TP-Link WiFi 6 mesh WiFi AX3000 whole home mesh WiFi review – how to setup?

TP-Link WiFi 6 mesh WiFi AX3000 whole home mesh WiFi review
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It’s fast enough, easy to use, and comes with a lifetime subscription to TP-Link’s HomeCare security tools. The TP-Link Deco X60 is a whole home mesh system that uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology to help eliminate dead spots in your home. Discover more benefits in TP-Link WiFi 6 mesh WiFi AX3000 whole home mesh WiFi review.

In the box

Deco X60 (3-pack)
3 Deco X60 Units
1 RJ45 Ethernet Cable
3 Power Adapters
1 Quick Installation Guide

Deco X60 (2-pack)
2 Deco X60 Units
1 RJ45 Ethernet Cable
2 Power Adapters
1 Quick Installation Guide

Deco X60 (1-pack)
1 Deco X60 Unit
1 RJ45 Ethernet Cable
1 Power Adapter
1 Quick Installation Guide

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Easy to install and manage
  • Good signal range
  • Robust parental controls
  • Lifetime malware protection
  • Alexa voice control

CONS

  • Middling throughput performance
  • Lacks USB connectivity
  • Dynamic (not dedicated) wireless backhaul

Specification – TP-Link WiFi 6 mesh WiFi AX3000 whole home mesh WiFi

WIRELESS
Standards Wi-Fi 6
IEEE 802.11ax/ac/n/a 5 GHz
IEEE 802.11ax/n/b/g 2.4 GHz
WiFi Speeds AX3000
5 GHz: 2402 Mbps (802.11ax)
2.4 GHz: 574 Mbps (802.11ax)
WiFi Range 4-7+ Bedroom Houses (3-pack)
TP-Link Mesh Technology
Optional Ethernet backhaul work together to link Deco units to provide seamless coverage

4× Antennas (Internal)
Multiple antennas form a signal-boosting array to cover more directions and large areas

Beamforming
Concentrates wireless signal strength towards clients to expand WiFi range
WiFi Capacity High
Dual-Band
Distribute devices to different bands for optimal performance

MU-MIMO
Silmultaneously communicates with multiple MU-MIMO clients

OFDMA
Silmultaneously communicates with multiple WiFi 6 clients

6 Streams
More than enough bandwidth for connected devices
Working Modes Router Mode
Access Point Mode
HARDWARE
Processor 1 GHz Quad-Core CPU
Ethernet Ports 2× Gigabit Ports

*Per Deco Unit
Supports WAN/LAN auto-sensing
Buttons Reset Button
Power 12 V ⎓ 2 A
SECURITY
WiFi Encryption WPA
WPA2
WPA3
Network Security SPI Firewall
Access Control

HomeCare™ Antivirus
Malicious Site Checker
Port Intrusion Prevention
Infected Device Isolation
Notification and Log
Guest Network 1× 5 GHz Guest Network
1× 2.4 GHz Guest Network
SOFTWARE
Protocols IPv4
IPv6
Service Kits HomeCare™

Parental Controls HomeCare™ Parental Controls
Custom Profiles
Content Filtering
URL FIltering
Time Limit
Time Schedule (Bed Time)
Log Insight
Usage Monitor
Monthly Reports
WAN Types Dynamic IP
Static IP
PPPoE
PPTP
L2TP
Quality of Service HomeCare™ QoS
QoS by Device
QoS by Application
Cloud Service OTA Firmware Upgrade
TP-Link ID
DDNS
NAT Forwarding Port Forwarding
Port Triggering
DMZ
UPnP
IPTV IGMP Proxy
IGMP Snooping
Bridge
Tag VLAN
DHCP Address Reservation
DHCP Client List
Server
DDNS TP-Link
Management Deco App
PHYSICAL
Dimensions (W×D×H) 4.33 × 4.33 × 4.99 in
(110 × 110 × 114 mm)
Package Contents Deco X60 (3-pack)
3 Deco X60 Units
1 RJ45 Ethernet Cable
3 Power Adapters
1 Quick Installation Guide

OTHERS
System Requirements Android 4.4 or later
iOS 9.0 or later
Certifications CE, FCC, IC, RoHS, RCM, JPA, JRF, VCCI
Environment Operating Temperature: 0℃~40℃ (32℉ ~104℉)
Storage Temperature: -40℃~70℃ (-40℉ ~158℉)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing

WiFi Transmission Power CE:
<20 dBm (2.4 GHz)
<23 dBm (5 GHz)
FCC:
<30 dBm (2.4 GHz)
<30 dBm (5 GHz)

Key features – TP-Link WiFi 6 mesh WiFi AX3000 whole home mesh WiFi

Connect up to 150 Devices: Revolutionary OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology lets your router communicate more data to more devices.

