Today, eero, a networking vendor owned by Amazon, released its first Wi-Fi 6E solution, the Eero Pro 6E, available as a single router for some $300 or a 3-pack for $700. Those are crazy prices, but not for reasons you might think!
Many of you have asked me when I’ll publish my review on it. The quick answer is probably never.
Despite having reviewed the Eero Pro 6 and Eero 6, I’ll likely take a pass on this one. This post will explain briefly why and offer my quick and no-nonsense take on the new device.
Eero Pro 6E: Another data mining Wi-Fi machine of low-end hardware
To tell the truth, I had a lot of hesitance testing the previous Eero variants and generally any similar networking devices designed to collect user data.
My testing always includes using the product extensively in my own home for my family. Consequently, I don’t feel comfortable plugging something in that doesn’t give me control — at least to some extent — over what it does.
And the Eero gives users no control at all — you can’t even make any changes to it without first going through the vendor. The device won’t work without first having a live connection to eero.
Privacy is a matter of degree and while many networking vendors use a similar approach to router management, Amazon is a huge company that already has a lot of data on the users. And that makes the Eero scary.
There will be a lot of “reviews” on the Eero Pro 6E. Many will sing its praises — Amazon has lots of influence. There are more incentives for folks to hype it up than otherwise. In any case, I’m nobody to judge.
(I’m myself an Amazon associate, meaning if you buy the Eero Pro 6E over the link above, I might get a small commission.)
And to be fair, there are things to love about the Eero Pro 6E. The combination of the cute, compact design, the integration of home automation wireless standards, and especially the ease of use alone has its allure. So, if you’ve been waiting for an upgrade, you should be excited.
But if you think the new Eero Pro 6E is decidedly better than the previous Pro 6, you’re fooling yourself. After reviewing virtually all other Wi-Fi 6E broadcasters available on the US market, I can say that for sure by looking at the specs.
So let’s check them out.
Eero Pro 6E vs Eero Pro 6: Hardware specifications
Eero doesn’t unveil the details from the Eero Pro 6E’s specs. But from what I can glean from the company’s website, it’s quite clear that the Pro 6E is a “weaker” Wi-Fi machine compared to the previous model.
And both are entry-level hardware. By the way, the two share almost identical designs.
|Full Name||Amazon Eero Pro 6
Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router
|Amazon Eero Pro 6E
Wi-Fi 6E Mesh Router
|Model||Eero Pro 6||Eero 6 Pro 6E|
|Wi-Fi Designation||Dual-band AX4200||Tri-band AXE5400 (?)|
|Dimensions||5.3 x 5.3 x 2.1 in
(134.49 x 134.63 x 52.6 mm)
|(5.50 in x 5.50 in x 2.20 in
(139 mm x 139 mm x 55.23 mm)
|Weight||1.49 lbs (676 g)||1.55 lbs (776 g)|
|1st Band||2.4GHz AX: Up to 600Mbps
|2.4GHz AX: Up to 600Mbps
|2st Band||5GHz 4×4 AX: Up to 2400Mbps
|5GHz 2×2 AX: Up to 2400Mbps
|3rd Band||5GHz 2×2 AX: Up to 1201 Mbps
|6GHz 2×2 AXE: Up to 2400Mbps
|Mesh Backhaul Band||5Ghz||Dynamic|
|Wired Backhaul Support||Yes||Yes|
|Wi-Fi Security||WPA2, WPA2/WPA3||WPA2, WPA2/WPA3|
|Web User Interface||None||None|
|AP (Bridge) Mode||Yes||Yes|
|Gigabit Port||2x Auto-Sensing (LAN/WAN)||1x Auto-Sensing|
|Multi-Gig Port||None||1x 2.5Gbps Auto-Sensing|
|Processing Power||1.4 GHz quad-core CPU,
1GB RAM, 4GB flash
|1 GHz dual-core CPU,
1 GB RAM, 4 GB flash storage
Eero Pro 6E vs Eero Pro 6: Another misleading case of the old tri-band vs new tri-band
Overall, the new Eero Pro 6E is entry-level hardware with mid-tier 2×2 Wi-Fi specs. As such, its ceiling Wi-Fi speed will likely cap at 1.2Gbps on the 5GHz band — you can’t expect it to work in the 160MHz band at all times.
So, the Eero Pro 6E is only better than the Eero Pro 6 when working as a single router, and in only one ara: it also supports Wi-Fi 6E devices that use the 6GHz band.
In a mesh setup, things will get complicated.
The Eero Pro 6 is a traditional Tri-band device — it can dedicate its 2nd band (the top-tier 5GHz) as the dedicated backhaul in a fully wireless setup. On the other hand, the Eero Pro 6E is a new Tri-band router — it has no dedicated backhaul band.
As a result, whichever band the new Pro 6E uses for backhauling will suffer from signal loss, and its reduced speed will be that of the entire mesh system.
Backhaul vs fronthaul
Generally, when you use multiple Wi-Fi hardware units, there are two types of connections: the fronthaul and the backhaul.
Fronthaul is the Wi-Fi signal a mesh hub broadcasts outward for clients or its network ports that you connect wired devices into.
Backhaul, a.k.a backbone, on the other hand, is the link between one broadcasting hub and another, be it the main router or another satellite hub.
Generally, it’s best to use network a for a hub’s backhaul, or wired backhaul, assuming you use Gigabit or Multi-Gig wiring.
That’s because the backhaul link determines the real-world speed of the fronthaul — it determines the top speed of all devices in the network except for those connected to the main router.
In networking, wiring is always much better than wireless in both speed and reliability.
What’s more, the 6GHz band has a very short range, and since the hardware automatically picks a band to work as a backhaul in real-time, it might choose the 2.4GHz band for this job, resulting in super-slow backhaul speed.
In short, in a fully wireless setup, the Eero Pro 6E will likely be slower than the Eero Pro 6.
While both the Pro 6 and Pro 6E can work via a wired backhaul — where you use a network cable to link the hardware — the latter needs wired backhaul to work well. That’s just the case with all Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E mesh systems, including the high-end ZenWiFi ET8 or Linksys AXE8400.
By the way, since there’s just one 2.5Gbps port per router, you can’t have Multi-Gig wired backhaul out of it, like the case of the ZenWiFi Pro ET12.
Again, this post is not to hate on the Eero Pro 6E, and to those who just opened the fancy box, I don’t mean to rain on your parade.
If you love the Eero Pro 6E, go ahead and love it. I’m happy for you. However, if you expect me to agree with the superlatives you’ve been fed about it, I can’t. And also, you’re just fooling yourself.
At the core, the new Eero Pro 6E is a low-end Wi-Fi device that supports the Wi-Fi 6E standard — it will likely be the slowest among its peers. So it’s outrageously over-priced.
And like all Eero variants, it’s designed to collect information from your network to further enrich Amazon. As such, it should be given to you for free. You don’t own it anyway — you can’t use it without eero.
Below is my rating of the Eero Pro 6 for reference.
Easy to set up and use, especially for iPhone users
Wi-Fi range could be better
Internet and login account required for setup and ongoing management
Minimum ports, no Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation, or Multi-Gig
Online Protection and Parental Control require a monthly subscription
Home automation feature requires Amazon integration
No web interface, spartan Wi-Fi, and network settings
The eero app for Android is a bit buggy