Saturday, September 23, 2023 β€’ Welcome to the πŸ’― Nonsense-Free Zone!
πŸ›οΈ Check out Today’s πŸ”₯Amazon logoDeals! πŸ›’

TP-Link Deco X55 Pro AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Review: A Real Multi-Gig Experience

Share what you're reading!

The new TP-Link Deco X55 Pro AX3000 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System, officially available on July 7, 2023, is what the previous Deco X60 and especially the Deco X4300 Pro should have been. It's the first Wi-Fi 6 Deco designed to deliver Gigabit, even faster, broadband in full.

In many ways, despite the middling hardware specs, the Deco X55 Pro is the very first mesh system truly designed for the now-out-going Wi-Fi 6 standard. It shows how multi-Gigabit will dominate future hardware, as partially proven by the Wi-Fi 7 Deco BE85.

The bottom line is this: At the suggested retail price of $299.99 for a 3-pack, the Deco X55 Pro is the most affordable option to build an entry-level Multi-Gig home network, provided you have a wired home.

The new mesh resembles its older cousin, the Deco X60, or any other entry-level canned mesh in a fully wireless setup. In short, don't get it unless you have run network cables or, at least, have good MoCA wiring.

Dong's note: I first published this post on July 7, 2023, when the mesh system was launched as a preview, and updated it on July 11 to an in-depth review after thorough hands-on testing and real-world trial.

TP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System Box Content
Sharing the same design as the Deco X60, the Deco X55 Pro includes three identical mesh routers.

Deco X55 Pro: The additional 2.5GBASE-T port that changes everything

The X55 Pro is not the first "Pro" Deco set. Before it, there were the Deco X4300, the Deco XE75 Pro, and more. But it's the first that makes sense.

Specifically, each of the hardware units includes not one but two 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig ports. And that minor change changes everything.

TP-Link and "Pro" Wi-Fi hardware: Per the networking vendor, the Pro notion generally applies to new hardware variants with one or more Multi-Gig ports.

For example, the Archer AX3000 Pro is based on the Archer AX3000 with a 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN port. Or the Deco XE75 Pro is the Deco XE75 with a 2.5Gbps port.

With that additional Multi-Gig port, the Deco X55 Pro is TP-Link's first Wi-Fi 6 mesh system that can deliver multi-Gigabit wired backhauling out of the box -- you can even daisy-chain the hardware units eliminating the need for a Multi-Gig switch.

TP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System Back Side
Here are the "money" dual 2.5GBASE-T Multi-Gig ports of a TP-Link Deco X55 Pro mesh router. These ports are auto-sensing -- each will work as a WAN or a LAN, depending on what it's connected to.

In a wired home, the 2.5Gbps backhaul link guarantees that the system has a solid connection throughout, enough to deliver over 2Gbps of broadband in full to every mesh point, thanks to the fact no Wi-Fi broadcaster is limited by a Gigabit backhaul.

Backhaul vs fronthaul

When you use multiple Wi-Fi broadcasters -- in a mesh network or a combo of a router and an extender -- there are two types of connections: fronthaul and backhaul.

Fronthaul is the Wi-Fi signals broadcast outward for clients or the network ports for wired devices. It's what we generally expect from a Wi-Fi broadcaster.

Backhaul (a.k.a backbone,) on the other hand, is the link between one satellite Wi-Fi broadcaster and another, which can be the network's primary router, a switch, or another satellite unit.

This link works behind the scenes to keep the hardware units together as a system. It also determines the ceiling bandwidth (and speed) of all devices connected to the particular broadcaster.

The connection type, a Wi-Fi band or a network port, used for the backhaul is often called the uplink. A Wi-Fi broadcaster might use one of its bands (2.4GHz, 5GHz, or 6GHz) or a network port for the uplink.

Dual-WAN: Where the distinction between bandwidth vs speed is clear

When a Wi-Fi band handles backhaul and fronthaul simultaneously, only half its bandwidth is available to either end. From the perspective of a connected client, that phenomenon is called signal loss.

A Wi-Fi connection between two direct parties occurs in a single band, using one fixed channel, at any given time. This principle applies to all existing Wi-Fi standards, up to Wi-Fi 6E.

When a Wi-Fi band functions solely for backhauling, it's called the dedicated backhaul.

