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eero vs eero Pro vs Google

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by B O Terry, May 25, 2020.

  1. B O Terry

    B O Terry New Around Here

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    This is my first post here, thanks for the add.

    I have a client who just moved into a newish home. *Correction: 2700 sf/2 stories, on a slab with all the HVAC etc in the attic. They are renting so running wires is not an option.

    They currently have a wi-fi router from AT&T fiber (can't remember the speed but think it is 1GB) with a NetGear Nighthawk AC1900 (maybe 2 years old) connected to it. With these 2 devices, they still have some dead zones and also experience periodic slowdowns (probably peak use times but they can't isolate it for me). The AT&T router is in the garage and the Nighthawk is in the son's room because he needs the network jack (see below).

    They have multiple new smart tv's, 2 adults & 2 teens living there and I'm sure they are all on different devices on occasion. They don't have (or soon dropping) cable TV so everything will be NetFlix, Amazon Prime etc. The son is an avid gamer and his machine only has ethernet. He really wants to stay with a wired connection for his gaming pc vs adding Wi-Fi so ethernet is required in his upstairs bedroom. It is central enough that one pod should manage the whole upstairs if placed there.

    Must-haves:
    Reliable connection
    Good speeds
    Hands-off management once setup (auto-updates etc)
    Ethernet jack for son's room
    No subscription fees required

    Bonus:
    Easy setup
    flexibility of purchase options and interchangeable components (buy 3 pack and only need 2? use later for another client)

    As of now, I'm looking at the eero 3 pack (regular, not pro) or the Google Nest. Here are some notes I have found on each. Since I don't have either myself, they are either from the manufacturer, review or forum post and not confirmed.

    Remote management:
    Google had the ability to check some settings when offsite but don’t know how reliable (or secure) that is.
    eero has offsite management options if you are approved as a Pro Installer.

    Versatility:
    I’ve read that the eero can be used standalone or multiples and all pods can function as main or satellite (except the Beacon). This seems enticing for home installs as I could have several on hand, install what is needed be able to use the other units for other installs.
    Same for Google Nest?

    Speeds:
    eero (all) 240mbps/600Mbps wifi, max 1GB wired (advertised, not tested)
    Nest?

    Firmware updates:
    eero: automatic
    Nest: ?


    Better security?
    Nest doubles as a smart speaker?
    **
    Traffic management?
    Privacy?


    I am interested in testing the waters with Unifi/Ubiquity products at some point but don’t think so for this one.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
  2. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

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    Come hell or high water, you need to scrounge up any amount of wired connectivity possible. You mentioned your client had cable TV, so does that mean multiple coax drops throughout the house? If so, I would build a backbone with MoCa adapters (explainer), specifically GoCoax MoCa 2.5 units, then you can hard-wire a whole-house system (Eero), or even better still, install proper wire-first, controller-based access points (TP-Link Omada, Ubiquiti UniFi, etc.) plus a discrete wired gateway (EdgeRouter, pfSense, etc.), and optional managed switch, then setup your own remote management through VPN (way more capable than any pre-fab consumer product).

    If you can't do any of the above, I would jump right to Eero Pro (not dual band Eero, nor Beacons); reason being: wifi client speed. It will give you up to 500Mb/s when connected to the root node, 200-300Mb/s when connected to a 1-hop mesh node. And skip Nest; it's a marginal product at best. Also, as disappointing as those Eero Pro speeds may seems, they're realistically the best you're going to get with any mesh system (that's worth using, anyways). Orbi tri-band and/or AmpliFi Alien (and the like) will potentially get you faster static backhaul and endpoint link speeds (by using 4x4 and 8x8 radios), but they all lack true mesh (automatic multi-point/multi-path), radio re-purposing and modern SQM QoS, which often contributes to less-than-stellar reliability. So I'd stick with Eero Pro. You'll want the 3-pack and potentially a fourth for 3800 sf.

    TL;DR - Don't go powerline for a backbone. Since you're in a consultant role here, you want to nail this in a single truck roll. While AV2/G.hn may work initially, it can act up in the weirdest of ways, and break the network, partially or completely, all on its own, and totally at random. I'd rather see you go all-wireless instead.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
    avtella and B O Terry like this.
  3. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    @Trip In this and other posts, you're obviously a fan of eero Pro, because it's "true mesh". How have you confirmed its "automatic multi-point/multi-path" features? Is the "modern SQM QoS" implemented on Wi-Fi or for the ISP link?

