TP-Link Deco M5 Review: The Affordable Mesh Wi-Fi Solution

Introduced 5 years ago, the TP-Link Deco M5 remains a top contender in the budget-friendly mesh Wi-Fi market. Despite its dual-band Wi-Fi 5 standard and data transfer speed of 1300 Mbps, the Deco M5 offers whole-home coverage of up to 5500 sq. ft for over 100 devices.

In this detailed review, we’ll explore whether this affordable mesh system delivers the performance and value it promises or whether you should consider alternative options in a similar and somewhat costly price range.

Quick Verdict – Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ (4.6 out of 5)

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly mesh Wi-Fi system that delivers consistent performance and coverage, the TP-Link Deco M5 is definitely worth considering.

The setup process is a breeze, and the user-friendly Deco app makes managing your network a simple task. The included HomeCare features, powered by Trend Micro, offer excellent security and parental control options without any additional subscription fees.

Although advanced users may find the lack of WiFi6 or 6E support and configuration options somewhat limited compared to traditional WiFi routers, the Deco M5 is an ideal solution for most households seeking an affordable and effective way to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones.

What We Liked:

  • Extensive Coverage: Effectively covers up to 5,500 sq. ft., eliminating WiFi dead zones.
  • Unified Network: Provides a single network name and password for seamless roaming.
  • Antivirus & Parental Controls: Comes with a lifetime subscription to TP-Link HomeCare, enhancing security and control.
  • Easy Setup: The TP-Link Deco app guides users through a straightforward setup process.
  • Stable Performance: Adaptive routing technology ensures a fast and stable connection for over 100 devices.
  • Compatible with all major ISPs and smart home platforms

What Can be Improved:

  • No Wi-Fi 6 support on the M5 model
  • Some advanced features require a TP-Link cloud account
  • Limited configuration options compared to traditional routers
  • Lack of Detailed Control: Some users might find the app-based management lacks advanced customization options.
  • Dual-Band Limitation: Compared to tri-band systems, it might offer slower speeds when many devices are connected.
  • Occasional drop-offs through walls.
Last updated on April 3, 2024 1:33 pm

The Deco M5 is a dual-band Wi-Fi router that offers impressive specs for its price point:

  • AC1300 speeds: Up to 400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band
  • Coverage: Up to 5,500 square feet with a 3-pack
  • Device support: Handles up to 100 devices simultaneously
  • MU-MIMO technology for efficient performance
  • Quad-core CPU and 512MB RAM for smooth operation
  • 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports per unit for wired connections
  • HomeCare features: Antivirus, Parental Controls, and QoS

These specs make the Deco M5 well-equipped to handle the demands of the modern smart home, providing fast and reliable Wi-Fi to all your devices.

Unboxing – What’s Inside?

Upon opening the box, you’re greeted with three stylishly designed Deco M5 units, each compact enough to blend into any home decor. The package also includes:

  • Ethernet Cable: For connecting your primary Deco unit to your ISP-provided modem or modem router combo device.
  • Power Adapters: Three adapters, one for each unit.
  • Documentation/User Guide: A quick start guide that walks you through the setup process.

Features – What We Found

Setup & Ease of Use

One of the standout features of the TP-Link Deco M5 is its incredibly simple setup process. Using the intuitive Deco mobile app (available for iOS and Android), you can have your new mesh network up and running in minutes:

  1. Download the app and create a TP-Link cloud account
  2. Follow the step-by-step configuration walkthrough
  3. Place your Deco units throughout your home
  4. Enjoy seamless, whole-home Wi-Fi coverage

The app also allows for easy remote management of your network from anywhere, and the Deco M5 integrates with Amazon Alexa for convenient voice control.

Mesh Network Technology

Mesh networks, like the TP-Link Deco M5 system, spread your Wi-Fi through several points in your house. This means better coverage and fewer spots where the Wi-Fi doesn’t reach. Here’s how it helps:

  1. Network Optimization: Mesh systems intelligently manage traffic, ensuring a more efficient and stable connection throughout your home.
  2. Device Prioritization: By automatically directing bandwidth to devices that need it most, such as streaming or gaming consoles, mesh networks enhance your overall online experience.
  3. Seamless Roaming: With seamless handoffs between access points, you can move around your home without experiencing drops in connectivity.

Understanding these aspects of mesh network technology can significantly enhance your home Wi-Fi setup.

Adaptive Routing Stability

The TP-Link Deco M5 uses adaptive routing technology to maintain stable connections and optimize network performance by adjusting data pathways dynamically. This feature ensures uninterrupted connectivity for multiple devices in your home by efficiently directing data traffic based on real-time network analysis.

The TP-Link Deco M5 comes with a suite of advanced security and parental control features called HomeCare. Powered by Trend Micro, the built-in antivirus protection guards your network and devices against malware, viruses, and cyber threats. It’s like having a virtual shield around your home network.

The parental controls allow you to manage your children’s online activity, set time limits, and block inappropriate content. You can create profiles for each family member and customize the settings based on age and needs. Want to limit social media access or gaming time? No problem.

HomeCare also includes Quality of Service (QoS) settings, which let you prioritize traffic for specific devices or applications. This is especially useful for latency-sensitive tasks like video calls, online gaming, and 4K streaming. With QoS, you can ensure that your most important devices always have the bandwidth they need.

It’s worth noting that using these cloud-based features does require sharing some data with TP-Link, which may raise privacy concerns for some users. However, the company states that it only collects the minimum information necessary to enable these services.

