NetworkingReviews

TP-Link Deco X90 Review

tp-link deco x90 review


Looking for an incredible AI-powered mesh system? Look no further: here comes the TP-Link Deco X90 review! TP-Link is one of the biggest names in the business and the Deco X90 makes for one of the best mesh Wi-Fi 6 routers out there in terms of coverage and performance.

As in, for something like $450, give or take, depending on where you source your product, you’ll get one hell of a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh system which can replace regular routers and extenders setups and can cover over 6000 square feet or real estate, which is nothing short of impressive.

Before we proceed with the actual review, we suggest you read our article about Mesh network vs Wi-Fi extender.

Specs

  • Connectivity Technology: Wi-Fi, Ethernet
  • Brand: TP-Link
  • Control Method: App
  • Frequency Band Class: Tri-Band
  • Wireless Communication Standard: 802.11n, 802.11b, 802.11ax, 802.11ac, 802.11g
  • Security Protocol: WPA2, WPA3, WPA
  • Number of Ports: 4
  • Data Transfer Rate: 6600 Megabits Per Second
  • Antenna Type: Internal
  • Controller Type: Amazon Alexa

What it is

To make a long story short, the TP-Link Deco X90 is arguably one of the fastest Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems we’ve ever reviewed, featuring an attractive design and a relatively high price, but after all’s said and done, this baby is definitely worth it, especially if you’re hunting for the best router for gaming money can buy.

tp-link deco x90

For serious gamers, the quality of a given router is just as important as the gaming gear itself, and that includes long-range routers, a department in which the Deco X90 really shines.

Design

Design-wise, this TP-Link machine will look awesome in just about any environment, featuring interlocking curves that look pretty much like Art Deco (hence its name) or expressionist architecture. Moreover, the system is quite compact considering their power level, which means you’ll have zero issues with “product placement”.

Who’s it for

Considering the fact that you’ll get 6000 square feet of coverage from the dual-unit system, the Deco X90 is clearly aimed at covering a large house or a property with detached buildings. Moreover, the AI-driven technology makes things even better, as the router literally learns about your connected devices moving between nodes, and the same goes for neighboring connections.

Basically, the router understands what information is stored locally and doesn’t require upload into the cloud.

Performance and Features

The Deco X90 is the successor of the TP-Link Archer AX90, and it was designed to deliver the same amount of “brute force” (performance) in a more attractive and compact form factor. On top of that, you’ll get more consistent coverage, which makes it even better than the AX90.

Hardware-wise, the Deco X90 makes for an AX6600 tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router, which means it will split the 6.6Gbps of available wireless bandwidth into 574Mbps at 2.4GHz, 1201Mbps on the 5GHz band, and 4804Mbps on the 5GHz band.

Considering the fact that there are relatively few high-end machines capable of 2402 Mbps, your Wi-Fi 6 devices will max out at 1201Mbps, which is more than enough for professional gaming or UHD video streaming.

If this is all gibberish to you, the lesson to be taken home is that the Deco X90 is not a bottleneck for your system, regardless of your gear quality.

Speaking about performance and 6000 square feet coverage, if your property has a lot of interference, like brick or concrete walls, you must expect for significantly less coverage from this router, and that’s absolutely normal

Just so you know, even HVAC system may interfere with the quality of the coverage, and if that’s a big issue to you, you can always add more Deco nodes to your setup, at extra cost obviously.

Each of the two nodes supplied in the retail package comes with 2 Ethernet ports. One of these is capable of 2.5 Gbps, and both ports can be used as LAN or WLAN, and they’ll switch automatically. Ethernet can also be used as a mesh backhaul if you’re encountering problems with your wireless link.

tp-link deco x90 ethernet

However, most users will stick to a wireless mesh link, and considering TP Link’s cutting-edge AI-drive technology, this would make for the sensible (and best in terms of performance) option in the Deco X90. The AI technology works by constantly retrieving and collecting data about signal strength in your connected devices and neighboring signals, and uses the respective data to optimize connections on the fly if something that interferes with the mesh-link (like an HVAC or microwave oven).

The AI-driven technology is also capable of reacting to changes in the environment, for example your neighbors upgrading their routers, and improve switching by determining when it makes the most sense to move your connection to the next node.

Basically, the router helps connected devices (smartphones, gaming consoles, you name it) to find their way to the closest node, and since the AI data is stored locally, there’s no security issue with uploading sensitive data on random servers owned by chicoms or whomever.

Everything pertaining to your private data is stored and processed on your router, and that’s a great feature in our book. The TP-Link app can be downloaded and installed on Android and iOS devices and will make your life easier if you want to set up your mesh system like a pro due to its clear and user-friendly interface.

Once you’ll figure it out, you’ll be able to change basic settings, see your connected devices and which node they’re on, and even use the parental controls with content filtering feature. Speaking of the latter, you’ll get custom profiles, so you can change settings quickly.

What’s weird about such a high-tech router is the total lack of advanced settings. If you’re looking to customize settings, just like with an old-school router, you may be disappointed. Other people will definitely appreciate the simplicity of the Deco X90, so the jury is still out on this issue.

However, you’ll still get the important stuff, like DHCP settings, port forwarding, operation modes and IPV6, so all is not lost with this TP-Link gizmo. One cool thing about this system is that both modules can function as master and/or slave, since the master and slave units aren’t designated by default.

The only thing that we didn’t like, except from the high price tag, is the strange fact that TP-Link failed to add USB ports to this mesh system. As in, you cannot connect to external storage devices, such as a printer, NAS (short for Network Attached Storage), or hard drive, and to some, this may be a deal-breaker.

Final word

You should buy the Deco X90 if money is no object, you want to show that you have exquisite, taste, and, joke aside, you already have Wi-Fi 6 devices, need coverage for your huge real estate with multi-gig speeds, and can appreciate free parental controls. If you have a lot of gear that run on 2.4 Ghz, look for something cheaper.

Pros:
  • Incredibly fast
  • Stellar overall performance
  • 6 high gain and 2 smart array antennas
  • Beautiful design
  • Looks and feels premium
  • Can handle up to 200 devices
Cons:
  • Lacks USB port
  • Expensive
About author

Chris is an old school millennial interested in fast living and everything tech.
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