First Look: Deco M5 Whole-Home Mesh Wi-Fi System by TP-Link

Mesh networking? High security for your home? Fast WiFi with good coverage? That’s what’s on offer from the TP-Link Deco M5. The M5 system consists of three M5 devices (there’s also a single device version available). You scatter these around your home and they provide WiFi access throughout.

Furthermore, they provide Trend Micro HomeCare security, with the first three years subscription included in the price (this is valued at $360).

Each Deco M5 device is a small, white disc, only 120mm in diameter (the size of the CD) and 38mm tall. They all employ Mesh Network protocols. That means that your WiFi devices can connect to all three, and all three communicate wirelessly with each other as well. So your WiFi “traffic” can if necessary pass from M5 to M5 to M5 by the most efficient route to get to the Internet modem, using TP-Link’s “Adaptive Routing Technology” (ART).

TP Link Deco M5 2

It all looks like one single access point to your devices, but as you wander around your home, your device will jump from connection to connection to provide the best performance. The three pack system covers 4500 square feet; that is a 45 square home, or a 420 square metre home. (If that means nothing to you, that’s a big, big home. A small three bedroom home is around 11 squares. A good sized home is in the low 20s.)

Each has up to date WiFi support including 802.11ac, up to 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band. Each unit has four antennae to enable high throughput, and beam forming for fast and reliable communications. Each also has a USB Type-C port – how up to date is that! – and two gigabit Ethernet ports. Gigabit Ethernet is up to ten times faster than standard Ethernet. With those ports, if a Deco M5 is near your gear, you can plug in and reduce demands on the wireless bands.

Just as important as high local performance is security. That’s where HomeCare comes in. Provided by network security company Trend Micro, it continually monitors traffic and blocks viruses and malware from entering your home at the point of access. It also blocks malicious websites, promising to catch new ones within fifteen minutes of them going live.

TP Link Deco M5 3

The Deco M5 system keeps itself automatically up to date with all the data needed for security.

The whole system can be controlled via app. You can set Internet access times. Provide guest access with suitable limits. See what devices are connected to your network … you know, just in case someone has snuck something in there. And there are of course parental controls.

Finally, TP-Link says that the Deco M5 is the ideal device to take with you when you’re travelling. As you may know, most hotels these days have WiFi for guests, although you might have to pay. Sometimes it can be a bit flaky, and security is always a concern. Take a Deco M5 with you and plug it into the Ethernet socket instead. You can connect several of your devices to it via WiFi and have confidence in their safety.

Pricing is remarkably reasonable. The standard three pack of the TP-Link Deco M5 Whole Home Wi-Fi System is $399. A single unit is $179.