The TP-Link Deco X5700 AX5700 Tri-Band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System is similar yet totally different from the Deco X60 I reviewed earlier this year. And that’s a great thing.
Indeed, this one is arguably the best purpose-built mesh system TP-Link has had to offer yet. Supporting tri-band, the venerable160MHz channel bandwidth, and optional wired backhaul, this mesh delivered in my testing, performance-wise.
But like all Deco sets, the X5700 is far from perfect, due to the potential privacy risk and the lack of a real web interface. It also doesn’t have the same level of features and settings found in formidable contenders from Netgear or Linksys.
To cut to the chase: If you’re living in a large home of around 4500 ft2 (408 m2) and want something that’s plug-n-play yet still delivers fast Wi-Fi, this TP-Link Deco X5700 is an easy recommendation. Currently, at some $390 or a 2-pack, it’s an excellent deal. So, get a pair!
TP-Link Deco X5700 AX5700 Tri-Band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System
- Excellent Wi-Fi performance and coverage
- Tri-band with multi-gig port and 160MHz channel width support
- User-friendly, comparatively affordable
- Spartan Wi-Fi customization, network settings, and features
- Only one multi-gig port per hardware unit
- No USB or additional Gigabit network ports
- HomeSheild Pro requires a monthly subscription, limited web interface, impractical design
The new Deco X5700 looks totally different from the X60. It now comes in a 2-pack (instead of three units), and the hardware is much taller.
The two hardware units are identical. Each is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster. Use one as the router to connect to an Internet source, like a modem, and the other will work as the satellite that automatically extends the Wi-Fi network.
Cool but slightly impractical design, no USB port
The Deco X5700 router is aesthetically-pleasing, despite looking somewhat like a glorified roll of toilet paper from certain angles.
But the design can be problematic. This is a cylindrical box that tapers toward the base, making the whole thing a bit unstable, especially when its ports are all occupied.
That’s not to mention the small base with a little opening for the power cable to reach the underside’s power port. If somebody trips on that wire, well, they will send the X5700 flying.
The router comes with two auto-sensing network ports — you can use either as a WAN port, and the other will function as a LAN. On the satellite unit, both will work as LAN ports.
And that’s it, the X5700 has no USB port — it won’t work as a mini NAS server.
Non-pre-sync hardware, still, simple setup process
The setup process of the Deco X5700 is the same as that of the X60. Basically, download the TP-Link Deco app on your phone, sign in with a TP-Link account, and follow the onscreen instruction.
There’s one minor difference. Unlike the case of the X60, the hardware of the X5700 is not pre-synced out of the box. As a result, you’ll need to use the apt to link them up to form a mesh system manually.
Nonetheless, it took me just about 10 minutes to get the two up and running. Once set up, you can use the phone to manage your home network from anywhere.
A note on privacy
The way TP-Link Deco mesh works, you link your Wi-Fi system with a TP-Link’s account and then manage your home network via TP-Link. As a result, TP-Link can potentially keep tabs on your online activities.
A pseudo web interface
The Deco X5700 does have a local web interface like the case of the X60. You can reach it from a connected computer by opening a browser to tplinkdeco.net, or the default IP, which was 188.8.131.52 in my case (a bit different from the usual 192.168.1.1 found in most TP-Link routers.)
However, this interface is not necessary for you to manage your home network. Rather, it’s an easy tool to check on the system’s status, update its firmware, and some other basic settings.
The X5700 is the first Deco — and first purpose-built mesh hardware on the market for that matter — that comes with 2 important things for a fast-performing system:
- The support for the 160MHz channel width
- A multi-gig network port
That makes a big different in its performance — more below.
It doesn’t have everything, though.
For one, it’s a 3×3 and not a 4×4 system. Also, the 3×3 specs are available to only one of its two 5GHz bands. The other is a low-end 2×2 one. So in a wireless setup, when one of those bands is working as the backhaul, the connection speed will still likely cap the speed of the slower one, which is 1200Mbps.
And if you’re wondering if you can use a cable to link the two hardware units, the answer is yes. In fact, this is the first mesh system that supports a multi-gig backhaul: You can use the 2.5Gpbs ports for this purpose.
Unfortunately, since there are only one 2.5Gpbs on each unit, in this case, you will see no difference in real-word speeds than using the Gigabit ports for wired backhaul.
