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How can I make my home Wi-Fi faster?

Eero CEO Nick Weaver answers your Wi-Fi questions on the latest Too Embarrassed to Ask.

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Wireless internet is pretty great — until it doesn’t work the way you want it to. And according to Eero CEO Nick Weaver, consumers’ demand for consistently fast Wi-Fi is only going up.

“Just watch the Netflix earnings,” Weaver said on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask. “People are cutting the cord faster than anyone ever anticipated. And now, what’s happened is they’re 100 percent reliant on internet connectivity everywhere. The moment you get between the average American and their television, that’s when they’re really motivated to go fix a problem.”

Eero is one of several companies that makes a “mesh router” system, which is a fancy way of saying “buy several boxes with radios in them that could make your Wi-Fi more consistent.” Weaver said his customers’ homes are smaller than people might think, averaging around 1,700 square feet. That’s because Wi-Fi speeds can be an issue even if you live in a one- or two-bedroom apartment.

“When you get into a city environment, it’s pretty interesting: You can go stand next to your router, run a speed test,” he said. “[Then] go to your bedroom, go to your kitchen, go to a few places, and what you’ll see is the speed drop off dramatically. And the reason for that is, frequently, you’re in old construction with lots of brick and stucco, and second, there’s a ton of interference because there’s so many people stacked up on each other.”

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On the new podcast, Weaver explained how Eero compares to its competitors — such as Google — and why the company now has a paid subscription service called Eero Plus, which adds services like parental controls and antivirus protection to the router system. He said the demand for reliable internet access in the home is only going to go up as the Internet of Things proliferates.

“Basically, turn [the home] into an operating system,” he said. “That’s ultimately where things are going. There are very few devices that every home needs. Great connectivity is absolutely one of those devices. Rather than building a thermostat or a speaker or a light switch, build the device that 100 percent of homes need, and then expand from there.”

He also offered some steps you can take to make sure you're not bringing dangerously unsafe smart home devices into your network.

“Buy products from reputable brands,” Weaver said. “Say you want to buy a camera for your home: Don’t buy the $30 camera that you found a random Amazon listing for. Buy from a brand you trust. That’s the single biggest thing you can do, is buy devices from known companies that have a commitment to updating the software and making sure the experience works. That costs more money, but it’s absolutely worth it.”

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