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TP-Link Deco BE95 BE33000 Mesh Review (vs. Deco BE85): More on Paper, Less in Reality

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As the first Quad-band hardware with the 6GHz spectrum split in two, the TP-Link Deco BE95 BE33000 Quad-Band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 7 System proved complicated in my experience.

The mesh system was announced in November 2022 and released in May 2023, together with the Deco BE85.

That was the case when I first had my hands on early August 2023 β€” Wi-Fi 7 was still in draft then β€” as it is today. (Wi-Fi 7 was officially certified on January 8, 2024.)

Here's the bottom line: If you live in a large home, at the current street price of $1100 for a 2-pack (or $1600 for a 3-pack), the Deco BE95 is an easy solution, albeit far from the best, to blanket it with strong Wi-Fi signals. However, in real-world usage, it has nothing better, if not all-around slightly worse, compared to the more affordable Deco BE85.

Dong's note: I first published this review on August 3, 2023, when Wi-Fi 7 was still in draft, and updated it on February 21, 2024, after doing more testing with certified Wi-Fi 7 clients.

TP Link Deco BE95 Laying
The TP-Link Deco BE95 comes in a 2-pack of two identical mesh routers, each with four Multi-Gig ports.

TP-Link Deco BE95: The double 6GHz bandwidth that turns out to be half

The Deco BE95 is the Deco BE85 plus an additional 6 GHz band. It's the first Quad-band broadcaster with two 6 GHz bands. Supposedly, that doubles the 6GHz real-world bandwidth.

There are other Quad-band Wi-Fi solutions that include 2.4GHz, two 5GHz, and 6GHz bands, such as the Netgear Orbi 970 series.

In reality, instead of having a single 6GHz band that encompasses the entire frequency β€” as is the case with any Tri-band Wi-Fi 7 broadcaster, such as TP-Link's Deco BE85 and Archer BE800, or the Netgear RS700 β€” the BE95 splits its 6GHz spectrum into two narrower bands, similar to the case of the Asus GT-BE98 Pro standalone router.

The result? It is capable of utilizing two 6GHz channels simultaneously. That's the general concept of band-splitting in Wi-Fi. However, as a mesh system, the Deco BE95 is intriguing since its second 6GHz band is never available to the client; at least, that was the case in my experience.

To understand it better, we need to start with how it is different from its cousin, the Deco BE85, as shown in the table below.

Deco BE95 vs. Deco BE85: Hardware specifications

TP Link Deco BE95 vs. Deco BE85 FrontTP Link Deco BE95 vs. Deco B85 Ports
TP-Link Deco BE95 vs. Deco BE85 (BE33000 vs. BE22000): The two are identical from most angles until you look at their back. The BE85 mesh router (left) comes with the same number of Multi-Gig ports that are the mirror image of the BE95.
Deco BE95 2packDeco BE85 3pack
Full NameTP-Link Deco BE95 BE33000 Quad-band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 7 SystemTP-Link Deco BE85 BE22000 Tri-band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 7 System
ModelDeco BE95Deco BE85
Mesh Availability
(at launch)
2-pack or 3-pack
(identical routers)
3-pack or 2-pack
(identical routers)
Dimensions
(each unit)
5.04 Γ— 5.04 Γ— 9.29 in
(128 Γ— 128 Γ— 236 mm)
Processing PowerUndisclosed
Wi-Fi Bandwidth Quad-band BE3300Tri-Band BE22000
1st Band (2.4GHz)
(channel width)
4x4 BE: Up to 1376 Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2nd Band (5GHz)
(channel width)
4x4 BE: Up to 8640 Mbps
(20/40MHz/160/240MHz)
3rd Band (6GHz)
(channel width)
4x4 BE 6GHz-1: Up to 11520 Mbps
(20/40MHz/160/320MHz)
4x4 BE: Up to 11520 Mbps
(20/40MHz/160/320MHz)
4rth Band (6GHz)6GHz-2
4x4 BE: Up to 11520 Mbps
(20/40MHz/160/320MHz)
None
Backward compatibility
(with all existing clients)
Yes
Wireless SecurityWPA2, WPA3
Mobile AppTP-Link Deco
Web User InterfaceLimited
Bridge ModeNo
AP Mode
(as a mesh or a single unit)
YesYes
USB Port
(each unit)
1x USB 3.0
Internal FanYes
Gigabit PortNone
Multi-Gig Port
(each unit)
2x 2.5Gbps
1x 10Gbps
1x 10Gbps / SFP+ Combo
(all ports are WAN/LAN auto-sensing)
Link AggregationNo
Firmware Version
(at review)
1.0.14 Build 202311241.0.14 Build 20231124
Power Input110-240V
Power Consumption
(per 24 hours)
β‰ˆ 535 Wh
(measured at router unit)
β‰ˆ 485 Wh
(measured at router unit)
Suggested Price
(at launch)
$1199.99 (2-pack)
$1799.99 (3-pack)
$599.99 (single router)
$1499.99 (3-pack)
$999.99 (2-pack
Hardware specifications: TP-Link Deco BE95 vs. Deco BE85
Note how the former uses more power than its birthday twin cousin.

