All right, let’s first get this out of the way. Yes, the Deco units do look like a stylish smoke detector, right? Now that I have put that in your head, let’s get on with the mini review below.
Setting Up Your Deco M5 Wi-Fi System
To set up your Deco M5 Wi-Fi system, you will need an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, with bluetooth capability. You will also need to install the free Deco app for setting up and maintaining the system. The Deco app will walk you through the setup process, with text and graphics, along the way. Setting them up is easy to do, and you will be up and running in just a short amount of time. As of now, the Deco app is the only way to set them up and maintain them. There is no web-based management page for you to log into, like you would typically do with a router. This may not be that big of a deal for most these days, but if you do not own a smartphone or tablet, you can’t set the system up. And for this reason, I would like to see TP-Link add the ability to set up the system with a web-based page, soon. Why not?
Now about the Deco app. The Deco app menu system is laid out nicely, all the settings are easy to find and navigate. I think Tp-Link did a nice job with the Deco app.
Below are the system requirements for your Android or iOS device:
Android 4.3 or later
iOS 8.0 or later
Bluetooth 4.0 or later
And of course, there are a set of parental controls for those of you with kids, which are easily setup within the Deco app. You are able to restrict websites based on age and content ratings, as well as by categories. And if you do not want a child spending too much time online, you will be able to set time limits for their devices that connect to the internet. There are several more settings as well, but that should give you a basic idea of the Parental controls.
The Deco M5 whole-home Wi-Fi system is powered by a quad-core processor, is a dual-band AC1300 system capable of throughput speeds of 400 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band, and it supports MU-MIMO. It also automatically optimizes Wi-Fi connections for each of your devices. According to the specifications, each Deco unit covers 1,500 to 1,800 square feet. When using all 3 included Deco units, the range expands up to 4,500 square feet. That’s fantastic wireless coverage! I live in a smallish 4 bedroom home with a large yard, and the Deco M5 system provides excellent coverage in and around my home. I am getting nearly the same Speed Test results using the Deco M5 system, as I do when connected to my main AC router. And so far, I haven’t experienced a single issue while streaming HD content on multiple devices at once. Everything has played nicely. I haven’t had a chance to test out online gaming with the Deco system yet, but I feel confident it will handle the job very well, as the wireless coverage has been strong and reliable for everything else.
And for those devices that require an Ethernet cable to connect to your network, no need to worry, each Deco unit has 2 Gigabit ports to connect them to. So not only can you connect devices wirelessly, but with an Ethernet cable as well. I am happy to see Tp-link include these Gigabit ports, as there are older devices that do not have wireless capability.
Also, If you have a very large home or office, and wish to expand the system for even greater coverage, you can add up to seven more Deco units to the initial three. Up to 10 Deco units can be used on the same network.
Don’t let their small size fool you, there is some serious technology packed inside the Deco M5 Wi-Fi system. And you do not have to be a computer wiz to set it up. It’s super easy to get it set up and running, and once setup, provides excellent wireless coverage. And having the 3-year built-in antivirus and malware protection, ensures that all of your connected devices are protected on the network.
The build quality of the Deco units is solid. And I do like how they look. They should blend into any home or office setting nicely. They are also small and won’t take up much space, wherever you decide to place them. Just make sure to place them out in the open, as each Deco unit has vent-holes located on the bottom for heat dissipation. You don’t want to place them inside of an enclosure, or anywhere that will trap heat.
The Deco M5 system has a lot to like about it, but unfortunately, it’s not cheap. Currently set at $300 US dollars, this is an expensive system.
I wish you the best in setting up your network!