TP-Link Deco X50 (3-pack Mesh WiFi) Review

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TP-Link needs no introduction, and today they’ve sent over their mid-range Deco X50 3-pack mesh WiFi (AX3000) for us to take a look at. With dual-band connectivity, AX WiFi 6 built-in and a max transfer rate of 3000Mbps, the specs offer a solid start to this review…

TP-Link Deco X50: Specifications

WIRELESS
Standards Wi-Fi 6
IEEE 802.11ax/ac/n/a 5 GHz
IEEE 802.11ax/n/b/g 2.4 GHz
WiFi Speeds AX3000
5 GHz: 2402 Mbps (802.11ax, HE160)
2.4 GHz: 574 Mbps (802.11ax)
WiFi Range 4-6+ Bedroom Houses (3-pack)


TP-Link Mesh Technology
Optional Ethernet backhaul work together to link Deco units to provide seamless coverage

AI-Driven Mesh
Intelligently learns the network environment to provide ideal Wi-Fi unique to your home

2× Antennas (Internal)
Multiple antennas form a signal-boosting array to cover more directions and large areas

Beamforming
Concentrates wireless signal strength towards clients to expand WiFi range

WiFi Capacity High


Dual-Band
Distribute devices to different bands for optimal performance

2×2 MU-MIMO
Simultaneously communicates with multiple MU-MIMO clients

OFDMA
Simultaneously communicates with multiple WiFi 6 clients

4 Streams
More than enough bandwidth for connected devices

Working Modes Router Mode
Access Point Mode
HARDWARE
Processor 1 GHz Dual-Core CPU
Button Reset Button
Ethernet Ports 3× Gigabit Ports

*Per Deco Unit
Supports WAN/LAN auto-sensing

SECURITY
WiFi Encryption WPA-Personal
WPA2-Personal
WPA3-Personal
Network Security SPI Firewall
Access ControlHomeShield Security


Real-Time IoT Protection
Malicious Site Blocker
Intrusion Prevention System
DDoS Attack Prevention
Home Network Scanner

Guest Network 1× 5 GHz Guest Network
1× 2.4 GHz Guest Network
SOFTWARE
Protocols IPv4
IPv6
Service Kits HomeShield
Learn More>
Parental Controls HomeShield Parental Controls


Custom Profiles
Professional Content Filter Library
Family Time
Bedtime
Off Time
Time Rewards
Family Online Time Ranking
Pause the Internet
Weekly and Monthly Reports

WAN Types Dynamic IP
Static IP
PPPoE
PPTP
L2TP
Quality of Service HomeShield QoS


QoS by Device

Cloud Service OTA Firmware Upgrade
TP-Link ID
DDNS
NAT Forwarding Port Forwarding
UPnP
IPTV IGMP Proxy
IGMP Snooping
Bridge
Tag VLAN
DHCP Address Reservation
DHCP Client List
Server
DDNS TP-Link
Management Deco App
PHYSICAL
Dimensions (W×D×H) 4.33 × 4.33 × 4.49 in
(110 × 110 × 114 mm)
Package Contents Deco X50 (1-pack)
1 Deco X50 unit
1 RJ45 Ethernet cable
1 Power adapter
1 Quick Installation GuideDeco X50 (2-pack)
2 Deco X50 units
1 RJ45 Ethernet cable
2 Power adapters
1 Quick Installation GuideDeco X50 (3-pack)
3 Deco X50 units
1 RJ45 Ethernet cable
3 Power adapters
1 Quick Installation Guide
OTHERS
System Requirements Android 4.4 or later
iOS 9.0 or later
Certifications CE, FCC, RoHS, RCM
Environment Operating Temperature: 0°C~40°C (32°F~104°F)
Storage Temperature: -40°C~70°C (-40°F~158°F)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing
TEST DATA
WiFi Transmission Power CE:
<20 dBm (2.4 GHz)
<23 dBm (5 GHz)
FCC:
<30 dBm (2.4 GHz)
<30 dBm (5 GHz)

