After spending a lot of 2020 on Zoom meetings with choppy audio and frequent freezes, I decided it was time to upgrade my home wireless network.
I began frequently using Zoom in December 2019 when doing some work for a company where all staff worked remotely (we were ahead of the curve). Noticing connection problems while in meetings I spoke to my ISP and managed to get a free upgrade to the Virgin SuperHub 3. Although this improved reliability a little, things were still rough. I would often spend a lot of the day at home with wireless disabled on my phone just because the wireless connection was so bad. Zoom meetings also carried on suffering, although a little less than before. Annoyingly, it was always when I needed to listen or speak the most.
Looking up the numbers it seems that the SuperHub 3 is capable of handling about 20 wireless devices at a time. Although that seems like a lot for a home, it really isn’t now that our home is filled with more people and devices. Just to give a brief summary of some of our home devices:
1 x Ring doorbell.
1 x Ring Floodlight cam.
2 x Apple MacBooks
1 x Apple iMac
3 x Amazon Alexa
2 x Amazon Fire TV
1 x Apple TV
2 x Apple iPad
2 x Apple Watch
1 x FitBit Versa 2
7 x Smartphones (Several in the home, some for testing iOS apps which I build)
1 x HP Wireless Printer
? x other devices that I can’t remember.
All of these are active, although not always in use. But, it’s enough wireless traffic to bring the SuperHub 3 to its knees. I don’t think the SuperHub 3 is designed for this many devices, particularly with all of the streaming from multiple devices as well as cameras that upload video on movement. To compare to Eero, these devices can handle up to 128 connection each.
After a bit of research I opted to try the Amazon Eero. I managed to get a deal on the week leading up to Black Friday although since then it has gone back up in price. I got the three Eero pack, but not the pro version as those are more than I’m willing to pay at the moment.
Setup was easy. I wont go in to all of the steps in the app, but we ran in to no problems with setting things up. Due to an injury and not being able to get around the house easily, two of my children plugged the Eero devices in, one on each of the three floors we live in, and then connected the downstairs one up to the Virgin router. I put the Virgin router in modem mode and when done, opened up the Eero app and added each Eero to the network. The only remaining task was to check for devices on my old 5G network and change the wireless settings for them to point them to the new SSID.
As I was unable to get around the house at that time, my son took my phone around the house and used the SpeedTest app to check what kind of speeds we were getting. On my old setup which used TP Powerline adapters I was reaching around 10 Mb down at the furthest point in the house. Using Eero I typically get up to the full 220+ Mb from anywhere in the house depending on the time of day. Virgin has typically been good at providing advertised speeds for me, so I am happy with the results. I just couldn’t use the wireless from their standard hub.
Reliability has been great. Eero was setup just over a month ago. The first outage took me by surprise as it had been reliable for a few days after installation, but then I read that Amazon AWS had a major outage knocking out a lot of the internet. This meant that Eero was actually not the problem itself and that the problem was external to my network.
The other two outages seemed related to Zoom and I never was able to get to the bottom of what happened because when in a middle of a meeting the aim is to get back in as quick as possible, unless it’s boring and you have a valid excuse for leaving. I was kicked out of two meetings briefly and had to disconnect and reconnect. Perhaps it was my wireless network or perhaps it was something external, but other than that, all has run exceptionally well since installing it.
Eero Review Summary
This post is just a summary of what Eero has worked like in my home; a kind of mini-review. I’m happy with Eero and the greater reliability it brings to my home. I haven’t got exact facts and numbers to share because they are not so important to me, but what I do know is that Zoom meetings are far more reliable and I rarely lose connection.
I also am able to use wireless on my phone and not have to disconnect and use 3G/4G in the home like previously.
- Reliable and a steady and strong signal all around the home. I could probably get away with using two Eeros, but the pack of three was a good price.
- The iOS app works great and lets you know what the best throughput you are getting, how much data you use each day, and lets you create guest networks, use experimental features, set custom DNS (which I really like) to name a few things.
- The iOS app is updated regularly. There have been several updates since I downloaded the app.
- The Eero devices themselves also get updates to improve service.
- When my ISP went down recently I couldn’t connect to Eero through the app to troubleshoot. To restart Eero you need an active internet connection. Not knowing it was my ISP at the time I didn’t know if Eero was the one with the problem or not. It turns out it was the ISP which was fixed an hour later.