A good wireless router is an essential element of tech life, whether you’re building out a smart home or you just want the best experience streaming music and video at home. Even those of us fortunate enough to have ethernet drops in every room have devices—smartphones and tablets, for instance—that depend on Wi-Fi to connect to the home network if not the internet.
Twin and sometimes conflicting demands for high performance and ease of use are powering a thriving and rapidly evolving market. Innovation is one of the biggest upsides of this dynamic, and confusion its biggest downside. Today’s hero could be tomorrow’s has-been, as established brands like Linksys and Netgear try to one-up each other while simultaneously fending off new challengers such as Eero and Luma. But it’s those challengers who have innovated the most, starting with Eero, the first manufacturer to bring mesh networking to the consumer router market.