This week in a later article, you’re going to learn about how Steve and I are having solar panels added to our home, and I hope the information I’ll give you might help you make your own decisions about solar. One part that I won’t really dwell on is that for the better part of a day the power has to be disconnected from your home as the electricians move the power to come through your solar panels and into your electrical panel.
As a purely precautionary measure, Steve unplugged all of our big-ticket items beforehand so we wouldn’t have any danger to our devices if there was a big power surge. I know you’re wondering how we possibly survived without power for six hours, but you don’t have to be worried. Our awesome neighbor Rick threw an extension cord over the fence, and we dragged it into the kitchen window so we could play on our laptops while tethering from our phones.
But the reason I bring this up is that when the power came back on, we had a bit of a problem getting our Internet working again. I plugged in our main Eero, the one plugged into the Frontier FiOS modem in another room. The indicator light went into a slow pulsing white. I then checked the modem and it hadn’t been plugged in yet. I plugged it in for a bit and it came up with a red globe light. I mentioned this to Steve, and he discovered that the outside box from Frontier, called the ONT, was unplugged because the electricians were still using that outlet for a drill. They plugged the ONT back in, and in a bit, the Frontier modem got a happy white light on the globe.
I tested the Internet connection of the modem by plugging an Ethernet cable directly in, and sure enough, I was online. But the Eero was still pulsing white. I unplugged it for a bit, plugged it back in, only to get the same result. I checked the Eero troubleshooting guide and they suggested doing a soft reset, which is merely holding down a tiny button on the back or bottom of the Eero, depending on the model. I was fully prepared to do that until I read this section:
A soft reset will clear all network configurations from the eero, but preserve its sessions. This keeps the eero on your network and saves its logs and advanced settings such as IP reservations and port forwarding configurations.
I wasn’t sure what it meant to “clear all network configurations” but keep it on the network and keep IP reservations and port forwarding. The only thing I could think of that’s left would be all of the names I have painstakingly added to my plethora of devices. One of the great things about Eero is that as each new device joins the network you get a notification, and if the MAC address gives a clue to the manufacturer and type of device, the name will be set to that type of device. For example, it will know if an iPad joins the network.
But if you connect a device that’s more of a mass-market device that’s been repackaged, like a Wyzecam the MAC address simply says something like IEEE7630 which isn’t helpful at all. If you connect a Wyzecam to your network and you get the notification from Eero, you can jump right in and name in Living Room Wyzecam before you forget which one it was. Steve and I have done this legwork (or do you call it fingerwork?) with tons of devices and I didn’t want to lose all of that work.
I called my good friend Pat Dengler, because she installs a lot of Eeros for clients, and she suggested that I call Eero on the phone. Wait, what? The telephone? Like it’s 1987? Who does that? Pat claimed that Eero’s phone support was really good, so I decided to give it a try.
I am happy to report that my new friend Justin at Eero was fabulous. We were on the phone for about a half-hour, of which maybe 2 min was waiting for my turn to get help. He explained that no, a soft reset would not erase all of my painstakingly-entered device names. We did the soft reset and now got a red pulsing light. He said that meant we needed to reset the Frontier FiOS modem, which I thought was silly since it had been unplugged for hours, and because it was clearly working since wired Ethernet worked from it. He was sure it would help, so we unplugged it for a full two minutes.
As always, whenever there are long wait times with customer support, I gave the person my usual line of, “So…do you like tech podcasts?” Either Justin is super polite and good at faking it, or he was actually interested in hearing about all of the Podfeet Podcasts.
After the unplug/replug dance with the modem, the Eero was now pulsing blue. Ok, white isn’t good, red is obviously bad, and blue should be good. But it still wasn’t connected. Justin said that he could tell from his end that the Eero was trying to connect, and I really should have asked him how he knew that if the devices were still offline. In any case, one more reset of the FiOS modem and two more minutes for me to plug the podcast, and then the modem was happy and the Eero we were back in business.
The main reason I wanted to tell you this story was that I wanted you to know that if you have an Eero mesh system, or you’re considering one like my friend Mark, Eero has terrific phone support on which you can rely. I think that it’s important to think about the level of support you get when you buy something as expensive as a WiFi mesh network.