Let’s check out TP-Link’s new mesh router.
Mesh networks have started gaining popularity in recent months, and for good reason. It now allows you to have full coverage and speed on a large area without the need for extenders and the like. It’s simple to set up as well, meaning that even tech newbies won’t have a hard time using it.
Enter TP-Link’s Deco M4, it’s part of the company’s new line of mesh routers that are being sold in one, two and three-device configurations. Taking it out of the box the Deco M4 looks like desktop speakers, or as my friend calls it, ‘that thing that sprays stuff inside the bathroom’. I chuckled for a bit, but the white exterior of the routers are simple and can be placed anywhere in your home.
The TP-Link logo at the top is also backlighted, which alerts you to the status of the router. At the back of the Deco M4, you will find two gigabit Ethernet ports plus the power and reset button below.
On the technical side, the Deco M4 has two dual-band antennas that support 2×2 MU-MIMO and sports the 802.11ac Wave 2 standard. TP-Link states that you can reach a maximum bandwidth of 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band.
Setting up the Deco M4 requires you to download the TP-Link Deco app on your smartphone (available for iOS and Android devices) and connecting it via Bluetooth. While it’s easy to use and configure the Deco M4 using the app it, unfortunately, doesn’t support a web-based user interface so expect to use the app a lot if you’re doing a lot of configurations on your network.
The rest of the setup process is pretty much standard. Once the first router is configured it will just automatically copy and configure settings on the other routers you’ve added.
As mentioned, all the configurations happen inside the app, from port forwarding to LED lighting control. There’s also Parental Controls, where you can limit usage on any device connected on the network and even block some website from being accessed.
We got a steady connection from across a room separated by a wall. Tests revealed that we’re getting an average of 98-102 Mbps on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band. I set up two Deco M4 routers on a two-bedroom flat, placing one on the edge of one room and the other one in the middle of the apartment.
Connections were stable all throughout, and almost all devices registered at the same speed offered by my ISP. It also didn’t have trouble regulating bandwidth for the users in the network and no bottlenecks have occurred despite multiple devices streaming on Netflix and YouTube.
The Deco M4 also includes integration for services like Amazon’s Alexa and IFTTT (If This Then That) where you can use voice commands to initiate functions on the router.
Overall the TP-Link Deco M4 does what it promised: a fast and stable mesh network in your home. While it lacks a web interface that would suit advanced users, this router still delivers a decent performance.
+ Decent speed
+ Easy setup using the app
+ Support for Amazon Alexa and IFTTT
– No web-based user interface
Final Rating: 4/5