TP-Link Deco M9 Plus Review: Tri-Band Mesh Wifi System

Mesh WiFi systems are gaining popularity lately. They are the best tool to provide great WiFI coverage for your entire home. This is achieved by having multiple WiFi access points working together to blanket your home with WiFi coverage. 

TP-Link Deco M9 Plus is a triple-band mesh WiFI system unlike the dual-band Deco M5 mesh WiFi system from TP-Link. By having a third band, it will be used as a dedicated backhaul for the mesh WiFi network. This will effectively reduce the load on the fronthaul network, leading to way higher mesh WiFi speed the badwidth aren’t shared.

In this article, we will be reviewing the twin pack Deco M9 Plus mesh wireless system which currently retail at RM899. TP-Link says this is good up to 4500 square feet. There’s also a triple pack system available at RM1359. I suggest getting the twin pack system and only buy the third unit separately shall the need arise.

What is Mesh WiFi?

Well, mesh WiFi isn’t that complicated to begin with. Like all WiFi router, the main unit of a mesh WiFi system is as a router and it will be connected to the ISP modem directly. Next, it comes with multiple satellite units or mesh nodes where they are all linked together to form a bigger WiFi network.

Image from TP-Link

The WiFi connection will be much faster with bigger coverage as multiple mesh nodes are broadcasting the WiFi network. Besides, as they are all meshed, they all have the same WiFi name and password. You do not need to manually change WiFi as you walk along your home, the Deco M9 Plus will automatically manage it for you. 

TP-Link Deco M9 Plus features band steering and AP steering, it will automatically steer your device to the fastest WiFi network. Besides, with fast roaming enabled, the downtime when switching between mesh node is almost not noticeable.

Hardware and Specs

Wireless 2.4GhzWireless AC up to 300Mbps (40Mhz 2X2)
Wireless 5Ghz – 1Wireless AC up to 867Mbps (80Mhz 2X2)
Wireless 5Ghz – 2Wireless AC up to 867Mbps (80Mhz 2X2)
WiFi FeaturesMU-MIMO, beamforming, fast roaming, band steering
CPUQualcomm quad-core IPQ4019 CPU
RAM512MB
Ports1x Gigabit WAN port + 1x Gigabit LAN port

As for expansion, it is still rather minimal with just 2 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. The Deco M9 Plus also features a single USB port but it only function as a USB port to charge your device for now. It can be handy to plug in an IoT device or just power another device such as a Chromecast dongle.

The Deco M9 Plus is basically a bigger Deco M5 with similar design. There is a single multicolor LED indicator to show the status. We really like the clean looks of the Deco M9 Plus as it blends nicely into a modern household. There’s still no option for wall mount. 

TP-Link Deco M9 Plus Setup

The setup process is very quick and simple with the TP-Link Deco app. It took us just 10 minutes to get the entire system configured with everything working properly. The app also included helpful tips on where to place your mesh nodes. The setup process is actually very similar to Google WiFi. 

TP-Link Deco M9 Plus is compatible with Unifi. We connected the Unifi modem to the Deco M9 Plus and follow the setup guide on the app. The app will prompt you to insert your Unifi PPPOE username and password. You will need to click VLAN settings and enable the Unifi profile during the setup wizard.

Deco App

TP-Link Deco app is really pleasant to use and manage the mesh WiFi system. The homepage will show you some quick status of the mesh WiFi connection with the real time speed of the devices.

TP-Link also included a built-in speedtest tool right on the Deco app. This will be handy to determine the actual connection speed of your Internet connection.

TP-Link Homecare features

  • Antivirus
  • QoS
  • Parental Control

TP-Link Deco M9 Plus also features TP-Link Homecare suit which include advanced parental control, Antivirus and QoS. The Antivirus is actually powered by TrendMicro. It will prevent your devices from accessing a website and protect it from attacks from the Internet. TP-Link included 3 years of free updates on the Antivirus feature.

Warning shown to devices

The Homecare QoS engine is basically an application priority selector. It lets you to select which application to have higher priority. This is only useful on slower connections. TP-Link also lets you to select which device to have high priority. This will be useful for devices sensitive to latency such as VOIP phones or gaming devices.

TP-Link Homecare parental control is also really powerful. It is able to restrict content to selected devices based on the category. The database TP-Link has built is rather accurate in our test. Besides, there is also an option for usage time limit and usage time scheduling. 

WiFi Performance Testing

Mesh WiFi Backhaul

We also tested the mesh backhaul to see what is the fastest speed the Deco M9 Plus can deliver between the mesh nodes. This is determine the throughput of the entire network.

We manage to obtain a speed of up to a solid 600Mbps in our test with an 1Gbps Internet connection. 

Mesh WiFi Performance

The performance of TP-Link Deco M9 Plus is really impressive in our test. 

