TP-Link Deco X60 Review: A Reliable but Slow Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The TP-Link Deco AX60 includes three identical routers.

The Deco X60, TP-Link’s latest Wi-Fi 6 mesh system, is a great deal or a disappointing choice, depending on how you plan to use it.

On the one hand, the new system is super easy to use and comes in a hardware design that allows you to place it anywhere. On the other, its performance can be quite terrible due to the modest hardware specs.

So here’s the deal. If you have a large home that’s wired with network cables, at the current cost of less than $350, the 3-pack TP-Link Deco X60 is an excellent buy.

But if you use the Deco X60 as a wireless setup, it won’t give you the type of performance you rightfully expect from a solution of the latest Wi-Fi standard.

TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System

7.8

Performance

7.0/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Reliable Wi-Fi performance, good coverage
  • Super user-friendly, comparatively affordable
  • Wired backhaul support, can work as in AP mode as a system
  • Useful QoS, Antivirus, and Parental Control features
  • Eye-catching design

Cons

  • Slow as a wireless mesh, no real-world 160 MHz channel width support
  • Requires an account with TP-Link to work
  • No dedicated backhaul band
  • Zero Wi-Fi customization
  • Limited web interface, no USB port

The new TP-Link Deco X60 shares the same idea as previous Decos. It’s a 3-pack mesh system that includes three identical routers. Take one and make it work as the primary router, and the other two will extend the Wi-Fi network.

The hardware is a bit different, though. Each router is now no longer flat but is a cylindrical round box measuring 4.33 in wide. (110 mm) × × 4.49 in (114 mm) tall.

Easy setup, pre-synced hardware

Setting up the X60 is the same as that of previous Deco systems, too. Download the Deco app on your phone, sign in with an account with TP-Link and the rest is self-explanatory.

The app will detect the Deco router unit, walk you through a short process to create your Wi-Fi network, connecting to the Intenet, and so on. It took me less than 10 minutes in total.

That’s partly because I didn’t need to manually add the satellite units to form a mesh.

Out of the box, the three routers are pre-synced. As a result, once you’ve finished setting up the router unit, just plug the other two into power, and within a couple of minutes, they automatically become part of the mesh.

Pre-linking a mesh pack’s hardware is an excellent idea that helps cut down the hardware setup and management. This seems to be a new trend — I first experienced this with the ZenWiFi from Asus.

Note on privacy

It’s important to note that having to sign in with an account with TP-Link means your Deco X60 system connects to its vendor at all times — you actually manage your home network through TP-Link.

So, there are privacy risks. Make sure you check on TP-Link’s Privacy Policy to find out what it collects from your network. Then it’s your call whether that’s if that’s worth the benefits, which are the ease of use and the fact you can manage your home system from anywhere.

Simple web interface

Apart from the Deco app, there’s also a web interface that you can access by pointing a browser on a connected computer to tplinkdeco.net and log in with the password of your TP-Link account.

But you’ll be disappointed if you expect the same web interface as that of other TP-Link routers, like the Archer X3000.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech Other than a manual firmware update, you can’t do much else with the TP-Link Deco X60’s web interface.

The X60’s interface mostly displays existing settings without allowing you to change them. For example, there’s a network map, but you can’t interact with any of the items, such as changing the name of a Deco unit or a connected client. In other words, the information is read-only.

All you can do with the interface is to perform a manual firmware update and manage two settings including the router’s time zone and WAN Unicast.

Hopefully, with future firmware updates, TP-Link will expand the interface’s functionality. In the meantime, the bottom line is you must use the Deco app, and there’s no way to use a Deco without an account with TP-Link.

Dual-band system with wired backhaul support

The Deco X60’s hardware is not available for purchase as a single unit but you can use one as a standalone router in a small home.

Each Deco X60 router includes two auto-sensing Gigabit network ports. On the unit used as the main router, whichever port connects to the Internet source (such as a modem) will work as the WAN port. After that, the rest of the ports in the system will function as LANs.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The two Gigabit network ports are auto-sensing to work as LAN or WAN deepening on what you connect to them.

The Deco X60 is a dual-band system. Consequently, in a wireless setup, the satellite units will have to deal with signal loss — they only have half of the bandwidth for the clients.

But if you use a network cable to link the units together, you can expect the same top performance out of all three units.

The Deco X60 can work in AP mode both as a single router or a mesh system. This means you can use a different router as the main router and use this mesh to solely expand your Wi-Fi coverage, without having to deal with a double NAT setup.

READ NOW:  How to Best Use an Existing Router or (ISP-Provided) Gateway

Just-right networking customization set

Despite the general constraint of the mobile app, the Deco X60 manages to deliver a decent amount of networking settings and features.

