TP-Link Home Wifi Mesh - Noob questions

Nomad18

New Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
2
Hi All,

I'm a bit of a Noob when it comes to IT hardware and is hoping to get a basic understanding of the differences between the TP-Link Home Mesh systems. Our house is about 400m^2 with solid brick walls. We're looking to cover the entire home with a wifi mesh system. We are 4 people in the house and internet is used for both work and personal (streaming and normal browsing etc). We have a 100mb down and 50mb up fibre line. My questions are:
  1. Do you use your normal fibre router (the one which came with my fibre installation) in a Mesh system or is one of the Mesh units the "main" router?
  2. The main differences I could find between systems are listed below. Can you explain what this means / recommend the best fit?
    1. Deco M9 Plus
      1. AC2200 Wifi speed
      2. 8 internal antennas
      3. Tri-Band wifi capacity
      4. 2× Gigabit Ports
    2. Deco M4
      1. AC1200 Wifi Speed
      2. 2 Internal antennas
      3. Dual-Band wifi capacity
      4. 2× Gigabit Ports
    3. Deco E4
      1. AC1200 Wifi Speed
      2. 2 Internal antennas
      3. Dual-Band wifi capacity
      4. 2× 10/100 Mbps Ports
Price differences between these units are quite substantial, so I'd like to know whether its worthwhile to go for the M9 or if not whether the M4 is significantly better than the E4.

Any feedback or suggestions would be much appreciated.
 

Tim_vb

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2008
Messages
866
I use E4's and they work great (easy 80Mbps) in a house with lots of thick brick walls. I'm not planning in going over 100Mbps in the next year or two. However its also important to use ethernet backhaul where possible to free up Wifi spectrum. I would think this becomes more important the faster and lower latency you want to go. Mesh Wifi is still wifi and can't magically cut through two double brick structural walls without any losses

also check out this thread Wifi mesh
 

Romito

Expert Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Messages
1,696
The M4 has gigabit Ethernet ports whereas the E4 has fast Ethernet (100Mbps) that will affect your speed should you upgrade to a faster connection than 100Mbps. If you have a NAS it will be limited to 100Mbps speeds as well and local file transfers and streaming from wired devices.

The M4 has dual band and the M9 has triband meaning it has a dedicated WI-FI backhaul and it doesn't clog your bandwidth for backhaul. For connections 300Mbps or more that would be ideal.

You mesh router connects to your main ISP modem and takes over as a router. You can either have the units wired via Ethernet for full internet speeds when over Wi-Fi or strategically position them wirelessly depending on your home layout and needs.

You will get better throughput with the M9 than the M4, but with you current speed it's negligible.
 

maxxis

Expert Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2007
Messages
1,370
Running the deco M5.
Mostly 2 bars of wifi unless i’m in the room where it is located.

My Mercusys wifi router gives 3 bars in the same locations.

Waste of R4500
 

WIRUlink

Active Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2016
Messages
33
Most have been answered, but here goes...

You can set up the TP-Link DECO APs as either "Access Point" mode to keep on using your existing router or on "Router" mode to replace your current router

E4 and M4 are very similar, but M4 has gigabit LAN ports.

The M5 has better 802.11ac WiFi for faster speed and better coverage.

With a 100Mbps fibre connection, it is advisable to use ethernet cables between the Deco's as wireless mesh repeating roughly halves your speed per hop.

The Deco M9 however has a 3rd wireless radio that is dedicated for the mesh uplink/backbone and do not need to be connected using an ethernet cable to get great speeds.

For a 400m2 home, you should get great coverage with about 4x DECO APs. We would recommend the M4 with ethernet wired backbone or M9 if you want 100Mbps with no wires.

You can mix different DECO models together in the same network.

Roaming between APs are seamless.
 

Romito

Expert Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Messages
1,696
You can also get the Deco S4 for R200 off (R2549) if buying for the first time at everyshop using code Welcome200 Deco S4
 

dlevine

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2008
Messages
866
I use the deco E4, they are magic and just work perfectly. No dead spots in house at all. I never ran cables, they connect wirelessly to each other....
 

deweyzeph

Executive Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2009
Messages
9,292
The Deco range of mesh access points are designed to replace your existing router. While you can use them just as access points connected to your existing router, a lot of the functionality, like parental controls, etc don't work unless the Deco is used as the router. Unless you have a really high-grade router like a Mikrotik or Ubiquiti Edgerouter, the Deco is almost certainly going to be a better router than the piece of crap you get for free from your ISP.

One more thing is that, if you can, try to connect the mesh units together with ethernet cable to get the most out of your system.
 

karnuffel

Expert Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2010
Messages
4,435
When buying, also look at what Amazon has to offer. I got 3 Deco X20s for much cheaper from them.
 

s0lar

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
2,136
The only downside is you have to use the app to set them up and register online for some reason.
Does anybody have clarity as to why you need to register online? Perhaps my tinfoil hat is extra shiny today, I can’t see any valid reason to do so.
 

Crumbl0x

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
877
Does anybody have clarity as to why you need to register online? Perhaps my tinfoil hat is extra shiny today, I can’t see any valid reason to do so.
You're correct, there isn't a good reason and it's just how TP-Link conducts business these days. At least with some of their other products like the MiFi routers you can bypass the need for an app and account all together by setting up one based in the EU as a chosen country, but not with these products.

They claim useful niceties for having a phoning home mesh like controlling / monitoring it from anywhere in the world and dead simple setup, but I would've far preferred if this was optional and not enforced.

For this reason alone, I unfortunately cannot recommend their mesh products if you're privacy conscious, as this is a glaring exploit ripe for abuse in numerous ways, and (while highly unlikely) smartphone-free users wouldn't even have the opportunity to set these things up in any basic capacity.

If it weren't for this, I'm actually really happy with the hardware and performance of the M4 I've setup for the elders, I can easily diagnose small issues from afar, got them for a really good price compared to the competition (which is sadly mostly imports with far higher prices) and at least it gets regular updates. For these reasons, I would've highly recommended them.
 

s0lar

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
2,136
You're correct, there isn't a good reason and it's just how TP-Link conducts business these days. At least with some of their other products like the MiFi routers you can bypass the need for an app and account all together by setting up one based in the EU as a chosen country, but not with these products.

They claim useful niceties for having a phoning home mesh like controlling / monitoring it from anywhere in the world and dead simple setup, but I would've far preferred if this was optional and not enforced.

For this reason alone, I unfortunately cannot recommend their mesh products if you're privacy conscious, as this is a glaring exploit ripe for abuse in numerous ways, and (while highly unlikely) smartphone-free users wouldn't even have the opportunity to set these things up in any basic capacity.

If it weren't for this, I'm actually really happy with the hardware and performance of the M4 I've setup for the elders, I can easily diagnose small issues from afar, got them for a really good price compared to the competition (which is sadly mostly imports with far higher prices) and at least it gets regular updates. For these reasons, I would've highly recommended them.
Sweet, I am in the market for a mesh setup having renovated a separate office from the main house for WFH. Looks like I am going to have to fork out a bit more for a more privacy focused mesh was about to pull the trigger on one of the top-link decos this weekend.
 
Top