Compatibility & Integrations

The TP-Link Deco M5 is designed to work with all major ISPs and modems, making it easy to integrate into your existing setup. You can even replace your ISP-provided gateway entirely with the Deco M5 for a cleaner, more efficient network configuration.

For users in Malaysia, the Deco M5 is fully compatible with Unifi and Maxis fiber connections. Simply choose the appropriate connection type during setup, and the app will guide you through the configuration process.

The Deco M5 also supports various smart home integrations, including Amazon Alexa and IFTTT. With Alexa, you can use voice commands to control your guest Wi-Fi, turn on/off the LED light, and more. IFTTT allows you to create custom automations based on network activity or other triggers.

Wired and Wireless Connectivity

The TP-Link Deco M5 system offers both wired and wireless connectivity options, providing users with flexibility and reliable network performance throughout their homes.

  1. Wired Reliability: Each Deco M5 unit is equipped with 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports, allowing for stable wired connections that are perfect for devices requiring consistent speeds and reliability.
  2. Wireless Convenience: The mesh network created by the Deco M5 units guarantees seamless roaming and coverage, making it convenient for users to move around their home without experiencing connectivity interruptions.
  3. Ethernet Backhaul Support: With support for Wired Ethernet Backhaul, users can further enhance the reliability of their network by utilizing wired connections between Deco units for optimized performance.

These features combine to offer a complete connectivity solution catering to both wired and wireless needs.

Performance & Coverage

In our real-world testing, the TP-Link Deco M5 delivered impressive performance. We conducted speed tests with a single unit and then with multiple units in a mesh configuration. The results showed fast, consistent speeds throughout our 2,000+ square foot test home. Even when streaming video on multiple devices simultaneously, the Deco M5 handled the load without breaking a sweat.

Compared to a traditional single-router setup, the Deco M5 mesh system provided far superior coverage. We no longer experienced dropouts or dead zones in far-reaching areas of the home. The seamless roaming feature allowed us to move freely throughout the house without losing our connection, as our devices automatically switched to the strongest Deco unit.

For even better performance, you can use a wired Ethernet backhaul connection between the Deco units. This eliminates the potential for wireless signal degradation and ensures the fastest possible speeds.

TP-Link offers several different Deco mesh Wi-Fi models to suit different needs and budgets. Here’s a quick breakdown of how the M5 compares:

  • TP-Link Deco AXE5400: Tri-Band WiFi 6E Mesh System(Deco XE75) – Covers up to 5500 Sq.Ft, Replaces WiFi Router and Extender, AI-Driven Mesh, New 6GHz Band.
  • TP-Link AX3000: Whole Home Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System (Deco X55 Pro) | Up to 6500 Sq.Ft. 𝟮×𝟮.𝟱𝗚 WAN/LAN Ports Wired Ethernet Backhaul 𝗜𝗱𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝟭𝗚𝗶𝗴+ 𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗲𝘁 2023 Release.
  • Deco M9 Plus: Tri-band Wi-Fi with a built-in smart hub for connecting Zigbee devices. Ideal for larger homes with many smart devices.
  • Deco P7: Uses powerline technology to extend coverage via your home’s electrical wiring. Great for homes with thick walls or challenging layouts.
  • Deco X60: Wi-Fi 6 system with higher speeds and improved efficiency. Future-proofs your network for the next generation of devices.
  • Deco X20: Affordable Wi-Fi 6 option with AX1800 speeds. Good choice for smaller homes or apartments.

Consider your specific needs, budget, and home layout when deciding which Deco model is right for you.

Comparisons with Similar Products

How does the TP-Link Deco M5 stack up against other popular mesh Wi-Fi systems? Let’s take a look:

  • Google Nest Wi-Fi: The Deco M5 offers comparable coverage and performance at a lower price point. However, the Nest Wi-Fi integrates a smart speaker into each node, which may be appealing for Google Assistant users.
  • Amazon Eero: Eero is known for its easy setup and user-friendly app, much like the Deco M5. The Deco M5 has a slight edge in terms of specifications and coverage area per unit.
  • Netgear Orbi: Orbi systems are generally more expensive than the Deco M5 but offer tri-band technology for dedicated wireless backhaul. This can provide better performance in larger homes.
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Overall, the TP-Link Deco M5 offers excellent value for money compared to its competitors, delivering fast, reliable whole-home coverage at an affordable price.

Who Should Buy?

The TP-Link Deco M5 is ideal for:

  • Families in Large Homes: Its wide coverage eliminates dead zones, ensuring everyone stays connected.
  • Tech-Savvy Users Seeking Simplicity: While offering advanced features, it remains user-friendly with an intuitive app for management.
  • Homeowners Interested in Smart Home Integration: Works with Alexa for voice control and fits seamlessly into a smart home setup.


To sum up, TP-Link Deco M5 offers a seamless whole-home coverage solution that eradicates Wi-Fi dead zones and guarantees reliable connectivity for all your devices.

With its mesh network technology, adaptive routing stability, and TP-Link HomeCare subscription, this system provides a secure and family-friendly network.

Easy setup, compatibility with various service providers, and both wired and wireless connectivity options make it a hassle-free choice for uninterrupted browsing, streaming, and gaming.

Overall, TP-Link Deco M5 delivers excellent performance and customer satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I expand the coverage further?

Yes, additional Deco units can be added to the network to extend coverage even further.

Does it work with my existing modem?

The Deco M5 is compatible with most ISPs and modems. A separate modem is required.

Can I prioritize devices on my network?

Yes, the QoS settings in the TP-Link Deco app allow you to prioritize devices for bandwidth.

Is the antivirus service really free for life?

Yes, TP-Link includes a lifetime subscription to HomeCare with the Deco M5 at no extra cost.

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