TP-Link Deco M5 is a dual-band Wireless AC1350 mesh wireless system. It is probably one of the best mesh WiFi system you can buy today thanks to the great user experience and easy app based setup process. The system can provide a WiFi speed up to 500Mbps with maximum speed up to 900Mbps if you use wired Ethernet.
With internet connection getting faster, users demand for better WiFi speed. The solution is to add more Wireless access point in your home. But, installing an Ethernet cable requires wall hacking which is rather costly. So, this is where mesh WiFi come into play.
The model I will be reviewing today is the Deco M5 triple pack which retail for RM799 currently. TP-Link says this is good for up to 5500 square feet. There’s also a more affordable twin pack version for just RM539 available for sale.
What is mesh WiFi?
Well, let’s be honest here, a lot of people are confused about how exactly a mesh WiFi system work. Unlike a conventional wireless router, a mesh wireless system consist of multiple access points (mesh node) in a system. Then they all work together to blanket your home in a stronger wireless coverage.
Unlike using a wireless extender, the mesh wireless system only broadcast a single WiFi name. This means no matter where you are in your house, you only need to connect to one WiFi name without switching network. TP-Link Deco mesh wireless system comes with fast roaming, AP steering and band steering. It means the system will always scan the network automatically steer your devices to the best network available.
Hardware and Design
TP-Link Deco M5 looks nothing like a conventional wireless router. It is very small in size and admittedly, it looks pretty cute. There’s only a single multi-color LED status indicator and that can be disabled using the provided TP-Link Deco app.
Unlike the bigger brother Deco M9 Plus, the Deco M5 comes with a dual-band AC1350 configuration. But, it still have the same Qualcomm based quad-core CPU. TP-Link says the Deco mesh wireless system can actually support up to 100 devices connected simultaneously. While I do not have that many devices, I can say that the Deco M5 still works well with over 40 devices connected.
Each unit of Deco M5 comes with just 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports. For the main unit, the port beside the power jack will function as the WAN port and you will be left with just 1 LAN port. To get more physical Ethernet LAN ports from the Deco M5, you will need to purchase Gigabit Ethernet switch. Thankfully, these switches are really affordable but that’s still a point to improve for the Deco M5.
Setting up the mesh WiFi
TP-Link Deco M5 is managed by the TP-Link Deco app. The system is tied to a TP-Link cloud ID so it can be managed as long as you have an Internet connection. The Deco M5 also functions as a wireless router and you can connect it directly to the modem provided by your ISP.
The setup process is really simple and it didn’t take us more than 10 minutes to get it up and running. Our tip is to only turn on the main unit and make sure it is functioning. Once the main unit is up and running, turn on all the other remaining units and link it to the main unit using the Deco app.
TP-Link Deco M5 is also fully compatible with Unifi with Unifi TV support. Remember to select the VLAN option and choose the TM Unifi profile for the Internet to work. If you need to watch Unifi TV, enable the IPTV option in the advanced settings and choose the TM Unifi profile. The Unifi TV box must be connected to the main Deco unit.
TP-Link Deco App
The Deco app is also one of the strengths of TP-Link Deco mesh WiFI system. It comes with a built-in Speedtest feature which let you to test the actual Internet speed. The home screen also show you all the connected devices together with their current Internet speed.
The app functions really well and is very simple to use. It can show you all the connected devices and what is their current Internet speed. There’s also a built-in speedtest tool to check your Internet speed directly from the Deco app.
TP-Link Homecare Antivirus
There’s also a built-in HomeCare Antivirus feature on the Deco M5. The Antivirus engine is powered by TrendMicro and it is designed to block malware and virus infected apps and services from your network. It is disabled by default and we recommend enabling it.
The feature works really well with the virus database constantly updated by TrendMicro. We tested it with a known virus infected website and found that the website is successfully blocked by the Antivirus system. We are also shown a warning telling us that the virus is blocked and HomeCare is working as intended.
HomeCare Parental Control
TP-Link Deco M5 also comes with a parental control function with the ability to block websites based on categories for selected users. There’s also an option to configure daily usage time limits and internet blocking d
WiFi Performance Test
Our home office comes with a really weird layout that one of the rooms at the end of the unit always struggle getting a stable WiFi connection from the router which is placed at the living room. We swapped the previous router to the Deco M5 mesh wireless system and immediately noticed a great improvement. We also tested the WiFi speed at multiple locations in the unit.
The WiFi performance is significantly enhanced when the mesh WiFi system is installed with 5Ghz WiFi coverage at almost every single point of the house. With fast roaming enabled, our iPhones area always connected to the WiFi even though we are working around the unit. Our phones are able to quickly switch network without even dropping our VOIP calls.
We compared the performance against the Archer A7 we used previously and immediately we notice a huge improvement. The Deco M5 performs faster at every location of test. Not to mention that our signal issue at the last room is completely resolved with the addition of the Deco M5 mesh WiFi system.
Seamless WiFi Roaming and Steering
There’s also a fast roaming option which is disabled by default in the Deco app. TP-Link says all their Deco mesh wireless system support the 802.11r fast roaming feature which will greatly enhance the roaming performance for supported devices.
We enabled it and it greatly improved the performance of our system and our devices can roam to another Deco mesh node in a much lower latency without noticeable drops.
TP-Link Deco M5 is a great and rather affordable mesh WiFi system you can buy today. It offers really good performance enabled by TP-Link adaptive routing technology. With that, the WiFi connection is really seamless and offers a really smooth almost unnoticeable transition when steering to other access points. The easy to setup process and Deco app is the cherry on top.
You can view my review of other TP-Link Deco mesh WiFi systems here.
TP-Link Deco M5
- Unifi and HyppTV support
- Easy to setup process
- HomeCare Antivirus
- Seamless roaming
- 2 LAN ports only