The performance of both Deco M5 and Deco M9 Plus is quite similar on single device mode.  On our test setup with the main Deco at short distance, we have no problem averaging at 518Mbps over wireless with my AC1200 laptop. After a distance of over 7 meters and 1 concrete wall, the speed is left around 114Mbps. The Deco M9 Plus is slightly faster than the M5.

On to the mesh performance after the secondary mesh Deco is introduced to the network, we see an improvement of wifi performance up to 200% on the Deco M9 Plus. We can see that a mesh wireless system can not only improve the wireless coverage, it can effectively increase the speed of your wifi network throughout your property. The Deco M5 with a dual-band wireless is also impressive but at a more modest 130% improvement. 

Fast roaming support

Wireless roaming happen when you connect from one Deco to another Deco. The roaming performance of the Deco M9 Plus is very quick without noticeable disconnection. This is possible as TP-Link Deco M9 Plus supports the 802.11r, k and v fast roaming standards

However, as good as fast roaming is, it is not supported on all devices. Some older smartphones do not support fast roaming and it may cause connectivity issue.

The Verdict

TP-Link Deco M9 Plus is a great mesh WiFi system. It can solve WiFi coverage issues and improve the WiFi speed with a mesh WiFi network. Having Tri-Band support also improved the WiFi speed even further compared to the Deco M5.

The configuration is also really simple with the TP-Link Deco app. With that, Deco M9 Plus is very easy to operate and provide a really seamless user experience. All in all, a great mesh WiFi system that’s inexpensive yet perform decently.

TP-Link Deco M9 Plus

9.1

Tubi Score

Good Stuff

  • Fast and stable connectivity
  • 802.11k/v/r fast roaming support
  • Unifi and HyppTV compatible
  • Easy setup and configuration

Bad Stuff

  • Only 2 ports available
  • No wall mount
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I just got an asus rt-ac5300 router, it is possible/compatible to get one/two unit of DECO M9 plus to create mesh wifi with the asus router.
As follow :
Onu modem – > asus rt-ac5300(ground floor) – > DECO M90 plus(second floor).

1) does this reduce lag latency in online gaming (planing on double story without using lan)
2) if i have 500mbps, how much speed will i expect on the second floor?
3) where can i refer to check it is hypptv capable in tplink website?

Hey I was planning to buy either the Deco M9 or the Tp link AC 3150. Which do you think would be better if my room was about 50-60 feet away from the router. I was thinking of puting the secondary unit in my room.I am looking for speeds of 200mbps and above. I have a 800mbps plan. Thanks

IPTV support just in case for the article update https://www.tp-link.com/my/support/faq/2421/

Hi,

I am currently using Tplink AC3150 router and I have tried using Wifi extender but the Wifi coverage using extender was not as good as expected. Will this Tplink Deco M9 a better option to replace both the router and extender?

Thanks.

Hi, if I intend to change from Tplink AC3150 to Tplink Deco M9 Plus, for two storey house, is it sufficient to get the 2 pack version?

Hello, I recently purchased the M9 with your review being a big part of my decision making. A very big thank you for that. I am however, interested in purchasing a smart lock. Wither the August Pro or the Kwikset Kevo with both devices having bluetooth connectivity. I posted questions to TP-Link, August and Kwikset but they cannot confirm whether the smart locks can connect directly to the router via bluetooth and hope you can advise me. Both of the smartlocks have Wifi Bridges sold separately to connect to the internet but i was thinking to cut out the middleman… Read more »

Hi. I’m planning to change my original router from TM (Acher AC1200) to a better one.
Currently upstairs was old modem from previous streamyx repeater.
Thinking of 3 system
1. ASUS RT-AC88U
2. ASUS RT-AC5300
3. DECO M9 Plus

FYI my UNIFI PLAN was 500 Mbps.
Any recommendation? Living on 2 storey.

Hi alvin,

If the second deco m9 at the first floor is connected to lan cable does the internet speed improve?

Noted. Thanks alvin..

Hi it’s confirmed Ethernet backhaul is suported by the M9 plus?

Tp link really surprised me with this one. I returned my lyra and get this. Im using this + p7. Work like magic!!

Hi Alvyn, it’s a great review that really sparked interest for me to get this. Though I’m wondering on a few things:
1. Mesh wifi improving speeds, but does it affect latency?
2. How best to connect between the nodes? Wirelessly or through lan cable? (and if so, are speeds affected?)
3. Just wanted to confirm compatibility with Maxis?
(I only know the basic stuff and isn’t an expert with all the other stuff)

hi ,
im planning to switch to new router and this was a good review ,but i need to know is it HyypTv will be definitely made available on this device.

Hi Alvyn, I just got a deco m9 but having issue during setup. 1. I removed Dir850L and swapped with one deco. 2. Followed the app step. Set up the pppoe unifi id and password (new password from tm). 3. Set up WiFi which connected. 4. It keeps saying can’t connect to Internet despite multiple reset . 5. I replaced the deco with Dir 850 back and used the new password and no issue . Connection back normal This is my issue. Not sure what I could do because it seems the issue is from the router not connecting. Please… Read more »

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