When it comes to having a capable home network, you shouldn’t have to make compromises. A large part of your speed depends on the package you pay for from your ISP, but many people don’t realize that outdated router technology could be slowing down their network or keeping it from reaching its full potential.
The WiFi scene has seen a huge jump in technology over the past few years, and traditional routers are quickly being replaced by “smart” routers that offer better reliability, convenient features, and the speeds you need for a high-tech home.
Below we take a look at the eero vs. Google WiFi — two routers that have been pioneers in the intelligent networking industry. Do these older brands still offer stiff competition for newcomers? Or are these smart routers not quite as smart as they seem?
Both routers have their benefits and drawbacks, and this article should help you get a sense of which device is right for your home.
eero vs. Google WiFi — About
The Google WiFi and eero brands are two of the most popular WiFi mesh systems, and they have been around for quite some time. eero was one of the original brands to bring mesh networking to the home, and Google wasn’t too far behind on offering their own take on this powerful technology. eero was responsible for the mesh WiFi revolution, but Google’s clout and name recognition helped keep the industry growing when it started to stagnate.
eero recognized the potential of a multi-node setup around half a year before the rest of the market and that has given them a significant advantage, but Google WiFi has burst onto the scene and continues to outshine the majority of dual-band systems. eero also continues to receive multiple changes and updates that keep it competitive with newer models that have since entered the scene.
Long story short, eero and Google WiFi were some of the first smart WiFi systems on the market, and they continue to be a major force in the industry to this day.
Let’s dissect the similarities and differences between the two routers and get a sense of where they excel and where they fall short.
eero vs. Google WiFi — Things in Common
Reduces WiFi Dead Zones – One of the main benefits of a smart WiFi system is its ability to eliminate WiFi dead zones. Traditional routers often cover a decent range, but as you start to get further away from the base or add walls and furniture into the mix, you can end up with problem areas of your home that don’t have a strong signal.
With the eero or Google WiFi router, you can say goodbye to spotty signals. Both systems use multiple points in order to form a “mesh” — beaming strong WiFi to every corner of your home. By using these satellites placed strategically around your home, you can keep the connection strong even thousands of feet away from the router.
With that said, having dead zones in your home isn’t always reason enough to go out and buy a completely new system. Consider downloading an app like WiFi Sweetspots for iOS or WiFi Analyzer for Android in order to see where your signal starts to drop off. You may find that you can boost your signal a significant degree if you move your router to a better location, and save a significant amount of money in the process.
Smart Home Support – While most people probably use their WiFi primarily for PCs, smartphones, and tablets, the number of people taking advantage of smart home technology continues to grow. With the technology quickly becoming more successful and affordable, pretty much anyone should be able to add some intelligence and convenience to their network.
Because the eero and Google WiFi both have Ethernet ports, you’ll be able to plug in a smart hub like the Wink 2 or SmartThings v3 in order to enable your existing Zigbee or Z-Wave Kit. Even if you don’t have any smart technology, having a router that can easily support it in the future is a definite plus.
Two Gigabit Ethernet Ports – Another similarity between the two routers is the fact that they both have two Gigabit Ethernet ports. There are some differences in how that works depending on the brand you choose, however.
Both networks are made up of a router supported by nodes placed in convenient locations around your home. While the eero router has two ports, there are no ports on the WiFi points. This means that you’ll basically only be able to plug in devices to the router itself — significantly limiting the flexibility you have when hardwiring your tech. Add to that the fact that one of the two ports will be taken up by the router’s connection to the modem, and you really end up with a single port that forces you to be close to the hub unless you want to run wires across your home.
The Google WiFi router also has one of the two ports taken up by the connection to the modem, but it has a significant advantage in that each of the points also has two ports. This is helpful in two ways, in that it allows you to hook up ethernet connections in rooms even hundreds of feet away from your router, and it also allows you to hook up more devices overall.
So while this is technically a similarity, you’re going to get much more use out of the Google WiFi’s two ports since there’s technically even more than two.
