Solid, Fast, Basic WiFi6 Mesh Networking with TP-Link Deco X60

Solid, Fast, Basic WiFi6 Mesh Networking with TP-Link Deco X60

The TP-Link Deco X60 wifi system is part of a new generation of whole-home mesh wifi systems that support WiFi6 (802.11ax). The combination of mesh networking features (Namely 802.11K, V, R), combined with 802.11ax featuring advanced multiple user and modulation technologies shjould make this system both faster and more resilient than previous generations. I put it to the test in my office and home for a few weeks, connecting 35+ devices at the same time, running thee mesh nodes, and connecting to an Xfinity 500Mb DOCSIS 3.1 internet connection.

Armed with Wi-Fi 6 technology, Deco whole home mesh Wi-Fi is designed to deliver a huge boost in coverage, speed, and total capacity. Get on the latest mesh Wi-Fi to enjoy the future network that loads faster and connects more.

First Impressions

In the box, three minimal, simple, uniform looking base units. This system can use any of the base units as the master node, and the others become mesh points. They’re all the same, so it doesn’t matter which is which. Also in the box are barrel connector power adapters, and a basic ethernet cable – that’s it, nice and simple.

Setting the system up was simple enough – plug in each access point and place in your home as recommended. The main base station gets connected to the cable modem. Done. To get setup, download the mobile app and walk through their setup flow – easy enough, although I was dissapointed by a lack of a fully featured web/browser based admin. The mobile app must be used to setup the system.

Of note with my system, I also have the LAN port of the base station connected to a four port gigabit ethernet switch, to which I have hardwired my Roku TV, Sonos Beam soundbar, and smart home hub. The smart home hub requires a wired connection. The soundbar and TV both do not and can work on wifi. However, there are a number of stability advantages with wired connections. Also, when wiring up one sonos component, it puts the rest of the sonos components on a segregated sonos wifi network, improving performance.

Field Test

Setup was a breeze – and although some of the more advanced features are a pain to access via only a mobile app, I was able to get everything setup in about 30 minutes. Some of the features I’m using are a static path to my ethernet switch, guest network, custom ipv4 and ipv6 dns servers.

The mesh hubs were easy to add on, and automatically configured themselves once I added them in the app.

I named the network with the same name as my previous network, so all of my devices automatically reconnected to the new mesh network – and although it’s new next-gen hardware, everything seemed to connect smoothly – and quickly!

Initial tests point to this being a fast system – even thought it’s “only” a dual band mesh system, with no dedicated wireless backhaul. (Although it will work with a wired backhaul – nice.) Although the system uses some of the overall network throughput for mesh backhaul (a problem solved with tri band systems which can have a dedicated backhaul channel), in actual usage, the speed was plenty fast. There was no percieved slow down, talking on voip and videochat calls was perfectly fine, and downloads were fast. Streaming on my laptop and roku tv was uninterupted, and really, the system works well enough to simply blend into the background – it just works.

The Good

  • Simple, unobtrusive design.
  • Easy to setup with app.
  • All hardware is the same – use any hub as the main hub, and any other hubs as mesh station.
  • 2 Auto sensing gig ethernet ports on each unit – allowing for wired connections direct from a mesh station.
  • Ability to turn of LED light on units.
  • Low profile – easily slides in short electronics shelf.
  • Includes guest networking with smart connect

The Bad

  • The base station only has two gig ethernet ports – and one is used for the WAN connection. To wire in a number of devices, I had to connect the 2nd ethernet port to a gig ethernet switch, and then wire up devices. Would love to see this specced with at least 4, if not 8 gig ethernet ports for lan.
  • Can only be setup with a smartphone app? That’s rediculous. Sure it’s easy for non power users, and I can certianly appreciate that utility. But for power users who have some more custom setup, it needs a robust browser admin interface.
  • Users are forced to create an account with email address in order to setup the system. If I don’t care about managing my network “in the cloud”, this is wholly unnecessary. I really don’t want to have to create an account to setup my network.. and although there are no specific issues at the moment that I know about, I’m somehow uneasy having my router registered to my personal email address. Does that make it easier for hackers to find my network? Does forced “cloud admin” capabilities of my network open more attack surfaces on my network?
  • No USB ports for connecting printers, hard drives, etc. I love being able to connect a hard drive to my network and running a media server, etc. How about it?

