Own an Outdated Echo Dot? For Free, Eero Wants to Transform it Into a Mesh Wi-Fi Extender

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Soon, Eero’s Wi-Fi routers can use the fourth-generation Echo and Echo Dot speakers from Amazon as mesh extenders.

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Credit: Amazon

Alexa-enabled smart homes already have multiple Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers. Eero, a mesh networking company, owned by Amazon, aims to employ such speakers as mesh Wi-Fi extenders.

The functionality will become available on Oct. 20 as a free software update for the spherical, fourth-generation Amazon Echo and the recently announced fifth-generation Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock smart speakers, which were also revealed during Amazon’s autumn hardware and services event. In the months ahead, the over-the-air update will also hit fourth-gen Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock devices.

Once Eero is installed, you’ll need to link your home network with your Amazon account in the Eero app and turn on the Eero Built-In feature. From there, your compatible smart speakers can rebroadcast the Wi-Fi signal from any of Eero’s mesh routers with speeds of up to 100Mbps. This essentially makes them makeshift Wi-Fi range extenders.

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Credit: Amazon

“Lots of customers are going to have a camera outside of their house or a streamer behind the TV that struggles to stay connected,” said Nick Weaver, Eero’s co-founder, and CEO, explaining how Wi-Fi-repeating Echo and Echo Dot devices could help fill in those gaps. At the same time, Weaver adds that customers shouldn’t expect speeds as fast as an Eero extender.

“You’ll always get better performance from a purpose-built networking device,” Weaver said.

Eero Built-In isn’t the only new software update that people with Eero should know about. There’s also Eero Internet Backup, a new premium feature that will let homes with Eero routers pair a separate Wi-Fi hotspot with their home network.

The hotspot will kick in if your internet goes out and keep your home’s devices online. Once the outage is over, the hotspot will deactivate, returning your network traffic to your original Eero network. The feature works with any hotspot or secondary Wi-Fi network, including mobile hotspots and 5G hotspots, Eero said.

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Credit: Amazon

Customers of specific ISPs that employ Eero hardware will be able to purchase Eero Internet Backup in the upcoming months, replacing the current Eero Secure and Eero Secure Plus plans with a new, single-subscription service called Eero Plus.

A $10 monthly Eero Plus subscription gives you access to additional services, including enhanced parental controls, network analytics, 1Password, Malwarebytes antivirus software, and Encrypt, in addition to Eero Internet Backup.

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