Product page: HERE

TP-Link Deco X50: Unboxing and Closer Look

 

 

 

 

Taking a look at the box, and TP-Link heavily brand the Deco X50 under the Deco brand, much like Netgear do with Orbi. Though, Deco is the brand TP-Link use for their mesh networking kits so it’s unsurprising. The box itself is well presented and has the quality feeling you’d expect from a TP-Link product.
The rear of the box has some information on how the mesh WiFi network works laid out very clearly making it easy to understand how it works.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a look at the internal box with the goodies inside, we can see the system in all its glory. The best thing about this kit is that any of the 3 units can be the main router so it doesn’t matter which one you pick out of the box. The units themselves come slotted into perfectly cut foam holes which are covered with a card cover. The foam is plenty thick to ensure no damage to the units in shipping.
The lower section of the box houses the 3 power supplies, a single 1m flat white Cat 5e Ethernet cable, and a Quick Start Guide.

 

 

 

 

 

A closer look at the power supply for the units shows the white housing with a grey cable. The cable is 150cm or 59 inches, which is more than enough to have the units sit on a shelf or desk in an office, lounge, or bedroom.
Taking a look at the unit and it’s a cylindrical shape unit with a cover on the top with a ridge indicating where the back of the unit is. There is a small ventilation gap around the top edge.
The only branding is the “deco” logo on the lower section at the front. The units measure 11cm or 4.33in tall with a diameter of 11cm or 4.33in, making them a surprisingly small but girthy size.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a look at the business end, another TP-Link logo can be found at the top. Below that are three Gigabit ports and the power adapter connection.
The rear of the unit shows off some ventilation holes around the edge of the unit. 4 grey rubber feet are positioned in the corners giving the unit 7mm of breathing space. Other than that, a sticker with product information, a reset button, and the LED on the front edge can be found.

TP-Link Deco X50: Setup and Configuration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy to use app:
Setting up the Deco X50 requires a mobile app. Usually a web browser could be used to complete the setup, but in this situation, TP-Link has removed that option from the user. Understandably, the Deco app is stupidly simple to use and I completed the configuration, including manually entering my ISP’s FTTP connection, WiFi configuration, connected the two satellites, and a firmware update in about 15 minutes flat.
It’s hard to articulate just how easy TP-Link has made setting up the Deco X50 for anyone, which for technology, is no mean feat! But the user interface is well laid out, and the steps are simple to follow.

You can still access the Deco X50 configuration using a web browser, but most of the configuration usually accessible is removed. In its current form, using the web browser is pointless except for viewing the Network Map and performing Firmware upgrades, which you may as well do on the app.

TP-Link Deco X50: Under The Hood

TP-Link has added a whole list of features to the Deco X50 model that you might find useful. We’ve compiled a list of them for you:

  1. Dual-band connectivity – utilising a single 2.4GHz and 5GHz band.
  2. WiFi 6 (AX) with a rated speed of 3000Mbps. 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2402Mbps on the 5GHz band.
  3. 2×2 Wi-Fi – 4 streams on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands with HE160 and is the 160MHz channel width on the 5GHz band.
  4. AI-Driven Mesh – AI-Roaming creates the ideal Mesh Wi-Fi solution with its advanced algorithms and self-learning. Your WiFi-enabled devices will seamlessly switch to another network source when necessary for the most optimal connections.
  5. Seamless roaming between satellites – The Deco X50 units work together to form a unified network with a single network name. Walk through your home and stay connected. Optionally, you can also connect the satellites together via Ethernet for a wired backhaul, for faster transfer speeds.
  6. Beamforming – Concentrates wireless signal strength towards clients to expand the WiFi range.
  7. HomeShield– Deco X50 enables you to customize your home network with enhanced security using a kit of basic (free) and Pro (charged) features built-in TP-Link HomeShield. Whether protecting your sensitive data or limiting the access of kids and guests, HomeShield provides you with the tools you need to fully manage your network. A free 30-day trial comes with the Deco X50 out of the box but check the differences HERE.