Speed Tests

As we continue to test systems, we’ll update this speed test list. Of note, these are speed tests contolloing for as many factors as possible, but some are difficuly to really control – such as the actual speed of my internet connection, which fluctuates frequently. I made sure to include a LAN file transfer test, to more specifically compare LAN network speed.

Mesh Networking Speed Tests Results

Features

  • Incredible Wi-Fi 6 Speed & Coverage: The three base station seem to cover my home, backyard, and front yard just fine. I can keep my internet connection all the way out to the street.
  • Connect up to 150 Devices: Testing with 35+ devices works just fine, no issues at all.
  • Boosted Seamless Coverage: Yep, my mobile devices seem to roam seamlessly just fine.
  • Ultra-Low Latency: This is the most notable improvement over the old network gear – latency for videochat is vastly reduced.
  • One Unified Network: Yep, one ssid, multiple access points – thank you mesh networking.
  • Total Security: Works so far, and WPA3 seems backwards compatible just fine.
  • Setup Made Easier Than Ever: Yep, the app is easy, but at the expense of hidden away features and power user features.
  • Universally Compatible: Seems to work for all my devices so far, and my Xfinity internet connection.

Should You Buy It?

If you’re looking for a whole-home mesh network system that is super easy to setup and will give you a reliable, fast internet connection, but don’t require any additional features or lots of hardwired connections, and don’t want to tweak lots of settings, then yep, go for it. If you’re looking for the highest throughput and specs on the market, and are a power user who wants to use lots of advanced features and fiddle around with all the settings, then this is not for you – it’s just too basic.

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: TP-Link Deco X60
  • Who we think it might be for: Large connected homeowner who wants a basic, reliable, soild performance wifi network throughout the entire house but doesn’t need lots of extra features.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Add an advanced user web admin, don’t force user registration for setup.
  • What spoke to me the most about this: It’s compact and easy, and is so simple and reliable it fades into the background.

Specs

HARDWARE FEATURES
ProcessorQualcomm 1 GHz Quad-core CPU
Interface2 LAN/WAN Gigabit Ethernet Ports
Button1 Reset button on the underside
DimensionsΦ4.33 in. × 4.49 in. (Φ110 mm × 114 mm)
Antenna4 internal antennas per Deco unit
WIRELESS FEATURES
Wireless StandardsIEEE 802.11 ax/ac/n/a 5 GHz, IEEE 802.11 ax/n/g/b 2.4 GHz
Frequency5 GHz
2.4 GHz
Signal Rate2402 Mbps (5 GHz)
574 Mbps (2.4 GHz)
Transmit PowerFCC: <30 dBm
CE: <20 dBm (2.4 GHz)
<23 dBm (5 GHz)
Wireless SecurityWPA-PSK
WPA2-PSK
WPA3
Advanced Functions● Router/ Access Point Mode
● Optional Ethernet Backhaul
● TP-Link Mesh Technology:
MU-MIMO
OFDMA
1024-QAM
BSS Color
Auto Path Selection
Self-Healing
AP Steering
Band Steering
Beamforming
SOFTWARE FEATURES
Quality of ServiceWMM
IPv6Support
WAN TypeDynamic IP/Static IP/PPPoE
ManagementLocal Management, Remote Management
DHCPServer, Client
Port ForwardingSupport
Access ControlBlacklist
Firewall SecuritySPI Firewall
ProtocolsSupports IPv4 and IPv6
Advanced FeaturesHomecare:
Antivirus
Parental Controls
Quality of Service
Advanced FunctionsSpeedtest
Monthly Usage Reports
Auto FW Update
Expand Coverage by Adding more decos
Guest Network2.4 GHz guest network * 1
5 GHz guest network * 1
BeamformingSupport
APPEasy setup by Deco App
OTHERS
CertificationCE, FCC, IC, NCC, BSMI, IDA, RCM, JPA, JRF, VCCI, KC, RoHS
Package Contents● Deco X60 (3-pack):
3 Deco X60 units
1 RJ45 Ethernet Cable
3 Power Adapters
1 Quick Installation Guide
Smartphone/Tablet RequirementsiOS 9.0 or later
Android 4.4 or later
EnvironmentOperating Temperature: 0℃~40℃ (32℉~104℉)
Storage Temperature: -40℃~70℃ (-40℉~158℉)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing
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