eero 6 Pro is here available in Spain. Amazon’s most powerful router with integrated Zigbee wants to be the gateway to the Internet at home with several fabulous proposals on paper: a quality Wi-Fi mesh network, Gigabit capacity and a hub integrated for the connected home. Does it deliver what it promises? We have tested it.
Before commenting on the capabilities of this mesh network, a fundamental question must be taken into account. The eero, both the pro and the normal ones, are a product very focused on the North American market, whose vicissitudes are different in Spain. Without getting technical, the Eero does not support direct connections under the PPPoE protocol, the one used by Spanish operators.
This means that it does not act as a router and a modem, since it requires another device, in addition to the ONT, capable of transforming the fiber that comes home into an Internet connection. No possibility of direct connection to the ONT and therefore to the direct output to the fiber, the eero offers two options: connect it in bridge or bridge mode, or do a double NAT in our network.
Configuration options with the eero Pro 6
The first option is to connect it to our main router, the one of the operator or the one we use, and simply use the capabilities of the eero mesh network to connect our devices. The advantages are to delegate the Wi-Fi to the eero and that the router takes care of the DHCP assignments. Definitely, that our network continues to depend on the operator’s router.
This would be a good option if we only want to expand the capabilities of Wi-Fi and have higher wireless speed or more coverage at home, but we lose many of the advanced features that the eero includes and that we will discuss later. And we have to continue delegating port management or DHCP assignments to the operator’s router.
The second option, therefore, if we want to keep the advanced options offered by the Amazon device, is to set the eero on double NAT: connect the gateway to the operator’s router, put it in bridge mode and let the eero manage the entire network, which is the most recommended option.
This assumes that eero is arranged as follows: ONT> Router> eero. On paper, there is no problem in using this formula, but there are several issues to consider again.
The first one is that placing the eero in double NAT and making it the main router of the house, being connected to the operator’s router, it will be in a different instance (from the classic 192.168.1.1 to an address 192.168.X. 1), since for the operator’s router it will be one more device in DHCP with an assigned IP address.
If it is not configured on the operator’s router side correctly, we will have problems with some devices, such as video game consoles that do not get along very well with double NATs, and the same with external access to network devices such as NAS or Philips Hue. The only option to solve this is to give the eero a direct exit to the Internet by bridging the router of the operara or, as in many cases where this is not possible, enable DMZ for eero IP address.
All this explanatory paragraph on how to connect the Amazon router to our network is necessary as long as a user wants more advanced network management options, they have to have all this well configured. And in general you need a little more practical knowledge than most have. It is a certain barrier to entry if we do not want to have problems in our network and that everything works as it should.
More considering that it is a device focused on having a tremendously good connection and configure it as easily as possible. And you will have more headaches if you also use Internet TV, like Movistar + and you will have to fine-tune the settings even more.
Once the vicissitudes of the Spanish networks have been solved, the eero will be perfectly configured in our network and it will offer us to use all the advanced options it offers, including compatibility with HomeKit or eero Secure.
The configuration process is very simple and is done through a mobile app that guides us throughout the process. You will need a user account, a mobile connected to the network with Bluetooh and, with a few steps, you will have the mesh network working.
Regardless of whether you configure it in bridge or double NAT mode, the configuration process is simple, fast and without friction of any kind. Configuring it as double NAT, we can also access all advanced eero features, including network management, IP assignments, port opening, statistics, Homekit support, and security functions.
If the eero has direct internet access, either because the operator’s router is in bridge mode, or the eero has its IP assigned to the router’s DMZ, everything will work like silk, and all that remains is to connect the different devices to the mesh network created by eero in the configuration process. From this point on, everything is done from the eero app (the device does not have access through the web interface) and works like any other router, with the advantages of the meh network and Gigabit Wi-Fi.
And how about speed? In our case we were already using a router from the Asus Pro range without gigabit capabilities, so we have not seen a big increase in terms of speed over Wi-Fi. However, we have experienced that this speed has been maintained in all corners of the house, unlike with the traditional router, which only reached maximum speed in the same room as the router.
In this way, if you are looking to boost your home Wi-Fi, the eero Pro 6 is going to do a great job. It must be borne in mind that what we gain on one side we lose on the other. The eero only has two ethernet ports, so if you make the change, you will have to connect everything by Wi-Fi or make a small investment in gigabit switchesAlthough they are not very expensive, it is another device that you will have to add to the shopping list, especially in order to connect consoles, TVs, NAS and Hubs of the connected home that only work via network cable.
eero Pro 6 as Hub Zigbee
Another key aspect of this new eero is the inclusion of a Zigbee hub in the router itself. This wants say that the hubs are over (although not entirely), since it is fully compatible with most connected home devices, such as Philips lights, similar to those offered so far by the Echo Plus, for example. However something important here: compatibility is still limited, and for example Ikea lights will need the TRÅDFRI Hub for the initial connection.
Also, compatibility like Hub Zigbee is limited to use with Alexa, through the pairing of the router with the Amazon account. This means that none of the devices connected to the hub eero will be shown in other services such as Google Assistant or HomeKit (due to various limitations).
Perhaps when Matter officially launches and eero includes support for this standard, the hub will open up to more attendees other than Amazon. Therefore, if you are looking for a universal hub for your connected home devices in the Eero Pro 6 and save yourself on proprietary hubs, forget it unless you only use the Amazon system and check compatibility with the hub first.
eero secure and advanced features
The eero includes a free 30-day trial of eero secure, which includes ad blocking at the network level (that is, on all devices), protection against malicious sites and ad filter. It costs about four euros a month, and there is another, clearer plan that also includes support for DDNS, 1Password and antivirus solutions.
However, it is a function that has not convinced us at all. Ad blocking and Malicious sites are done via DNS Without being able to modify the behavior, and in our case it has given us quite a few false positives, preventing the loading of legitimate sites or subtracting functionalities from some apps or services.
Additionally, we’ve also had some issues with HomeKit’s integration with eero secure features, not to mention incompatibility with iOS and macOS features like Private Relay, which uses its own DNS solution. In addition, network-level solutions such as Pi-Hole give enough problems with eero and interfere with the loading of some elements and apps, by not allowing DNS change at the network level per device. It is a feature that those who have simple home networks will appreciate, especially the site locks or family filters, but for those looking for more controls it will be a headache.
On the other hand, the advanced functions of the eero are very interesting. Both the opening / forwarding of ports and the blocking of IPs at the DCHP level is very simple, and undoubtedly ideal for less advanced users but they want to open the ports on their console. Much simpler than other routers and quite automatic.
eero Pro 6, is it worth it?
It is undoubtedly one of the best mesh networks that we have tested, both for gigabit capabilities in the wireless network and for the coverage that we can achieve distributing the devices around the house.
It is an expensive network if we want to cover large spaces at the cost of each gateway / satellite, but it is quite solvent and stable in terms of connection and operation. The configuration too it is extremely simple if we are clear about how our network is configured and we know what we have to touch on the operator’s router.