Incredible Wi-Fi 6 Speed & Coverage: Cover up to 5,800 sq. ft. in high-performance 3 Gbps (3000 Mbps) speeds, perfect for 4K/8K streaming, intense online gaming, and more throughout your whole home.

Boosted Seamless Coverage: Achieve seamless whole-home coverage with a clearer and stronger whole-home WiFi signal generated by Wi-Fi 6.

One Unified Network: Multiple units form a whole-home network that auto-selects the best connection as you move around your home.

Ultra-Low Latency: Greater reduction in latency enables more responsive gaming and video chatting.

Setup Made Easier Than Ever: The Deco app walks you through the setup step-by-step.

Total Security: WPA3 encryption and a free lifetime subscription to TP-Link HomeCareTM provides personalized features, including Parental Controls, Antivirus, and Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure a safer online experience.§

Universally Compatible: Deco X60 works with all WiFi-enabled devices and internet service providers (ISP).

Price

The Deco X60 packs Wi-Fi 6 and other advanced technologies to help you surf in security. It comes in two configurations, one with two nodes ($269.99) and one with three nodes ($319.99.) TP-Link says the two-node system covers 5,000 square feet while the three-node system covers 7,000 square feet. I found the two-node system easily covered my whole house as well as a solid bubble around it. The app is a breeze to use when it’s time to configure and manage the system.

TP-Link WiFi 6 mesh WiFi AX3000 whole home mesh WiFi review

Design

The X60 3-pack comes with three identical white cylindrical nodes that provide up to 7,000 square feet of coverage. A 2-pack system that covers up to 5,000 square feet is also available for $269.99; a good price, but still not one that will qualify the Deco family as budget routers. Standing 4.5 inches high and 4.3 inches wide the nodes do not offer the low-profile aesthetics of the Deco M9 Plus nodes (2.5 by 5.7 inches) but are still smaller than the TP-Link Deco M4 nodes (7.5 by 3.6 inches). 

Ports

The back of each node holds two gigabit LAN ports and a power jack, and there’s a reset button on the bottom of the base. Missing are the USB and multi-gig ports that you get with Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 Wi-Fi system. 

Atenna & WiFi Speed

The TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 is a great way to get Wi-Fi 6 into your home. Each node has four antennas and is powered by a quad-core 1GHz processor. It can handle up to six streams across the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands with MU-MIMO data streaming at 1024QAM. Advanced features include band steering and beamforming. Everything is protected by WPA3 encryption for the best in security.

Coverage

The 3-pack covers a lot of ground (7,000 square feet) and showed good signal strength in testing, and it supports Alexa voice commands. That said, the Asus ZenWiFi XT8 offers superior throughput performance and more robust features, including four LAN ports (one of which is a 2.5GB LAN port), USB 3.1 connectivity, and a secondary 5GHz band which can be dedicated to wireless backhaul.

Subscription and parental control

The X60 comes with a lifetime subscription to TP-Link’s HomeCare, a suite of parental controls, anti-malware, and Quality of Service (QoS) tools powered by Trend Micro. The parental controls offer age-based presets (Child, Pre-Teen, Teen, Adult) that prevent your child from accessing websites with gambling, social media, file sharing, pornography, and other adult oriented content. You can add any URL to your blocked website list and create access schedules and time limits.

Privacy & safety

Anti-malware tools include Malicious Content Filtering for all connected devices, Intrusion Prevention, and Infected Device Quarantine. HomeCare QoS settings offer several optimized presets including Standard, Gaming, Streaming, Surfing, Chatting, and Custom. Here you can also give individual clients high bandwidth priority with specific bandwidth allocations. You can set bandwidth allocations manually or let the Speed Test utility to do it for you.

