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“With really crappy firmware, it’s easy to run one device. But the moment it turns into this more distributed system, things get more complex very quickly. And the existing guys in the space are not really equipped to do it,” says Weaver.
Price might also be part of the reason that you haven’t seen a bigger market develop for advanced wifi products like this. A very good wireless router will still cost less than $200 in many cases, while buying the trio of eero routers recommended for a typical U.S. home will cost $300 for pre-order customers, and perhaps $500 when the products hit wider distribution.
Weaver thinks the time is right, however, for a serious Wi-Fi upgrade—and he’s betting that consumers will be willing to pay more for that improvement. Along with the promised onslaught of connected devices for the home is the more prosaic rise of video streaming services, with cable stalwarts like HBO and ESPN starting to join established providers like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video in serving up high-quality digital TV on demand.
“Speed into the home has actually gone up,” Weaver says. “Now, the limiting factor is not necessarily the pipe coming into your house. It’s actually the speed you get within your four walls.”
He’s certainly right about the fact that wireless routers are not the most lovely of tech products, particularly if you have to spend much time dealing with adminstrative tasks through most manufacturers’ websites—this is where you truly see that 1990s software influence that eero says it’s tackling.
To really take Wi-Fi into the future, though, would require one more step: using neighboring in-home mesh networks to form a larger, more widespread mesh network that blankets large areas with high-performing wireless Internet.
“We’re really focusing on nailing the home experience first,” Weaver says coyly. But, as someone who’s been obsessed over better Wi-Fi since he was a kid, Weaver also allows that the topic of widespread mesh networks is something that’ll be worth “a lot of conversations over the next couple of years.”