Author(s): Raghu Gopal
Last year, eero, a San Francisco-based start-up, launched a crowd-funding campaign that sold over $1 million worth of the firm's eponymous routers in pre-orders. The company aimed to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones in homes. Its product was originally set to ship in the summer of 2015, but the eero's launch date was pushed back to spring 2016. Now the eero has landed.
In keeping with our prediction in 2014 that routers would take on a much greater prominence, the eero aims to offer more than its competitors. It also doubles as a Wi-Fi repeater, with an emphasis on usability, looking to remove the frustration of setting up a Wi-Fi network. The device implements the 802.11r standard, designed to enable smooth handoffs between base stations by mobile devices. The company suggests using multiple eero devices to blanket an entire home with a Wi-Fi signal that is easy to set up: users need only download an app and plug in their units.
Its developers say that eero learns about its environment after 24 hours, gathering information about the home to optimise the network. Software on the devices updates automatically over the air. The eero app also monitors the status of the network and makes it easy to share log-in credentials for guests.
The eero is one of several new home routers that stress usability as well as looks. Google's OnHub, for example, is a router that touts good looks and claims to be easy to configure by non-tech-savvy users looking for a quick way to bring Wi-Fi networking to their homes. Another example is Securifi's Almond 3, a touch-screen wireless router designed to be a central hub for the smart home.
We live in a connected world, with our homes filled with an ever-increasing number of gadgets that connect to Wi-Fi. Our prediction that the humble router will become a hot product is coming to fruition.