As you might have noted, the 6GHz-2 band is practically the only difference the BE95 has compared to the BE85. Appearance-wise, the two look identical from almost all angles, except:

  • On the back, their ports' labels are mirror images of each other.
  • They have their respective model names and unique default information on the underside.

And there's not much else. You can even use their power adapters interchangeably.

TP Link Deco BE85 UndersideTP Link Deco BE95 Underside
TP-Link Deco BE95 vs. Deco BE85 (left): The second place you can tell the two apart is their undersides, where you can find the model numbers and other default/unique info.

The splitting of the 6GHz band and Wi-Fi 7

The practice of splitting a frequency into two narrow bands started with the 5GHz of Wi-Fi 5 and continued to Wi-Fi 6. As mentioned, instead of having one band encompassing the entire spectrum, we have two, each having half of it.

A quest refresher: Band splitting starts with the 5GHz of Wi-Fi 5 and continues with Wi-Fi 6 and 6E. The cabinet below will give you some highlights on the practice's details and its pros and cons.

The specificities of band splitting in Wi-Fi broadcasters

Channels allocation, the 5GHz’s DFS, and band-splitting

A Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (or Wi-Fi 5) broadcaster (2.4GHz + 5GHz) has two distinctive sets of channels. One belongs to the 2.4GHz band, and the other to the 5GHz band.

By default, each channel is set at the lowest width, which is 20MHz. When applicable, the hardware can combine adjacent channels into larger ones that are 40MHz, 80MHz, or even wider.

Again, depending on your locale and hardware, the number of available channels on each band will vary, depending on how wide the band is and the width of the entire band.

In the US, the 2.4 GHz band includes 11 usable 20MHz channels (from 1 to 11) and has been that way since the birth of Wi-Fi. Things are simple in this band. The 2.4GHz band uses channels of 20MHz or 40MHz width. The wider the width, the fewer channels you can get out of the frequency β€” the entire band is only so wide.

On the 5GHz frequency, regardless of Wi-Fi standards, things are complex. We have DFS (restricted) and regular (non-DFS) channels and the UNII-4 portion. The 5GHz band uses 4 channel widths, including 20MHz, 40MHz, 80MHz, or 160MHz. Wider channels are desirable since they deliver more bandwidth or faster speeds.

The 5GHz Wi-Fi channels and their positions on the spectrum.
Here are the 5GHz Wi-Fi channels and their positions on the spectrum in the US. The gap in the middle of the DFS portion, between channels 64 and 100, is reserved exclusively for Doppler RADAR, and the portion beyond 5.8GHz is generally unavailable β€” it belongs to UNII-4.

Below is the breakdown of the channels on the 5GHz frequency band at their narrowest form (20MHz):

  1. The lower part of the spectrum includes channels: 36, 40, 44, and 48.
  2. The upper portion contains channels: 149, 153, 161, and 165.
  3. In between the two, we have the following DFS channels: 52, 56, 60, 64, 100, 104, 108, 112, 116, 120, 124, 128, 132, 136, 140, and 144. (Channels from 68 to 96 are generally reserved exclusively for Doppler RADAR.)

In a dual-band (2.4GHz + 5GHz) broadcaster, the 5GHz band gets all the channels above (#1, #2). It'll also get #3 if the broadcaster supports DFS.

In a traditional Tri-band broadcaster (2.4GHz + 5GHz + 5GHz), the first 5GHz band (5GHz-1) will get the lower channels (#1), and the 2nd 5GHz band (5GHz-2) gets the upper channels (#2).

If the broadcaster supports DFS, the 5GHz-1 gets up to channel 64, and the rest (100 and up) goes to 5GHz-2. If the hardware also supports the new 5.9GHz portion of the 5GHz spectrum, it generally has three additional channels to its upper part, including 169, 173, and 177.

The splitting of the 5GHz spectrum ensures that the two narrower bands (5GHz-1 and 5GHz-2) do not overlap. So, here's the deal with traditional Tri-band (2.4GHz+ 5GHz+ 5GHz):

  • The good: While the total width of the 5GHz spectrum remains the same, we can use two portions of this band simultaneously, theoretically doubling its real-world bandwidth.
  • The bad: Each portion (5GHz-1 or 5GHz-2) has fewer channel-forming options, making it harder for them to use the 80MHz or 160MHz channel widths required for high bandwidth. Physically, the channel-width options are now more limited than when the entire 5GHz spectrum is utilized as a single band.
  • The bottom line: Limited bandwidth for each sub-5GHz band. In an area crowded with 5GHz Wi-Fi broadcasters, practically everywhere these days, this band-splitting practice likely adds little in terms of extra real-world total bandwidth.

The band-splitting of the 6GHz frequency is similar in principle to the 5GHz. The entire frequency is divided into two separate non-overlapping portions to host the upper and lower channels, allowing the simultaneous use of two channels. But this band has its own quirks.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the 6GHz band has 1200MHz in total width, ranging from 5.925GHz to 7.125GHz. However, depending on the regulations, which vary from one region to another, only a portion or portions of this entire spectrum might be available for local Wi-Fi applications.