    And how much of all that magic depends on cloud services?
     
    B O Terry likes this.
  4. B O Terry

    B O Terry New Around Here

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    Correction: It is 2700 sf, NOT 3800.

    I've been leaning towards eero so skipping to that suggestion. Does it really need to be Pro through out or would Pro for the main unit and eero (NOT Beacon) for the upstairs & second main floor unit) give solid performance? Updated recommendation of quantity of units and/or devices after the sf correction?

    Does any of this require a subscription?

    Side question, I see that they have a Pro Installer program. Have you looked into this? If so, is there any notable benefit (Discounts? Better support? Leads program?) I checked the site briefly and the first thing I noticed was not being familiar with/connected any of the distributors. I mainly use Amazon and IngramMicro both of which carry their products but none are in the vendor list shown to sign up.
     
  5. B O Terry

    B O Terry New Around Here

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    I'm curious about this piece also. I'm hoping for a solution that does not require any subscriptions but open to enhancements that may require this.
     
  6. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

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    I've only gone so far as to do this in a four-unit setup I helped a friend with, but I pinged the base unit from a 2nd-hop client (laptop) while offlining a 1-hop middle node (leaving the other online). I noticed practically zero latency fluctuation, as opposed to what one might see if point-to-point renegotiation was occurring after a lost node; that very much lead me to believe multi-path was indeed established and paths (plural) were known-about. I didn't get a chance to trace and/or multicast enough to build any more evidence of actual MtP mesh. I know that's insanely anecdotal and read's like, "This one time, at band camp...", but that's all I've personally witnessed.

    That said, here's an Eero blog post explaining what they very coincidentally call "TrueMesh" and how, at least according to them, it's works very much in multi-point/multi-path. Additionally, here's a Reddit post from one of Eero's lead developers, describing the upper bounds of node count, and how complex multi-path can get as you add more nodes. Now, he could be a complete fraud, impersonating an Eero developer, and/or making all of that stuff up, and/or all of Eero's marketing could be complete bunk (wouldn't be the first time in free-market capitalism), but based on even the limited amount of experience I've had with the product, I'm highly inclined to think otherwise.
    Both. fq_codel between nodes and CAKE on the WAN interface. Source: again, our Eero dev guy 6roybatty6 (I'd recommend a follow of him on Reddit)
    As best as I've gathered, Eero uses the cloud to execute registration and setup, validate additional nodes, pull updates, push/pull config changes to/from the app and transmit telemetry for stuff like Eero Secure. It is, I would say, moderately internet-dependent for functionality, yes, but the extent of how much has been changing a fair amount of the past year. For further clarification, you'd probably have to reach out to them. Not sure how much clout you'd have with Amazon/Eero, but I'd love to see them send you three Pro units (preferably four or five) so you can corroborate against the above.

    Edit: Grammar.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
    L&LD likes this.
  7. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

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    @B O Terry - Normal Eero usage is subscription-less. They offer a "Eero Secure" subscription with the value-add supposedly being higher levels of self-serviceable security awareness/control, but it's completely optional and not something I've ever really looked into, TBH. Regarding the cloud, I tried to address above - hope that helps!
     
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  8. B O Terry

    B O Terry New Around Here

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    Thanks! Do you have an updated eero vs Pro (or combination) recommendation after I corrected the house size? It is 2700 sf, 2 story with the AT&at fiber demark in the attached garage. I originally mistakenly posted it as larger.

    Any experience with their installer program? Discounts, leads, higher level support and/or other benefits? Costs involved?
     
  9. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Thanks, @Trip for all the good info and careful testing. I doubt the average consumer needs to worry about a node going offline. But if routing decisions are really being made on a packet-by-packet basis as described, it could be helpful if a node gets busy.

    However, you run out of unique channels to use pretty quick and with only a second 5 GHz radio available for dedicated backhaul, at some point all channels get congested.

    A (relatively) frequently heard complaint about Orbi is that it's a channel hog. But any "tri-band" router, including eero, does the same thing.
     
