4th March 2024

A Virtual World of Live Pictures

Technology and Computer

eero Max 7 Is The Fastest Networking Hardware I’ve Tested

It’s been nearly five years since I last wrote about eero. Back in pre-Covid times, the company produced the fastest, most reliable networking hardware that I’d ever tested. That’s probably why they caught the attention of Amazon, who snatched them up in 2019.

And while I may still have reservations about making Amazon hardware the backbone of my connected home for privacy reasons, I can’t deny that eero hardware is just as fast, just as reliable, just as good as it was all those years ago.

What Is It?

eero Max 7 is an expandable mesh router system, available as a single device or in 2- and 3-packs. A 3-pack will cover up to 7,500 sq. feet of space. It’s the fastest system that eero has shipped, with tri-band connectivity that broadcasts all your same 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz bands (so all your current stuff works with it) but doubles the available bandwidth over WiFi 6E systems.

What does all that mean to you? It’s fast. Probably faster than you need. But if you’re paying for anything over 2GB of fiber internet, you’re going to want to pay attention.

Don’t Cut the Cord

These glossy towers have two 10GbE and two 2.5GbE ethernet ports each. That’s up to 9 available ethernet ports (you’ll need at least one or two ports to plug in your ethernet cable) so that you can hardwire all the bandwidth hogs in your home.

It’s an unprecedented amount of ports (most companies have zero to few extra ports on their wireless hubs). But it can make a huge difference in your overall network speed. Just by plugging in your most bandwidth-hungry devices, you clear up local wireless interference, freeing up space for other devices in the area.

Granted, unless you’re wired to the main router, you won’t get top speed but you’ll get a considerable speed boost just plugging in your laptop (or gaming console or television) as opposed to wirelessly connecting. But that doesn’t mean the Max 7 is a slouch when it comes to wireless.

Cords? Where We’re Going We Don’t Need “Cords”

eero is one of the first to market with a whole-home mesh WiFi 7 system. Not only does it support the new wireless standard (not that you have any hardware that can take advantage of it…yet) it supports blistering multigig networking speeds of up to 9.4 GBps (wired) and 4.3 GBps (wireless). Does that mean you’ll get nearly 10 GBps across your entire home? No, it does not. But it does mean that eero Max 7 can make more of the bandwidth you pay for available to every device in your home.

It also has excellent synergy with your other Amazon smart devices. If you have a newer Echo, your eero network will press it into service as a wireless extender. It’s a pretty handy trick, considering that bedrooms in the corners of homes are often the hardest to get reliable network signal into and those are often the rooms that have an Echo speaker.

Some analysts pegs the overall speed of the Max 7 as slightly lower than its competitors. While that may be true (all my speed testing is rather unscientific, so I’m not here to disprove raw performance numbers), I challenge anyone to use the eero system and come away with a complaint about its overall speed. It’s not just that the eero Max 7 is faster than any WiFi 6 system I’ve ever tested, it’s that it’s fast and reliable. There are no dropped connections, no hand-off failures, no dead zones. My entire house is soaked in zippy wireless connectivity.

All the weird issues I had with my connected devices? Where they’d just flake out or drop connection? Turns out it was the 6E networking hardware I was using, not the devices (sorry for all the invectives flung at my poor Nanoleaf lights). All my spinning wheels of death while streaming NFL games? Gone. Once you have a reliable network as the backbone of your wired home, everything else just works the way it’s supposed to. And that’s a fantastic thing.

Nickel and Dime

Of course, if you are the sort that really likes dig into your network stats, you’ll have to pay even more than you already have for the hardware itself. The eero app is excellent and has plenty of basic information about your network, letting you see how fast things are and even letting you group devices by type. But if you want VPN, a password manager (powered by 1Password, which is quite nice), ad blocking, threat monitoring, content filtering, app blocking, and internet backup (where you can assign a failover network such as a mobile hot spot), you have to pay $10 a month or $100 per year for eero Plus.

You don’t have to subscribe, but if you don’t, you’ll get reminders throughout the app whenever you try to do something deeper than just monitoring your network. Want to dig into wireless radio analytics for a specific device? Paywall. Monitor activity? Paywall. You get the picture. You do get a six month subscription for free when you purchase the eero Max 7 system…but for hardware that costs over $1,700, I’d like the high-end features to be bundled in.

The Bottom Line

That’s not a typo up there. A single eero Max 7 unit costs $599, with a 3-pack costing $1,759 before discount. That is an astonishing amount of money to pay for fast networking hardware. Granted, it’s really, really good networking hardware but you can get a solid 6E system for less and still be nearly as satisfied.

So why get the eero Max 7? Because you’re the type of tech geek that does want to future-proof your network with hardware that’s faster than the current generation and that will give a performance boost to your WiFi 7 devices (whenever they show up). Because you’ve got an embarrassing amount of connected devices and you need all the bandwidth you can get. Because you value reliability over everything else.

Plus, the hardware looks really cool.

Learn more about eero Max 7 on the eero site. You can also find it, where else, on Amazon.