TP-Link Deco M5 whole home Wi-Fi – 3 pack review : how to setup?

TP-Link Deco M5 whole home Wi-Fi – 3 pack review
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Deco M5 uses three units working seamlessly to create a mesh network that can cover homes up to 5, 500 square feet. No dead zone anymore. TP-Link unique Adaptive routing technology automatically chooses the fastest path for every device and allows for more flexible placement than a satellite system. Get details in TP-Link Deco M5 whole home Wi-Fi – 3 pack review.

Pros & Cons – TP-Link Deco M5 whole home Wi-Fi – 3 pack

PROS

  • Good Wireless Performance
  • Fast and Simple Installation Process
  • Really Well Done and Thorough Parental Controls
  • Ethernet + Wireless Backhaul
  • It Has A Competitive Price

CONS

  • The Antivirus as a Separate Paid Service After Three Years
  • App-Only Interface

Specifications – TP-Link Deco M5 whole home Wi-Fi – 3 pack

Key Specs
Wi-Fi Range: 4500 sq
Wi-Fi Mesh System: Yes
Number of Wi-Fi Satellites Included: 3
DOCSIS Certification: 3.0
Number Of LAN Ports: 2
Wi-Fi Speed: 1300 megabits per second

General
Product Name: Deco AC1300 Dual-Band Mesh Wi-Fi System (3-pack)
Brand: TP-Link
Model Number: DECO M5
Color: white
Color Category: White
Security
Data Encryption: Yes
Encryption Type: WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPA2-Personal
Firewall Type: SPI
Parental Control: Yes

Network
Band Technology: Dual
Ethernet Standard: 10/100/1000
Number of Antennas: 4
Frequency Band: 2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz
Wireless Standard: AC
Wi-Fi Range: 4500 sq
Wi-Fi Mesh System: Yes
Number of Wi-Fi Satellites Included: 3
Number of Wi-Fi Satellites Supported: 3
Routing Protocol: Adaptive Routing
Transport Protocol: IPv6

Features
App Compatible: Yes
App-Controlled: Yes
App Name: Deco
Beamforming: Yes
Integrated Modem: Yes
Auto Connect: Yes
Auto Detecting: Yes
Conference Enabled: No
Wireless: Yes

Dimension
Product Height: 1.3 inches
Product Length: 4.7 inches
Product Width: 4.7 inches
Product Weight: 4.17 pounds

Ports
Number Of WAN Ports: 0
Port Type(s): RJ-45
Number Of LAN Ports: 2

Speed
Wired Speed: 1000 megabits per second
Wi-Fi Speed: 1300 megabits per second
Gigabit Ethernet Speed: Yes
Auto Speed Sensing: Yes

Certifications & Listings
DOCSIS Compliant: Yes
ENERGY STAR Certified: No
DOCSIS Certification: 3.0

Compatibility
System Requirements: iOS 8.0 or later Android 4.3 or later
Bluetooth Enabled: Yes

What is good in TP-Link Deco M5 whole home Wi-Fi – 3 pack?

  • With advanced Deco Mesh Technology, units work together to form one unified whole-home network with the same network name. Devices automatically switch between Decos as you move through your home for the fastest possible speeds.
  • Deco uses a system of units to achieve seamless whole-home Wi-Fi coverage — eliminate weak signal areas once and for all!
  • Deco M5 provides fast and stable connections with speeds of up to 1267Mbps and works with any internet service provider (ISP) and modem.
  • A Deco M5 three-pack delivers Wi-Fi to an area of up to 5500 square feet, while a Deco M5 two-pack delivers up to 3800 square feet. And if that’s not enough, simply add more Decos to the network anytime to increase coverage.
  • Deco can handle traffic from even the busiest of networks, providing lag-free connections for over 100 devices.
  • TP-Link HomeCareTM provides a suite of personalized and secure features, including Parental Controls, built-in Antivirus and Quality of Service (QoS).
  • Setup is easier than ever with the Deco app there to walk you through every step.

Compare TP-Link Deco M5 whole home Wi-Fi – 3 pack vs Google WiFi

Model NumberTP-Link DecoNetgear OrbiGoogle WiFi
Wireless BackhaulTri-Band(2.4G+5G_1+5G_2)¹Single-Band(5G_1 Only)Dual-Band(2.4G+5G)
Mesh Protocol SupportedIEEE 802.11k/v/rIEEE 802.11k/vIEEE 802.11s
True Seamless Roaming××
APS(Adaptive Path Selection)×
IoT Mesh✔²××
Wi-Fi 6 Mesh5×
AI-Driven Mesh6××
Powerline Backhaul✔³××
Wireless + Powerline Bandwidth✔⁴××
Band Steering
AP Steering
Self-Healing

TP-Link Deco M5 whole home Wi-Fi – 3 pack review

Build

A single TP-Link Deco M5 features a relatively compact plastic case, which is covered by a matte finish (it does not retain any fingerprints) and the first time you take a look at its exterior you will notice the unusual shape it has adopted: there’s a seashell fractal design on top, with the plastic spiraling downwards.