In a mesh system, only traditional Tri-band hardware -- those with an additional 5GHz band -- can have a dedicated backhaul band without ostracizing clients of the same band.

Generally, it's best to use network cables for backhauling -- wired backhauling. And that's an advantage of mesh hardware with network ports. In this case, a satellite broadcaster can use its entire Wi-Fi bandwidth for front-hauling.

In networking, network cables are always much better than wireless in speed and reliability.

In other words, in a wired environment, the Deco X55 Pro is equipped to deliver better performance than any existing TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 and 6E Deco systems, including the top-tier Deco XE200. And that's a good thing considering its cost.

Besides, the new mesh system is similar to any existing Deco set regarding features, settings, and app-based management. The table below highlights the differences between a few similarly-specced Deco sets.

Hardware specifications: TP-link Deco X5 Pro vs X4300 Pro vs Deco X60

Deco X55 Pro Deco X4300 Pro Deco X60
Full NameTP-Link Deco X55 Pro AX3000 Mesh RouterTP-Link Deco X4300 Pro
AX4300 Mesh Router
TP-Link Deco X60 
AX3000 Mesh Router
ModelDeco X55 ProDeco X4300Deco X60
Mesh Availability
(at launch)
3-Pack
(three identical routers)
3-Pack
(three identical routers)
3-Pack
(three identical routers)
Dedicated Wireless BackhaulNoNoNo
Wired BackhaulYesYesYes
Dimensions4.33 in (110 mm) wide 
4.49 in (114 mm) tall
4.33 in (110 mm) wide 
4.49 in (114 mm) tall
4.33 in (110 mm) wide 
4.49 in (114 mm) tall
Wi-Fi BandwidthDual-band AX3000Dual-band AX4300Dual-band AX3000
5GHz Wi-Fi Specs
(channel width)
2x2 AX: Up to 2400Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
3x3 AX: Up to 3800Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
2x2 AX: Up to 2400Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs
(channel width)
2x2 AX: Up to 600Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2x2 AX: Up to 600Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2x2 AX: Up to 600Mbps
(20/40MHz)
Backward Compatibility2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs
(channel width)
802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Wireless SecurityWPA, WPA2, WPA3WPA, WPA2, WPA3WPA, WPA2, WPA3
Mobile AppTP-Link Deco 
(Android + iOS)
TP-Link Deco 
(Android + iOS)
TP-Link Deco 
(Android + iOS)
Vendor Login RequiredYesYesYes
Web User InterfaceYes 
(limited
Yes 
(limited
Yes 
(limited)
Bridge ModeNoNoNo
AP ModeYes Yes Yes 
USB PortNoneNoneNone
Gigabit PortNone1x auto-sensing2x auto-sensing
Link AggregationNoNoNo
Multi-Gig Port2x 2.5GBASE-T
auto-sensing
1x 2.5GBASE-T
auto-sensing
None
Processing Powerundisclosed1GHz Dual-Core CPU1 GHz Quad-core CPU
Power Intake110-240V110-240V110-240V
Power Consumption
(over 24 hours)
β‰ˆ 145 Wh
(measured at the router unit)
β‰ˆ 215 Wh
(measured at the router unit)
not measured
US Price
(3-pack at launch)
$299$399$350
TP-Link X55 Pro vs Deco X4300 Pro vs Deco X60: Hardware specifications.
The new mesh system has relatively low power consumption.

TP-Link X55 Pro: A familiar mid-tier Wi-Fi 6 Deco set but built for a wired home

As you might have noted in the table above, the dual Multi-Gig ports are the only thing that set the Deco X55 Pro apart from its older cousin.

And that proved to be the case in my trial. The new mesh delivered a similar, if not the same, Wi-Fi experience when used in a wireless setup, where a satellite node lost over 50% of its 5GHz bandwidth, as noted in the performance section below.

Also shown in my trial, the new mesh system was a different beast when used via wired backhauling. By default, you automatically have multi-Gigabit backhauls when daisy-chaining the hardware units using network cables, which has been a luxury unavailable even in previous top-tier Wi-Fi 6 and 6E Deco hardware.

It's fair to say it's TP-Link's first Deco set designed for a wired environment, where each hardware unit can deliver its full Wi-Fi speeds to clients.

Deco App Interface Deco App Settings
The Deco X55 Pro shares the same Deco app, which is super easy to use but includes limited Wi-Fi network settings. You need to opt for the HomeShield Pro ($55/year) to get the most out of the hardware.

