Analysis of the TP-Link Deco M4, the repeater that extends your WiFi network up to 370 meters

Analysis of the TP-Link Deco M4, the repeater that extends your WiFi network up to 370 meters

Analysis of the TP-Link Deco M4, the repeater that extends your WiFi network up to 370 meters

In an irremediably connected world, having an agile, stable and fast Internet connection is becoming increasingly important. Within this equation, however, there is a new variant that is rarely taken into account when implementing a certain type of network at home or within business environments: flexibility. With current advances, it is no longer necessary to resort to wired networks to take advantage of the maximum speed that the router and our telephone operator is capable of providing us. In this field, what are known as WiFi repeaters come into play, devices that allow us to expand the WiFi signal of our connection to other places in the environment. Unfortunately, most of these extenders greatly limit speed and range beyond the rooms where it is deployed. On this occasion we have had the opportunity to test the new TP-Link Deco M4 for a little over a month, some repeaters that drink from the mesh network (Mesh in English) to connect all the devices in the home and that are also compatible with Amazon Alexa and the IFTTT app.

Technical sheet TP-Link Deco M4

Type WiFi Mesh (in mesh)
Processor Qualcomm
RAM 128MB
ROM memory 16MB
Velocity 300Mbps at 2.4GHz867Mbps at 5GHz
antennas 2 dual-band antennas per Deco unit
ports 2 Gigabit Ethernet connections per Deco unit and one connection for 12V 1.2A power
Dimensions 90.7 x 190 millimeters for each Deco unit
networks IEEE 802.11 ac/n/a 5GHz, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz
Software Deco app for Android and iOS devices
Others Compatibility with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT, parental control, automatic software update, monthly reports, possibility of expansion through other Deco modules
Price From 100 euros

Design that integrates into the surrounding decoration

It's not for nothing that TP-Link's new Deco M4s are called Deco. Far from traditional repeaters with cables, antennas and formats to say the least, TP-Link's proposal comes as one more accessory that tries to integrate with the rest of the elements of the home through a cylindrical tube-shaped format and white and gray colors .

With a size that does not exceed 20 centimeters in height and 10 in width, the TP-Link repeater has somewhat excessive dimensions for our taste, although the company justifies it with the integration of two powerful internal antennas and double band. Its manufacture in polycarbonate gives it, however, a lightness that is appreciated in this type of device.

If we move to the only side of the cylinder that breaks the symmetry of the repeater, we find three types of connections: two Ethernet ports and one power port with a universal connector. Right at the top of the cylinder we find an LED light in the shape of the brand logo whose color varies depending on the connection status: yellow when it is disconnected, red when it is offline, white when it is connected and blue when it is connected. in sync mode.

Análisis del TP-Link Deco M4, el repetidor que extiende tu red WiFi hasta 370 metros

There is little to highlight from the rest of the design aspects. It is true that due to its size we expected some extra integrated function (intelligent speaker, virtual assistant...), although its function as a WiFi extender more than meets what the manufacturer promises, as we will see in the next sections.

Configuration: you don't have to be an expert to set up your own mesh network

If there is something that has surprised us about the TP-Link WiFi repeaters, it is the simplicity of their configuration, both when setting up the mesh network and when configuring them using the TP-Link Deco application.

Depending on the chosen repeater package, we can find up to three different devices. The company has decided to send us the most advanced pack that includes three WiFi repeaters; all identical in design and functionality, and all with corresponding power and Ethernet cables.

The different forms of connection depend, to a large extent, on the architecture of our home (on the manufacturer's page we can see several recommendations). In our case we have chosen to implement a vertical distribution, by having two floors in the family unit. Once all the repeaters are connected to the power, the process is really simple, since we will only have to connect one of the repeaters to the router using the Ethernet cable that is included in the box.

Network settings.

After connecting the parent repeater to the router, we will only have to download the Deco application, synchronize the application with our WiFi connection and select the type of device that we want to add. Later we will configure the type of connection (dynamic IP, static IP...), the name and password of the new network et voilà, we will be able to connect through any device. No complex processes or third-party software.

The process to configure the rest of the repeaters is even easier, since we will only have to add the devices to the created network as if it were a WiFi or Bluetooth device. With the connection of a new repeater we can also configure a new room to separate the devices depending on their location. Although perhaps the greatest advantage that the TP-Link pack offers is that we can enjoy a wired network through the two Ethernet ports that it integrates, which makes it possible to use it without having to resort to cables of several tens of meters, since communication between the devices is done wirelessly.

