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Eero Pro 6 review: Amazon's new high-end Wi-Fi 6 mesh router is a compelling upgrade pick

With faster speeds than the regular Eero 6, plus an extra 5GHz band to speed up system performance, Amazon's Eero Pro 6 mesh router helps Wi-Fi 6 shine.

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Amazon's Eero Pro 6 router costs $229, or $599 for a three-pack.

Amazon

Amazon's fall product launch included a pair of new mesh routers this year. Called the Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6, respectively, the two new systems add in full support for Wi-Fi 6, and they also add in a new Zigbee radio that lets Alexa users pair with things like smart lights and smart locks without need for additional hub hardware.

Like all mesh routers, Eero systems use multiple devices to spread a stronger Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. You'll connect the main router to your modem just like a normal router, then you'll plug in the identical-looking satellite devices in other parts of your home where you want to boost the connection. Ideally, the result is a larger, more robust Wi-Fi network with fewer dead zones. 

8.5

Eero Pro 6

Like

  • Easy setup
  • Strong top speeds
  • Stable, reliable performance
  • Zigbee radio helps you connect devices with Alexa.

Don't Like

  • Relatively few Ethernet ports for things like hubs and streaming devices.
  • App lacks advanced features.

Whereas the Eero 6 is an entry-level Wi-Fi 6 system that struggled in some of our tests, the Eero Pro 6 is a higher-end design that delivered faster speeds and better performance as we tested it out. The key "Pro" feature is the triband design, which gives the mesh an additional 5GHz band for dedicated system transmissions. That frees up the first 5GHz band for your normal traffic and makes a noticeable impact in your network performance -- and it helps a mesh system like this one make full use of Wi-Fi 6.

At $229 (£179) for a single Eero Pro 6 router or $599 (£429) for a three-pack with the router and two extenders, the Eero Pro 6 definitely isn't cheap. (Though the three-pack is discounted to $479 at time of writing.) Still, it's a better value than most other triband mesh routers that support Wi-Fi 6 -- for comparison, the top-performing Netgear Orbi AX6000 costs $1,000 for a three-pack. 

That makes the Eero Pro 6 a surprising value pick relative to systems like those, and the strong performance keeps it from feeling like you're compromising. If you live in a large home and you want fast coverage from room to room, then a robust mesh system with multiple extenders is what you need. The Eero Pro 6 gets you there for less than the competition, and that makes it an easy system to recommend, so much so that we awarded it our Editors' Choice designation for mesh routers.

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Unlike the regular Eero 6, where the router is a different piece of hardware than the range-extending satellites, each Eero Pro 6 device is interchangeable. You can use any of them as either the main router or as a range extender.

Ry Crist/CNET

Hands-on with the Eero Pro 6

Amazon says that the regular Eero 6 system is designed for homes with internet speeds of up to 500 megabits per second, while the faster Eero Pro 6 system is built to take advantage of gigabit speeds, complete with a tri-band design that features an extra 5GHz band to keep network transmissions between Eero devices separate from your regular internet traffic. That's a big difference when it comes to mesh networking, especially when you're connecting at range -- and it's also a feature that pairs particularly well with Wi-Fi 6. Even if none of your own devices support the new, faster Wi-Fi standard, they'll still benefit from your Eero devices slinging data across the mesh faster and more efficiently.

The hardware checked out when we took the Eero Pro 6 to our lab to run some controlled top speed tests. With the router wired to a server PC, we were able to use the Eero network to pull data wirelessly to a client PC at speeds of up to 1,008Mbps from 5 feet away, just over gigabit speeds. For comparison, most of the triband mesh routers we've tested over the past year have topped out at around 900Mbps in our lab, including the AX6000 version of Netgear Orbi, the Asus ZenWiFi AX, and the Amplifi Alien.

