Have you ever found yourself frustrated because the video you’re watching isn’t loading? Or considered moving your desktop setup because it’s too far from the only possible router point in your house? If so, then you are precisely the person that TP-Link is catering to with their newest Mesh Wi-Fi product, the Deco M9 Plus.
As mentioned, the M9 Plus is a mesh Wi-Fi router, which means that on top of having a main unit, it also has an extra node, which you can place in another part of your home in order to expand your Wi-Fi Network. That’s not to say that the M9 Plus will make your slow internet fast, because that very much depends on what plan you have with your provider. Instead, think of the M9 Plus as a coach for your internet that is working to make sure that your connection is as consistent as possible throughout your house.
The M9 plus is TP-Link’s newest mesh router, and the successor to their M5 router, which they launched back in 2017. Unlike the M5, which came with three router units, the M9 Plus that I reviewed only comes with two, but still boasts the same 4,500 sq.ft. range. I tested the Deco in a three storey house, with many nooks and crannies and found that the Wi-Fi connection stayed consistently within a 2mbps range. Even when I moved my desktop as far away from the routers as possible, to the room above my garage, I found that I had the same performance playing Overwatch as I had when it was set up directly beside the router.
Setup is a breeze, as after opening the box you are prompted to download the Deco app which then takes you through the syncing and setup process step by step. It’s easy to follow and understand, even if you aren’t very tech savvy, which makes this a perfect family device. During setup, the M9 Plus makes a map of your home and suggests placement for the two devices, but I found the suggestions less than ideal. If you only have only one place where your router can plug into like I do, then finding the right spot for the second nook take a bit of time, but eventually worked like a charm.
However, with all that moving around and trying new connections I did run into a few annoying instances where the router wouldn't connect to the app once I moved it to a new location. As a result, I had to reset my account and create an entirely new Wi-Fi network in order to get it to function. It shouldn’t be a problem if you aren’t moving the main device around, but it was a bit frustrating to go through the setup process again.
The constant connection also works well with smart devices and the M9 Plus works with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Zigbee compatible devices. What’s more, you can manage all of your smart devices from the Deco app, which makes organizing your smart home far more intuitive. The M9 Plus also can connect to more than 50 devices at a time without any noticeable slowdown, which makes it ideal for a home with many smart devices. That being said, it’s unfortunately not compatible with Z-wave smart devices, and there seems to be no indication of support arriving in the foreseeable future.
Speaking of the app, when it works, it works quite wonderfully. On top of the breezy setup, the app lets you change your network name and password with the push of a button, as well as set up parental controls. These parental controls include limiting certain connected device access to the internet at certain times, as well as barring certain sites altogether. This functionality is perfect for parents looking to limit their children’s internet activity, and it further adds to the M9 Plus’ pedigree as a family device.
It is a bit on the pricey side, as it retails for $399.99 CDN and there are certainly a ton of cheaper options out there. Be that as it may, the value it provides for families with large homes or those with smart devices is more than worth it.
In the end, the Deco M9 Plus is a solid step up from the previous M5 model with its smart home integration and refined presentation. It’s certainly not for everyone, however, if you have a lot of smart devices, or have a lot of family members and are in need of a consistent Wi-Fi connection then the Deco M9 Plus is simply magic.