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10 Reasons to Avoid the TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: An Expert‘s Perspective

Are you considering upgrading your home network with a Wi-Fi 6 mesh system? While the TP-Link Deco might seem like an attractive option due to its affordable price point, there are several compelling reasons why you should think twice before investing in this particular system. As a computer expert passionate about digital technology, I‘ve thoroughly researched and tested the TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 mesh system, and I‘m here to share my findings with you.

In this article, we‘ll dive deep into the world of Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems, exploring what they are, how they work, and why the TP-Link Deco falls short in several crucial areas. By the end of this piece, you‘ll have a clear understanding of the drawbacks and limitations of the TP-Link Deco, as well as some alternative mesh systems that might better suit your needs.

What is a Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System?

Before we delve into the specifics of the TP-Link Deco, let‘s take a moment to understand what a Wi-Fi 6 mesh system is and how it differs from traditional router setups.

A Wi-Fi 6 mesh system is a network of interconnected devices that work together to provide seamless wireless coverage throughout your home. Unlike a single router that might struggle to deliver a strong signal to every corner of your house, a mesh system consists of a main router and several satellite nodes strategically placed to eliminate dead zones and ensure consistent connectivity.

Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, is the latest wireless standard that offers faster speeds, lower latency, and improved efficiency compared to its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). By combining the benefits of a mesh system with the advanced capabilities of Wi-Fi 6, you can expect a more reliable, high-performance home network that can handle the demands of modern digital life.

The TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: An Overview

Now that we have a basic understanding of Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems, let‘s take a closer look at the TP-Link Deco. This mesh system consists of a main router and two satellite nodes, promising to deliver fast and reliable Wi-Fi coverage for homes up to 5,500 square feet.

The TP-Link Deco boasts several features that might catch your eye, such as:

  • Easy setup and management through the Deco mobile app
  • Support for up to 150 connected devices
  • Advanced security features like WPA3 encryption and built-in antivirus protection
  • Voice control compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

On paper, the TP-Link Deco seems like a solid choice for anyone looking to upgrade their home network without breaking the bank. However, as we‘ll discuss in the following sections, there are several significant drawbacks that make this mesh system a less-than-ideal option for most users.

10 Reasons to Avoid the TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System

1. Subpar Throughput and Performance

One of the most significant issues with the TP-Link Deco is its underwhelming throughput and performance. Despite claiming to support Wi-Fi 6 speeds, the Deco consistently underperforms compared to other mesh systems in its class. In real-world tests, the Deco struggles to maintain fast and stable connections, especially when multiple devices are connected and competing for bandwidth.

According to a comprehensive review by SmallNetBuilder, the TP-Link Deco X60 (a higher-end model than the entry-level Deco X20) ranked 9th out of 11 Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems tested for overall performance. The review found that the Deco X60 delivered subpar throughput on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, with speeds dropping significantly as the distance from the router increased.

2. Lack of Dedicated Backhauling

Another major drawback of the TP-Link Deco is its lack of dedicated backhauling. In a mesh system, backhauling refers to the method by which the main router communicates with the satellite nodes. A dedicated backhaul channel, typically a third radio band (e.g., a second 5 GHz band), ensures that the inter-node communication doesn‘t interfere with the client-facing network, resulting in faster speeds and more stable connections.

Unfortunately, the TP-Link Deco relies on shared backhauling, meaning that the same radio bands are used for both client devices and inter-node communication. This can lead to congestion, slower speeds, and increased latency, especially during peak usage hours when multiple devices are competing for bandwidth.

3. Limited Connectivity Options

The TP-Link Deco also falls short when it comes to connectivity options. Each unit in the Deco system features just two Gigabit Ethernet ports, which may not be sufficient for users with multiple wired devices like gaming consoles, smart TVs, or desktop computers. In comparison, other mesh systems like the ASUS ZenWiFi XT8 offer three or more Ethernet ports per node, providing greater flexibility for wired connections.

Moreover, the Deco lacks any USB ports, which means you can‘t connect external storage devices or printers directly to the mesh system. This limitation can be frustrating for users who rely on network-attached storage or need to share a printer among multiple devices.

4. No Multi-Gig Ethernet Support

As internet speeds continue to increase, many users are looking for future-proof networking solutions that can handle multi-gig connections. Unfortunately, the TP-Link Deco‘s Ethernet ports are limited to Gigabit speeds, which may not be sufficient for users with high-speed internet plans or those who require fast local network transfers.

