By Liam Burke. Thanks to the nice people in Tp-link I got their Deco M4 Whole Home Mesh WiFi sytem (3 pack) to try out. It offers a single Mesh WiFi Network to cover an area of “up to 4000 sq ft” and will get rid of those nasty wifi blackspots in your home.
The system works by plugging in a base WiFi station into your existing router (using a supplied ethernet cable) and then adding the other satellite units around the house to blanket your home in lovely wifi and if you want more wifi i.e. down to a shed in the bottom of the garden you would just need to add an extra unit. Another advantage of using the Deco Mesh WiFi system is if your internet service provider is using a mobile network usually the best place to get the best LTE connection is upstairs or in a higher location, so by placing their router in the best signal location you get the most internet speed you can get and then using the Deco the best wifi over your home.
Each unit is finished in a stylish white cylinder approximately 91mm x 91mm x 190 mm with a power port, reset button and 2 ethernet ports at the rear, it would be nice if there was more ethernet ports on the Decos. The top of each Deco has a ridged effect and has a TP-Link notification light which will alert the user to issues with the unit this is configurable on/off at certain times via the app which is handy if one is located in a bedroom where you may not wish to have extra lights.
The Deco system can handle up to 100 devices, so enough for the busiest of homes.
The setup was super easy thanks to the Deco app available from the Google Play Store or via the Apple App Store
Once the app is installed it guides you through the setup process, you will need to create a Tp-Link account first then register with it.
So for each of the Deco units you just need to plug it in and open the Deco app and add another Deco to setup the whole network, you will be up and running in no time. During the setup the app will check if there is an update to the Deco unit and prompt you to install it.
The great thing with mesh networks is that your devices just see one network as opposed to a using a wifi extender where you will have to add that network to each device individually. Also as the Deco support IEEE 802.11e and k/v your device will switch seamlessly to the fastest Deco in your network whereas if you use a wifi extender your device will have to negotiate a connection to it so that will take sometime if your moving around . Another trick the Deco units has is adapative Path selection which means the Deco’s will chose the best route and band for your data.
The Deco units support self healing, so that if one of the deco units develop a fault, the system will re-configure itself.
To get even better results with the Deco units its best to connect them via Powerline plugs, as if you use wireless mode and say your connected to the last Deco, your signal has to travel to the intermediate Deco units first before going to your router.
My set up
There are plenty of options in the Deco app i.e. enabling only a 2.4 or 5Ghz network or
Setting up a Separate Guest network.
Blacklist to stop a device accessing the network.
Option to Update and also a virtual WPS button for each Deco unit.
The Deco can be configured in either an Access Point or Router mode.
A great feature is the parental controls will allows you to assign each device to a profile and then restrict that profile to general websites or specific ones and also restrict their time online.
Some other extras allow you to define A Quality of Service (QoS) so you can ensure specific devices always get the best internet and a Monthly Report so you can see how your network is behaving for the last month, what websites are most accessed etc. It would have been nice if there was more advanced features on the web based interface to allow for even more tweaks.
Its also compatible with Alexa which worked quiet well when I added the TPLink Router skill on my Amazon Echo Show 5 , for a list of Alexa keywords see
From the above table you can see the Decos gave increased speed to the locations that were furthest away from main router (Bedroom 3 and 4) where before I had very low speed or no internet at all and the signal strength was 100% in all of the house.
When I ran a speedtest in my back garden approximately 8 metres (25 feet) away from the kitchen I got 160 MBs and 4/5 Signal Strength, and I had no signal on either the 5ghz or 2.4ghz router, so if you use your wifi outside the Deco is a good solution for you.
For the advanced users, there are options like
Overall it’s a great piece of kit which spreads Wi-Fi all over your house and gives a lot more user options than the basic modem you would get from your service provider, and if you switch service providers you just need to plug the deco into the router that they supply to you and your up and running with no need to enter wifi passwords into all your devices.
For more info see here