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TP-Link AX1800 Deco X20 Review

Fast and Feature-Rich

Nick Shively Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

TP-Link is one of the biggest names in the networking business. Recently, it debuted its WiFi 6-enabled AX1800 Deco X20 router and we were lucky enough to take it for a test drive to see how it performs. Coming in at $269, should this be your next network upgrade?

Specifications

  • MSRP $269.99
  • Wifi Standards:
    • Wi-Fi 6
    • IEEE 802.11ax/ac/n/a 5 GHz
    • IEEE 802.11ax/n/b/g 2.4 GHz
  • WiFi Speeds:
    • AX1800
    • 5 GHz: 1201 Mbps (802.11ax)
    • 4 GHz: 574 Mbps (802.11ax)
  • WiFi Range 4-6 Bedroom Houses (3-pack)
  • TP-Link Mesh Technology
    • Optional Ethernet backhaul work together to link Deco units to provide seamless coverage
    • 2× Antennas (Internal)
    • Multiple antennas form a signal-boosting array to cover more directions and large areas
    • Beamforming
    • Concentrates wireless signal strength towards clients to expand WiFi range
  • WiFi Capacity: High
    • Dual-Band
    • Distribute devices to different bands for optimal performance
    • MU-MIMO
    • Simultaneously communicates with multiple MU-MIMO clients
    • OFDMA
    • Simultaneously communicates with multiple WiFi 6 clients
    • 4 Streams
    • More than enough bandwidth for connected devices
  • Working Modes: Router Mode, Access Point Mode
  • Hardware
    • Processor: 1 GHz Quad-Core CPU
    • Ethernet Ports: 2× Gigabit Ports *Per Deco Unit
    • Supports WAN/LAN auto-sensing
    • Buttons: Reset Button
    • Power: 12 V ?2 A
  • Security
    • WiFi Encryption: WPA, WPA2, WPA3
    • Network Security: SPI Firewall, Access Control
    • HomeCare Antivirus
    • Malicious Site Checker
    • Port Intrusion Prevention
    • Infected Device Isolation
    • Notification and Log
  • Guest Network
    • 1× 5 GHz Guest Network
    • 1× 2.4 GHz Guest Network
  • Software
    • Protocols: IPv4, IPv6
    • Parental Controls: HomeCare Parental Controls
    • Custom Profiles
    • Content Filtering
    • URL Filtering
    • Time Limit
    • Time Schedule (Bed Time)
    • Log Insight
    • Usage Monitor
    • Monthly Reports
  • WAN Types: Dynamic IP, Static IP, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP
  • Quality of Service: HomeCare QoS, QoS by Device, QoS by Application
  • Cloud Service: OTA Firmware Upgrade: TP-Link ID, DDNS
  • NAT Forwarding: Port Forwarding, Port Triggering, DMZ, UPnP
  • IPTV: GMP Proxy, IGMP Snooping, Bridge, Tag VLAN
  • DHCP: Address Reservation, DHCP Client List, Server
  • DDNS: TP-Link
  • Management: Deco App
  • Dimensions (W×D×H): 4.33 × 4.33 × 4.99 in

While not the most powerful router on the market, the AX1800 Deco X20 makes up for what it lacks in raw power with utility. Typically, wireless extender systems are unreliable, difficult to setup, or a hassle to program, but the Deco X20 turns everything into easy mode while providing a fast and consistent connection.

When it comes to Internet speed, power is relative. Having blazing fast download and upload speeds doesn’t matter if your connection constantly drops when walking between rooms or packet loss becomes a problem from stringing together multiple Wi-Fi extenders. This problem only becomes increasingly worse the larger your living space, and paying for multiple modems and routers to provide proper coverage is a costly inconvenience.

This is where the TP-Link AX1800 Deco X20 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System comes in. It includes 3 Deco X20s, where one acts as the main router with two Wi-Fi extenders that connect seamlessly through the Deco application. The two Deco extenders can be placed anywhere in your house, as long as they’re within range of the router, and utilize a single network name and connection no matter where you’re located.

Once the app is downloaded it will walk you through the installation process. Simply connect one Deco X20 to your modem and sync the other two using the application and you’re good to go. The network name, password, and authorized devices can all be managed through the application.

Additional features of the application include security, which can filter out malicious content and/or protect your network from attacks, and parental controls can be added by creating a unique profile for each family member.

There’s also the ability to prioritize certain types of activity with the click of a button. Need to prioritize low latency and a stable connection for raid night then select ‘Gaming’ on the application. If you’re just trying to wind down then ‘Streaming’ and ‘Surfing’ are available options as well. For more flexibility, a tiered system can be created through the ‘Custom’ option. Finally, specific devices can be categorized as ‘high priority’ based on the bandwidth measured through an Internet Speed Test or set manually.

All of these features are great if they’re actually being used, but in terms of raw power, the AX1800 lags behind a bit for its price category. The 2.4 GHz 574 Mbps speed will likely be capped out by most people with high-end Internet but the 5 GHz connection does manage to double this amount. The similarly priced AX 6000 has significantly faster download speeds with 2.4 GHz 1148 Mbps and 5 GHz 4804 Mbps. If speed is more important than coverage, there are other models that are either less expensive or most cost-efficient.

With that in mind, the coverage provided by the Deco X20s is excellent. My house is approximately 3,500 feet and despite having a powerful router, Linksys WRT32X, there are multiple dead zones or rooms were my connection will regularly drop. After switching to the AX1800 Deco X20 system this has no longer been a problem.

It doesn’t matter if I’m in the dining room (farthest room from my modem) or in the garage, I haven’t experienced any issues with dropped connections or packet loss. I previously tried to correct my issues with various Wi-Fi extenders but would have issues with packet loss. This occurs when packets of data are sent but not received and can cause increased latency, slower speeds, or disconnections. Obviously, this can be a serious issue when trying to game or stream video content.

Previous Router

TP-Link AX1800 Deco X20

Previously, my download speed would be around 40Mbps with 2-4 percent packet loss on a 400Mbps connection in the farther rooms from my router. With the Deco X20s, I’m now getting closer to 200Mbps with 0 percent packet loss. Improved download speed and reduced packet loss aren’t the only benefits I’ve seen, though. The farther away from my main router the more unstable my ping would be, bouncing from 30ms to 500ms+ without warning, and now that has completely stabilized.

The benefits of the AX1800 Deco X20 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System have been clear from my time using it, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who Wi-Fi coverage problems in their house or even for owners of a small office. However, if the added coverage and connection stability isn’t a concern then there are better options in this price range for pure speed.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
9.0Amazing
Pros
  • Excellent wireless coverage
  • Easy to install and program
  • Sleek and subtle design
Cons
  • A bit pricey for the specs


Nick_Shively

Nick Shively