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Lifewire / Andy Zahn
Network was a little buggy
Overheating was an issue
The TP-Link Deco P9 is remarkably easy to set up and use. It provides great range and network performance at an affordable price point.
If you live in a large home and have suffered from the limitations of your simple, single point router, then the TP-Link Deco might just be the ideal solution to your Wi-Fi dead zone woes. This router is designed not only to broadcast a network over a wide area but also through thick walls using the existing wiring in your house.
Each of the TP-Link Deco P9 units is identical—a white tower with an artfully ventilated top and a black strip running down the back to a pair of ethernet ports. The power cables connect to a port recessed into the underside of the units, and the cables are then routed through a slot in the back. A single ethernet cable is included to connect your modem to the first Deco P9 unit.
It’s not perfect though; the solid plastic walls of the router nodes trap heat, so the system gets quite hot. I had my three units running for a few weeks, and though it was never actually dangerous, it was worrying, and a device that overheats may experience a decreased lifespan.
After plugging in each of the Deco P9 units, I downloaded the TP-Link Deco app to continue the setup process. The included instruction booklet contains little more than a key for deciphering the color-coded lights on the device and a message telling you to download the app. After setting up a TP-Link account, the app guided me through the setup process with clear instructions that made getting my 3 units up and running a breeze.
The app guided me through the setup process with clear instructions that made getting my 3 units up and running a breeze.
The only hiccup occurred when I set up the third and final unit. For some reason this caused the second unit to disconnect. Fortunately, the troubleshooting menu built into the app helped me to quickly solve the issue. Overall, this was one of the most painless network setup processes I have ever encountered.
The TP-Link Deco provided an impressive range even with only a single P9 unit installed. With all 3 units installed in the attic, main floor and basement of my 4,000 square foot home I was able to enjoy complete coverage. Furthermore, I was able to connect to the network throughout my yard up to about 50 feet beyond the walls. This excellent range is due in part to the Deco 9’s ability to use the existing electrical wiring in your house to transmit signals.
My home internet is a dismally slow DSL connection, but I was able to test the Deco P9 against my wired connection and my basic ISP router’s Wi-Fi. The Deco P9 outstripped both the wired connection and Wi-Fi of my single unit router by a few megabytes. The connection didn’t slow appreciably throughout my house, only falling off in speed towards the limit of its range outside of my home.
With all 3 units installed in the attic, main floor and basement of my 4,000 square foot home I was able to enjoy complete coverage.
I found the network to be quite reliable, except for on a few occasions where my internet connection would cut out for a minute or two. This was very infrequent, and not a major issue, but it was rather annoying when this bug did occur. It uses a dynamic combination of 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz networks to create a single seamless Wi-Fi connection that automatically determines the fastest and most efficient connection for your device.
The TP-Link Deco app is streamlined and easy to use. Its home screen provides you with a list of currently connected devices, and it tracks your history of previously connected devices. It also tells how much data is uploading and downloading in real time, and gives you the option of giving an individual device priority.
You can control the Deco via your IFTTT or Amazon Alexa smart home system. Furthermore, you can set parental controls, grant various levels of priority to different devices or blacklist devices you don’t want to connect. You can also update the firmware through the app, set up a guest network, add friends and family as network managers, or access a variety of more detailed controls.
With an MSRP of $229, the Deco P9 provides a robust three-node mesh Wi-Fi network at a very reasonable price point. Though it’s pricier than your average ISP-provided router, if you have a large, multi-story home it’s certainly worth the extra expense. For buildings with very thick walls, the powerline signal transmission capability of the Deco P9 adds a whole extra level of value to the system.
The TP-Link Deco P9 is great for large homes in neighbors without too many competing for Wi-Fi networks. However, the Razer Portal is a better choice if you’re looking for top performance in an area with a lot of interference from your neighbor's routers. It’s also significantly cheaper and can be used on its own or expanded into a mesh network with additional units. It’s worth noting, though, that the Deco P9 has a much slimmer profile than the Razer Portal, and is easier to place on a table or shelf.
The TP-Link Deco P9 powerful mesh network router that’s incredibly easy to use.
The TP-Link Deco P9 might be the least troublesome router to set up and control that I have ever used. On top of that, this mesh network is large and powerful enough to provide strong and consistent internet throughout even the largest homes.