There is almost no need to introduce TP-Link, a wireless network specialist based in Shenzhen and market leader in France. The manufacturer is moving smoothly to Wi-Fi 6E with a first mesh system, the Deco XE75.
The Deco XE75 offers 3 Wi-Fi frequency bands. Depending on the country of distribution, you will find it on sale in packs of 2 or 3 units, or even individually to extend an existing pack. Our version for this test consists of 3 strictly identical modules. No module is strictly speaking a router or a satellite. They therefore all have 3 RJ45 ports which automatically detect the device to which they are connected (box or PC).
Compatible with Wi-Fi 6E, the TP-Link Deco XE75 offers 574 Mb/s on the 2.4 GHz band, and 2402 Mb/s on the 5 and 6 GHz bands, i.e. 5.37 Gb/s announced.
Oddly, by default, only the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands are broadcast for your devices to pick up. The 6 GHz frequency band is used for communication between modules (backhaul).
From a pure performance point of view, this is a good point; thus the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands are not amputated by the communication between the modules and are therefore fully used by the connected devices. On the other hand, is the Deco XE75 a Wi-Fi 6E kit if the 6 GHz band is not available for the devices?
For this, TP-Link has a trick: it is possible to activate the 6 GHz frequency band for devices in the options. In this configuration, the modules will no longer have a frequency band dedicated to their communication and each frequency band will therefore be shared between the backhaul and communication with connected devices. The flow rates will therefore theoretically be halved.
On the wired network side, each module has three auto-negotiating Gigabit standard RJ45 ports. That is to say, they automatically recognize whether they are connected to the box (WAN) or to a network device (LAN). They can also be used to provide communication between each module (backhaul Ethernet) and thus reserve Wi-Fi bandwidth exclusively for connected devices.
Interactions with the modules are limited to the reset buttons under each module and the LED present on the front panel at the bottom of each module. This changes color depending on the status of the module: orange for startup, flashing blue for synchronization, red if disconnected and green if everything is compliant. If you want to add a device via WPS, you will have to go through the application to trigger the detection.
The aesthetics of the modules is altogether classic. It is a large cylinder 17 cm high and 10.5 cm in diameter. The lower part reveals vents, while the upper part sports a wavy glossy black surface that will undoubtedly become a nest of dust.
The installation of the Deco XE75 resembles that of the previous ones. Nothing very difficult if you have already connected your internet box yourself.
Thus, after installation on your smartphone, the Deco application guides you through all the steps to perform the hardware installation.
Once connected to the temporary network, the application prompts you to create your network name (SSID) and its password. You must then connect to the newly created network to continue the installation with the addition of modules and their update.
The 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands are under the same SSID, while the 6 GHz frequency band will be visible under the “networkname_6GHz” SSID if you decide to enable it.
The rest of the app hasn’t changed and still features an Overview tab to show the status of the network and connected devices. A second tab (Smart Actions) allows you to manage the router as a connected object with predefined scenarios.
The third tab (Homeshield) is dedicated to parental control, with free basic options and paid advanced options ($5.99 per month or $54.99 per year). It is thus possible to create a profile per user and to attach their devices to it. You can then define a blacklist of websites or filter content by type (adult content, gambling, social networks, downloads, games, etc.). It is also possible to create time slots. On the other hand, the time limits and the exceeding of the limit are part of the paid offer.
Finally, the fourth and last tab (More) allows you to adjust the mesh system, including Wi-Fi settings (password, Guest network activation), port forwarding, LED control on modules, etc.
A web administration interface is also available at http://tplinkdeco.net/. However, it turns out to be particularly brief. It comes down to a page dedicated to the state of the network and the mesh system and a page with some controls on the system, but nothing equivalent to the application.
To evaluate the performance of the TP-Link Deco XE75 mesh system, we connected a module to our operator box to which we connected a laptop PC via an adapter to the 2.5 Gb/s socket. We transfer a file (a disk image) of 4.73 GB from the first laptop to a second equipped with a 6E Intel AX210 wifi chip, but also to a fixed desktop PC located upstairs and connected to a PCIe card Gigabyte GC-WBAX200 with outdoor antennas and updated with Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210 chip, wifi 6E compatible.
To test the 6 GHz frequency band, we activated the appropriate option in the Deco application. The speeds closest to the router and the modules are on average above 800 Mb/s; if we mention the average of our file transfer, it is because during the transfer in question we reach the limits of the Gigabit port. On point 2 of our installation, the speeds remain above 500 Mb/s, a sign that the Deco XE75 has reserve wifi speed and that it is restricted by its Gigabit ports. On the other measurement points, the download speeds are always above 600 Mb/s thanks to the very complete coverage of our home with the three modules installed.
To know the limits of the 5 GHz and 6 GHz band, which each offer a theoretical throughput of 2.4 Gb/s, we connected a laptop PC to the router module on the 5 GHz band and a second on the 6 band. GHz. The average transfer speed is 119.5 MB/s (or 956 Gb/s), with peaks at almost 140 MB/s, well above the Gigabit standard and its 125 MB/s. The Gigabit port therefore limits the speeds of the two bands of 5 and 6 GHz.
The 5 GHz band with the backhaul provided by the 6 GHz band therefore offers excellent speeds, regardless of the measurement point in our home. The minimum is 610 Mb/s for downloading and 383 Mb/s for uploading on points 4 and 5. As close as possible to the modules (points 1 and 2), there is little difference since communication between the modules is exclusively provided by the 6 GHz band. We thus reach an average of 865 Mb / s in download, once again limited by the Gigabit port of the Deco XE75 since the peak speeds very regularly exceed 115 Mb / s.
At 2.4 GHz, the Deco XE75 also performs well for this frequency band. It is thus not uncommon to reach 300 Mb/s for downloading, while for uploading the 250 Mb/s are also exceeded.
In the end, the Deco XE75 system offers performance limited by the Gigabit standard of its RJ45 ports. The 5 GHz and 6 GHz frequency bands offer in practice higher speeds than those of Gigabit ports. However, the Deco XE75 does not reach the performance of a Deco X90 or a Netgear Orbi RBKE963, but its consistency on all bands and its optimal coverage thanks to its three modules allow it to hold its own.