So, this band's availability alone is complicated, and it's impossible to convey its variations worldwide in a few short paragraphs. Assuming we live in an area where the entire 1200MHz spectrum is available β€” the best-case scenario β€” here are a few things a few things to keep in mind:

  1. If split in the middle, we'll get two 600MHz-wide sub-bands. Generally, the narrower the band, the less flexible it becomes in forming a channel with the widest possible width.
  2. To deliver the best performance, Wi-Fi 7 needs to use its widest channel, which is 320MHz. In a 6GHz + 6GHz split, each sub-brand's 600MHz total width is wide enough for one possibility of a 320MHz channel. As a result, when there are multiple individual 6GHz broadcasters in close proximity, due to interference, only narrower channels (160MHz or 80MHz) are possible instead of the desirable 320MHz.
  3. By nature, with the current allowed broadcasting power, the 6GHz frequency has just about two-thirds of the 5GHz's effective range and much weaker object penetration β€” it's not ideal in homes with lots of walls.

To improve the 6GHz band's range, Wi-Fi 7 has a new feature called Automated Frequency Coordination that allows for additional broadcasting. However, AFC is not an inherent feature of the standard and also depends on regulations β€” its availability is not a given.

That's to say, coverage-wise, the 6GHz band is not as impactful as the 5GHz. And that means the extra bandwidth you'd get from using two 6GHz bands simultaneously might not be as meaningful as it's cracked up to be. All the while, the drawbacks of band splitting mentioned above, including the lower possibility of having a 320MHz channel, are inevitable.

As you can imagine, the real-world usage of Deco BE95 (or any 6GHz+6GHz Wi-Fi 7 broadcaster) is more complicated than its Tri-band counterpart. In my experience, the availability of its second 6GHz band β€”the 6GHz-2 β€” changed from non-existent to elusive.

But before we get there, keep in mind that the Deco BE95, despite all the things I mentioned above, is a familiar mesh system.

TP-Link BE95: A familiar Deco set

Indeed, other than the complicated 6GHz, the Deco BE95 is identical to the BE85 in everything else. In fact, it's essentially the same as any Deco set you've used. The whole product line shares the same firmware, settings, and features.

Available as packs of two or three units, you can use any of the units as the primary router to host an Internet connection. After that, plug the second unit in at a reasonable distance, and you'll get a mesh β€” the hardware pieces are pre-synced.

Optionally, and ideally, you can use a network cable to link them together via multi-Gigabit wired backhauling. In this case, you can place them farther apart β€” like two ends of a large home β€” and still get the best performance out of the mesh.

However, with wired backhauling, the BE95's second 6GHz band is somewhat irrelevant, if not a shortcoming. Nothing beats wiring in networking, and the mesh's extra band was never available to the clients in my experience β€” more below.

The well-designed Deco app

Like the rest of the Deco family, you must use the Deco mobile app for setup and ongoing management.

You won't be able to get the mesh system up and running without a live Internet connection since you must connect to TP-Link's server first. In return, you can manage your home network on the phone at home or when out and about.

TP-Link and your privacy

Having to sign in with an account generally means your hardware always connects to the vendor. That translates into inherent privacy risks. On this matter, the Chinese networking company, among other things, insists that it is based in Hong Kong and offers this assurance:

"TP-Link takes privacy seriously and complies with U.S. policies to protect consumers."

TP-Link's Privacy Policy page.

Managing your home network via a third party is never a good idea. Privacy is a matter of degree. Data collection and handling vary vendor by vendor.

The Deco app is well-designed. In fact, it's one of the best-thought-out apps in all canned mesh systems I've tested. The app has gotten better over the years.

As a mobile app, it's more restrictive and not as in-depth as a full web user interface, available in TP-Link's Archer standalone router family. Still, it has all the standard network settings and a comparatively generous set of free features. These include Dynamic DNS (via a TP-Link's free host), port forwarding, VPN, QoS, Parental Controls, and so on.

TP Link Deco App Main PageTP Link Deco App
Over the years, the Deco mobile app has evolved into a robust mesh management solution. Among other things, you can use it to control multiple Deco networks, share access with friends/family, and have a good set of networking settings and features. Still, the app is limited compared to a traditional web user interface.
Note on the left image how the 6GHz-2 band is available for the backhaul link. Within the app, it was never presented as part of the fronthaul.

The app is also flexible. You can share the same account between multiple users or use it to handle various Deco networks. Within each network, you can quickly switch the primary router role to any of the Deco units or make the system work in the AP mode.

Additionally, those needing more can opt for the HomeShield Pro package, which costs $60/year after a 30-day trial and adds comprehensive router-level network protection.

Limited, basic Wi-Fi settings

On the downside, like the case of the BE85 and the rest of the Deco family, the BE95 has little Wi-Fi customization. It has the same Wi-Fi settings and number of SSIDs (network names) as the BE85.

