TP-Link Deco M5 Review (Page 1 of 5)

By: Aaron Lai
November 10, 2017

Over the past month or two, I have been playing table football, or foosball, during my breaks in the office. While I never considered myself to be terrible, when I got shutout repeatedly by several people, I knew I also had lots to learn. For one, it took me a while to get used to this table, as I had become used to the cheaper, lighter bars. I also was accustomed to different rules, such as no scoring on first touch and no five bar scoring. I know you might be reading this as just a list of excuses, but I really was not used to this change. However, one thing I really struggled with is our table's three goaltender bar. My issue is the fact opponents can, whether intentionally or by accident, fire the ball to make it ricochet it of the side goaltenders and into the net. These edge goalies would end up backstabbing me quite a few times. If you take a look online, there is also no ruling to which layout is official and both number of goaltenders has been widely accepted. Thankfully, real life football does not have this issue, though own goals do happen from time to time. Today, we have the TP-Link Deco M5, which features not one, but three router units. This mesh router system is designed for all three of the units to work in tandem to deliver wireless and wired networking over a more spread out area without any issues we might see in the traditional tandem of a router and extenders. Will the TP-Link Deco M5 be a decent set of three to work well together, or will they just end up backstabbing each other in performance? This question and more will be answered in today's review!

Today's review unit of the TP-Link Deco M5 arrived from TP-Link's offices in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Shipping to us via UPS and their Standard service, this parcel arrived to our APH Networks location here in Calgary, Alberta, in average condition. As this was packaged in a plastic shipping bag, you will not be able to tell if there are any dents on the box until you actually open it up. However, the parcel at least has zero holes or scratches to speak about, so at least we have good news so far. I grabbed a pair of scissors and opened up this white plastic envelope.

Inside, we have just the TP-Link Deco M5. As you can see, there is a pretty major dent in the corner, which probably showed this unit was dropped or mishandled somewhere along the shipment process. Thankfully, the Deco M5 is packaged quite well, as you will see soon enough. Otherwise, the box shows off a turquoise and white color scheme, with enough contrast to show off the mesh routers in the middle. The Deco name is at the top with a slogan of "Paint Your Home in Wi-Fi". This would explain the more blotchy background rather than a solid single color. Underneath the image of routers are some features, including Parental Controls, Built-In Antivirus, TP-Link ART, and an AC1300 specification. A TP-Link logo is also on the bottom right corner of the box. Around the box there are some more features and specifications, showing off the capabilities of the TP-Link Deco M5.

Before continuing on, we have grabbed the specifications from the manufacturer's website for your perusal:

- Quad-core CPU
- Wireless: 400 Mbps on 2.4 GHz + 867 Mbps on 5 GHz
- 4 internal antennas per Deco unit
- 2 Gigabit ports per Deco unit
- 1 USB Type-C port
- Compatible with IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6)
- Product dimensions (120 mm dia x 38 mm h)
- Bluetooth 4.2

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of specifications regarding the TP-Link Deco M5, but hopefully we will cover all the major points through our review. Otherwise, upon opening the box, you will be greeted with the three Deco M5 units. An AC adapter for each of the router nodes are included, though there is only one flat CAT5e Ethernet cable. A small box with some specifications and technical information is also included. Otherwise, I have to commend TP-Link on their unboxing experience, as it was a pretty neat white box to open up. I know routers can only be so interesting, so it is nice to see a bit of pizzazz here.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Configuration and User Interface
4. Performance Tests
5. Conclusion