Bridge Mode – Most people are in the market for a complete replacement for their current router. Some people are happy with their setup, however, and just want the ability to extend the range with a mesh network. Fortunately, both the eero and Google WiFi support Bridge Mode — although like the ethernet ports situation, they differ in how good of a job they do of it.
Google WiFi technically supports bridge mode, but it will only work in that format if you have a single Google WiFi point. As soon as you start to add in more points to the mesh network, you’ll be forced to use it in router mode.
Another aspect worth keeping in mind is that you’re going to be missing out on a lot of features if you put the Google WiFi in Bridge Mode. This is due to the fact that Google needs the ability to control your network in order to offer a lot of its utility, and it can’t really do that when it’s acting as a bridge. If you put your Google WiFi into Bridge mode, you’ll lose access to Priority Device, the ability to edit DNS and WAN settings, Guest WiFi, WiFi speed results in Network check, and the ability to pair and control Philips Hue products.
So while the Google router is technically capable of functioning as a bridge, it’s certainly not designed with that sort of function in mind.
The eero, on the other hand, works just fine in bridge mode, however advanced features like Family Profiles will not work in case you put your eeros in bridge mode.
BeamForming – One useful technology common to both the Google WiFi and eero routers are their support for BeamForming. This technology allows you to focus a signal in the direction of all your connected wireless devices that support the technology. Instead of broadcasting your network in all directions, you’ll be able to send the signal directly to where it’s needed — leading to better speeds and stability overall.
LED Light – To wrap up the similarities section, we’ll mention that both routers have a single LED light that shows the status of the device and serves as a useful guide during the setup process.
Google has built their router with the LED placed in the narrow section that cuts through the device, while the eero has left the LED light on the edge of the device. Despite the different placements due to differences in design, the lights serve identical purposes.
eero vs. Google WiFi — Differences
Difference #1: WiFi Connectivity – The primary aspect that most people are concerned about when it comes to their routers is their WiFi connectivity. All the smart features in the world don’t do much if you can’t keep a stable connection across all of your devices.
There are some differences in the technology that powers the eero and Google WiFi, and some disparities in performance and features because of that.
The eero router features Tri-band WiFi radios with simultaneous 2.4GHz, 5.2GHz, and 5.8GHz IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac bands. The router also supports beamforming as discussed above, and MU-MIMO which will be discussed in more detail below.
The first generation of the eero was a dual-band router — like the majority of routers on the market. However, with the newest model it has become the latest to join the tri-band group that also includes equipment like the Linksys Velop, Netgear Orbi, and Asus Lyra. eero decided to add the extra band in order to better handle a large number of connections at once while maintaining the utmost in stability. The extra band also allows the router to better handle backhaul traffic, which is essentially the data that is streamed between the router and its WiFi nodes.
What sets the eero apart from other tri-band routers is the fact that it can dynamically steer backhaul traffic through the appropriate nodes. Systems like the Netgear Orbi decided to dedicate a band entirely to the backhaul, but the needs of a system vary on a minute by minute basis and having the ability to shift traffic as needed is an excellent perk of the eero. All three bands are open to all types of communication on the network, and the router is intelligent enough to direct the signals where they need to go.
Since the latest eero model doesn’t offer ethernet ports on the beacons, it might not be the best choice for some homeowners. eero also offers the eero Pro router, which offers three identical systems rather than a distinct base and nodes. This offers greater wired connectivity and gives the option for ethernet backhaul, but the wireless connection will be slower overall because the Pro models feature dual-band radios rather than the Tri-band of the latest eero release.
One potential solution for those who want their own customized setup is to mix and match eero devices and integrate multiple models, as all of their equipment will work seamlessly with one another. You could pair a first generation eero with a tri-band eero to get the best of both worlds, which is especially useful for those of us who already have an older eero setup.
Google WiFi is also quite compatible with other Google routers, and you’ll find that it interacts quite well with older smart routers from the OnHub line. In terms of the WiFi connectivity as a whole, however, it falls behind the eero due to the dual-band setup. It operates simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz IEEE 802.11a/b/g/b/ac connections and is also Bluetooth smart ready.
