Deco M5 Review

TP-LINK Deco M5 is a mid-range wireless mesh system from TP-LINK. It provides wide wireless coverage for houses like double storey or bigger.

It is very easy to setup as it can be configured within TP-Link Deco App.

It is one of the popular, if not, the most popular mesh Wi-Fi system in the market currently.

In contrast to its competitors, it actually comes in the higher specification – AC1300 – instead of AC1200 which is what most mesh WiFi systems that are currently offering.

Ever since we carried this product, we’ve sold a couple of hundreds of them.

Today we will be doing an in-depth review of why Deco M5 is so popular as a mesh WiFi system among the end-users.

Mesh WiFi Designed To Maximize WiFi Coverage

If you are looking for super high-end performance routers such as TP-LINK C5400 or TP-LINK C5400X that comes with advanced features, then Deco M5 isn’t for you.

However, if you’re are looking to solve your coverage issue, then getting a Mesh Wi-Fi system would most likely solve your issue.

Deco M5 can provide coverage up to 5,500 sq. ft, in layman’s term, it is capable of supporting up to a three-story house with no issue.

In any case, where you want to extend your Wi-Fi coverage, you can always add on additional units for better coverage.

Deco M5 WiFi Coverage

As Deco M5 was designed to connect up to 100 devices while maximizing coverage, you will be able to connect all your smart devices such as Smart Switches, Smart TVs, Smart Lightbulbs and many more.

It is also compatible with IFTTT and Amazon Alexa which you can use to configure your smart devices.

In a direct comparison to a router and Wi-Fi extender combo, using mesh wifi system actually provides you a faster and stable connection throughout your house.

Compatible with UNIFI, Maxis & TIME Fibre

TP-LINK Deco M5 is compatible with UNIFI, TIME Fibre & Maxis Fibre.

It also supports HyppTV where you can enable the IPTV function within the TP-LINK Deco App.

While you are setting up your Deco M5, make sure to tick VLAN and select UNIFI profile in the app.

For Maxis and ASTRO VOIP, you will need to setup Deco M5 as Access Point to use them.

Suitable for Big Houses And 500Mbps Plan

Deco M5 is a good fit if you are staying in a bigger house like double-story house as it was designed to solve Wi-Fi coverage issue.

With that being said, you can also use it on a single-story house with a 2 Units of Deco M5.

It’s just that you will have wider options to choose from as upgrading router may be an alternative choice.

We recommend using Deco M5 especially if you are on a UNIFI 500Mbps plan as it comes with AC1300 specifications.

Unboxing Deco M5 – What’s Inside

Deco M5 3 Packs

Here is what you’ll get in the box:

  • Quick Installation Guide
  • 1 RG45 Ethernet Cable
  • 3 UK Pin Power Plug
  • 3 Units of Deco M5

Key Specifications & Benefits of Deco M5

Deco M5 comes with a Quad-Core CPU. It is a dual-band AC1300 model that is capable of supporting 400Mbps on 2.4Ghz and 867Mbps on 5Ghz.

As this is a mesh wifi system, you won’t need to manually switch between the bands as Deco M5 will automatically connect you to the best band based on your distance.

TP-LINK actually did a well-thought user design on two key areas:

Compact Yet Functional Design

Deco M5 Compact Size

Each of these nodes come with 4 internal antennas. It is a very stylish looking compact device that can fit within your palm.

The height is roughly one-inch and we have to say it is a well-thought design.

As it is very compact in nature, you can pretty much place this anywhere as it isn’t as bulky as other brands in the market.

USE GIGABIT PORTS INTERCHANGEABLY

Deco M5 Gigabit Port

Unless you have some basic understanding on Networking ports (WAN port & LAN port), chances are you will plug your ethernet cable into the wrong port.

With the Deco M5, you can actually use both Gigabit ports interchangeably without worries.

Most end-users are expecting a plug and play design (with very little room for error), and this user design really helps in that.

TP-LINK HomeCare – Advanced Protection & Network Control

TP-Link HomeCare

TP-LINK Deco M5 comes with TP-LINK HomeCare which offers extensive parental control, quality of service and network-level protection.

Instead of the traditional anti-virus which scans and cleanse the device, TP-LINK HomeCare acts as a home network security filter that protects all devices on your network.

You will also be able to set Internet filters to prevent your kids from browsing certain sites, even their connectivity time.

Read more about it here.

Seamless INTERNET ROAMING

Gone are the days where you need to be stuck in one place for the best Facetime calls.

With Deco M5, you can experience a seamless internet roaming.

By seamless roaming, we mean that you will be able to do live call through Whatsapp, Wechat, Skype or Facetime while moving between floors and rooms without being restricted to a place with “best Wi-Fi signal” or “best Internet”.

With TP-LINK adaptive routing technology, you will always be connected to the nearest Deco M5 for the best speed and coverage, and with that, you can move around without worrying if your call quality would drop.

Say goodbye to manually change SSIDs when you are moving around!

How To Install & Setup Deco M5

Before we proceed with the installation, make sure you download the TP-LINK Deco App.