    B O Terry likes this.
  10. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

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    @B O Terry - At 2700 sf, I think a three-pack of Eeros would suffice (a good cardinal rule would be one Eero per 1,000 sf). An ideal layout for three nodes is an equidistant triangle, allowing the most node-to-node interconnects, but depending on the layout and materials, that of course may not be possible, and/or you may have to subtract a unit (if adding the third results in only more noise but no more signal), or add a fourth if you've got an unavoidable coverage gap. I say, always best to be on the safe side, if budget allows, but three should probably do it.

    Regarding dual-band Eero (the "cubes") vs tri-band Pro (the "saucers"), regular Eero mesh node clients will see 75-150Mb/s each, as opposed to 200-300Mb/s with Pro. As long as your client doesn't mind that, regular Eero should do well enough. Regarding the installer program, I haven't used it, nor have I applied to be one (doesn't fit my service model, volume or profit margins).

    @thiggins - Very welcome. Agreed on the benefits of real-time best-path benefits, but also agreed on the fact that regardless of the fancy multi-path "fu" going on, channel limits are channel limits, and Eero can only work within the confines of the same laws of physics. It just appears to do so better than most, especially when absolute top speed is not the utmost priority (pre-draft AX and/or 4x4 or 8x8 backhaul).
     
  11. B O Terry

    B O Terry New Around Here

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    @Trip, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!

    Re the "if adding the third results only more noise", the thought of too many isn't something I've considered. What issue can this cause and what would I look for to identify it?

    I think I will present the options to them re Pro vs regular and let them choose on price. Have you tested the speeds on the ethernet? If so, they pretty true on both Pro and regular (per eero, they are rated at 1GB max on ethernet but both versions).
     
  12. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

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    @B O Terry - Too many APs placed too tightly together can (will) make wifi performance worse due to signal over-saturation, especially when available free channels and/or airtime within a single channel is at a premium. This is made even worse with consumer whole-house products because all of them (Eero included) use the same channel for fronthaul (AP to endpoint), which means the amount of free airtime is fixed, regardless of if you have 3 nodes or 10, but made that much worse as you increase nodes in general, but especially so if they're too close in proximity. Thus, getting the balance right is key: you want as few nodes as will provide requisite dB strength to clients, but enough to keep node-to-node connections strong (and in Eero's case, provide plenty of multi-point/multi-path resiliency). You can judge this by measuring signal strength with any decent wifi analyzer/survey app on a smartphone or laptop. Generally, you want endpoint links to read lower than -65dB or so, so that they have enough PHY link speed and don't get too roam-happy, and Eero-to-Eero links to be that strong, or better, as well.

    On the wired side of things, all ethernet ports on all models are 1Gb/s full duplex, and all hard-wired clients will get that speed at the gateway node, and at any nodes locally, plus out to the internet, provided, of course, internet is 1Gb/s and there isn't any contending traffic on the same link. Wireless speeds on a fully hard-wired Eero network, either dual-band Eero or tri-band Pro, should be the same at all nodes -- whatever 2x2 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz link rate the client negotiates (all Eero units up to this point use 2x2 radios).

    TL;DR - The above limitation of consumer mesh is why I suggested wire-first APs (if you could establish at least some wired backbone). They would allow for unique fronthaul channels per AP -- meaning as you scale APs to increase range, you also increase clean fronthaul capacity, without adding as much co-interference (usually) as you would with the same number whole-house consumer "mesh" nodes.

    On that note, were you able to confirm whether MoCa was an option (even if not to all nodes)? It's largely a set-and-forget technology that works very well.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
    B O Terry likes this.
  13. B O Terry

    B O Terry New Around Here

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    Are the ethernet speeds at any of the nodes impacted at all by going for the regular mesh setup vs any sort of wired setup (rj45 or MoCa?)

    I was not able to confirm about MoCa but am curious about it for other Potential projects. I see 2 coax connectors on the device you linked to (currently unavailable). I’m guessing that is so you can connect the device to the coax and run The other side to the tv (kind of like some voip phones that share data with the workstation). Would you just cap the extra connection if you were not using it for cable tv rather than leaving it open? Then the network cable connects the MoCa to one of the Ethernet ports on the eero (or other system). If this type connection is utilized, does every node in the mesh need to be connected via coax or does it just improve performance in nodes connected to coax?