Nowadays it is very common to see advertising from teleoperators announcing fiber connections of 300 megabytes or more. Without going any further, just a few days ago we knew that Vodafone will soon launch a 1 giga fiber connection. However, it is not gold everything that shines.
More and more users do not connect any device by cable to the router, taking advantage only of the WiFi connection. The surprise comes when they perform a speed test and realize that not even a third of the contracted speed reaches them . Problem that is aggravated when we separate slightly from the router.
For this reason, many manufacturers have launched various solutions. For example, we have the PLC systems, which take advantage of the electrical network to take our connection anywhere. Or the more than usual WiFi repeaters, especially useful in larger houses, with two or more heights or with a long corridor. Precisely in this category we could include the TP-Link device that we have tested. Although, in reality, the TP-Link Deco M5 goes much further, with a proposal that promises to “paint our WiFi house” .
TP-Link Deco M5 datasheet
|Speed||400 Mbps in 2.4 GHz + 867 Mbps in 5 GHz|
|Antennas||4 internal antennas per Deco|
|Ports||2 Gigabit ports per Deco, 1 USB Type C port (for power)|
|Dimensions||120 x 120 x 38 mm|
|Networking||802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac. Supports IPv6|
|software||Deco App for iOS and Android, Network Scanning, Router-based Antivirus, Firewall Security, QoS|
|Others||Bluetooth 4.2 (for pairing devices)|
|Price||300 euros (pack with three units)|
120 euros (individual unit)
Simple and discreet design
The TP-Link Deco M5 is made up of three identical WiFi repeaters or routers that connect to each other to form an extended WiFi network . The appearance of these devices is very simple, something that allows them to be placed anywhere in the house without attracting attention.
They are circular in shape, with a small step at the top, and are made of plastic . They are white and only have the logo of the brand and a small light on the front. This light, as we will see later, informs us of the status of the device.
On the back they all have two giga ethernet ports , which will allow us to connect equipment by cable. Although it may seem like a contradiction, the incorporation of these ports is really useful. For example, we have been able to connect to one of the receivers a decoder that only includes an ethernet port, it does not have WiFi.
In addition to these two ports, each of the devices has a USB Type-C connector . This is used only for the power adapter. The only button that devices have is the Reset button. This will help us to restore the settings to factory settings. It is located at the bottom and we will need a toothpick or something very thin to access it.
And nothing more. TP-Link wanted the Deco M5 to go completely unnoticed . Or, at least, that the devices don't look like a WiFi router or amplifier. So it is more than likely that visitors will ask you "what is that white?".
Installation and configuration
The same degree of simplicity that the company has given to the design of the TP-Link Deco M5, has led to its installation and configuration. The first thing we must do is connect one of the devices (the one we want) to the main router. To do this, we will place the first amplifier near the router and connect it to it using a network cable . We will also have to connect it to the electrical current. The network cable, by the way, is included in the Deco M5 box.
Once the first device is connected, we start the configuration. This is done from the mobile or tablet using the Deco application. The configuration system is very simple so that anyone can do the configuration. The system uses Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity to detect the routers from the mobile device , so we will have to have it activated on the mobile.
Although the wizard indicates that we have to turn off the operator's router, we have tested it without disconnecting it and it has worked perfectly. Once connected to the router, we will have to wait for the M5 device LED to turn blue .
When the light turns blue, we will have to place the mobile near the Deco M5. Once connected, the application will ask us for a location for the Deco. Thus we will have each of the devices located and well identified .
As this is the first device that we connect, we will have to create the WiFi network. It will ask us to put a name to the network and a password. Once placed, the wizard will create a WiFi network. That is, the TP-Link Deco M5 creates its own WiFi network . This means that we will no longer have to connect the WiFi network created by our router, which we can even deactivate.
Once the installation and configuration of the first device is completed, the wizard will allow us to add the others. Ideally, at least two should be placed at different points in the house. If we have a large house or with two floors, it is best to place the three that the pack includes in a strategic way .
To place another amplifier we will only have to connect it to the electrical current and follow the wizard . Once connected, we wait for the blue light and click on "Add another Deco". At that moment we bring the mobile closer to the device so that the connection is made via Bluetooth.
When the connection is made between the mobile and the Deco M5, the wizard will perform a connection test between the two installed devices . If the test fails, it is that the second Deco that we have put is too far and it is not able to detect the network. If everything has gone well, we will get the message "Completed". And if we are going to put the third Deco, the procedure is the same.
Other functions of the Deco app
The Deco application will not only help us to configure the amplifiers. The system offers many functionalities through this application. For example, we can run a speed test or manage parental controls .
The latter allows us to create user profiles for each member of the family that connects to the network . Depending on the profile, we may block certain content.
Or, if we do not want to block anything, we will also have the QoS service available . This will allow the TP-Link Deco M5 to configure the network prioritizing some services, such as online gaming.
We will even have available an antivirus service provided by Trend-Micro . This is included for three years after the activation of Deco. The service is capable of blocking malicious content or disallowed equipment.
Performance and stability tests
We have carried out the test in an apartment of about 110 m2 with three rooms. Placing one device next to the router and the other two at the ends of the house, WiFi coverage is perfect at any point in it .
As for the speed tests, we have used a 10 Mb ADSL Internet connection, so anywhere in the house it has given us the maximum speed .
To check the coverage, and not having a very large house, we did the test on the apartment of a relative. This is located two floors below. The coverage of the network created by the TP-Link Deco M5 was complete , without any loss of signal.
We even tried to detect the network from the street. The house is located on the eighth floor. On the street, from in front of the building, the WiFi signal reached perfectly .
How does the TP-Link Deco M5 get such a strong signal? Each device has 4 internal antennas. This configuration, together with the quad-core CPU, allows you to achieve a connection speed of up to 400 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band and 867 Mbps in the 5 GHz band . This makes a combined speed of 1,267 Mbps.
The TP-Link Deco M5 is a system to amplify the different WiFi signal. And it is different because, in reality, it does not amplify the signal that comes from the main router, but rather creates its own WiFi network with greater coverage . That is, if we install the Deco M5 we can deactivate the router's WiFi network.
The system proposed by TP-Link is based on two fundamental pillars: ease of use and signal stability . For one thing, the Deco M5 is tremendously easy to install. As we have seen, the entire process is done from the mobile. All we have to do is connect one of the devices to the router and to the electrical current. Even for that we will have instructions on the mobile.
Once the first is connected, the other devices will only need to connect to the electrical current. However, a detail that we have loved is that they include two Giga Ethernet connections . As we have mentioned, this will allow us to transform the wireless signal into a wired connection. It is not that we will get more speed, but it is perfect for older equipment that does not have WiFi connectivity.
Regarding the operation, the network that the TP-Link Deco M5 generates is fast and stable . Carrier routers usually don't offer much coverage. In addition, they tend to suffer cuts in moments of network saturation. With the Deco M5 we will get a great WiFi coverage and, the best, a connection without cuts, very stable. And if we use the 5G network we can still improve, also achieving the maximum speed of our connection.
In short, if you have a high-speed fiber optic connection and want to make the most of it throughout the house, the TP-Link Deco M5 will help you achieve it . It must be recognized that its price is somewhat high, but in return it offers us an easy configuration and a powerful wireless network.
The TP-Link Deco M5 is now available in specialized stores with a price of 300 euros for the pack with 3 repeaters . We can also buy a loose repeater for about 120 euros.