Minireview: TP-Link WiFi6 Deco Mesh WiFi System

Don’t worry, I’m not going to start reviewing purchases here, but the whole “mesh” WiFi thing was new to me when I started having my 5Ghz signal on my router start to glitch for everyone in the house (2.4 Ghz worked fine, for some reason) — we got dropped or laggy connections that were remedied by changing channels. And so, recognizing that the 5-year old router (which was high end at the time) was probably on the way to the graveyard, I preemptively purchased a replacement and installed it last night.

When I had purchased the previous router, I had grand ambitions about bridging it throughout the house to get rid of the few dead/weak zones we have. Our house isn’t huge, but there’s a lot going on with aluminum siding and lord knows what kind of wiring system they have in these walls. Forget outside WiFi coverage (siding) and Steamboxing it required LAN (a Steam box is a device sold by the game store Steam, which allows you to get high-end graphics using your PC on other devices it is connected to, but works best under LAN conditions). Wiring the house was a cheaper alternative… at first. Until the cats find the cables and chew through them for shits and giggles (we have one cat who thinks that plastic and rubber casing around wires is an essential part of a cat’s diet and we have to hide certain items, such as wired earbuds, or wave bye-bye).

Anyway, prefacing done and no deep technical details below… I swapped out the router for three of these bases and, so far, I’m damned impressed.

My personal PC is wired to a pod and is being treated, not as a WiFi connected device, but as a LAN device with speeds to support it. Other devices seem to be far more zippy. I haven’t checked outside yet, but the interior of the house is awash with signal. And it was easy peasy to set up (forgetting to deal with atypical devices requiring network access before turning off the other router, that’s my derp — thank you Phillips Hue for not being as smart of lightbulbs as advertised — advice, for “smart” LEDs, I just recommend skipping everyone’s notion of the things. I’ve grown to hate the ones we have).

The app is easy to interpret, although grandma might argue about that. I was able to quickly and easily set up downtime periods for the teenager, who still doesn’t understand that there is a reason she ALWAYS gets caught with devices after hours if she breaks the rules (she’s not nearly as clever and she thinks and leaves obvious “tells” that are easy to find if my spidey senses tingle). Now, internet completely blocked even if she does smuggle it into her room. I can filter webpages on the router-side, though I hesitate to do that with the exception of porn for her and the twins. She doesn’t want to see it and the twins don’t know it exists. We’ve always been a fairly open family, letting the kids know that we rarely censor anything and that if they encounter something that makes them feel uncomfortable, they should tell us so we can talk it through. So, aside from the worst of the worst in malicious webpages, I’m not blocking anything router-side, though I like having the option if I want it.

I even get notifications of new devices logging in which makes me feel a little safer. Once we’re past this period of adding every single device (believe me, I was shocked at just how many devices we have that require WiFi to operate as intended), it’ll be a nice firewall of sorts to know if the password has been compromised because a new device I don’t recognize has logged on.

It’s only been a single night, but so far — I think it was a smart purchase. I can’t wait until the mounts arrive, so I can get the pods off the horizontal surfaces; and also the 8-channel bridge so I LAN in all of the media center devices at the main TV for better connectivity (PS4, Steambox, Tablo, TV, Roku, etc.). So far, I’m impressed.

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