Design

Whereas the Deco M9 Plus and the Deco M5 systems use low-profile circular nodes, the Deco M4 employs three vertical cylinders that each stand 4.2 inches tall and are 1.4 inches in diameter. The nodes are white and have black grillwork and an LED indicator on the top and two gigabit LAN ports on the side. A power jack and reset button are on the base.

Ports

The Deco M5 kit consists of three of these “nodes”, one more than Google Wifi and the same number as included with BT’s kit, and it works in largely the same way – by hanging off one of the Ethernet ports on your existing router and extending an existing wireless network instead of replacing it.

No Mounting

While testing the device, the Deco M5 got decently warm and, even if it didn’t overheat, it has a higher temperature than the Google WiFi which completely lacks any ventilation holes. Similarly to any other WiFi systems on the market, you can’t mount the device on the wall or ceiling and the only available position is horizontally on a flat surface. 

LED indicator

The Deco M5 is more attractive than your average wireless router. Each node is disc-shaped and attractively sculpted on top with a status LED residing at its peak. Just like Google Wifi, each one is equipped with a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports and takes power from a USB-C mains adapter.

if the LED is solid yellow, then the device is starting up, while, if the LED is flashing a blue colour, then the Deco unit is ready for setting up (a solid blue signifies that the unit is setting up); if the LED light is solid green, then the Deco M5 router is connected to the Internet and everything is in order; lastly, if the LED is solid red, then the unit has encountered an error and you should check the app for details.

Coverage

The M5 is an excellent Wi-Fi solution if you want to quickly bring internet to every corner of a large home (up to some 5,000 square feet) and have a layer of protection against online threats.

Speed

 I was able make it cover some 4,000 square feet of residential setting with a sustained Wi-Fi speed of more than 100Mbps. Like all systems, you can adjust the Wi-Fi coverage by placing the units at different distances from one another. However, keep in mind that large Wi-Fi coverage always means slower Wi-Fi speed, so pick a balance that you’re comfortable with.

Bandwidth

Each device has four internal antennas and offers 2×2 MIMO connection for a maximum speed of 400Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz spectrum and 867Mbits/sec on the 5GHz spectrum. The BT Whole Home Wi-Fi system is much quicker, offering tri-band connection with a dedicated backhaul link at speeds up to 1,300Mbits/sec.

Hardware

TP-LINK Deco M5 is built on the same platform as Linksys Velop, Google WiFi and Netgear Orbi, although it does not take advantage of all the wave 2 features. So, we’re dealing with a quad-core Qualcomm Atheros IPQ4019 chip (clocked at 638 MHz), 256 MB of RAM (Nanya NT5CC128M16IP-DI), 32MB NOR flash memory and a Qualcomm Atheros QCA8072 switch chipset.

TP-Link Deco M5 whole home Wi-Fi – 3 pack Setup

  1. Download and install the Deco app
    Scan the QR code below or go to Google Play or the Apple App Store to download the Deco app. Install the app on your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.
  1. Log in or sign up with TP-Link ID
    Open the app. Use your TP-Link ID to log in. If you don’t have a TP-Link ID, tap Sign Up. The Deco app will guide you through the rest.
  1. Connect your modem to Deco
    Find and power off your modem. Connect your Deco to the modem and power them both on. If you don’t have a modem, connect the Ethernet outlet directly to your Deco.
  1. Select a location
    Select a location for this Deco. If its location is not listed, you can create a new one by choosing Custom.
  1. Create your Wi-Fi network
    Set a network name and a password. These will be the name and password you use to connect your devices to Wi-Fi.
  1. Add more Decos
    You can add more Decos to expand Wi-Fi coverage. The app will guide you through the process of adding more Decos one by one.

TP-Link Deco M5 whole home Wi-Fi – 3 pack performance review

I decided to use a 2.4GHz client to test the wireless performance: from the client to the server, at 5 feet, I measured up to 178 Mbps, while at 15 feet, the speed decreased to 132 Mbps and at 30 feet, it went further down to 97.6 Mbps. From the server to the client, I managed to measure an average of 174 Mbps, while at 15 feet, I got 168 Mbps; at 30 feet, I measured an average of 147 Mbps.

