eero is taking bigger aim at the whole-home WiFi product sector with a more capable second-generation product as well as a new, complementary “Beacon” component that plugs directly into power outlets, and a premium “network protection” subscription service.
eero, which also announced an expansion into Canada , said the second-gen primary device looks the same but is about twice as powerful as its predecessor, and uses a triband WiFi set-up that combines three wireless bands. The device, a foundation of the company’s mesh-based platform, is also equipped with a Thread radio for low-power devices such as connected locks, doorbells and other sensors, and has two auto-detecting Ethernet ports (one that connects to the modem and another optional one that can plug into printers, consoles or other devices linked to the home network).
The eero Beacon is about half the size of the core eero device and is used to broaden the reach of the home’s WiFi network in places such as stairwells, kitchens and hallways. The Beacon also comes with a Thread radio, is compatible with eero’s other products, and is equipped with an LED nightlight.
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The second-gen product and Beacon are available for pre-sale now, and expected to start shipping in a “few weeks.” In the U.S., eero is selling it at its own site, via Amazon.com and BestBuy.com, and later at certain Walmart and BestBuy stores and regional retailers, as well as a cadre of pro installers.
eero is selling a Home WiFi System comprised of a second-gen eero device and a Beacon for $299, a package with two Beacons for $399, or a Pro Wifi System with three second-gen eero devices for $499.
eero Plus, the company’s new premium security service, will sell for $9.99 per month or $99 per year. It includes advanced security against malware, ransomware and phishing attacks, enhanced parental controls, and VIP-level customer support. The first month of eero Plus is free.
eero, founded in 2014, competes in the whole-home WiFi sector with companies such as AirTies, Google, Netgear, Luma, Linksys, Plume, and Arris, among others.
eero has cut its teeth at retail, but also has an effort underway to forge deals with cable operators, telcos and other ISPs. Last year, eero teamed up with Cincinnati Bell to provide its WiFi products at eight retail stores run by the telco.
Plume, meanwhile, has the pole position at Comcast, which has invested in the startup. Comcast and Plume are developing wall-pluggable WiFi ‘pods” that are tailored for the cable operator’s new ‘XFi’ platform. Liberty Global Ventures, Shaw Ventures and Presidio Ventures, a unit of J:COM, are also Plume investors.
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AirTies has already notched partnerships with a batch of U.S. service providers, including Atlantic Broadband, Frontier Communications and Midco.