Most buyers are pretty happy with the speeds that the Google WiFi router system has to offer, but there’s no denying that the newer eero has it beat from a technology standpoint.
Difference #2: Units & Range – There are also some differences between the two routers in terms of the way units work and their maximum range.
The latest eero release consists of eero gateways and eero Beacons. The gateway replaces your existing router and connects directly to the modem, while the Beacons are placed throughout your home to expand the mesh network to greater distances.
In order to get your eero network up and running, you’ll need to have either a 1st or 2nd generation eero to use as your network’s gateway. This hub will connect to your modem and be responsible for the heavy lifting. Once you have the gateway setup, you can start adding in additional eeros or eero beacons in order to ensure the entirety of your property is covered. For more information on the difference between an eero router and the Beacon satellite, take a look at our eero vs. eero Beacon comparison.
One major benefit of the eero beacon when compared to nodes from most other smart WiFi companies is the fact that it’s meant to go directly into a plug rather than lie on a flat surface. This means that as long as you can find a spare outlet, you can beam a fast and reliable connection an incredible distance — all without taking up valuable shelf space. The beacon functions similarly to the satellite units of the Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD, but they’re much less obtrusive and are better looking overall. As an added perk, your eero beacons will play double duty as a nightlight, which is perfect for illuminating the hall as you walk to the fridge for a midnight snack!
What’s great about the eero is that there’s really no limit on the distance you can extend your WiFi as long as you have enough beacons. The signal may start to dip as you get further away from the router, but you can cover some pretty impressive distances just with the eero router and the beacon wall plugs.
The Google WiFi is also very expandable, although its WiFi units seem to cover a larger distance per node when compared to the eero.
One unit will be enough for an apartment or small home with a coverage area of 500-1500 square feet. Medium sized homes should bump their network up to two devices to cover 1500-3000 square feet, and the larger homes might need three for a range of 3000-4500 square feet.
You can add even more units to the network as you please in order to cover extremely large areas, but you generally won’t need more than 6 even for gigantic properties. We recommend avoiding connecting more than 14 points to ensure that stability and speeds stay as optimal as possible.
Difference #3: Hardware & Performance – While eero might have an advantage in terms of WiFi connectivity due to its extra radio, the Google WiFi router has slightly more powerful hardware overall.
Every Google WiFi unit is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm processor clocked at 717 MHz, Backing up the processor is an impressive 512MB of RAM and 4GB of flash memory.
The eero features pretty much identical technology, although the exact models of the chipsets differ slightly.
Despite having pretty similar specifications, the Google WiFi manages to pull out a bit ahead in terms of theoretical data transfer rates, with a 300 Mbps capacity on the 2.4GHz and 867 Mbps on the 5GHz radio.
The eero falls a little behind when comparing each band, with a 240 Mbps capacity on the 2.4GHz band and 600 Mbps on the 5GHz. However, it’s important to note that the eero has a tri-band setup compared to the dual-band design of the Google WiFi. This means that despite having slightly lower throughput on each band, it’s a little bit faster overall due to the extra radio that it has to work with.
Long story short, the Google WiFi is a little bit better from a hardware perspective, but the eero’s third band more than makes up for the difference.
Difference #4: Nightlight – Since the eero Beacon plugs directly into the outlet rather than sitting on a table, it’s possible to take advantage of the 10 Lumen LED nightlight present on the device, with automated dimming included as well.
The downward-shining nightlight can function on its own automatically using the ambient light sensor, or you can manually set a schedule in the eero app. If you’re not a fan of the light on the beacon, you can also turn it off through the mobile app or with the Amazon Alexa skillset.
It’s not a huge advantage, but it is a cool perk that the eero is able to offer due to the way that the beacon functions — working as a plug rather than a hub on a shelf. Google WiFi, unfortunately, does not offer any analogous feature.
Difference #5: MU-MIMO – We touched on this feature briefly in the connectivity section, but the MU-MIMO feature on the eero deserves its own dedicated section. MU-MIMO, also known as multi-user, multiple input, multiple output, is a useful technology that significant improves connection speeds on networks with many different devices.