Other than that, as part of the Deco ecosystem, the X55 Pro is expected to be the same as other Deco sets. Specifically, you can expect the following:

  • Pre-synced hardware: Pick one hardware unit and set it up as the router. After that, the other two automatically become part of the system when plugged in. Note that it's best to link the hardware units using network cables.
  • Limited local web user interface: Like other Deco, the X55 Pro likely has a minimal web user interface which is unavailable until you have registered the mesh via a login account with the user -- you need the account's password to get into the interface.
  • Near-zero Wi-Fi settings: The system has just one main SSID and one Guest network. All you can do with these are change their name and password and turn on or off the band (2.4GHz or 5GHz).
  • Non-in-depth standard network customization: You can use the mobile app to configure the system to deliver most standard network settings, but all lack depth. For example, the Dynamic DNS feature supports only a domain name from TP-Link.
  • Useful features require Homeshield Pro: The Deco comes with the Homeshield suite, which includes rudimentary Parental Controls and QoS features. To unlock more advanced settings, you need to subscribe to HomeShield Pro, which costs $5.99/month or $54.99/year.
  • Easy setup/management, login required: The Deco mobile app, which requires a log-in account, is necessary for the setup process and ongoing management. The app works well and makes setting up the hardware a breeze. Users can also use it to manage the network from anywhere in the world.

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 Hong Kong-based company offers this assurance:

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

TP-Link's Privacy Policy page

While managing your network via a third party is never a good idea, privacy is a matter of degree. Data collection varies vendor by vendor.

In short, if you've used a Deco or any canned mesh system with a mobile app before, you'll find yourself at home with the Deco X55 Pro. There'll be no learning curve.

To be fair, the Deco ecosystem generally has the most to offer regarding network settings and features, compared with similar brands such as Google Nest Wifi, eero, or Netgear Orbi. None of them have all the networking nitty-gritty often used by advanced users.

TP-Link X55 Pro: Detail photos

TP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System Retail BoxTP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System Open Box
The Deco X55 Pro is available as a 3-pack that comes in nice packaging.

TP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System
The TP-Link Deco X55 Pro includes three identical mesh routers. In a system, one will work as the primary router and the rest as mesh satellite units.

TP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System Front in HandTP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System Port in Hand
Each Deco X55 Pro mesh router is compact and has two entry-level 2.5Gbps Mulit-Gig ports. There's no USB or Giagbit port.

TP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System TopTP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System Underside
The top and underside of each Deco X55 Pro mesh router.

TP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System Power Adapter
Each TP-Link Deco X55 Pro router includes a standard-side power adapter.

Deco X55 Pro in Action Deco X55 Pro Ports in Action
A Deco X55 Pro router unit in action.

TP-Link Deco X55 Pro: Excellent performance via wired backhauling

For this review, I used a 3-pack Deco X55 Pro via multi-Gigabit wired backhauling extensively and was happy with it. The system proved reliable -- it didn't disconnect once during the entire time.

In terms of Wi-Fi coverage, the Deco X55 Pro was similar to the Deco X60, which is relatively modest. Generally, you'll lose a Wi-Fi bar about 40 feet away from a broadcaster. So with all three units, you can expect to blanket some 5000 ftΒ² (465 mΒ²). Of course, your mileage will vary.

Deco X55 Pro Multi Gig Wired Performance
The Deco X55 Pro's Multi-Gig wired performance.

What sets the X55 Pro apart from all other Wi-Fi 6 Deco is its two 2.5Gbps ports. In my testing, these two ports delivered their specs' performance sustained at over 2200Mbps, on par with other entry-level Mulit-Gig switches, as shown in the chart above. And that changed the game in a big way.

Indeed, with 2.5Gbps of incoming bandwidth, the hardware can deliver its Wi-Fi bandwidth in full and, in my testing, could easily sustain over Gigabit when working as a standalone router or a wired satellite.

Deco X55 Pro Router Long Range PerformanceDeco X55 Pro Router Short Range Performance
The Deco X55 Pro's Wi-Fi performance when working as a standalone router or a wired satellite via a multi-Gigabit backhaul.

It's worth noting, though, that while you can daisy-chain the hardware unit to have a fully wired system, for best performance, it's best to use a Multi-Gig switch to lower the load on the primary router.

