TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review – An Entry Level Mesh System That Executes Its Purpose

TP-LINK Deco M4

RM 399
7

Build Quality

7.0/10

Hardware Specification

7.0/10

Features

5.0/10

User Experience

8.0/10

Value

8.0/10

Advantages

  • Modern design
  • Centralized management
  • Auto-update firmware
  • Dual-mode operational
  • IPv6 compatibility
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa
  • MU-MIMO
  • Excellent Parental Control feature
  • Fast Roaming support

Disadvantages

  • No VPN feature
  • Expensive 3-Pack version
  • Basic web-administrative panel

TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review - Review Introduction

TP-LINK Deco M4 is an entry level dual-band mesh system in their Deco series. Deco M4 is an AC1200 mesh system that combines both bands advertised throughput, 300Mbps and 867Mbps resulting in 1167Mbps. According to TP-LINK, the Deco M4 was said to provide coverage up to 3800 square feet. Additionally, the Deco M4 utilizes TP-LINK’s own mesh technology called, TP-LINK Mesh.

Q1What is the relationship between OneMeshâ„¢ and TP-Link Mesh?

A1OneMeshâ„¢ is a trademark for all OneMeshâ„¢ products, while TP-Link Mesh is a mesh technology from TP-Link. OneMeshâ„¢ network works based on TP-Link Mesh Technology. – Source.

TP-LINK Deco M4 offers a few optional packages, ranging from one-pack up to three-pack units. The unit I am currently having is the two-pack mesh unit. The standard accessories bundled together with this unit are a pair of Deco M4 unit, one RJ45 ethernet cable, two-power adapters and one quick installation guide.

TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review - Deco M4 Accessories

Powered by a single-core Qualcomm Atheros QCA9563 clocked at 750MHz, the Deco M4 is a pretty super standard mesh system. Assisting the single-core processor, it bundles together with 128MiB RAM to handle network traffic and feature utilization.

TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review - Rear view of Deco M4

TP-LINK Deco M4 appears to be similar to D-LINK’s DIR850L, in terms of its cylindrical shape. The Deco M4 outclasses its AC1200 mesh system rivals in terms of design, a uniquely placed LED indicator and ventilated holes on top that allows a better heat emission. At the rear of the unit, two-gigabit capable ports present and it is have auto-sensing WAN/LAN ports.

Specification

The specification of Deco M4 are as follows:

Wireless Class AC1200
Wireless Standard IEEE 802.11ac/n/a
IEEE 802.11b/g/n
Processor Qualcomm Atheros QCA9563 (Single-core, 750MHz)
Memory 128MiB
Features MU-MIMO
Auto-Path Selection
Self-Healing
AP Steering
Band Steering
Beamforming
IPv6 Support
Operational Modes Router
Access Point
Optional Ethernet Backhaul
Guest Network
TP-LINK Mesh Technology
Auto-sensing WAN/LAN ports
SPI Firewall SPI Firewall

Each unit of Deco M4 regardless the packaging type has the same hardware specifications. Any of  the units can be made as a router while the remaining unit can be added to the mesh network.

TP-LINK Feature Walkthrough

The setting up process is quite time consuming and requires an active mobile data connectivity and your TP-LINK ID. The guide on setting up the Deco series available here.

TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review - Deco Application feature walkthrough

Deco M4 offers a few basic features. Since it is an entry-level mesh system, it lacks of VPN support but it allows VPN passthrough by default. However, it does offers features such as IPv6 support, port-forwarding, fast-roaming, TP-LINK DDNS and beamforming.

TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review - Deco M4 Wireless Settings walkthrough

The wireless settings are pretty standard and non-customizable. In other word, the Deco M4 intelligently switches the best band for your device to utilize the bandwidth to its fullest extent. The only configurable settings are the radio band emission and changing the wireless setting credentials. As for the wireless encryption used, it uses WPA2 by default. However, in order to fully utilize the mesh technology, the WPS feature is turned on by default.

The Deco M4 also offers Guest Network feature. You can configure the guest network SSID and password by yourself. When a client connected to the guest network, the guest device will be isolated from the main network.

Security features such as wireless scheduler and parental control is available as it is a requirement of a mesh system MUST have.

TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review - Parental control settings

The parental features offer a few security measures such as profile management of the connected clients. In other word, you can simply create a profile, and block the access to certain sites or categories and you can set the access time to the internet for the profile.

TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review - Web administrative panel interface

Deco M4 can be accessed through the web-interface. However, it only displays a few information such as the number of connected clients, CPU and memory usage details, and wireless information.

TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review - Advance panel of TP-LINK Deco M4

Under the advanced panel, you  can’t do much as you only can update the firmware for all the connected mesh nodes at once. Other noticeable access available are system logs, time settings and a reboot option.

TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review - Wireless Setting review

The Deco M4 is suitable for the 300 to 500Mbps users. Deco M4 supports 802.11k/v/r standards which is useful for a better wireless roaming and managing the network.

TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review - Wireless Throughput test

Next, I’ve placed another unit of the Deco M4 at the living room downstairs. To my surprise, I am getting a good speed, although I am far away from the secondary mesh unit. Getting such speed for a standard 2×2 (MIMO) client is pretty good enough. Living in a crowded area such as near to the university, I can expect there will be a huge wireless signal interference that leads to the dropout of wireless signal quality. However, the Deco M4 proves otherwise, giving me a good speed even at the peak hour. In my observations, the recommended placement of the Deco M4 mesh unit is at the center of the house for the balance wireless signal emission throughout the house. This principle is applicable with the two-pack and three-pack M4 units.

Conclusion

TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review - Conclusion of TP-LINK Deco M4

The Deco M4 is a decent mesh system from TP-LINK. The Deco M4 (2-Pack) costs RM399 and the Deco M4 (3-Pack) costs RM579. At the time being, I personally feel the Deco M4 (2-Pack) is worth for the price due to its targeted consumer class. Seemingly costing more than Tenda M6 (3-Pack), the Deco M4 (3-Pack ) was said to cover up to 5500 square feet. The Deco M4 has its own advantages over its rival in terms of executing mesh technology. Although TP-LINK Mesh is not superior compared to AiMesh, well-known for its flexibility of supporting cross-platform devices, the Deco M4 have its own identity, it gets the job done. The Deco M4 suitable for home-consumers as a router or as an access-point while for enterprise users, the Deco M4 only suitable as an access-points since it lacks enterprise-based features such as centralized VPN support.

TP-LINK Deco M4 Dual-Band AC1200 MU-MIMO Mesh System Review - Deco M4 receives Silver Award from TechCyn

The TP-LINK Deco M4 deserves a silver award from us for its own unique mesh technology, wireless coverage, its targeted customers and flexibility only in supporting cross-models from the same Deco product series.





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