Expert review: TP-Link Deco M9 Plus
- Link smart home products via ZigBee or bluetooth mesh to the Deco M9 Plus.
- Thanks to the 3 frequency bands you always have a fast connection.
- With the 3 separate stations you have WiFi everywhere in a house of average size.
- No need to pull cables.
- You may need an extra satellite in larger homes.
Out of the box
If you see the images of the TP-Link Deco M5 and the Deco M9 Plus online, you might think that the products have exactly the same appearance. Once you get the M9 Plus box in your hands, it doesn't turn out that way. The 3 satellites are packed in a fairly large box, which by the way looks very luxurious. If you remove the outer carton and lift the lid, it appears that the 3 nodes of the TP-Link Deco M9 are approximately one and a half times as large as those of the M5. That's why you only see 2. The third is hidden deeper in the box, along with the network cable and power adapters. The box looks neat and you can actually get started right away with the accessories.
The current situation
The WiFi in my apartment is not good everywhere. My connection enters the living room, and my router is there too. Although I have reach everywhere, the original 200 Mbps in the kitchen leaves no more than 70 to 80 Mbps. Due to interference with the wireless networks of the neighbors, the WiFi in the kitchen is not exactly stable either. Cooking with a stream from a cooking station on the tablet or while washing up. So Spotify doesn't work that great. That should be better.
The installation of the Deco M9 mesh system starts with the installation of the Deco app on my phone. You install the system only with an app and not via your PC. During the installation, I also connect the first WiFi point directly to my modem. I wait until the light on the main station flashes blue and then start the app, after some household tasks, I can immediately install the first Deco. That goes smoothly and clearly, using a Bluetooth connection. So I have to stay close to the Deco with my phone. A child can do the laundry here. I put the second WiFi point in the kitchen and the third in the hobby room. The installation continues in 1 effort. On a drawing, the app still shows where I could best place the various points.
In practice: WiFi
Now that all nodes of the TP-Link Deco M9 Plus are ready for use, I will test my connection. I start in the living room, where the speed before installation was already good at around 190 Mbps on the day I tested. With the Deco M9 this speed is about the same. Also in the bedroom, where I have not installed a station from Deco, the speed remains the same. On to the hobby room, where the connection with 120 Mbps was slightly less. Now that I have a Deco station there, it has gone up to 170 Mbps. In the kitchen the speed is even twice as high. From 80 Mbps in the old situation to 160 Mbps with Deco. But even more important: the stability is much better. A Netflix film in 4K quality just keeps stable, where that was not possible in the old situation. Buffering is also very fast. It is logical that streams from YouTube and Spotify continue to work this way.
In practice: smart home
The 'Plus' behind Deco M9 refers to the smart home functions that this Multiroom WiFi system has on board. The Deco acts as a hub for ZigBee and Bluetooth mesh devices, allowing you to control and automate them via the Deco app. Especially in combination with IFTTT, that can make life a lot easier. For example, I see an option to automatically turn on your lights when you connect to your Deco network. You can also prioritize different IP cameras on the network if an intruder is seen, but unfortunately I cannot test that. Furthermore, all functions that you expect from a smart home hub are present in the app. A nice addition for those who are already working on these products.
The WiFi network in my apartment, especially in the corners of my house, was a bit slower but most of all very unstable. This is no longer the case after the installation of the TP-Link Deco M9. I now almost reach my maximum speed everywhere and, more importantly, the wireless network is stable. This also makes streaming good. The simple installation wizard ensures that almost everyone can install the set. The addition of smart home functionality is an interesting extra option. In this way, with the Deco M9 Plus you really create a hub for all devices in your home. From laptop to smart lamp and from your smartphone to a smart doorbell.