You can either scan it on your guide or just head to Play Store of Apple Store to download.

You will also need your PPPoE user ID and password to configure the device.

Download TP LINK Deco App

Next, setup your Deco M5 by connecting the ethernet cable to your modem, once your device is powered up you can proceed with the configuration.

Connect Your Deco M5 To Router or Modem

It’s a pretty straightforward process with the TP-LINK Deco App, you will need to:

  • Select the Deco M5 within the app
  • Select your Internet Connection Type
    • For router mode, make sure to select PPPoE
    • For access point mode, make sure to select Dynamic IP

Deco M5 Select UNIFI & VLAN 5000

To setup for UNIFI, make sure you tick VLAN and select the UNIFI profile.

Deco M5 LED Status

TP-Link really does a good job with the in-app instructions. It even came with FAQs to help you diagnose a situation.

They included these LED statuses to explain and manage your expectations, you can even refer to their placement guide on where to place your nodes.

Settings within TP-LINK Deco App

Amazon & IFTTT Settings

Deco M5 - IFTTT and Alexa

Once you’ve configured your Deco M5 properly, make sure to take some time to browse through the extensive features within the app.

If you own multiple smart devices, make sure to check out the IFTTT setting to set up the commands.

WiFi Settings

Deco M5 - Shake & Share

You can turn on and off your 2.4Ghz, 5Ghz and guest network on this interface.

Both 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz are enabled by default in this interface.

One cool thing about this is the shake and share – instead of the typical scenario where you spell out the password, you can shake and share them to your guests directly. How convenient is that?

Parental Control

TP-Link HomeCare Parental Control

What’s really cool about this is TP-Link allows you to customize based on profile.

In other words, you can create different profiles for different family members ranging from child to adult.

With that, you can basically filter out websites that aren’t healthy or even beneficial to them.

Not only that, but you can also set up time limits based on weekday and weekend.

You can even block a person’s Internet access or bedtime, provided you want them to sleep earlier.

I guess that will solve most parenting headaches, then.

Anti-Virus

TP-Link HomeCare Antivirus

Unlike most antivirus works on the device level, TP-Link HomeCare actually protects you on a network level.

Powered by Trend Micro, Deco M5 offers a three years complimentary subscription (yes with no additional fees), upon expiry you will still be able to use those features, except that the anti-virus database is no longer updated.

With this anti-virus, it protects you from hackers, intruders, and ransomware, it can also detect the infected device.

For example, if your laptop were infected and you didn’t aware, you weren’t aware of it, TP-Link HomeCare will protect the network immediately when the laptop gets connected.

Quality of Service

TP-Link HomeCare Quality of Service

This section basically allows you to set up priority based on your activities preference.

For example, if there are a lot of gamers within the house, then you may set it to priority gaming. Likewise, the same goes for streaming, surfing, and chatting.

To take it a step further, you can even customize your QoS based on your activity preference level down to the level of prioritizing device.

WiFi Speed & Performance

We are running tests on a UNIFI 300Mbps Plan which is slightly underpowered for Deco M5.

All speed test will be done using OOKLA’s speedtest.net app on a Samsung Note 9.

We will be testing in 3 separate locations:

  • 1st floor – where our main Deco M5 is connected
  • 2nd floor – master bedroom
  • 2nd floor – mini living hall

First Test Result [with 2.4Ghz on]

LocationFloorDownload SpeedUpload Speed
Living Hall1st Floor291Mbps53Mbps
Master Bedroom2nd Floor89Mbps52Mbps
Mini Living Hall2nd Floor106Mbps53Mbps

[Update – after we published the video, one member in our Facebook group said that turning off 2.4Ghz in the Deco will result in better WiFi speed, so we decided to give it a try]

Second Test Result [WITH 2.4Ghz off]

With the location unchanged, here is the speed that we are getting:

LocationFloorDownload SpeedUpload Speed
Living Hall1st Floor301Mbps53Mbps
Master Bedroom2nd Floor285Mbps52Mbps
Mini Living Hall2nd Floor250Mbps53Mbps

We are getting maximum Wi-Fi coverage in a double-story house with no Wi-Fi dead zones.

Remember the seamless internet that we’re talking about? We actually did a live Skype call by placing a laptop on the first floor, while one of us holding the Note 9 walking between floors and rooms.

With this fast roaming enabled, TP-LINK will automatically route me to the nearest Deco M5 to maintain optimal speed especially when I’m moving around.

Conclusion: Deco M5 Will Solve Your WiFi Coverage Issue

TP-LINK Deco M5 is an affordable mid-range wireless mesh system that solves your wifi coverage issue.

If you are staying in bigger houses and facing WiFi coverage issues, then you need to consider Deco M5.

It comes with value-packed features like TP-LINK HomeCare which protects your network and allows you to do customization such as parental control or Quality of Service.

In short, Deco M5 provides a seamless Internet experience at an affordable cost.

If you are subscribed to 800Mbps plan, then you can have a look at Deco M9 Plus here.

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