In the chart above, I tested the wired satellite unit when no devices were connected to the primary router. And in that case, it delivered similar throughputs as the router itself.

Deco X55 Pro Mesh Satellite Long Range PerformanceDeco X55 Pro Mesh Satellite Short Range Performance
The Deco X55 Pro's Wi-Fi performance when working as a wireless satellite.

On the other hand, in a wireless setup, the Deco X55 Pro, as expected, had the same performance as any other mid-their canned mesh system at the satellite unit. It was passable, but there's nothing to brag about.

Overall, for the cost, I find the Deco X55 Pro an excellent performer for a home already wired with network cables. In this case, it's a great deal!

Deco X55 Pro Internet Speed
The Deco X55 Pro's Internet speed via a 2.5Gbps wired connection out of a 10Gbps Fiber-optic line. No other Wi-Fi 6 purpose-built mesh system can deliver this type of multi-Gigabit performance.

TP-Link Deco X55 Pro's Rating

8.3 out of 10
TP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System
Performance
8.5 out of 10
Features
7.5 out of 10
Design and Setup
8 out of 10
Value
9 out of 10

Pros

Reliable Wi-Fi coverage; top mid-tier performer via wired backhauling; dual 2.5GBASE-T ports

Ease to use; helpful mobile app with a standard set of network settings and feature

Simple, practical design

Cons

Middling Wi-Fi specs with modest performance via wireless backhauling

Requires an account with TP-Link to work; limited Wi-Fi and network customization

No USB; not wall-mountable

Conclusion

The TP-Link Deco X55 Pro AX3000 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System makes the kinda-old Wi-Fi 6 new again in the mesh world.

It's the first entry-level mesh system that enables the outgoing wireless standard to deliver its full potential at a reasonable cost. As a result, it's arguably one of the best Wi-Fi 6 canned mesh deals for those with a wired home. So get your home wired and get one today!

If you're not worried about missing out on the 6GHz band, remember that it can generally be added via a minor hardware upgrade.

Share what you just read!

Comments are subject to approval, redaction, or removal.

It's generally faster to get answers via site/page search. Your question/comment is one of many Dong Knows Tech receives daily. Β 

  1. Strictly no bigotry, profanity, trolling, violence, or spamming, including unsolicited bashing/praising/plugging a product, a brand, a piece of content, a webpage, or a person (β€’).
  2. You're presumed and expected to have read this page in its entirety, including related posts and links in previous comments -- questions already addressed will likely be ignored.
  3. Be reasonable, attentive, and respectful! (No typo-laden, broken-thought, or cryptic comments, please!)

Thank you!

(β€’) If you represent a company/product mentioned here, please use the contact page or a PR channel.

16 thoughts on “TP-Link Deco X55 Pro AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Review: A Real Multi-Gig Experience”

Hate scrolling? Consider subscribing!
  1. What alternative would you recommend for me, given that the X55 Pro is not available in the UK?

    I have a fully-wired home (which is relatively unusual here), and although the switch I use at present is nothing very special (these days everything is wifi and the physical network has very little traffic on it), it clearly makes sense to take advantage of this via wired backhaul.

    The X55 Pro sounds ideal, but isn’t available here and may not be; perhaps TP-link have done the sums and realised that there isn’t the demand for it over the standard X55. So what should I buy instead?

    Reply
  2. Hi Dong, would you recommend this set over the Deco x60 mesh? I’m aware that this set outperforms the x60 in terms of multi-gig ports, but it only features a dual-core CPU and 3 antennas, as opposed to the quad-core CPU and 4 antennas of the x60. I’m contemplating opting for this set over the x60 to somewhat future-proof my home network, but I’m still in the process of debating. Thank you in advanced!

    Reply
  3. If I have a gigabit internet, will multigig backhaul still provide a benefit? Specifically, will multigig backhaul reliably deliver closer to gigabit speeds at the satellites?

    Reply
  4. Hi Dong, I’m about to put my order in. Since I only have 800mbps internet, would I even notice the difference between the non-pro X55 version with the 1gb port if I were to do a wireless backhaul on both? Or would the 2.5gb port be beneficial to me regardless of paid ISP speeds?

    Reply
  5. This Deco X55 PRO vs Deco XE75 (AXE5400) for a starter home mesh system with Gigabit internet? 1 module with wired backhaul and one wireless. Thanks

    Reply

Leave a Comment

πŸ“Œ