Specifically, it has all the common settings one might need to build a home network with advanced features. These include the support for Dynamic DNS (including an option to use TP-Link’s server), port-forwarding, IP reservation and so on.

It even has a SIP ALG setting which comes in handy for those needing to use Voice over IP. However, the system does lack other advanced features, such as support for a VPN server.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The TP-Link Deco mobile app has a good set of network settings but is spartan on Wi-Fi customization.

In all though, the Deco X60 has just about enough for most users to feel like they can do all they want. You will not be overwhelmed by this mesh system, neither will you wish it had more in terms of general settings.

Minimum Wi-Fi setting

But you’ll definitely wish it had more when it comes to the Wi-Fi setting. Other than picking the name/password and turning on or off the Wi-Fi bands and their Guest networks, there’s nothing else you can customize.

The bottom line is with the Deco X60, you’ll have to live with the default Wi-Fi settings that TP-Link has put on the system.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The TP-Link Deco X60’s retail box.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The TP-Link Deco X60 mesh system is well packed and comes with setup instruction printed on the inside of the packaging.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech Coming in all white, the three routers of the TP-Link Deco X60 are aesthetically-pleasing.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The TP-Link Deco X60 router share a similar top design as previous Deco hardware.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech On the front of the Deco X60, you’ll see nothing the TP-Link logo.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech What you will not see till you plug the Deco X60 in is a little LED light that shines different colors on the surface to show the router’s status. (Yellow = Starting up | Blue = Setting up | Green = All is good | Red = Something is not right.)

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech On the back, the TP-Link Deco X60 has are two Gigabit auto-sensing network ports. Either of them can work as a WAN port on the main router unit. After that the rest of the ports in the mesh system are LAN ports.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech And on the underside, you’ll find the reset button and other technical information.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The three hardware units of the TP-Link Deco X60 are pre-synced. Pick one as the main router and the other two will automatically work as mesh satellites when plugged in. They are all dual-band routers and work best if you use network cables to link them up.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech For a relatively compact router, the TP-Link Deco X60 has a relatively large power adpater.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech In case, for some reason, you want to see the TP-Link Deco X60 units stacked up.

HomeCare requires subscription

The most prominent feature of the Deco X60 is the HomeCare suite, which is also available in other TP-Link routers, such as the Archer AX3000 and the Archer C5400X.

The suite includes an effective Parental Control feature, and an easy-to-use QoS engine and a real-time Antivirus online protection. All of these worked quite well in my testing. In fact, Parental Control is among the best I’ve used.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Antivirus portion of HomeCare requires a subscription after a 3-month trial.

The catch is on the X60’s Antivirus part of HomeCare requires a subscription after a 3-month trial, which automatically starts the moment you set the system up.

Update: In early May 2020, TP-Link changed the policy on HomeCare and made it free for all of its routers and mesh systems. The way it works, the subscription automatically renews itself, at the time it expires, without payment requirement.

For comparison, Asus routers (and mesh systems) have a similar feature that’s free for the life of the hardware. Also, previous TP-Link routers, such as the Archer C5400X include one year of Antivirus.

TP-Link claims the Deco X60 supports the 160 MHz channel width to deliver up to 2.4 Gbps of 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 connections. If that’s the case, the mesh can be as fast as any others despite the fact it’s a dual-band system. That’s because currently there are only 2×2 clients.

No 160 MHz

Alas, in testing, I wasn’t able to get my clients to connect at that speed at all, but only half (1.2 Gbps) instead.

That might have been because Deco X60, by default, favored compatibility over speed and therefore used the 80 MHz channel width. And since it offered no Wi-Fi customization, there was no way for me to change that.

As a result, the Deco X60 had nothing to impress in terms of Wi-Fi performance.

Decent speeds as a router

As a router, on the 5GHz band, my 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client registered the sustained speed of some 710 Mbps at less than 10 feet (3 m) away. When I moved the test client father away, to 40 feet (12 m) from the router, it now averaged close to 450 Mbps.

These were below average among Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers but still decently fast.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

My 3×3 Wi-Fi 5 clients were able to connect at 1.3 Gbps and had slightly faster real-world rates from the Deco X60. They averaged 720 Mbps and 630 Mbps at the close and long ranges, respectively.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

On the 2.4Ghz, the Deco X60 did about the same as recent routers at the close range. Farther out, it was the slowest.

It’s important to note that the 2.4GHz band has been considered as a backup band for the last couple of years and I’ve hardly seen any router that performs well on this band. They are all much slower than the ceiling speed.

Slow as a wireless mesh system

As a mesh system, the Deco X60 clearly suffered from signal loss and turned out to be the slowest among Wi-Fi 6 systems I’ve tested, with the sustained speeds ranging from some 200 Mbps to 350 Mbps.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

These numbers were quite disappointing — I’ve seen many Wi-Fi 5 systems that performed better — but Deco X60 is still fast enough to deliver a typical residential broadband connection in full.

