The tech blog Zatz Not Funny brought the news this weekend that Wi-Fi 6-enabled Eero hardware is with the FCC for testing and validation. Details about the new hardware are currently incomplete ̵
What we do know is that there are three tested devices listed – an Eero Pro, an Eero Gateway, and an Eero Extender. All three are Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) enabled parts. The Eero Pro is a tri-band design (one 2.4 GHz radio and two 5 GHz radios), similar to the current Eero Pro. The gateway and the extender are dual-band designs, distinguished by wired Ethernet ports. The gateway has two and the extender has none.
Ars reached out to Eero and received no response at the time of going to press. All we know for sure is what limited non-confidential data is available from RF testing at the FCC. Eero’s location itself still simply says, “There is no schedule for supporting 802.11ax (also known as Wi-Fi 6).”
Probable hardware form factors
Although very little of the FCC filing is publicly available, there is a photo for the placement of the device labels on the Pro and a diagram for the gateway and extender that shows us the undersides of the devices. Most likely, the Pro is very similar to one of the current generation Pro or Amazon Eero devices. The Gateway and Extender dual-band models share a single diagram that appears smaller and longer than the Pro.
Although the bottom diagram for the gateway and extenders is shaped somewhat like the second generation beacon design, no connectors are shown. Therefore, it is unlikely to be wall wart designs like the Beacon or the Eero competitor Plume. We assume that the new generation of devices will likely be desktop designs with external power supplies.
In addition to the dual and tri-band Wi-Fi 6 hardware, two of the three new devices offer BTLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and ZigBee radios. These protocols enable home automation connectivity, replacing the thread support offered by second generation Eero hardware.
It’s unclear whether the new generation Eero devices will continue to support Thread – both Thread and Zigbee are extensions of the underlying 802.15.4 wireless protocol. Zigbee was specifically mentioned in the FCC filing. However, since both protocols operate on the same spectrum, they probably wouldn’t require separate logins.
We also have no specific information on the interoperability of the new Wi-Fi 6-enabled Eero devices with the two older Wi-Fi 5 generations. However, based on the history of Eero, we see no reason to believe that the company won. Don’t support mixing and matching as you wish.
We will update here when we receive additional information from contacts at Eero.