From the server to the client, I measured an average of 176 Mbps at 5 feet, while at 15 feet, the speed remained consistent to 174 Mbps; at 30 feet, I measured an average of 112 Mbps. Afterwards, I added the third node to the network (at about 35 feet from the first node, but with a thick wall in between them) and once again I connected the compatible client. From the client to the server, at 5 feet, I measured an average of 233 Mbps (consistent to what I got the first time: 234 Mbps) and after increasing the distance to 15 feet, I measured no more than 211 Mbps. At 30 feet, the speed went down to 115 Mbps. From the server to the client, I measured an average of 135 Mbps at 5 feet, while at 15 feet, I got around 130 Mbps; at 30 feet, the speed decreased to an average of 88 Mbps.

TP-Link Deco M5 whole home Wi-Fi – 3 pack customer review

Wonderful Wi-Fi System!

All right, let’s first get this out of the way. Yes, the Deco units do look like a stylish smoke detector, right? Now that I have put that in your head, let’s get on with the mini review below.

Setting Up Your Deco M5 Wi-Fi System

To set up your Deco M5 Wi-Fi system, you will need an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, with bluetooth capability. You will also need to install the free Deco app for setting up and maintaining the system. The Deco app will walk you through the setup process, with text and graphics, along the way. Setting them up is easy to do, and you will be up and running in just a short amount of time. As of now, the Deco app is the only way to set them up and maintain them. There is no web-based management page for you to log into, like you would typically do with a router. This may not be that big of a deal for most these days, but if you do not own a smartphone or tablet, you can’t set the system up. And for this reason, I would like to see TP-Link add the ability to set up the system with a web-based page, soon. Why not?

Now about the Deco app. The Deco app menu system is laid out nicely, all the settings are easy to find and navigate. I think Tp-Link did a nice job with the Deco app.

Below are the system requirements for your Android or iOS device: Android 4.3 or later iOS 8.0 or later Bluetooth 4.0 or later

And of course, there are a set of parental controls for those of you with kids, which are easily setup within the Deco app. You are able to restrict websites based on age and content ratings, as well as by categories. And if you do not want a child spending too much time online, you will be able to set time limits for their devices that connect to the internet. There are several more settings as well, but that should give you a basic idea of the Parental controls.

Performance

The Deco M5 whole-home Wi-Fi system is powered by a quad-core processor, is a dual-band AC1300 system capable of throughput speeds of 400 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band, and it supports MU-MIMO. It also automatically optimizes Wi-Fi connections for each of your devices. According to the specifications, each Deco unit covers 1,500 to 1,800 square feet. When using all 3 included Deco units, the range expands up to 4,500 square feet. That’s fantastic wireless coverage! I live in a smallish 4 bedroom home with a large yard, and the Deco M5 system provides excellent coverage in and around my home. I am getting nearly the same Speed Test results using the Deco M5 system, as I do when connected to my main AC router. And so far, I haven’t experienced a single issue while streaming HD content on multiple devices at once. Everything has played nicely. I haven’t had a chance to test out online gaming with the Deco system yet, but I feel confident it will handle the job very well, as the wireless coverage has been strong and reliable for everything else.

And for those devices that require an Ethernet cable to connect to your network, no need to worry, each Deco unit has 2 Gigabit ports to connect them to. So not only can you connect devices wirelessly, but with an Ethernet cable as well. I am happy to see Tp-link include these Gigabit ports, as there are older devices that do not have wireless capability.

Also, If you have a very large home or office, and wish to expand the system for even greater coverage, you can add up to seven more Deco units to the initial three. Up to 10 Deco units can be used on the same network.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let their small size fool you, there is some serious technology packed inside the Deco M5 Wi-Fi system. And you do not have to be a computer wiz to set it up. It’s super easy to get it set up and running, and once setup, provides excellent wireless coverage. And having the 3-year built-in antivirus and malware protection, ensures that all of your connected devices are protected on the network.

The build quality of the Deco units is solid. And I do like how they look. They should blend into any home or office setting nicely. They are also small and won’t take up much space, wherever you decide to place them. Just make sure to place them out in the open, as each Deco unit has vent-holes located on the bottom for heat dissipation. You don’t want to place them inside of an enclosure, or anywhere that will trap heat. The Deco M5 system has a lot to like about it, but unfortunately, it’s not cheap. Currently set at $300 US dollars, this is an expensive system.

I wish you the best in setting up your network!

By TechOnDeck at Best Buy

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