Configuration of a new Deco.

And what about the integration with Alexa and IFTTT? In our case we do not have any Amazon assistant, so we have not been able to enjoy the advantages of the latter. Depending on the manufacturer page, we can perform certain automations related to turning devices on and off and activating certain connection and power modes. We cannot fail to mention the absence of compatibility with Google Assistant, something that would have earned it many points over its main competitors.

Deco app: parental control, device monitor and much more

The entry point of the Deco M4 is the app of the same name for Android and iOS. In addition to allowing us to configure the different devices through the functions that it integrates, it has a multitude of options that allow us to carry out different actions on the network and on the devices that remain connected to it. All remotely and without the need to be connected to the network.

List of devices connected and disconnected from the network. The application will notify us if there is any firmware update.

From the outset, the application shows the complete list of devices registered on the network, whether or not they are connected to the Internet. From this menu we can remove access to any device – as long as we are administrators – and see the status of the different rooms. If we access the advanced menu of the application, the world of possibilities that opens up to us is even more extensive. The most interesting possibility is undoubtedly that of establishing parental control on the different devices connected to the network.

Parental control function. We can limit the connection time, the type of web services to use and pages by keyword or type of content.

This mode allows us to filter from web pages, to social networks, download services and even online games or even web pages with multimedia content (YouTube, Twitch, Soundcloud...), in addition to the maximum connection time. The rest of the functions associated with the advanced configuration of the application allow us to block devices, create personalized profiles (administrator and user), reserve IP addresses and limit bandwidth.

Some advanced features of the Deco app. IP reservations, profile creation, monthly reports, LED control, possibility of establishing a Fast Roaming mode...

The application also has the possibility of creating monthly reports of the devices connected to the network during the time that we indicate to the assistant. It also has a night mode that allows us to turn off the LED light of all the Deco M4 to save energy. Special mention to the possibility of establishing the Deco M4 as access points, as well as parallel networks for guest devices to further limit their use.

Speed ​​and range: delivers what it promises

The most important factor when dealing with WiFi extenders is the maximum speed that they can replicate with respect to the router and the range of the network. In its main function, the Deco M4 has not disappointed in any of these two points.

WiFi test result of the Jazztel router

If we refer to the specifications provided by the manufacturer, TP-Link ensures that it is capable of providing up to 300 Mbps on a 2.4 GHz network (about 37.5 MB/s) and about 867 Mbps on a 5 GHz network (about 108 MB/s). y). The maximum ratio reached is around 370 square meters with three devices connected (260 meters if there are two), and the total number of devices reaches the outrageous figure of 100. How have they behaved under our tests? Without a doubt, the TP-Link Deco M4 pack has performed very positively.

Deco M4 Ethernet cable test result

The maximum speed reached when uploading and downloading coincides with the speeds provided by the router, which in our case is symmetrical 100 Mbps (about 12.5 MB/s). The range with only two extenders connected to the network in a ratio of about 100 square meters on two different floors has been excellent, and at no time have we noticed a decrease in coverage or stability.

Test result by WiFi connection of the Deco M4

Our test environment, by the way, has been based on a scheme made up of seven different devices, including two phones, two computers, a Raspberry Pi, a smart light bulb and a tablet. While computers have used a wired network to connect to the Internet, the rest of the devices have used WiFi. The experience, despite this, has been the same in all scenarios, with no apparent differences in speed or coverage.

Our opinion of the TP-Link Deco M4

After just over four weeks with the TP-Link, the opinion it deserves from us is more than positive. Not only does it fulfill its purpose, but it also offers a series of features that together make it one of the best WiFi repeater packs on the market.

Added to this is the happiness of use and the integration factor with the home and with virtual assistants and third-party applications, such as IFTTT and Amazon Alexa. It is worth noting the maximum speed that it is capable of providing, up to 300 and 867 Mbps, and the bank of total devices, up to 100, making it ideal for business environments.

Its price? Depending on the configuration, the starting value starts at 100 euros for the version with two Deco M4s. If we opt for the option with three extenders, the price exceeds 150 euros. In any case, it is best to opt for the most economical configuration, unless we want to extend the network over 370 meters in all directions. Even with everything, both options seem much more complete than any conventional wall-mounted repeater, whose price does not usually differ much from the 100 euros from which the most basic option starts.

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