I also tried the system using wired backhaul, and in this case, all hardware units delivered the same rates as those of the router unit. So, if you want the best performance out of this mesh, running network cable around your home is a must.

Reliable signals, good coverage

The TP-Link Deco X60 passed my three-day stress test with no issues. As for coverage, it delivered about the same as most 3-pack systems. TP-Link claims 7000 ft² (650 m²), but in reality, you should think about 5000 ft² (465 m²) square feet or even less.

Wi-Fi range varies a lot depending on the environment so it’s impossible to measure it correctly. But if you want to get the speed mentioned above out of this system in a wireless setup, don’t place the hardware units too far from one another. Also, make sure you use the star topology.

Conclusion

Considering the friendly price tag and ease of use, the TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System is a great deal for a large home that’s wired with Gigabit Ethernet.

If you intend to use it as a wireless mesh system, though, don’t expect crazy speeds out of it. In fact, you’ll probably find it slower than most, if not all, tri-band Wi-Fi 5 counterparts. That said, if you have a fast broadband connection and need a wireless setup, pick a more powerful Wi-Fi 6 system instead.

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27 thoughts on “TP-Link Deco X60 Review: A Reliable but Slow Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System”

  1. So much great info! For my new 3-story house (less than 3000 square) I am planning to buy Deco X60 3-pack (one for each floor). The house has 1Gbit fiber internet, and is prewired with CAT5E, so WiFi backhaul by Ethernet is OK, right? I like Deco X60 (WiFi 6, WPA3) but my son suggested me to go with a more expensive Ubiquiti solution with their USG, Cloud Key and WiFi access points (no WPA3 yet, even their new flashy AmpliFi Alien is only with WPA2). Should I stay with Deco X60? And BTW, can I add a less expensive TP-Link TL-R600VPN wired router (play some USG functions) and use all three Deco X60 as WiFi aacess points? I would appreciate it very much if your great expertise could help me making the right decision

    Reply
    • You got Yes(es) for all of your questions, Songtao. But your son’s suggestion is also correct. Don’t worry about WPa2 or WPA3. They are just a matter of software. All new routers will support WPA3 eventually. Keep in mind though, it’s unlikely that you’ll get full 1 Gbps at your devices.

      Reply
  2. Hi Dong, after reading your reviews, I am now considering 2 Asus RT-AX58U units with wired backhaul. Do you think that will be equivalent coverage to 3 deco x60 units with wired backhaul? I have a gigabit internet through FiOS. How big of a difference the presence of 160 MHz on Asus RT-AX58U compared to Deco X60 will make?

    Reply
    • No, Kayur, three RT-AX58U units will be equivalent (or better than) a 3-pack Deco X60. Two are likely not, but that all depends on your place.

      Reply
  3. I live in a 2000 sq foot, 3 story town house and I found your review to be quite helpful. But reading the comments I am a little conflicted on my options.

    I am looking for the cheapest solution to getting coverage throughout the entire house. I’m paying for gigabit internet speed and currently have wireless access points (connected to the main router via ethernet) on each floor. However, it is not very reliable and while all the AP’s are set to the same SSID, my wireless devices don’t automatically switch to the best one.

    I am having a hard time deciding whether I should get this 3 pack X60 mesh system since it basically is meant for my situation or go with multiple AiMesh routers. I don’t have the luxury of buying both and testing them out.

    Reply
  4. Hello, trying to decide whether to keep my Deco M9+ or get the X60. I need to be able to change the DHCP IP range though for my work/vpn set up. Can you please help confirm for me that this is configurable on the X60? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  5. Hi Dong, Great review. I have been using Deco X60 on wired backhaul for almost a week now. It’s been great so far. I am on a gigabit internet through FiOS, and I am definitely happy with deco x60 as far as its performace goes. Your point on privacy is what made me go back and read it little more carefully. Now that I have read it, I can’t possibly use this system. According to their privacy policy, they monitor and collect my browsing data, which is huge invasion of privacy. Which wifi 6 system is better for privacy? I understand that nothing is fool proof, but google and orbi at least states that they don’t keep tabs on which websites users visit, on the other hand Tp-Link just says that they collect everything. Asus Ai Mesh seems good option, but I am guessing as soon as I turn on AI protection, it will be equally intrusive as trend micro will collect my data then. Netgear Orbi seems the best in that regard. Your thoughts please. I appreciate your time. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Google is the worst on this front, Keyur. Generally, if your system connects to the vendor, that’s the end of your privacy, period. You can use Asus and turn AiProtection off (though this feature is a lot less intrusive.) Orbi requires a login account with Netgear, too.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your reply, Dong. One last question. Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) 2 units mesh or Asus RT-AX92U AX6100 2 Pack. They both have similar feature sets. Is there any advantage of getting one over another? Which one is superior?