While it might not have been readily apparent due to the ability to be online on multiple devices at the same time, many older routers can only communicate with one device at a time. The router can swap between devices extremely fast, but because it can only focus on one device at a time there’s going to be some inherent latency in the devices that aren’t currently receiving data.
The MU-MIMO capability on the eero means that it can communicate with all devices on the network simultaneously, ensuring maximum speeds across all devices even with a good amount of pressure on the network’s bandwidth.
Google WiFi does not offer MU-MIMO support, although proponents of the device argue that it isn’t needed for a few different reasons.
Essentially, MU-MIMO only helps improve the total capacity of the network and does very little for an individual device’s throughput. For the average home, it’s possible that you’ll never really see the benefits of the system due to the relatively low number of devices connected to the router at once. While some huge smart homes may have hundreds of devices that are all competing at the same time for the same bandwidth, your average user will probably not have more than a couple dozen and will barely see an increase in speed. Also worth noting is that many older devices don’t support MU-MIMO, which means that routers with the functionality will never really be used to their full advantage outside of homes with the latest and greatest in technology.
It’s possible for people to debate until they are blue in the face regarding how important MU-MIMO really is for a connection, but at the end of the day it really comes down to the fact that it’s an advantage with no drawbacks. It’s possible you won’t utilize the feature to its fullest extent, but wouldn’t it be nice to have the feature regardless?
Simply put, MU-MIMO is an advantage that the eero has over Google WiFi, regardless of how minor it may be.
Difference #6: Subscription – While it’s possible to use either device without paying an extra cent beyond the upfront cost, eero does offer expanded functionality through an optional eero Plus subscription service. For a small additional fee, you’ll have access to a number of features that add convenience and security to your network.
eero Plus offers a Threat scan service that can help prevent you from visiting potentially malicious websites, as well as Family Safe browsing parental controls that will block inappropriate content. While it’s possible to block many ads using a browser extension, eero Plus offers a more elegant solution by blocking ads on a network level — meaning you won’t see obtrusive advertisements on pretty much any device that’s connected to the WiFi.
In addition to the perks it offers from the router itself, your eero Plus subscription also includes membership to several useful services at a price that is far cheaper than you would pay buying them individually. Encrypt.me offers a VPN service for private and secure browsing, 1Password allows you to use one password for all of your services while keeping your credentials secure, and a Malwarebytes license on up to three devices provides a comprehensive antivirus and malware suite to keep your technology protected.
If you’re interested in the features that eero Plus provides, it’s actually a pretty good deal and the membership will pay for itself in savings across the multiple included services.
Google WiFi, on the other hand, does not have a subscription service. It has a sufficient amount of control through the app at no additional cost, so you’ll be getting all the features without a monthly fee. There’s no denying that the eero Plus subscription adds some useful features that the Google WiFi lacks, but it’s a little bit frustrating to know that you’ll have a monthly fee to worry about if you want to unlock the full potential of your router.
Difference #7: Design — Last but not least, there are some pretty significant differences in design when comparing the eero and Google WiFi.
eero was one of the first smart WiFi systems on the market, and their design choices seemed to influence the aesthetics of many routers that came afterwards. Rather than going for the traditional ugly box with a mess of antennas, the eero offered a router that was as attractive as it was functional — opting for a smaller form factor and a minimalistic look.
With the new generation of eero routers, the company didn’t change very much. The main difference between the latest models and the original rectangular case with rounded corners and a white, glossy finish, is the fact that the new generation uses eero beacons rather than three identical routers.
The new Beacons look pretty identical to the 4.75 x 4.75 x 1.24 inch eero hub, but they are essentially cut in half with dimensions of 4.76 x 2.91 x 1.18 inches. This flatter design is intended to make them fit in a little easier with the outlet, since you obviously wouldn’t want a bulky router extending a good distance beyond the plug.
The Google WiFi router has a design that is relatively similar to the eero with a minimalistic design of 4.17 x 2.70 inches, but it extends much farther vertically being almost twice as tall. Despite towering over the eero, the router didn’t give up any stability due to the rubber bands on the bottom of the device.