Specifically, here's the breakdown of what you can do with the BE95's Wi-Fi options:

  1. A primary SSID for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands via Smart Connect. A couple of things to note about this network:
    • You can't separate these bands into two SSIDs, but you can turn either off, making the network exclusively 2.4GHz or 5GHz.
    • There is an option to make the 5GHz band operate in 80MHz, 160MHz (default), or the new 240MHz channel widths.
  2. A second SSID for the 6GHz band β€” automatically takes the primary SSID's name and adds the "_6GHz" suffix. You can change this name to anything you want, including the same as the primary SSID.
  3. An optional third SSID with Wi-Fi 7's Multi-Link Operation (MLO) feature. This SSID automatically has the "_MLO" suffix, but you can also name it to your liking. A couple of things to note:
    • This SSID uses all three bands by default, but you can turn the 2.4GHz off to include only the 5GHz and 6GHz bands.
    • Wi-Fi 7 clients can connect to this SSID using two bands simultaneously to increase the bandwidth. Wi-Fi 6 devices can only use one band at a time.
    • This SSID only supports WPA3 encryption, which generally doesn't work with Wi-Fi 5 and older clients.
  4. Two optional Guest Network SSIDs, one for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and the other for the 6GHz band. You can also name these networks to your liking as long as they are different from those used in #1, #2, or #3.
  5. An optional IoT Network SSID for the 2.4GHz band (default) or the 2.4GHz + 5GHz combo. This is practically just another isolated Guest network.
  6. You have the option to hide any of these SSIDs so that they won't appear on a device's Wi-Fi scan. But you'll need to enter them manually on a new device.

And this is where it gets interesting. In my experience, there was no mention of the Quad-band Deco BE95's 6GHz-2 band among the SSIDs. Within the app, other than the model names and the number of bands used for backhauling, which includes the 6GHz-2, everything was virtually the same as in the case of the Tri-band BE85.

Curious, I decided to go beyond the app to find out more.

The limited web user interface and the elusive 6GHz-2 band

Like the case of all Deco hardware, the BE95 has a web user interface, available only after the initial setup process and accessible via its default IP, which is 192.168.68.1.

Besides firmware updates, this interface only shows the status of the mesh system. You cannot use it to change any settings, which is a shame. It was through this interface that, back in August 2023, I discovered the disabled status of the BE95's 6GHz-2 band, as shown in the photo below. The band was turned off for all SSIDs, and there was no way to enable it.

TP Link Deco BE95 Web Interface Network Map All ClientsTP Link Deco BE95 Web Interface 6GHz 2 disabled
The TP-Link Deco BE95's web user interface is limited, but it's where I found out the 6GHz-2 band, which occupied the upper part of the spectrum, to be disabled for the fronthaul.

During my second try with the mesh via the latest firmware, this band was only available for backhauling. There was no option within the app to use it for clients, even when I used a cable to link the two hardware units.

In my testing, the Deco BE95's wireless backhaul bandwidth wasn't better than that of the Tri-band Deco BE85. That, plus the general drawbacks of band-splitting, as mentioned above, makes this mesh's extra cost sort of ridiculous. You literally have to pay more to get less.

TP-Link Deco BE95: Detail photos

TP-Link Deco BE95 Retail Box
The TP-Link Deco BE95's retail box

TP Link Deco BE95 has fancy packaging
Like the Deco BE85, the BE95 comes in fancy packaging.

TP Link Deco BE95 Ports
The TP-Link Deco BE95 mesh router is quite large but not huge. It includes four Multi-Gig ports; one is a 10GBASE-T/SFP+ combo port.

TP Link Deco BE95 2 pack topTP Link Deco BE95 Underside
The top of the 2-pack BE95 and the underside of a single unit.

TP Link Deco BE95 ConnectedTP Link Deco BE95 in Action 1
Here's the Decbo BE95 router unit in action. Note its color-changing status light.

TP-Link Deco BE95: Fast but comparatively unimpressive performance

Between the first time back in August last year and this second try, I tested the Deco BE95 over a long period, and for the most part, the experience was the same as what I had with the BE85 (when used as a 2-pack). After all, the Quad-band mesh is very much a Tri-band cousin, if not a lesser experience.

As you will note in the performance charts, the Deco BE95, when tested as a router hosting a 2x2 Wi-Fi 7 client, delivered a similar performance as the Deco BE85. In some tests, it was faster; in others, it was slower, all within insignificant margins.

The same performance can be said about the satellite unit, which was, in fact, slower than the Deco BE85 for the most part, again with tiny margins.

TP Link Deco BE95 Router Wi Fi Short Range PerformanceTP Link Deco BE95 Router Wi Fi Long Range Performance

In terms of range, the Deco BE95 had the same range as the Deo BE85, which was about as good as a broadcaster could have. The coverage of each band is different from another, and it's always hard to put it in a concert number β€” your mileage will vary. However, you can expect each BE95 unit to cover some 2000 ft2 β€“ 2500 ft2 (232 m2) of space.

Setting up a mesh system wirelessly is always tricky, and it is generally recommended that you use wired backhauling with Wi-Fi 7 hardware. In the BE95's case, you'll have 10Gbps backhaul right out of the box, no matter how many units you want to use.

