our constructed-in-1994 typical wood-frame home, with sheetrock walls and hollow bedroom doors.

    Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

    for my day job, I frequently move about as often as possible, jumping over to my iPhone to catch a lunch break for example. I don't want to miss a word, and dislike any loss of audio or video quality when moving around, and certainly don't want a dropped Wi-Fi call or Microsoft Teams call either.

    Seamless hand-offs

    Enter mesh networking. Specifically, the ability for multiple Wi-Fi access points to coordinate with one-another to seamlessly hand-off my device from one to another, much like cell towers do. All using the same SSID, an essential element. You can't have different SSIDs in one home and expect hand-held devices to leap onto the one that's a little stronger automatically, and manually switching is completely untenable.

    Prefer 5 GHz

    What I also want out of my home's Wi-Fi is the intelligence to do Band Steering, as eero Labs explains:

    Many devices are dual-band capable, meaning they support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. 5 GHz is typically less crowded and offers higher performance. Band steering tracks whether a device has previously been seen on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, and if so attempts to “steer” it to 5 GHz to improve long-term device performance. Band steering does not guarantee that a device will choose the 5 GHz band, but helps to favor that preference.

    This is essential to obtain peak speeds, and it must be automatic. Ideally, you move around your home, find your new spot, then once you're relatively still at that location, I want eero to decide to bump me up to 5GHz and stay there if the signal is strong enough.

    Wired backhaul/no mesh

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    With a basement and an attic, running CAT6a network cabling to each eero device was fine, connected to the LAN side of my DOCIS 3.1 Arris CM8200 cable modem with Cox Communications Gigablast internet.

    When you don't need to use the dedicated eero-to-eero channel for mesh communications, why do it?

    Bridged Mode - sidestepping Amazon/privacy concerns

    I realize I'm losing a lot of features that eero offers by not integrating with Amazon services and family filtering, but I choose to continue to use my beloved Ubiquiti EdgeRouter 4 for all DNS, DHCP, and routing functions, with forward, reverse, and FQDN support that VMware vSphere requires. I also love the DNS for all Linux and Windows devices, speaking to another automatically by name, and I don't have to memorize IPs. The eeros are just how my iPhones join this same flat home network, really just passthrough devices in my particular unique wiring and software configuration.

    ZigBee

    I'm not using the ZigBee function of my eero Pro 6.

    MY HOME NETWORK SPEED TESTS

    WAN - Ookla speed test, eero speed test

    The tweet below kind of says it all, doesn't it?

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    original-eero-vs-eero-pro-6
    You can see pretty clearly I cut-over to the new eero Pro 6 in the evening of November 15. This is the eero's built-in speed testing that automatically or manually runs speed tests of the eero to an internet speed test server, it doesn't test Wi-Fi performance to your Wi-Fi device.

    So far, I can safely say that in most rooms I've begun testing the following Wi-Fi 6 devices

    • iPhone 11 Pro Max (getting turned into Apple in a week)
    • iPhone 12 Pro Max
      the performance of both of these devices has been roughly the same, and the performance of each is roughly 2x as fast compared to when I'm connected to the original eero.

    LAN - Wi-Fi Sweet Spots on App Store and Google Play.

    The findings here are similar about 2x performance for a given location in my home versus the original eero.

    I don't have screenshots or video of WiFi Sweet Spots prepared yet.

    MY HOME NETWORK SIGNAL STRENGTH TESTS

    I'm planning to simply do this:

    1. remove my basement eero
    2. screenshot Ring Video Doorbell signal strength levels, along with 3 other Ring cameras
    3. swap out my 3 upstairs original eero for my 3 new eero Pro 6
    4. repeat step 2, then publish before and after results in this article

    RESULTS

    Nov 30 2020 Update - I've now completed these tests using an iPhone 5, an iPhone 7 Plus, an iPhone 11 Pro Max, and an iPhone 12 Pro Max. Even in the worst signal areas of my home, I've now seen that the new eero Pro 6 to be about 2x to 3x faster than my first generation eero from 2016, both using Wi-Fi Sweetspots and using Ookla Speed Test.

