We’re walking through all the details of our new eero mesh WiFi system(s) and how we’ve eliminated ‘dead spots’ in our home WiFi networks. It’s worth noting that this post is not sponsored, we’re just really excited about how easy it was for us to fix a nagging issue in our home, in the hopes it can help you, too!
We’re all spending a lot more time at home these days, so a strong WiFi network is more necessary than ever. Remote learning, working from home and streaming all require a strong signal, but homes have a lot of built-in barriers that prevent signals from reaching every room. A mesh network is just the solution to eliminate dead spots and keep your whole house productive and/or entertained! Before we jump into why a mesh WiFi network might be right for your home, let’s talk through what a mesh WiFi network actually is.
What is a Mesh Wifi Network, Anyway?
A mesh network consists of a main router (connected directly to a modem) and a series of satellite devices, or signal repeaters, that are placed throughout a home. This setup creates a ‘whole home’ WiFi network that offers a consistent signal and high speeds everywhere. This is especially helpful for homes with a large footprint, multiple floors or extra thick walls.
Our Chicago home, for example, is two stories with a long, narrow footprint and especially thick walls. All of these factors add up to a lot of signal barriers. As you can imagine, this made for some dead spots throughout our home, even with our old router placed as centrally as possible.
This All Sounds Complicated. Is it?
No! It’s actually really simple! Promise. The setup process is quick and intuitive, and the eero app walks through everything step-by-step. For our system, we purchased an eero three pack and used 2 of the units at our home in Chicago (the third device was used as the foundation of an eero system at our Michigan Tree House, which has also benefitted hugely from a new eero network. More on that in a second!) There are only a few steps involved in basic setup:
- Download the eero app
- Create an account
- Set up your eero
- Create your eero network
- Add additional eeros to your network
That’s it! The whole setup process only took about 10 minutes! Once it was all installed, we had a bit of tweaking to do to ensure that all of our smart home devices were properly connected to the new network, but that can be avoided all together if you learn from our mistakes! One thing we definitely would have done differently (and did do when setting up the second network in Michigan) would have been to make sure our new network shared the exact same name and password as the old network. We omitted one digit of the password by mistake and had to reconnect a few of our devices, but that was 100% installer error.
Where Did You Place the Devices?
In Chicago, one eero is connected directly to our modem in our second floor studio. This unit acts as the main router. It’s all hidden behind this couch in a tangled mess of wires that we do our best to avoid thinking about.
The second eero unit sits hidden atop the cabinets above the fridge in our kitchen, which is on the first floor. While the first eero in the studio definitely provided a better signal than our old combo modem/router by itself, the second device in the kitchen was the game changer that eliminated the dead zone at the back of the house!
In Michigan, we used one eero (from the original 3 pack) as our main router. The unit sits atop a small decorative storage box tucked alongside the dresser, hiding the modem and a couple of other electronic wires and gadgets. Eero refers to the most current version as the ‘cupcake’ form factor, which is pretty perfect if you ask us! The units are glossy white and fade nicely into the background if they can’t be hidden from view.
In addition to the eero 3 pack, we also purchased an additional eero beacon as the second unit for the system at Tree House. The beacon plugs directly into a wall outlet in the sleeping loft. The form factor of the beacon resembles an air freshener or a nightlight and it has absolutely no cords, which is great for a space where kiddos regularly hang out and play. Coincidentally, it can also function as a dimmable nightlight if you prefer!
Note: We used our trusty label maker to let our short-term renters know not to unplug the device!
Did it Make a Noticeable Difference?
Heck. Yes. The eero systems made a HUGE difference in our WiFi signal strength in both homes! In the past, our Chicago kitchen (which is at the rear of the home) was a notorious WiFi problem area. This made following online recipes and streaming music to the kitchen and backyard a sometimes slow, spotty ordeal. (There’s a pair of outdoor speakers tucked discreetly on either side of our back patio staircase!)
When streaming music to the backyard speakers, we’d often have to resort to leaving one of our phones in the kitchen to control the music. We’d then have to run back inside every time we needed to skip tracks or adjust volume. We now have full strength WiFi in the kitchen, backyard and even into our detached garage! We can use our devices as usual, with full WiFi strength, to stream music or work outside. It’s like we’ve gained an outdoor office!
Any Additional Installation Tips?
Yup! As we mentioned earlier, it’s helpful to make absolutely sure to use the same network name and password as the existing network for your new network. This will help avoid having to reconnect any of your existing smart/streaming devices to the new network. I learned this lesson the hard way when I missed one digit of the password when setting up our system in Chicago. This left me with about 45 minutes of walking around the house updating passwords on smart devices. On the other hand, when I set up the system at Tree House, I was sure to replicate the old network name and password exactly and everything connected automatically without trouble. Seriously, it was up and running in less than 10 minutes!
Also, if you formerly relied on a combination modem/router to do dual duty, it’s helpful to shut off router functionality and use the old device to work only as a modem. This sounds complicated, but a quick google search of your modem’s model number should provide a clear walkthrough of the necessary steps to keep it functioning only as a modem.
Another cool eero feature is that the app is actually useful after the network is set up! The app also allows the user to see which smart devices, laptops and speakers are connected to each eero unit. Devices are broken down by category and WiFi signal and can be toggled on and off as a parental control. It’s all very simple and convenient to use and offers some interesting insights into how many devices are actually on a network.
The app is also capable of real-time speed tests of both download and upload speeds. In our case, both speeds regularly clock in higher than the 100 Mbps that our cable company guarantees! Nice.
While a $250 investment in a strong WiFi network isn’t exactly chump change, the eero 3 pack goes on sale for between $169 and $200 fairly often. To save a few bucks when the units were not on sale, we purchased our original 3 pack brand new from ebay and paid just over $200. Our beacon was then purchased on facebook marketplace (gently used) for just over $100, so there are definitely ways to limit the initial investment into the system. That said, for investing around $300 for two brand new networks that have performed flawlessly thus far, we think it was money well spent!
Have you installed a mesh network? Are there any additional tips, tricks or hidden eero features that we should know about? We’d love to hear your experiences!
PS: Here’s a quick-start guide to building a Smart home system, if you’re interested!