TP Link Deco BE95 Satellite Wi Fi Long Range PerformanceTP Link Deco BE95 Satellite Wi Fi Short Range Performance

As for internet speed, my Wi-Fi 7 clients, including a couple of laptops using the Intel BE200 adapters, a One Plus 11 5G, and a Pixel 8 Pro, could at times connect at the negotiated speed of close to 5Gbps but generally got slightly 2Gbps of download speed out of my 10Gbps fiber-optic line.

While the Internet speed test was not part of my standard test, the numbers showed actual Wi-Fi 7 speeds. But that was also the case with the Deco BE85 and other Wi-Fi 7 routers I've tested.

TP Link Deco BE95 Speed Test
The Wi-Fi 7-enabled One Plus 11 5G phone had an excellent connection to the Deco BE95 but still sustained slightly over 2Gbps out of a 10Gbps broadband connection.

In terms of reliability, the first time I tested the Deco BE95 in August 2023, the system was a bit buggy. This second time around, with the latest firmware, it passed my 3-day stress test with no disconnection. And everything seemed to work as intended. That was a good thing.

However, not everything worked as expected. Most noticeably, the mesh system's backhaul bandwidth β€” the wireless connection between the router unit and the satellite β€” didn't pan out. Specifically, with an additional 6GHz band, one would logically expect the Deco BE95 to have higher backhaul bandwidth than those without.

And one would be wrong.

Underwhelming wireless backhaul bandwidth, fast Multi-Gig wired performance

In my new wireless backhaul test using two 10Gbps wired clients connected to the router and the satellite, the result was rather interesting.

At 4728Mbps, the Deco BE95's wireless backhaul link was fast but still a tad lower than the Deco BE85. The point here is that Deco BE95 wasn't slow. In fact, it was among the fastest mesh systems to date. However, the additional 6GHz-2 band never played a role in real-world usage. It was there only for the cool factor.

TP Link Deco BE95 Wired and Wireless Backhaul Performance
The TP-Link Deco BE95 Wired and Wireless Backhaul performance. Note how its wireless backhaul performance (WB) was lower than that of the BE85.

I also tested the hardware's Multi-Gig ports, and they worked well. This is the only area where it was consistently faster than the BE85, though, again, not by large margins.

It's worth noting that, like the case of other hardware with 10Gbps ports, the Deco BE95's ports didn't deliver sustained speeds of close to true 10000Mbps, but only about half of that, which is plenty fast.

10Gbps and home routers

To deliver (close to) true 10Gbps, a router needs more than just a couple of 10Gbps Ethernet network ports. It also requires high processing power and applicable firmware to handle this bandwidth.

Generally, Multi-Gig home and SMB routers, including top-tier ones, do not have enough to deliver (close to) true 10Gbps (10,000Mbps) throughputs. After "overhead", they sustain at around 6,500Mbps on the LAN side and around 5000Mbps on the WAN side, give or take β€” the latter generally remote more processing power.

A similar thing can be said about most 10Gbps switches, though they tend to have better real-world rates than routers.

That's partially why more home Wi-Fi routers support the lowest tier of Multi-Gig, 2.5Gbps, than those with 10Gbps ports. In this case, you can expect them to deliver close to 2,500Mbps in real-world speeds.

Fast NAS performance, a tad noisy

Like the case of the Deco BE85, the Deco BE95 has a USB 3.0 port, and I tested its network-attached storage feature with a portable SSD. Via a 10Gbps wired performance, the router unit delivered sustained copy speeds of almost 190MB/s for writing and over 230MB/s for reading.

These were quite impressive until you looked at the numbers of the Deco BE85, which were consistently higher. Still, at these speeds, you can use the Deco BE95 as a viable solution for causal network storage needs before you need a real NAS server.

TP Link Deco BE95 NAS Read PerformanceTP Link Deco BE95 NAS Write Performance
The TP-Link Deco BE95's network-attached storage copy performance when hosting a USB portable SSD.

Like the case of the BE85, each unit of the Deco BE95 has an internal fan. While the fan at the satellite unit was mostly off, at the router, it was running almost constantly, producing a subtle humming sound, which is loud enough to be a nuisance in a quiet bedroom.

And this fan was indeed necessary since the router didn't run cool. I could feel hot air coming up when resting my hands on its top, and the router's chassis felt heated at all times. However, the whole thing didn't seem alarmingly hot, and there was no thermal shutdown during my trial β€” not even close.

TP-Link Deco BE95's Rating

7.5 out of 10
TP Link Deco BE95 Lying
Performance
8 out of 10
Features
7 out of 10
Design and Setup
9 out of 10
Value
6 out of 10

Pros

Dual 6GHz bands, four Multi-Gig ports with multi-Gigabit wired backhauling, including two 10Gbps with one being an RJ45/SFP+ combo

Wi-Fi 7 support; backward compatible with existing clients; excellent overall real-world performances;

Easy to use

Cons

6GHz-2 is not available to clients, even with wired backhauling, and didn't help with performance

Can't be fully managed via the limited local web user interface; vendor-connected mobile app required; HomeShield Pro costs extra

Almost constant internal fan; runs a bit hot

Conclusion

The TP-Link Deco BE95 BE33000 Quad-Band mesh system is complicated hardware, and compared to the Deco BE85, it was a bit of a downer. It has more on paper and costs accordingly, but in reality, it delivers about the same, if not less. Things might change further over future firmware, but at this point, it's hard to imagine how any update can be a game-changer.