    While that speed up doesn't necessarily translate to faster page load speeds, it does assure me that my near-gigabit speeds are now enjoyable by Wi-Fi devices nearly everywhere in my home, with far more CPU grunt and bandwidth to handle the fact that I my Wi-Fi device count has grown 4x over those 4+ years.

    Videos

    Paul Braren - Nov 04 2020 - Unboxing and measuring power use of the new eero Pro 6, more testing of this Wi-Fi 6 coming soon!

    Plans

    I'll be testing a few devices that gave me minor issues with the first generation eero that I worked around by simply moving to the guest WiFi. These include ecobee thermostats and garaged Tesla Model 3s where only one would join the Guest Wi-Fi network for mysterious reasons (my preferred network for all my IoT devices), but either could join the main Wi-Fi network.

    Note, I've been very happy with eero overall, especially their support, the last time I've called them was detailed here back in 2018, admittedly before Amazon acquired them.

    Photos

    Most devices showed an RSSI closer to zero (stronger signal) on the eero Pro 6, the one exception was likely because the device may have associated itself with another access point.

    These images are best displayed as a gallery, just click/tap on any of the images, then arrow/swipe to scroll through them and compare signal strengths.

    IMG_8652.PNG
    Here you can see my four new eero Pro 6 devices are active
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    Ring Video Doorbell Pro on eero
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    Ring Video Doorbell Pro on eero Pro 6
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    Ring Security Camera 1 on eero
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    Ring Security Camera 1 on eero Pro 6
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    Ring Security Camera 2 on eero
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    Ring Security Camera 2 on eero Pro 6
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    Ring Security Camera 3 on eero
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    Ring Security Camera 3 on eero Pro 6
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    Here you can see my four original eero devices are active

    Nov 18 2020 Update

    Based on more testing, article title changed from:

    • Testing a 3 pack of eero Pro 6 wired to my gigabit internet connection is going especially well with my Wi-Fi 6 devices!

    to:

    • Wi-Fi 6 in the new eero Pro 6 can totally keep up with full gigabit internet speeds!

    Nov 30 2020 Update

    Results of my most of my testing done so far added to the article above.


    See also at TinkerTry

    had-some-ios-related-issues-with-eero-that-are-now-fixed

    edge-router-lite-update

    replaced-linksys-with-eero-after-also-testing-luma

    bugtober-2017-spent-patching

    ac1900routers

    See also

    amazon-eero-privacy
    • What Amazon’s purchase of Eero means for your privacy
      Feb 12 2019 by Zack Whittaker at TechCrunch

      It’s a natural fear that when “big tech” wades in, it’s going to ruin everything. Especially with Amazon. The company’s track record on transparency is lackluster at best, and downright evasive at its worst. But just because Amazon is coming in doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily become a surveillance machine. Even Google’s own mesh router system, Eero’s direct competitor, promises to “not track the websites you visit or collect the content of any traffic on your network.”

      Amazon can’t turn the Eero into a surveillance hub overnight, but it doesn’t mean it won’t try.

      All you can do is keep a close eye on the company’s privacy policy. We’ll do it for you. And in the event of a sudden change, we’ll let you know. Just make sure you have an escape plan.

    • How do I bridge my eeros?

      Note: If your network configuration necessitates bridge mode to function, you’ll have to first set up your eero network by double NATing. Read our full instructions on how to do so here.

    • Does eero need a wired connection for every device? Or do they throw packets from device-to-device until they get to an internet connection?
      reddit EERO comment by grantchart
      Response by corywiley:

      For top speeds you can direct wire them. Thats what I did. But yes, they were designed to be wireless and are much more efficient at covering your location with faster WiFi then traditional routers with extenders.

    • The Best Wi-Fi Router (for Most People)
      Aug 22 2016 by David Murphy at The Wirecutter

    • Best Wi-Fi Routers 2016
      Jul 12 2016 by Brian Nadel & Philip Michaels at Tom's Guide

    • A Stupid Simple Router for Super Lazy People
      Mar 15 2016 by Adam Clark Estes