- The TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 mesh system has subpar throughput, with a sharp drop-off in connectivity beyond 30 feet from the router.
- The system lacks a dedicated backhaul channel, resulting in occasional losses in connectivity.
- There is no USB connectivity and the ethernet ports are restricted to gigabit connections, limiting the full benefit of the internet connection.
- The multiband coverage of the TP-Link Deco system is of poor quality, with hot spots of superb throughput followed by areas of lackluster speeds.
- Alternative mesh systems like ASUS ZenWiFi XT8, eero 6+, and Vilo Mesh offer better performance and features.
Why should you avoid a TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 mesh system? Connectivity is one of the driving forces of any modern home network, and meshes have certainly made a name for themselves. However, when looking at implementing a mesh system in your home, there are a few things to keep in mind. Never mind the sheer amount of coverage present, because that is the strength of a mesh system.
Instead, you need to consider the features and specs of the router at the heart of any mesh system. The TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi mesh system is inexpensive to get stellar coverage across your house. That said, there are some definite issues at the heart of this router’s operation. Today’s review is diving deeper into why you might want to avoid this router.
What Is the TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System?
The TP-Link W7200 is one of the most inexpensive mesh systems you’ll find today. TP-Link is certainly no stranger to the development of easy mesh systems. The W7200 features many of the same hallmarks you’ll see with your typical mesh networks. It has a central router and two accompanying nodes.
The wireless standard in use is 802.11ax, which realistically should allow for a great amount of throughput. However, there are some larger issues with how bandwidth is dispersed to devices as we’ll further discuss. Simply put, this is one of the cheapest systems you’ll find for good reason. While it is extremely easy to set up, there are massive flaws in its overall operation.
|TP-Link Deco W7200 Mesh System
|5500 square feet
|Number of Bands
|Number of Ethernet Ports
|1 on the router, 2 on each satellite
|Number of Nodes
Reasons to Avoid a TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System
Now with some of the specifics out of the way for the TP-Link Deco, it is time to take a closer look at why you want to avoid this system. I’ve got a fairly decent background in network configuration and these are absolute dealbreakers when it comes to using any sort of system for browsing the internet.
Wi-Fi 6 may be an outdated standard, but it still is plenty capable of delivering good performance. One of the major reasons to avoid a TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 mesh system comes down to the dreadful throughput. If you’re within 30 feet of the base station or nodes, you’re doing great. However, anything out of that sphere of connectivity sees sharp drop-offs.
We aren’t talking about a minimal dip like you might experience with some tri-band routers. You’d at least have the 5GHz band to fall back on when you’re out of range of the maximum speed band. Instead, the TP-Link Deco system sees throughput drop more than 50% when 30 feet away from the router. The satellites fare better, but you would think the main base station has the best overall power.
No Dedicated Backhauling
Mesh systems have to implement something called backhauling when planning the transmission of data. A dedicated backhaul is paramount to fantastic connectivity with any mesh system, as you’ll see in some of the alternatives discussed. One of the biggest reasons to avoid a TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 system comes down to its lack of a dedicated backhaul channel.
Backhauling is handled dynamically, which is fine in concept. However, you’ll notice occasional losses in connectivity, especially during peak usage hours. Now, you could certainly get many hours of enjoyable browsing out of the Deco on a good day. That said, even Amazon’s budget-friendly Eero 6 system has a dedicated backhaul for optimizing the connection to the nodes in the system.
No USB Connectivity
USB connectivity might seem like an odd nitpick to make with a router. However, consider making some sort of configuration change on your home network. You might make an error somewhere, and now you can’t log back into the router’s web portal. So, what do you do? In my shoes, I would hope that I have some means of connecting my computer directly to the router to get access to its controls.
You’ll have to rely solely on ethernet for connectivity with the TP-Link Deco mesh system. The lack of a dedicated USB diagnostic port is one of the biggest reasons to avoid a TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 system. Sure, it might not be necessary 99% of the time. However, the 1% of times you’ll need it, it will be sorely missed.