With an additional 6GHz band, it seems the mesh system is excellent for a fully wireless setup. However, considering the generous bandwidth of Wi-Fi 7 and its MLO feature, the extra band proves unnecessary. That's not to mention if you genuinely want the best performance out of a Wi-Fi 7 mesh system, using wired backhauling is the only sure way.

While it's generally a safe buy to get the Deco BE95 for your home β€” especially if you compare it to the case of the crazily expensive Netgear Orbi 970 series β€” there's no reason to pick it over the Deco BE85. Among other things, you'd save a couple of hundred bucks. And that's never a bad thing.

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62 thoughts on “TP-Link Deco BE95 BE33000 Mesh Review (vs. Deco BE85): More on Paper, Less in Reality”

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  1. In today’s firmware update TP link enabled 2nd 6GHZ band on be 95. Although, it’s reserved for dedicated backhaul the speeds improved. I think it was disabled before and the third band was split for backhauling.

    Reply
      • I keep reading from the TPLink spec that the 2.4Ghz channel of the BE95 is only AX – not BE topping out at 1148mbps at 802.11ax speeds.

        Meanwhile the BE85 has the full fat BE speed at 2.4ghz at 1376mbps.

        Any thoughts on this? Is it true BE95 is inferior here to BE85?

        Reply
  2. Regarding the splitting of the 6Ghz band, I received the following from TP-Link, that seems to say 320MHz would be available on both 6GHz-1 and 6GHz-2 when wired backhaul is used. This seems to go against what you have said.

    “If you plan to use ethernet backhaul, data will be transmitted over the ethernet connection in preference to wireless electromagnetic waves.

    In addition, confirmed with system engineers, for Deco BE95, both 6GHz-1 and 6GHz-2 will have 320MHz.”

    Can the above be correct, or are the TP-Link engineers who provided this answer wrong, or not understanding the question?

    Reply
  3. A lot of retailers have dropped the price of the BE95. Is this now a good mesh option for larger homes? Also, now that Wi-Fi 7 has been certified, did T-Link enable the 6GHz-2 band? Thanks!

    Reply
    • I’d go with the BE85, Kelly. But it’s your call. As you can imagine, I can’t keep tabs on every device I’ve covered, all the time.

      Reply
  4. “You have the option to hide any of these SSIDs so that they won’t appear on a device’s Wi-Fi scan. But you’ll need to enter them manually on a new device.” So does BE95 work differently then say how the Orbi 970 system works? Meaning that with decco you have to manually select which SSID you want to connect to (2.5, 5, or 6) vs having the device (say mobile phone) automatically connect? I have the Orbi 970 now and testing out. So far working dramatically better then previous Orbi 960. I previously ordered the BE95 and just received today. Literally staring at the box thinking if I should open and test out, but reading some of the facts stated here not sure its going to be better, at least today, then the Orbi. One thing I’m noticing with the 970 is that my Samsung Z Fold 5 phone doesn’t always connect to 6e and I have to toggle wi-fi on/off in order for it to connect. It doesn’t seem to handle handshake well as I move around my home. Thinking maybe the BE95 might do this better, but don’t want to be bothered with having to select the band each time especially for the 80+ devices I have throughout my home.

    Reply
  5. One of the reasons you suggested for getting the BE95 is if you live in a “large home”. My home is 5800 sq ft and the walls are 3″ plaster on both sides for a total wall depth of 12″.

    I can run wire from the main router to the Outdoor Deco’s, but I will not be able to run wire to the second router.

    Is this enough reason to go with the BE95 or go with BE85 and add more wireless points?

    My current setup has a four ISP connections (T-Mobile Home ISP, 2x Verizon gUDP hotspots, and Starlink… none of which are as stable as a wired connection). Those feed into a Peplink Balance 305. I use it for failover – not bonding. From the Peplink it goes to my eero network where I have 10 wireless beacons connected across the house.

    The main reason for considering an upgrade is due to an increase in connection issues. Too many of the access points are going offline for a long period of time (even though the main point is Online) and then the devices near them are unable to connect. I was happy with eero for a long time but now it’s gotten so bad that my wife has given me the OK to spend what is needed to fix the problem.

    Thank you in advance – it’s appreciated.

    (If you have a more complex setup or suggestion, feel free to email me and I’ll be glad to pay for your time.)

    Reply
  6. Shouldn’t this be in your 10gbps router shootout now? It appears to be capable of supporting a 10gbps symmetric fiber connection for those that have it available from their ISP. Any plans to review the Ubiquiti Dreamwall for 10gbps ISPs?

    Reply
    • Not this one but the BE85 is, for good reason. By the way, I’ve never seen *real* 10Gbps — it’s more around 7Gbps at best in real-world rates, but that’s to be expected.

      And no, I’m not going to review the Dreamworld — supporting Wi-Fi 6, it’s already “obsolete”. πŸ™‚ I’d recommend the UDM-SE, instead.

