Wi-Fi has become a necessary evil in our daily lives. Necessary as it can connect our laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc. to the Web at most coffee shops, libraries, workplaces, and homes. Evil as it is with its pitfalls: fluctuating buffer times, password trouble, and dead zones.
Now, a square, white device the size of a CD case is aiming to make W-iFi troubles a thing of the past.
Meet Eero. Launched on Tuesday, the device touts itself as the first Wi-Fi “system,” a router that provides reliable service to every aspect of your space, and eliminates password troubles and slow streaming.
The company calls the coverage for its device a “mesh network,” which means the device searches for the best frequencies and channels in a given space, without a preset preference to one frequency over another. This allows every corner of a room to be seamlessly covered, they say.
The company is also selling the device on its ability to automate the most headache-inducing parts of setting up Wi-Fi. They claim the set-up process is as simple as plugging in the device, connecting via Bluetooth, and picking a password. They also point out that the device offers automatic reboot if anything goes down. No more pulling the plug to restart your router when your device has been searching for the network for five minutes. Which, in theory, wouldn’t happen with the mesh network.
Eero was designed by Nest thermostat architect Fred Bould, meaning the device solves another common W-iFi annoyance: it actually looks nice.
But the device is also created on a premise that may not have many consumers happy: you’re going to need more than one.
"We started by acknowledging that it’s just not possible to cover an entire home with a single router," writes Eero chief executive and co-founder Nick Weaver in a blog post introducing the device. "It’s not how Wi-Fi radio waves work — the farther they have to travel and the more obstructions they encounter, the less reliable your connection becomes."
Eero is recommending you buy three. One device will ordinarily cost $199 but they are offering a pre-order deal for $125. Three devices will ordinarily be bundled for $499, but the pre-order deal comes in at $299. The base price is a bit high for a wireless router, though the pre-order deal makes it far more affordable. It’s just up to you whether you are willing to pay extra for seamless coverage, or less for potentially spotty coverage with another router.
That being said, Silicon Valley financiers seem to think Eeros has a good idea of what customers’ wireless needs will be in the future. The company raised $5 million in venture funding, and with bandwidth-gobbling streaming websites growing in popularity, Wi-Fi is going to have to evolve with it. Eero could provide that answer.