At a distance of 37.5 feet, the Eero Pro 6's top transfer rate of 1,008Mbps fell slightly to 922Mbps, and at 75 feet, it had only dropped to 838Mbps. That means that the wireless speeds at 75 feet were about 83% as fast as the wireless speeds at 5 feet. That's a great result, and the strongest "range ratio" we've ever seen from a mesh router in this test.

The Eero app makes quick work of setting your system up.

Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

I also put the Eero Pro 6 to the test while working at home here in Louisville, Kentucky. My place is a smallish, shotgun-style house of about 1,300 square feet, and my AT&T fiber internet connection sits at 300Mbps. A system like the Eero Pro 6 is probably overkill for a space like this -- especially the Eero Pro 6 three-pack that Amazon sent my way -- but I still wanted to get a good look at how the system compared with some of the best mesh routers we've tested, including Nest Wifi, the AX6000 version of Netgear Orbi and the Asus ZenWiFi AX.

Setting the system up was a cinch, thanks to the Eero app, which walks you through the process with clear, simple instructions and helpful guidance on how to pick the best spots for your devices. Plug the Eero Pro 6 into your modem, press "go" in the app and you'll be up and running within minutes.

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Each Eero Pro 6 device features a USB-C power port and two Ethernet jacks. That doesn't allow for very many wired connections to the router, and you don't get any standard USB jacks, either.

Ry Crist/CNET

From there, the app lets you see the devices on your network, and it can notify you if something new joins. You can also group devices into profiles with their own specific rules for things like parental controls and timed access (and yes, that also means that you can holler at Alexa to turn off the kids' Wi-Fi when they're misbehaving). For $3 per month, you can add in ad blocking and advanced content filtering with an Eero Secure subscription -- make that $10 per month if you want to add encrypt.me VPN access, Malwarebytes antivirus protection for Mac and Windows and a subscription to 1Password, one of our favorite password managers.

Unlike the Eero 6, where the router and range-extending satellites are two separate pieces of hardware, the Eero Pro 6 devices are all interchangeable, so any one of them can serve as the main router. The system is also backward compatible with earlier-gen Eero routers and range extenders, though I haven't yet had a chance to see how the system performs when you add legacy hardware into the mix. I just wish the Eero Pro 6 devices featured more than two Ethernet jacks on the back. If you're like me, you'll need at least a few more than that to handle wired connections to your various smart home hubs, media streamers and the like.

Features aside, I was eager to start running speed tests. I use the same methodology with every router I test, running several speed tests at a time in various spots in my home, starting in the same room as the router and ending in my back bathroom, the farthest spot from the router. Then, I repeat all of that, but backward -- I start with a fresh connection in that back bathroom and work my way back toward the router. I run that entire process multiple times across multiple days -- in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, you name it.

Wi-Fi 6 helped Eero Pro 6 beat out Nest Wifi as far as speeds are concerned, but it wasn't quite as fast as our top Wi-Fi 6 systems, the Asus ZenWiFi AX and the Netgear Orbi AX6000.

Ry Crist/CNET

The end result is a big, scary spreadsheet filled with more than a hundred speed test results and average download speeds for each room I test in. With one Eero Pro 6 device plugged into the modem in my living room and a second device situated in my master bedroom -- the same two-piece approach I use with all of the mesh routers I test -- the speeds were certainly swift, averaging out to about 251Mbps across the entire home. That's better than Nest Wifi, which averaged out to about 222Mbps, but it's a bit short of the Asus ZenWiFi AX and the Netgear Orbi AX6000, which registered whole-home averages of 272 and 289Mbps, respectively.

That lines up with how these systems are priced. The AX600 version of Netgear Orbi is expensive at $700 for a two-piece system, or $1,000 for a three-pack; meanwhile, the two-piece Asus ZenWiFi AX system costs $450, with a third device adding an extra $250 to the cost. At $600 for a three-piece system, the Eero Pro 6 sits as a high-end value pick for large homes since it's one of the most affordable ways to get a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh router with two satellites under your roof. Meanwhile, at $269 for a two-piece setup or $349 for a three-piece setup, Nest Wifi retains a lot of value of its own, though it isn't a tri-band system and it doesn't support Wi-Fi 6.