There Is No Multi-Gig Connectivity
It doesn’t make much sense to have restrictive ethernet ports on a device these days. Modern standards have advanced significantly. Further, multi-gig ethernet ports allow for stable and effective connections for the likes of gaming and streaming media. One of the major reasons to avoid a TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 system comes down to the poor selection of ports.
Across the base station and both nodes, you’ll have access to a whopping 5 ethernet ports. Each of these is a gigabit ethernet connection. Sure, you’ll get better latency when connecting through these ports. You aren’t getting the full benefit of your home internet connection with a restricted ethernet port, sadly.
Multiband Coverage Is Poor
On paper, the TP-Link Deco W7200 has outstanding coverage. At 5500 square feet, it should be more than enough to cover any medium to larger home. You might need additional nodes if you live in some palatial estate. That said, the coverage itself is of poor quality. You might get optimal speeds when right up next to a node. When you start moving outside of its coverage area, however, that raises new issues.
One of the strengths of any mesh system is extending your wireless coverage over a wider area. You should be maintaining optimum throughput. Instead, you’ve got hot spots of superb throughput followed by areas where you’re hitting lackluster speeds. It doesn’t instill much confidence in this mesh system, especially at this price point.
Alternatives to the TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System
Here are three of my favorite alternatives to the TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System.
ASUS ZenWiFi XT8
- Maximum range of 5,500 square feet
- Total wireless speed of 6,600Mbps
- OFDMA and MU-MIMO ZenWiFi AX for more efficient and faster transmissions
- 3-step setup and easy management with ASUS Router App
- Lifetime free network security from Trend Micro
When it comes to the best mesh system, the ZenWiFi XT8 is certainly worth a look. Much like the TP-Link Deco system, it is running on 802.11ax. However, you’ve got far better optimization for the throughput and delivery of bandwidth throughout the house. It does cost more than double what you’re paying for the TP-Link system.
However, that extra cash is well spent as you get a high-performance wireless network extending well past 5000 square feet. It might not be a perfect system, but it is one of the best you’re going to find for sale currently.
- For ISP plans up to a gigabit
- Dual-band with 160MHz channel support
- Connect more than 75 devices
- Coverage up to 1,500 square feet
- Two auto-sensing gigabit Ethernet ports
- Compatible with Alexa
We could spend all day discussing the eero mesh system. However, there isn’t any getting around it being the de facto standard for home wireless systems. Amazon’s mesh system is effortless to install, taking a few moments at best to get connected.
Once installed, you’ve got plenty of coverage. It even comes with a 160MHz channel to allow for massive connectivity between all of your devices. It even comes in cheaper than the TP-Link Deco system. If you’re looking for the best budget system, the eero 6+ takes the bag.
- 3-pack dual-band router and extender replacement
- Coverage up to 4,500 square feet
- 3 Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Parental Controls from Bark through the app
- WPA2-PSK security
Vilo’s mesh system doesn’t cover the same area as the TP-Link, nor does it provide as much raw connectivity. However, it is a cheaper and more effective system despite all of these shortcomings. You’ve got a router and a pair of extender nodes. Dual-band coverage is well saturated, giving great connectivity throughout the home.
It doesn’t come with multi-gig ethernet ports, which is a shame. However, it does have a dedicated backhaul channel, which is worth the price of admission.
The TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 mesh system is a confusing product at its core. It isn’t TP-Link’s first attempt at a mesh network, nor will it be its last. However, the product itself comes across as somewhat half-banked. When looking at contemporaries like the Eero or ASUS ZenWiFi, it begs the question of who would purchase the Deco. Avoid a TP-Link Deco system, it isn’t worth the hassle for the few benefits it has.
Best Alternatives to TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System
|1. ASUS ZenWiFi XT8
|2. eero 6+
|3. Vilo Mesh
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