TP-Link WiFi 6 mesh WiFi AX3000 whole home mesh WiFi review
TP-Link WiFi 6 mesh WiFi AX3000 whole home mesh WiFi review

App with parental control

You can manage the X60 using TP-Link’ Deco mobile app or with a web console but the web console lacks access to many of the management options that you get with the app.

At the bottom of the Overview screen are three buttons: the Overview button takes you back to the main screen from wherever you are in the app, and the HomeCare button takes you to a screen where you can configure the above-mentioned parental controls, anti-malware settings, and quality of service (QoS) settings. The More button opens a Settings screen with buttons that allow you to configure Wi-Fi settings, test your Internet speed, create a network black list, view monthly usage and security threat reports, and update the firmware. Use the Advanced button to configure IPv4 and IPv6; Port Forwarding; and Fast Roaming settings, create IP address reservations, and enable/disable IPTV/VLAN and MAC Cloning options.

TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 router network testing and QoS controls screen shots

Setup – TP-Link WiFi 6 mesh WiFi AX3000 whole home mesh WiFi

Setting up the Deco X60 is about as simple as it gets. The kit includes two or three cylindrical pods that you spread out around your house. Each stands about 114mm (4.5 inches) tall and measures 109mm (4.3 inches) wide. The white coloring and shape are modern, but they’re sizable enough that you’ll notice them on a shelf or corner table.

The base unit must be connected directly to your modem via ethernet cable. The pods each have two ethernet ports. The nodes don’t require ethernet, but the option is there. Plug the main unit in and give it about a minute to come online. An LED light at the bottom cycles between blue, red, and green to let you know the connection status. You’ll want to put the satellite nodes in strategic locations, such as rooms where you often use your devices. I had to put the main unit in my second-story office because that’s where the internet modem is. I put the second in my first-floor living room. They will need to be placed close to a power outlet.

TP-Link WiFi 6 mesh WiFi AX3000 whole home mesh WiFi Performance review

It’s clear to see that the TP-Link Deco X60 is the more effective mesh system than the Nighthawk, especially at close range. That’s what you’d expect given the higher speed rating of the X60. Speeds in the kitchen and living room were, surprisingly, closer together but the X60 eked out a lead again outside on the patio, suggesting it’s a more effective system for larger homes.

Gaming

The X60 turned in decent scores on our throughput performance tests but it couldn’t keep pace with the other more expensive Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems we’ve tested nor many of the mesh-capable gaming routers and general-purpose wireless routers. The X60’s score of 758 Mbps on our close proximity (same room) test was certainly faster than most Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) mesh router scores, which average somewhere in the 540 Mbps range. But it trailed the Wi-Fi 6-based Linksy Velop MX10, Netgear Orbi RBK852, and Asus ZenWiFi XT8 routers by more than 100 Mbps. The Velop MX10 led with a score 865 Mbps. On the 30-foot test the X60 router’s score of 290 Mbps was a bit slower than the others, but not by much. The ZenWiFi XT8 led with a score of 347 Mbps.

Verizon

My home internet service (Verizon FiOS) is limited to 100Mbps up and down, so those are the max speeds I saw from the TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000. Clearly, I’m underutilizing the system. If you’re lucky enough to have gigabit service, you should see much higher speeds. Coverage, however, is more important than raw speed, and that’s one of the major benefits of the Deco X60.

The X60 satellite node didn’t fare so well. It garnered 521Mbps on the close proximity test, trailing the leader, the Asus ZenWiFi XT8, by 154 Mbps. The Linksys Velop MX10 and Netgear Orbi RBK852 both were more than 100 Mbps faster than the X60. On the 30-foot test the X60 node scored 386 Mbps. That’s 233 Mbps slower than the ZenWiFi XT8 node. It should be noted that the X60 is a dual-band system and therefore does not have the benefit of a secondary 5GHz band to handle backhaul, something that the other leading systems all provide, including the Linksys Velop AX MX10, the Netgear Orbi AX600 RBK852, and the Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8.

Alternate

There is tons of competition in the mesh networking space, however. As mentioned, Google Nest Wi-Fi is an option, as are products from Eero, Netgear, and Asus. The $449 Asus ZenWiFi AX is a great Wi-Fi 6 choice. Some might find the $200 Netgear Orbi AC1200 a more budget-friendly pick. If you care to stick with TP-Link, the Deco X20 AX1800 is a less expensive option that covers less square footage.

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