      Reply
  7. I was a very early adopter, and, this system worked well for about 6 weeks, but several firmware updates and software updates have made this setup a hot mess; frequent disconnects, micro drops often, and a few times in the last few weeks, a full blown network reset was required to get the internet working again..
    I’m dumping this for a ET12 setup this week, and my advice to anyone interested would be to look else where, this should NOT have been released so soon, and it is NOT ready for prime time..

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing the XP, Mike. Not surprising at all, as I mentioned in the review. The BE85 is much better, considering.

      Reply
      • agree with you, sir, and its your impressive and entertaining reviews that I have followed over the years on CNET that have been right on target all of the time!

        thanks for the great reviews on the ET12 Asus, I think I should have bought that in July instead of the Deco nightmare!

        Reply
  8. I can’t imagine what this device with OpenWrt is going to be like (like the other deco with Wi-Fi 7). I think it has Qualcomm hardware so it may be supported by better router firmware in the future.

    Reply
  9. Thanks for your feedback! I was going to pull the trigger on the Linksys Wifi 7 Mesh as I’m upgrading from Wifi 5, but I think I’ll hold out a little longer until Wifi 7 is more established before I pull the trigger and see real world tests. Wifi 6E is priced well and all but why if Wifi 7 is out there ha. I upgrade maybe like once every 4 or 5 years so I think wifi 7 will be the way to go.

    Reply
  10. Hi Dong, just wanted to forward the info TP-Link sent me on 26 Sept 2023 regarding the BE95:

    “The 6GHZ-2 band of the Deco BE95 is dedicated exclusively to backhaul traffic and will not be opened for clients.”

    They didn’t respond when I asked: “What is the performance impact of blocking half the 6 GHz spectrum”? Nor did they answer whether the wireless backhaul would utilize 5Ghz if the 6 Ghz connection is poor.

    Reply
    • Or what if you use wired backhauling. πŸ™‚
      Just for the record, I haven’t gotten my questions mentioned in the review answered… As mentioned, Wi-Fi 7 is still not all there yet.

      Reply
      • Wired backhauling? Is that where you put holes in the walls of your house and spend quality time fishing wires through your barely existent attic, after which you have the joy of experiencing an excruciatingly painful, wife-related condition that may or may not include death? πŸ™‚

        Looking forward to additional answers from TP-Link and more great articles from you.

        Reply
  11. Hi, I am redoing my at home business internet network. I am trying to future proof my network. I run a business from a 3,000 square foot home with many devices. I have several offices and computers, tvs, ect all run on wifi and hardwire satellites currently. i know i want wifi 7 for the speed and future proof. I cant decide to get the orbi 970 system or the deco be95. i have read both of your write ups on both systems.. which one do you suggest?

    Reply
      • I have 3 rooms through out my home office that are hardwired. Things like my laptops, tablets, tvs, phones ect are wifi. My 6 PCs in the offices are hardwired. Im just looking to upgrade and future proof the wifi mesh here. i just cant decide to upgrade to the orbi 970 or deco be95 system

        Reply
        • You can’t because neither is suitable. Read my previous reply. Also make sure you actually read the reviews.

          Reply
      • I recently upgraded to 2 gig symetrical fiber, and, I get great download speeds, wired and wireless, but my uploads wired are 1 gig, and wireless alot less..Cox techs say they dont really have 2 gigs up yet, but the tech support people I speak with say thats not true, its my hardware..I have BE 95, 2.5 gig switches everywhere and cat 6 cables..any ideas what can be causing the slowdown?
        thank you!

        Reply
        • It’s likely your hardware, Michael, or the way you did the testing. Note that no Wi-Fi can sustain over Gig+, for now, so most of the time that’s around 1G. Wired devices needs to have Multi-Gig port, etc. More on testing in this post.

          Generally, when you have over Gigabit, things get complicated and you need to pay more attention to the details than to your expectations or assumptions. I speak from experience.

          Reply
          • understand completely, but the speeds I am referring to are wired speeds, not wifi..
            i’m testing on the deco app itself, which allegedly tests the speed right at the device port, so, if I am really being sent 2 gig up and down, shouldnt it show 2 gigs up when doing a wired test? it shows 2.35 gig down, so I think its reporting accurately..From my ONT, I am plugged into the 10 gig port on the deco when testing
            thanks!

      • I ordered a two-pack of Deco BE65 as an upgrade from an aging set of Orbi RBK50 which requires weekly reboots to work properly. The BE65’s were on sale and cheaper than a two-pack of XE75’s which was another option I considered buying.
        I haven’t read any reviews or opinions on the BE65’s, they seem maybe like XE75’s with Wifi 7. Have you looked at the BE65’S?
        We will get multi-gig Fibre after Christmas and I will for the time being run it with wireless backhaul. I’m hoping MLO for the backhaul between the two nodes will be a good option to there being a dedicated backhaul, but I haven’t seen much about how well this actually works in real life.

        Reply
        • TP-Link often makes (stripped-down) variants for different stores that are similar to the standard version. I can’t test them all. But you can schedule the restart, which is generally a good idea. — it’s in the System section of the Deco app.

