Last week I installed the Eero Wi-Fi router system in my house.
The three Eero devices create a mesh Wi-Fi network - one that (finally) enables robust bandwidth throughout our (small but older / many walled) home.
I’ve been struggling for months to get fast wireless throughout our home - as traditional range extenders (I had a couple of Almonds) just didn’t work very well.
The Eero system (3 devices) is wicked expensive ($499) - but the bandwidth gain is (for me) worth every penny.
With 3 routers distributed throughout the house, I am able to stay on one wireless network (range extenders make you switch networks), while enjoying fast and reliable access to the web.
Videos are no longer buffering. Downloads are fast and reliable from everywhere in the house.
Setup was a breeze - the fastest and easiest home network that I have ever installed.
I love that I can control everything through my iPhone app, including keeping track of what devices are on my network.
So while I highly recommend the Eero system for those of you struggling with home WiFi challenges, the cost of the Eero system continues to give me pause. Each time I look at one of the Eero boxes (they are pretty boxes), I find myself asking some questions: (The proverbial $499 questions).
Q1 - Is Spending $499 for a Home Network Justifiable?
How do we put a number on the value of fast and reliable bandwidth? Is this number derived as a percentage of our income? Should the number be calculated by the value of the Internet for our work? (And who has jobs nowadays that do not require reliable and fast web access?). Is the right dollar amount to pay for a wireless networking system a function of speed, latency, buffering - some algorithm that I don’t know exists? Should what we should spend on our routers (or a system of routers) be estimated in relation to how much we are willing to spend for bandwidth speeds from our ISP?
Q2 - What Is Comparable to Spending $499 on a Home Network System?
$499 seems like a ton of money for WiFi. But is it? I remember in 1991, the year I started grad school, spending $2,000 on a computer. (A Gateway computer). In today’s dollars, that is over $3,500. Can you imagine spending $3,500 for a computer now? It was a huge sum then - my grad school stipend was $8,700 - but a necessary expense (I thought) to succeed in grad school. The cost of technology has come down dramatically, so a $499 technology purchase (that is not a new laptop or desktop computer) seems very high. What are technology / productivity things do we buy that feel as expensive as the Eero system? What about a Nest thermostat? An iPad Pro?
Q3 - Will The Price Come Down with Competition and Moore’s Law - and Should I Have Waited?
When will the Eero price come down? It looks like the only competition that Eero has for home mesh networking is Luma. Are there other systems that I don’t know about? How quickly will Moore’s Law push down the price of the Eero? Or will the company keep the price the same, and add better hardware and more features (maybe features I don’t really need) in future releases? Is it a sucker’s game to be an early tech adopter - as early products suffer from both problems and high prices? Or does it make sense to jump on the Eero now, improve your home WiFi experience, and accept the pain that will come as the product improves and price drops?
Q4 - Can I Really Trust That Eero Will Stay In Business?
Eero seems to have some traction. If I were Google, or Apple, or Microsoft - I would be thinking about trying to buy Eero. Why the Nest folks at Google didn’t come up with this idea first I will never understand - part of the larger story of the disaster of Google’s purchase of Nest. (Maybe Eero should stay independent). But can a small company like Eero survive without a big and rich corporate parent? Hardware is a cutthroat business, as competitors can make a product that is almost as good for a much lower price. As of now, Eero is avoiding the commodification trap by selling a service - the Eero improves as it learns through its integration with its cloud services and frequent updates. But for how long can Eero stay ahead of the lower-priced competition?
Q5 - What Is The Relationship Between Privilege and Bandwidth?
Those of us that can afford to drop $499 on a Eero system get better internet. The digital divide has come to even those homes already able to afford an internet connection. This was already the case, as bandwidth levels fast enough for everyone in the household to live on the web have always come with a premium price. And this is assuming that you live in a place where fast bandwidth is even available. What the Eero demonstrates is that bandwidth is a luxury good.
How is your home WiFi?
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