        Reply
  6. Thanks. I’m currently testing Deco X60 and Asus RT-AX92U, both with wired backhaul. Apart from different interface concepts, I can’t tell much difference in performance on my clients and current Internet speed of 300 Mbps. Both WiFi 6 and WiFi 5 iDevices work very well however two corporate-spec laptops with WiFi 5 operate on low speeds that go down even further when laptop is placed away from AP. WiFi 6 laptop performs superb.

    Which of the systems is more future proof in terms of handling higher ISP speeds? I don’t think I’m going to use in the future different class of equipment than regular laptops, iPads and iPhones. Best
    K

    Reply
  7. I have network outlets all around the house which is great to connect devices like TVs but not optimal for placing APs which work better when installed centrally in the ceilings. My objective is to have a high speed wifi with seamless roaming hence interest in Deco x60. I’m concerned about low speeds in your test, especially when measured further from the AP. Do you think it might be because you weren’t able to hook at 160Mhz or just the modest specs? You can reach better results with WiFi 5 APs at lower prices. Or maybe I should consider other WiFi 6 systems? K

    Reply
    • If you’re looking for high speeds, K, using wired backhaul is a must. Period. As for which to consider, it depends on what clients you have, but Wi-Fi 6 is generally better when used with Wi-Fi 6 devices. You can think of the numbers I got in the reviews as the best-base scenario (until faster Wi-Fi 6 clients are available).

      Reply
  8. How would the specs of this mesh system be affected if used as AP? For example, if I ran the future coming AX6600 as the main router and this mesh system as AP only? Would this mesh system do the specs of the AX6600 justice, or would I lose more speed than it is worth?

    Reply
    • It’d work the same, Scott. You can use the performance charts as reference. Generally, if you want speed, skip this set, unless you have wired your home with network cables.

      Reply
  9. Running hard wires to the satellite units is not possible. Would I be better off with the ORBI RBK53? Or the 8 stream AX8 and EAX80 in a mesh configuration?

    Reply
  10. I purchased a Deco X60 3 pack at Costco for about $350. It seems just OK. Seems to drop and reconnect a lot. I have a 6000 sq ft home with dozens of connected devices. (Rokus, Echos, Arlos, TVs, Laptops, XBOX etc). They also have the Orbi RBK53 (I know, Wifi5) for $300. I was also considering the the Nighthawk AX8 + the Netgear EAX80 which will run about $520 total. I have a relatively fast Xfinity gigabit (so they say) internet connection. Don’t mind spending more if truly worth it. But I also don’t want to pay extra for what would be real world overkill. I would like this system to last at least 5 years. Any advice would be appreciated

    Reply
    • For your case, Brett, run network cables to connect the router and the satellites and you’re all set. It’s very hard to cover your large home with a wireless setup.

      Reply
  11. As a follow-up, tp-link indicated on their forum the X90 would be available in the July-Sept timeframe.
    community.tp-link.com/us/home/forum/topic/206676

    Reply
  12. Thanks for your reply and input. I plan to share the Gigabit Internet between two houses (mine and my in-laws). The main router will be located in my house, while two additional routers will be installed at the in-laws house approximately 125-150 feet away. All routers will be connected with cables as your suggestion. I was thinking about just installing a Deco X20 or X60 to have a simple unified WiFi for the entire property. However, I could install a couple of Asus routers like you said, setup up a AiMesh network with roaming assistant turned on and have all WiFi SSID the same. Would there be any significant difference in the two setup? Or any other setup you can suggestion. Thanks!

    Reply
  13. Great website! Love the reviews and information you provide. I’m currently using an Asus RT-87U which was fine until my house recently got upgraded to gigabit fiber (1000DL/700UL). I’m planning to add an Wi-Fi 6 mesh system with wired backhaul to my house for more coverage. Is there really any benefit of getting the deco X60 over the X20 for my situation? Both seem to have only gigabit WAN/LAN ports so I don’t know how I will benefit from the 5Ghz – 2.4Gbps compared to 1.2Gbps of the X20 unless maybe for local file sharing? Also for my wired backhaul, cat6 cables should be enough but is there any benefit of installing cat7 or cat8 cables now for future-proofing? Or is it better to just go with cat6 and upgrade the cables later when my ISP offers higher speeds?

    Thanks in advance for your opinion.

    Reply
  14. I just discovered your site and appreciate the great reviews! If I’m able to use an ethernet connection for the backhaul will there be much benefit to get the X90 over the X60? Also, do you have any idea when we can expect to see the X90?

    Reply
    • Unlikely, the X60 is a great choice for your case. And no, with what’s going on right now, it’s hard to have any kind of certainty, Ted.

      Reply

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