A familiar set of (limited) network settings and features
Like the case of the Deco X6, the Deco X5700 has a decent set of network settings and features for a canned mesh system. So, you’ll be able to do the common stuff, such as port forwarding, IP reservation, and so on.
It’s a bit more restrictive than its older cousin, however. For example, Dynamic DNS support now only works with a TP-Link server and not those of popular DDNS services. There’s no longer a monthly report on bandwidth usage.
Most importantly, the Deco X5700 doesn’t support HomeCare which includes protection, QoS and Parental Control. Instead it now has HomeShield (likely a new version of HomeCare) that’s available in both free and subprtion level.
The free level doesn’t give you much, with a basic QoS and Interest access restriction feature called Time Spent Online Per Day. To have better control and protection, you’ll have to opt for the HomeShield Pro that costs $6/month.
Almost zero Wi-Fi settings
It’s an understatement to say the X5700 doesn’t offer a lot of Wi-Fi customization. Indeed, you can do just the followings:
- Change the name and password of your main Wi-Fi network. You can only use a single SSID.
- Turn the bands (2.4GHz or 5GHz) on or off.
- Customize the Guest Wi-Fi the way you do the main.
- Pick you the Wi-Fi security encryption between variants of WPA2 and WPA3.
And that’s it. There’s no option to separate the bands into different Wi-Fi names, nor can you find out which 5GHz band works as the backhaul. There’s no way to pick a channel or channel bandwidth of your liking, either.
In short, with the Deco X5700, you have to trust the hardware to do the right thing by itself in terms of Wi-Fi performance. And for the most part, it does — more below.
So in all, while the Deco X5700 isn’t the worst in terms of features and settings, it’s pretty close.
But the new mesh system excells at what matter most: The performance.
In my testing, it’s among the fastest Wi-Fi 6 mesh, thanks to the support for 160MHz channel width and its 2.5Ghz port, which I used to connect to my test server.
Again the X5700 is the first mesh hardware that has both of these high-speed-related elements. And its number showed.
Super-fast as a single router
As a single unit, a Deco X5700 is by far the fastest among routers of canned mesh systems.
At a close range of fewer than 10 feet (3 m), my 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client connected at 2.4Gbps of negotiated speed and delivers the sustained rates of higher than 1400Mbps.
Farther out, at 40 feet away, the same client still could manage to have the 2.4Gbps of negotiated speed. But now, its real-world performance slightly reduced to 1100Mbps.
These numbers were better than those of many standalone routers.
The router did well with Wi-Fi 5 clients, too. At the close range, my 4×4 test machined averaged faster than 800Mbps, and farther out, my 3×3 client registered some 630Mbps.
And Deco X5700 had a good range, too, comparable to that of a high-end standalone router. Depending on the environment, a single unit can handle some 2000 ft2 (186 m2) to 2500 ft2 (232 m2) of space. And you can double that with a 2-pack.
Excellent mesh in a wireless setup
In a wireless mesh set up, the Deco X5700 satellite unit did well, too, though not as well as the router. It was impossible to know which 5GHz band, the 3×3 or the 2×2, the system used as the backhaul at any given time.
However, in either case, the Wi-Fi output at the satellite is the same anyway, which is 1200Bbps. And that proved to be the case.
My Wi-Fi 6 client got sustained speed between 600Mbps and 760Mbps within 40 feet from the mesh point in testing. On the Wi-Fi 5 front, my 3×3 client had a sustained speed of around 500Mbps within that range, which was quite impressive.
I used the Deco X5700 for more than a week as my main Wi-Fi solution, and it worked out well with no issue at all. The mesh proved to be reliable. You can count on that.
Wired backhaul makes a little difference
Out of curiosity, I set up the Deco X5700 with a wired backhaul. Interestingly, both the Gigabit and 2.Gbps ports delivered the same real-world performance. And the numbers were just slightly faster than those of the wireless setup in the context of my test methodology.
That said, it’d help to use this system via wired backhaul, especially where there are many thick walls or in a large home where you need to place the hardware units really far from each other. But at home with a lot of open space, this is a great mesh system even if running network cables is not an option.
With the lack of settings and features out of the way, this Deco X5700 AX5700 Tri-Band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System is the best TP-Link had to offer to date.
If you’re a fan of TP-Link, you’ll love it. And if you haven’t tried a product from this vendor before and live in a large home, this one is a safe first buy. In fact, it’ll make an excellent one. Just make sure you can live with the privacy risks.