TP-LINK is one of a very few manufacturer that leads when it comes to a budget networking gear. Their targeted market of providing networking solution solely on home-consumer and enterprise-based environment. Their all new mesh solution begins from the Deco series up to their upcoming AX-mesh solution. Unlike their rival, their mesh solution is currently limited by an incompatibility in between cross-product units.
This tutorial was made for TP-LINK’s Deco series ranging from the entry-level Deco M4 up to their Deco M9 Plus. This tutorial only requires a smartphone installed with TP-LINK Deco application either on iOS or android platform and a dedicated mobile internet connectivity. The most important prerequisite condition needed is your ISP‘s provided username and password. The type of username given by each ISP’s and the length of password may differ, however the procedure will be the same for all types of ISP’s.
Before proceeding to set-up the Deco unit, always power on both units with one unit selected as the master unit for the other two nodes. Plug in the Ethernet cable from your modem to the LAN 1 port of the master unit. Do keep in mind that, some Deco series may come in a range of two-pack or three-pack, but it is essential to always pick only one master unit for routing processes.
Part 1: Creating a TP-LINK Account
Step 1: Create a new TP-LINK ID. If you care about your privacy, you can always opt-out from receiving future updates or promotions via email by untick the box.
Step 2: Next, log in to your registered email to confirm the registration. Failure to do so will cause the setting up process to fail.
Part II: Setting up the Internet
Step 3: Use your TP-LINK ID credentials to login to the system.
Step 4: Once the application verified your login credentials, you will be directed to ‘Lets Begin’ landing page.
Step 5: This is a crucial step as, you need to pick the right model from the given list. For the purpose of this guide, I will be using a pair of Deco M4R
As an example, if you own a pack of Deco M4 unit and you picked P9 just because they are identical, then you can’t properly ended up procedure. Remember, always pick the right model.
The next step involves visual guide on how to properly set up your main unit as a router.
Once the credentials were met, proceed to the connecting to the main Deco unit, wirelessly. No password required to get connected to the network as it was set to open, only as a temporary until you implement the wireless access credentials later on. You will have to pick up your main unit location from the given list, i.e. living room.
Step 6: Pick your internet connection type. Since I am using PPPoE, I am required to enter my ISP’s given username and password assigned to my account. Click on the VLAN settings located at the bottom of the next button and pick your VLAN profile. Since I am using Unifi, I will be selecting Malaysia-TM Unifi profile.
Step 7: Keep your MAC address settings as default and click on the next button. Here, you only will find one single wireless network credentials instead of two separate bands. Enter your own preferred wireless SSID and password. It is recommended to use a 13 or more alphanumeric password for a stronger brute-force free protection of your wireless network.
Final step: Once the setting up process completed, the application will suggest you to pick your home-type and adding more Deco nodes in the wireless network will be easier.
Ultimately, the process of setting up the Deco mesh system is time consuming and requires patience in succeeding the setup. Also, all models have their own dedicated simple web-interface. However, most of the controls and features only available through the Deco application. Similar to AiMesh, the Deco supports centralized management, this means, only an authorized user who holds the credentials of TP-LINK ID are able to monitor, configure and manage the Deco mesh system.