TP-Link Deco M5: The totally secure WiFi Extender
May 7, 2018
COMMENTS

USS Enterprise-inspired too

Wi-Fi speeds in the home are a key aspect of our everyday, given the likely mix of streaming Westworld episodes, online gaming and viral videos biting into the pecking order as far as speeds go. Which brings us to TP-Link’s first mesh networking system, the AC 1300 Deco M5. That’s Deco as in ‘paint your home with Wi-Fi’, of course.

The principal and sole life mission of the TP-Link Deco M5 is simple enough: to blanket your home with Wi-Fi.

So let’s start off on the design front. Compared to other products in the same line, the M5 breaks the mould, taking a very Sci-Fi approach to the design aesthetic. USS Enterprise-inspired perhaps, blinking lights and all, make this something that you would love to highlight in your mancave.

Starting off is a very simple process, install the TP-Link Deco app (iOS or Android), and you have access to the status of your Deco unit, and you can perform a quick health check and edit its location. Once set up, you can run speed test on the upload and download speeds, and access detailed statistics on the connected devices and set hour-based priorities, while message icons alert you when new device join the network.

One of the key areas where the Deco M5 stands apart from the competition is the level of emphasis on security. This is very apt given the bludgeoning rise in Internet-connected devices, and as a parent, this is a feature I much appreciate. The Deco App has very detailed profile and category-based parental controls that allow you to block the websites your kids can access by category, time accumulated and time of day, while allowing you to view the content you want to at the time you want to. In the Parental Controls screen you can create Profiles for each family member and select one of four filter levels (Child, Pre-Teen, Teen, Adult) with preset web filters, disabling downloading for certain content. You can also manually block websites and apps, set up online time limits, and create a bed time where access is completely blocked during certain hours.

What I personally loved from a preferences perspective were the six application-based presets. They include Standard, Gaming, Streaming, Surfing, Chatting, and Custom presets, with the Custom preset enabling you to assign Low, Normal, or High priority to each of the other five application categories.

The device comes with an Ethernet cable, and once connected to the broadband modem, the wireless signal has a 1500 square feet range. That makes it perfect for small apartments, and if you want to enhance that, invest in a few more units to expand the Wifi further. The Deco M5 supports throughput speeds of 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band, as well as MU-MIMO data streaming. The last bit is a key aspect here, meaning when multiple devices are connected across the home, the speeds are not compromised for anyone. Apart from a USB-C connector that is used for the power supply, two Gigabit Ethernet ports let you attach other devices that may not support WiFi.

So after a few weeks of using the device, what are the feedback? The form factor, and security firewalls make it an amazing choice for small families. And if you have a larger space, a few more units, and this device has you covered, totally secure, zippy WiFi and all!

The TP-Link Deco M5 retails for AED 549 in the UAE

by Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2015 and 2016. Anil is also the Middle East's first Brand Ambassador for Ashdown Engineering. Reach him at: editor@t3me.com.
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