There’s no doubt that the Google WiFi system is a little bit more substantial in terms of size, and you’ll have to find a surface to place the nodes on since they don’t go directly into the plug. It’s an attractive device, but definitely a little more difficult to integrate or hide than the eero system.
One thing to keep in mind with both devices is that there isn’t really many vents for cooling. This means that you’ll want to keep them in an open area to avoid overheating. Most users report no problem with the devices getting too warm, but the sleek design comes with some practical tradeoffs — the biggest being the lack of a way to vent heat. As long as you avoid smothering the router and give it adequate space to breathe, you shouldn’t run into many issues. It is, however, a downside worth mentioning.
eero vs. Google WiFi — Comparison Chart
|WiFi Connectivity||Tri-band WiFi radios,|
2.4GHz, 5.2GHz, 5.8GHz
|Dual-band WiFi radios,|
2.4GHz and 5GHz
IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
|Wired Connectivity||Two 1GB WAN/LAN|
eero Beacon: None
|Two 1GB WAN/LAN;|
USB-C per unit
|Security and network services||WPA2||WPA2-PSK|
|Reduces WiFi Dead Zones||Yes||Yes|
|Range||1 eero + 1 Beacon 2,000 sq. ft.|
1 eero + 2 Beacons 3,000 sq. ft.
|One 500-1500 sq ft|
Two 1500-3000 sq ft
Three 3000-4500 sq ft
|Processor||Quad-core 700MHz||Quad-core 710MHz|
|Dimensions||4.76” x 4.76” x 1.26”||Diameter: 4.1”|
eero vs. Google WiFi — Accessories
While these accessories are certainly optional, it’s worth keeping these products in mind as you shop for your router. From extra utility to easier or more flexible installation, there are some add-ons that might make owning your router a little bit more convenient.
For all eero devices, we recommend strongly considering the eero Plus subscription. It’s an extra monthly fee to keep track of, sure, but it does offer a great value for the services it provides. The installation process for your network is pretty simple, but if you really want a truly hands-off experience you can purchase eero WiFi System Setup and allow a professional to do the work.
For setup on the eero Gen 1, Gen 2, and Pro systems, there are three different mounting options to keep in mind to get things installed exactly how you want them. We recommend the MYRIANN Wall Mount Holder for eero, the Wall Outlet Mount Holder, and the HumanCentric Wall, Ceiling and Drop Ceiling Mount Bracket.
The accessories for Google are all focused on mounting and installation, as there is no subscription service to speak of. Check out the Google WiFi Wall Outlet Mount, the Wall Mount / Ceiling Mount, and the Google Router Mounting Bracket.
eero vs. Google WiFi — Our Thoughts
When it comes to smart WiFi, eero and Google are two of the biggest names in the market. While a number of different products have popped up since their release, they remain some of the highest-quality options on the market for fast and reliable WiFi throughout your entire home.
The new eero system is relatively new and is positioned to become the standard to which all future devices are compared. It’s one of the more technologically advanced routers on the market, and it offers a number of features like the eero Plus subscription, unlimited expandability, and top-notch connectivity that put most of its competitors to shame.
With that said, Google WiFi still offers an extremely competitive product despite their latest model being a little bit older than the latest and greatest from eero. Even with new tech pouring into the market, it consistently outperforms the competition and keeps up with devices that are significantly more expensive.
This comparison could go either way, but we’re inclined to declare the eero a slightly more capable router. With that said, the eero is extremely expensive — much more so than the Google WiFi. Are a few extra features really worth such a significant amount of money? We’re not so sure.
Either device will suit any homeowner just fine, but we feel that the Google WiFi is the better value for the money. The race is pretty tight, and while Google falls short in a couple of different areas, it’s much more accessible and won’t leave your bank account running on empty. If you’ll spare no expense for the best of the best, the eero might be the better buy. Our recommendation, however, goes to the Google WiFi due to its combination of affordability and solid performance.
Last update on 2020-01-19 at 10:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API