Digging a little deeper into the data, I was pleased to see that the Eero Pro 6 system didn't drop my connection at any point during my tests -- it offers a satisfying level of reliability and predictability. My speeds dipped a bit as I moved through the back of my house, where the system needed to route my connection through the satellite, but those dips were consistent and barely noticeable. 

A single Eero Pro 6 router without any satellites performed very well compared with the competition -- it beat out the Netgear Orbi AX6000, but fell just short of the Linksys Velop MX5 and our top performer in this test, the Asus ZenWiFi AX.

Ry Crist/CNET

When I got rid of the satellites and reran my tests with just one Eero Pro 6 router and no mesh at all, my average speeds dipped more noticeably in that back bathroom, but still stayed up above 80Mbps, which is a pretty good result. Speeds everywhere else remained close to my home's speed limit of 300Mbps, and the overall average rang in at 259Mbps -- slightly faster than the average when I used two Eero Pro 6 devices. 

Each colored line represents the lag results across all of my speed tests for a single mesh router. Spikes out from the center represent tests where the lag was high, so closer to the center is better here. Eero Pro 6, the hard-to-see blue line, was the best of this bunch.

Ry Crist/CNET

That might seem counterintuitive, but it's because the two-piece setup was cautious. It routed my connection through the satellite in places like my hallway bathroom and master bedroom where it could have gotten away with just connecting directly to the main router.

The key is that back bathroom -- with a single Eero Pro 6, the average speed in there was 88Mbps. With two Eero Pro 6 devices, that average jumped to 200Mbps. That tells you the system is working as intended, and boosting speeds in places where it'd be difficult to connect with a single standalone router. A slight speed reduction in rooms adjacent to dead zones like that is a fair tradeoff for whole-home coverage.

Meanwhile, Eero's lag performance was excellent, with only one spike of more than 25ms across all of my tests. That's noticeably less lag than I've seen from any of our top mesh router picks, and a great result to see from a brand-new system.

One last note: I run these tests on a Dell XPS laptop that doesn't support Wi-Fi 6 in order to get a good, real-world sense of speeds, and also to serve as a contrast to our lab-based top speed tests, where we use Wi-Fi 6 devices to get a complete look at each router's capabilities in an ideal setting. If you're using Wi-Fi 6 devices like those in your home, then your speeds will likely be a bit faster than mine.

How much faster? To find out, I repeated my laps around the house yet again -- but this time, I ran my speed tests on an iPhone 12 Pro, one of a growing number of devices that boast full support for Wi-Fi 6. My results were, indeed, faster -- specifically, about 20% faster than I saw on the laptop when I was near the main router, and up to 35% faster when I was connecting at range, through the satellite.

The verdict: It's worth it to go Pro

With strong performance and no unpleasant surprises during my tests, the Eero Pro 6 fits the bill as an upgrade pick, thanks to the triband design and its full support for Wi-Fi 6. It's expensive at $229 for a single router or $599 for a three-pack -- but those prices are lower than you'll pay for comparable systems like the Netgear Orbi AX6000 and the Asus ZenWiFi AX. The Eero Pro 6 held its own with routers like those throughout our tests, and it doesn't feel like much of a compromise compared with any of them, all of which combined give ample justification to its Editors' Choice selection.

Also of note: While the Eero Pro 6 performed well when we tested it out, the same can't be said of the regular Eero 6 system, which saw its speeds suffer from poor band-steering. The Eero Pro 6 seemed to handle band-steering much better, perhaps because of the triband design. For my money, that makes the Eero Pro 6 the much better buy of the two, and a strong choice for home networking overall, especially if you live in a large home that would benefit from a three-piece setup with faster Wi-Fi 6 speeds.