Slowly but surely there are more and more mesh-systems available. After Linksys, TP-Link also follows suit with their Deco M5-system. Remarkable is that Deco, despite having three nodes, is a lot cheaper than the competitors we have covered thus far. This is in part thanks to the more straightforward technical implementation, which makes us wonder: has TP-Link found the middle-ground between affordable wireless coverage and performance?
At the moment, mesh is the magic word in the router world. For years people have been struggling with the problem that a router does not cover the entire house. A mesh-system, where multiple devices mutually set up a wireless network and at the same time offer access for your devices, is supposed to solve that. Downside for this is that it is rather expensive, because every part has to be equipped with multiple radios. The TP-Link Deco M5 is the first exception to this rule.
Nevertheless the Deco-system is a lot like the Linksys Velop-system, technically speaking. Both are delivered in a set. The most expensive version consists of three ‘nodes’. One of these is used as router and the other two are used to expand the network. A node receives a wireless signal and sends a signal to the next node as well. The result is a backbone for the WiFi-signal and coverage throughout your entire house. If you add more nodes because you need a bigger network, the nodes figure out how the backbone can be laid out in the smartest way.
This is completely different with the Netgear Orbi-system, where the router acts as a central point in a star network. The TP-Link Deco M5 uses the same architecture as Linksys. If you put the two next to each other, they do not show this. That said, the aesthetic of the Deco set is eye-catching. The small boxes sort of resemble a CO2-sensor.
The nodes offer two gigabit-connectors and are powered via usb-c. This connection makes it possible for TP-Link to add an extra model of the Deco that can utilize a powerline-connection as backbone.
As stated before, the TP-Link Deco M5 is considerably cheaper than previously covered mesh-systems, like the Linksys Velop-system. While a Velop-set of three nodes costs about 446 pounds / 499 euros, a Deco set with three nodes has an average price of 240 pounds / 269 euros at the time of writing.
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