          Reply
  12. What would you buy for a 5 gig AT&T fiber connection? I’m looking for mesh, 6E, and at least one 5gig multi speed connection. I don’t mind paying a premium to get the most out of my internet connection. This router looks to fit the bill but it doesn’t sound like you’re overly fond of it.

    Reply
  13. This is more a general networking question than a question about this article.

    I have a large home with concrete walls. I put in a Netgear Orbi system 5 years ago. it worked okay for the longest time but recently started to give me more dead spots than before. Adding to that problem is wifi speeds dropped significantly. Going outside my room (where the main Orbi is located), my speeds drop to 1/10th where they were inside the room. 300 mbps drops to 30 and in the past it would drop from 300 to 100 outside the room but that was sufficient for my needs.

    Could I have too many devices using the Orbi now and that causing the drop off? I really haven’t changed much other than add more devices – 50 or so now. Could a router over time loose enough power on their radios to cause that significant of a speed drop? I have tried network optimization without luck.

    I know you will recommend that I do a wired backhaul but I have an issue with that. We have lots of creatures around here that will chew through the wiring. I do not have any space for another wire in existing conduit so that is out unless I increase the size of the project to running new conduit. Are you aware of any treatments I can use to make it so animals will not eat through the wire?

    I tried to use an Arris Surfboard mAX to see if WiFi6 would perform better than my WiFi 5 orbi but it didn’t. would setting up both mesh units and only having devices such as Amazon Echos and Android TV boxes to one and all PCs to the other help this issue?

    Reply
    • Having two mesh systems together will only make things worse. And yes, bandwidth is shared between devices, so the more the slower it gets. I think you already are aware of your situation. Maybe there’s a type of outdoor cable that’s tuff enough to deal with the critters.

      Reply
  14. Reading this more carefully, along with some links. Hopefully the FCC aligns β€œ6 GHz” with more logical frequency spacing. Technically 6 GHz is 6.000 to 6.999 GHz but they’ve already allotted 1200 MHz to it, it would be great if they made it 1280, then 2 320 MHz channels are available for the lower and upper ranges. Also since 6 GHz has 2/3 the range of 5 GHz, hopefully this in itself addresses some concern about crowding. (One can blame it for having less range, but then it’s less likely to interfere with your neighbor’s 6 GHz conversely). Regarding EasyMesh, do you happen to have any two EasyMesh devices you could try? Thanks again for all your efforts!

    Reply
    • Good analysis, Jess. We’ll see how it pans out.
      The only hardware I’ve had is the Netgear MK63 and MR83. And they didn’t work with each other the last time I tried, which was a while ago.

      Reply
  15. ive had the be 95 for almost 2 months now and love it..cant wait for the updates and some real wifi 7 peripherals

    Reply
  16. BE95 versus BE900? Looks like the BE900 splits the 5GHz band and the BE95 splits the 6GHz band…I also like that the BE900 allows for more customization (i.e. you can disable DHCP). I was going to get 2x BE900 but I suppose I could work around the “consumer” limitations of the BE95. What would your choice be between the two (I understand the BE85 and the BE800 are more economical choices)? Thanks!

    Reply
  17. Amazon lists the BE95 as first available since “December 31, 2022”. I prefer not to have two exact same model so I have been looking for a friend to split the two pack. Hopefully soon as Sonic may expand to his neighborhood, at which time he’ll need to upgrade his router.

    I still like/prefer the extra 6 GHz channel even though it’s not enabled, (yet). With MLO that can provide similar throughput as 10 Gbps ethernet. I can confirm that 6 GHz works reasonably well for backhaul in a 2 story house with decent (cemented) flooring on the 2nd floor, via GT-AXE16000 and GT-AXE11000.

    Reply
      • I did read please don’t take it the wrong way. I have been watching the WiFi 7 products, because even though I can find a 6E product that would complete my 10 Gbps backhaul, I would rather pay a little more for WiFi 7. I have seen the BE95 for sale on Amazon and BestBuy with delivery that can be as soon as the next day, but have seen them sell out….

        In this case unless you know some insider information about WiFi 7 that 6 GHz-2 is not going to be available ever, then the math is 33000-22000=11000 Mbps. This is 50% more than the BE85. For $100 each/$200 for the pair would you honestly want the BE85? I’m willing to wait for 6 GHz 2 to open up, besides the fact that the BE95 has been available for retail purchase as I mentioned, at least here in the US…

        Reply
        • Either you didn’t *read* or you had issues with reading comprehension. πŸ™‚

          Feel free to spend your money or time however you want. None of anyone’s business.

          I generally don’t take anything the wrong way. If I’m unsure, I’d ask for clarification.

          Reply
      • Thank you for sharing your Sonic experience! We pay more at my parents’ house for 1 Gig Cable Modem and at our house for 1 Gig Frontier Fiber than their base pricing for 10 Gig, in fact adding their phone line option for $10 would still be cheaper! We can only hope they reach our homes here…

        Reply
      • I habe been reading reviews for weeks and trying to decide. The BE95 will only be available in Europe from October, so an import might have been a costly option. Now I know I will not have to wait and can buy the BE85 which is sold here already.

        Thank you again for your valuable review and all the time you invest in your work.

        Reply

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