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Eero can now extend your mesh network with Echo devices

Enlarge / The people in this room are smiling because they know that little Wi-Fi hub on the ceiling could power a whole bunch of cameras and access points over Ethernet.

Amazon-owned Eero announced today that its latest Echo devices can serve as Wi-Fi mesh extenders for Eero networks, using built-in hardware to expand a network up to 1,000 square feet.

Eero will also add “Internet Backup” for Eero Plus (formerly Secure+) subscribers, allowing Eero networks to automatically use a hotspot or nearby Wi-Fi during an Internet outage and use it to keep select devices connected until a dedicated connection returns. And the company announced power-over-Ethernet devices aimed at enterprise, business, and serious networking enthusiasts.

Eero Built-In, which made its debut in the Ring Alarm Pro last year, will be available on the latest (fifth-generation) Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock devices and the fourth-generation Echo, expected to be unveiled today. Mesh capabilities will also come to fourth-generation Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock devices through an over-the-air update, Eero says. (Essentially, if your Echo device is spherical, a clock, or announced today, it’s likely to have built-in Eero).

Eero says that Echo devices can expand an Eero network to up to 1,000 square feet, but only at 100Mbps. Echo devices will automatically start expanding your network after receiving their update if you’re signed into Eero with an Amazon account, but you can turn them off in the Eero app.

Internet Backup lets you pick up to eight mobile hotspots (including your phone) or other Wi-Fi networks within range of your Eero system and designate them as backup sources for an Internet connection during an outage. The system should switch back to your primary connection when the outage is over.

The Backup feature is available on all Wi-Fi-6-based hardware and is part of Eero’s newly consolidated Plus subscription. The subscription was formerly divided into Secure and Secure+, but Eero will now offer just Plus, which includes everything the prior two plans offered: network analytics, parental controls, DDNS, and free access to apps like Encrypt.me and 1Password.

Eero also announced its first products with power-over-Ethernet (PoE), the PoE 6 and PoE Gateway. The PoE 6, in the brand’s familiar white, square-ish shape with rounded edges, is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 hub powered by a PoE connection. The company claims it can cover 2,000 square feet and support up to 100 devices, and cites wireless speeds of up to 1.5Gbps. It can be mounted flush to walls or ceilings, or pretty much anywhere you can run cable.

The PoE Gateway is a rack-style unit with two 10Gbps Ethernet ports, eight PoE-enabled 2.5Gbps ports, and a total power output of 100 watts if used with the included 140 W power supply.

These devices are largely geared toward professional installers for residential and business networks. Eero is rolling out tools that allow installers and managers to better monitor, service, and hand off mesh networks.

Professional installers also get the first crack at the new PoE devices in October. Eero says the PoE 6 and PoE 6 Gateway will be available through ISPs and Amazon early next year at $300 and $650, respectively.

Listing image by Getty Images

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