Startups like Eero and Luma are promising that consumers can finally get the home Wi-Fi setup they've always wanted, if they are willing to pay a bit more for their hardware.
The question is whether the utilitarian home router will really morph into a luxury category or remain, as it has been for two decades, a largely commodity product.
Investors are clearly betting Eero has a chance. The company is announcing on Wednesday $50 million in new funding and a distribution deal with Best Buy that it hopes will allow it to outflank rivals that have also set their sights on improving the home Wi-Fi experience.
Eero routers will start selling on BestBuy.com next week and in more than 500 Best Buy stores later this summer. New investors in the company include Menlo Ventures, which led the new round, and Index Ventures.
After several delays, Eero launched its initial product earlier this year to largely positive reviews. Like rival Luma, Eero aims to improve on the standard wireless connection by establishing a mesh network of connected routers controlled via smartphone.
"Things really need to improve," Eero CEO Nick Weaver told Recode. "There’s a lot of consumer demand for products like this."
It remains unclear just how large the market is for a set of three routers that approaches $500 in cost. Weaver said sales greatly exceeded the company's expectations, but he declined to offer specifics.
Plus, the big guns in home networking are likely to adopt at least parts of the Eero approach. Other big names have also taken stabs at the market, including Apple and, more recently, Google with its OnHub router.
Personally, I preordered the three-unit Eero set and have been using it since they started shipping in February. Aside from some initial challenges getting my TiVo to play nicely, it's done a good job at providing faster internet and avoiding the marital discord that comes from spotty Wi-Fi coverage.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.