In contrast, some competing mesh systems, such as the Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6 (RBK852), offer multi-gig Ethernet ports that can support speeds up to 2.5 Gbps. While multi-gig support may not be a necessity for everyone, its absence in the TP-Link Deco can be a deal-breaker for users with demanding network needs.

5. Poor Multiband Coverage

One of the key benefits of a mesh system is its ability to provide seamless coverage throughout your home, eliminating dead zones and ensuring a stable connection in every room. However, the TP-Link Deco struggles to deliver consistent multiband coverage, particularly when it comes to the 5 GHz band.

In various tests and user reports, the Deco‘s 5 GHz performance has been found to degrade rapidly as the distance from the router increases. This means that devices connected to the 5 GHz band may experience slower speeds and weaker signals in rooms far away from the main router or satellite nodes. As the 5 GHz band is crucial for delivering high-speed, low-latency connections, this limitation can be a significant drawback for users who rely on fast and stable Wi-Fi throughout their homes.

6. Limited Parental Controls and QoS Settings

While the TP-Link Deco offers some basic parental control features and Quality of Service (QoS) settings, they are relatively limited compared to other mesh systems in its class. The parental controls, for example, only allow you to create schedules and block specific websites, but lack more advanced features like content filtering, app blocking, or usage reporting.

Similarly, the Deco‘s QoS settings are fairly rudimentary, allowing you to prioritize certain devices or applications but lacking the granular control found in other mesh systems. For users who require more robust parental controls or advanced network management features, the TP-Link Deco may not be the best choice.

7. Inconsistent Firmware Updates and Support

Firmware updates are essential for ensuring that your mesh system remains secure, stable, and compatible with the latest devices and technologies. Unfortunately, TP-Link has a mixed track record when it comes to providing consistent and timely firmware updates for the Deco mesh system.

Some users have reported issues with buggy firmware releases that have caused connection drops, reduced speeds, or even bricked their devices. Additionally, TP-Link‘s customer support has been criticized for being slow to respond and not always providing effective solutions to firmware-related problems.

8. Limited Expandability and Compatibility

While the TP-Link Deco is designed to be a scalable mesh system, its expandability is somewhat limited compared to other options on the market. The Deco lineup consists of several different models, each with its own specifications and features, which can make it difficult to mix and match nodes to create a customized mesh network.

Moreover, the Deco system is not compatible with TP-Link‘s other router or extender products, meaning that you can‘t integrate existing TP-Link devices into your Deco mesh network. This lack of compatibility can be a drawback for users who have already invested in TP-Link networking gear and want to upgrade to a mesh system without replacing all their existing equipment.

9. Lack of Advanced Features and Customization Options

For users who demand more control over their home networks, the TP-Link Deco may feel somewhat limiting. The Deco‘s firmware and mobile app offer a streamlined and user-friendly interface, but they lack many of the advanced features and customization options found in other mesh systems.

For example, the Deco doesn‘t support features like VPN server hosting, detailed network traffic monitoring, or advanced DNS settings. While these features may not be necessary for every user, their absence can be a drawback for those who require more granular control over their network settings.

10. Better Alternatives Available

Perhaps the most compelling reason to avoid the TP-Link Deco is the fact that there are simply better alternatives available on the market. Mesh systems like the ASUS ZenWiFi XT8, Netgear Orbi, and eero Pro 6 offer superior performance, more advanced features, and better overall value for money.

These alternative mesh systems typically deliver faster speeds, more consistent coverage, and better reliability than the TP-Link Deco. They also tend to offer more advanced features like tri-band designs with dedicated backhaul channels, multi-gig Ethernet ports, and more robust parental controls and QoS settings.


While the TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi 6 mesh system may be an attractive option for budget-conscious shoppers, its numerous drawbacks and limitations make it a less-than-ideal choice for most users. From subpar performance and limited connectivity options to inconsistent firmware updates and a lack of advanced features, the Deco falls short in several key areas.

If you‘re in the market for a Wi-Fi 6 mesh system, I recommend considering alternative options like the ASUS ZenWiFi XT8, Netgear Orbi, or eero Pro 6. These systems offer superior performance, more advanced features, and better overall value, making them a more worthwhile investment for your home network.

Ultimately, the choice of a mesh system will depend on your specific needs, budget, and preferences. By understanding the drawbacks of the TP-Link Deco and exploring alternative options, you can make an informed decision and choose a mesh system that delivers the fast, reliable, and secure home network you deserve.