TP-Link Deco X50: Testing & Results

The Deco X50 offers dual-band WiFi 6 (AX) connectivity with the 2.4GHz band at 574Mbps and the HE160 5GHz band running at 2402Mbps for a total theoretical bandwidth of up to 3000Mbps, hence the AX3000 branding.

Testing methodology:
Network speed test (iPerf3) using a laptop with AX210 WiFi 6 (AX) card installed connected to file server (Host) on 2.5Gbps Ethernet.

Additionally:
As we’re testing a mesh networking kit, the Deco X50, the testing needs to be extended.
As well as range testing (on a single unit), we want to see the speeds the satellites communicate with each other, this is called the Wireless Backhaul, this is done using 2 computers connected via Ethernet, which eliminates additional WiFi links.
The units are positioned in what we’d call a typical home layout with one downstairs acting as the router and a second unit upstairs in a central location. We believe this is the most typical use case for a mesh networking product like this.

Range Testing:

2-metres (MegaBits): 844Mbps

10-metres (MegaBits): 512Mbps

15-metres – Second Floor (MegaBits): 342Mbps

Wireless Backhaul Testing:

Uplink (Megabits): 1548 Mbps

Downlink (Megabits): 1574Mbps

Excellent Coverage

The Deco X50 did well in terms of coverage. The 3-pack can handle a home of about 6000 ft² (557 m²), which is acceptably less than the rated 6500ft² (603m²) yet still covers a 4-6 bedroom house with ease!

TP-Link Deco X50: The Verdict

Remembering that the Deco X50 is specced as a mid-range offering, the results are actually not bad at all. The “backhaul” testing results get all the more impressive when I tell you that the Deco X50 doesn’t have a dedicated backhaul that tri-band routers typically offer. Instead, it uses the regular 5GHz band which all the other devices connect to, which is impressive.
Linking the satellites together with an Ethernet cable backhaul would improve communication speeds between them, but the wireless performance is adequate enough which pleased me as I don’t have the liberty of running cables through my rental house as I wish.
The range of the 3-pack is very good too at about 6000 ft² (557 m²) and is plenty fine for my 3 bedroom house. TP-Link rates the 3-pack X50 for 4-6 bedroom properties.

The Deco X50 is very limited in terms of what user-configurable options there are, especially when it comes to Wi-Fi.
Typically routers allow adjustments to be made to things like the HT link speed e.g. 20/40MHz on the 2.4GHz band and 80MHz or 160MHz on the 5GHz band, for example. But no such luck on the Deco X50, the only wireless options are the ability to change the name (SSID) and password of the Wi-Fi and what security e.g. WPA2/WPA3, you’d like the password to use.
This isn’t new to mesh systems in general though, and TP-Link is not the only guilty party. There are some counterarguments to be made though, and that is that TP-Link has configured the Deco X50 to work out of the box immediately, which for the majority of customers is, undoubtedly, something they actually want in a product like this.

With a nice overall aesthetic curved white unibody, power supply and Ethernet cable, a familiar and easy-to-use app with decent WiFi speeds and excellent range. They all come together to make a good package in the Deco X50 3-pack.

So, with everything on offer. What’s it going to cost you? How does £229.99 in the UK at the time of writing sound? Pretty good right? I thought so too!

So is the TP-Link Deco X50 mesh Wi-Fi kit for you?
If you’re looking for a decently specced mesh Wi-Fi kit, that comes with Wi-Fi 6 (AX) out of the box that has excellent range, decent performance, looks great and just plain works with next to no configuration then the Deco X50 is certainly something you should consider.

 

 

 

 

 

Big thanks to TP-Link for sending the Deco X50 over for today’s review!

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