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TP-Link Deco X90 (vs the Deco X5700): An Expensive Wi-Fi 6 Alternative

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For a few months now, folks have been asking me to review the TP-Link Deco X90 AX6600 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System, and I was about to do precisely that.

Upon close inspection, though, I realized that the Deco X90 is basically the Deco X5700 I already reviewed, with just a minor difference that has no impact on the performance in the intended use case.

Consequently, I find the X90 with nothing to justify its additional cost of more than $100 compared to the X5700.

TP Link Deco X5700 Cross
The TP-Link Deco X5700 and Deco X90 include two identical hardware units. The hardware of the two systems looks virtually the same.

The point is if you want to find out how the Deco X90 will pan out, check my take on the Deco X5700. The two likely deliver the same experience.

That said, this piece is more like a Deco X90 vs. Deco X5700 matchup. Unlike another comparison I’ve done, this one contains no real-world performance of the former — I didn’t test it.

That’s because, judging from the hardware, the numbers would likely turn out to be the same. You’ll know why when you’re through with this.

Deco X90 vs. Deco X5700: Similarities

Out of the box, you won’t be able to tell the hardware units Deco X90 and Deco X5700 apart. They look virtually the same.

Each system is a 2-pack that includes two tri-band routers. Each router has two auto-sensing network ports. One is Gigabit, and the other, is a 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig port.

You can pick either of the units as the router, and the other will work as a satellite. In a satellite role, both of the ports are now LAN. Both systems support wired backhaul. In fact, they are among a few on the market in which a 2-pack can deliver Multi-Gig wired backhaul.

As a tri-band system, though, they are meant to work in a fully wireless setup. Truth be told, if you have gotten your home wired, the Deco X60 is a much better choice, especially in terms of cost.

And in this case, they will deliver the same performance as a mesh system. That’s because both share the same 5Ghz-2 band that caps at 1200Mbps.

You also get a 1-pack of each to use as a standalone router. In this case, the Deco X90 is potentially better thanks to the higher-specced 5GHz-1 band.

Both routers come with a limited local web interface and require users to sign up for a mobile app to set up and use them. This approach effectively turns them into hardware as a service that is not suitable for privacy.

You’ll see even more similarities between the two in their hardware specifications below.

Deco X90 vs. Deco X5700: Hardware specifications

Find the full hardware specifications of the Deco X90 and Deco X5700 here and here.

Full NameTP-Link Deco X90
AX6600 Whole Home
Mesh Wi-Fi System
TP-Link Deco X5700 
AX5700 Whole Home 
Mesh Wi-Fi System
ModelDeco X90Deco X5700
Mesh Availability2-Pack (Identical Routers)2-Pack (Identical Routers)
Dimensions8.3 Γ— 5.1 Γ— 4.8 in 
(210.5 Γ— 130 Γ— 123 mm)
8.3 Γ— 5.1 Γ— 4.8 in 
(210.5 Γ— 130 Γ— 123 mm)
Processor1.5GHz Quad-Core1.5GHz Quad-Core
Wi-Fi TechnologyTri-band AX6600Tri-band AX5700
5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs4×4 AX: Up to 4804 Mbps
Channel Width: 20/40/80/160MHz
3×3 AX: Up to 3843 Mbps
Channel Width: 20/40/80/160MHz
5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs2×2 AX: Up to 1201 Mbps
Channel Width: 20/40/80MHz
2×2 AX: Up to 1201 Mbps
Channel Width: 20/40/80MHz
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs2×2 AX:  up to 574 Mbps
Channel Width: 20/40MHz
2×2 AX:  up to 574 Mbps
Channel Width: 20/40MHz
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Wireless SecurityWPA2, WPA3WPA2, WPA3
Mobile AppTP-Link DecoTP-Link Deco
Web User InterfaceYes (Limited)Yes (Limited)
Bridge ModeNoNo
AP ModeYesYes
USB PortNoneNone
Gigabit Port1Γ— WAN/LAN1Γ— WAN/LAN
Multi-Gig Port1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN
Link AggregationNoneNone
Suggested Price$500 (2-pack)$390 (2-pack)
Hardware specifications: Deco X90 vs. Deco X5700

Deco X90 vs. Deco X5700: Differences

As you can see above, the only difference in hardware between the two is in the 5GHz-1 band. That of the Deco X90 is a 4×4 (4804Mbps), while the Deco X5700’s is a 3×3 (3843Mbps).

In a wireless setup, though, the two will deliver the same throughput speeds since one of their 5Ghz bands works as the backhaul. Either router would make a difference if both of its 5GHz bands were 4×4 or 3×3.

And that brings us to the second and final difference: The pricing. Clearly, the Deco X90’s $500 price tag is not justified — you likely get nothing extra for the money.

Deco X90 vs. Deco X5700: Performance

Again, I didn’t test the Deco X90. It just felt it wouldn’t be worth the effort.

However, as mentioned above, there’s no way the Deco X90 can outperform its seemingly lesser cousin in a fully wireless setup.

In both cases, clients will connect to the satellite unit at the speed of the slower 5GHz band (1201Mbps) at best. There’s no way to make it link to the network faster than the slower 5GHz band, working either as the back- or front-haul.

Deco X5700 Mesh Satellite Performance Chart

That said, as a mesh, the Deco X5700’s performance also represents the Deco X90. So do its general ratings. They are not the best mesh systems in the market but among the best TP-Link has to offer.

TP-Link Deco X5700's Rating

8 out of 10
TP Link Deco X5700 Box
Performance
8 out of 10
Features
7 out of 10
Design and Setup
8.5 out of 10
Value
8.5 out of 10

Pros

Excellent Wi-Fi performance and coverage

Tri-band with multi-gig port and 160MHz channel width support

User-friendly, comparatively affordable

Good-looking

Cros

Spartan Wi-Fi customization, network settings, and features

Only one Multi-Gig port per hardware unit

App and login account required — privacy risks

HomeShield Pro requires a monthly subscription, limited web interface, impractical design

No USB or additional Gigabit network ports

Which should you buy

First of all, currently in the U.S., you can find these two exclusively at Best Buy and Costco, respectively. It might take a while before you see them at other retailers.

Keep that in mind in terms of availability and the fact there are many tri-band mesh options. But strictly between the two, I’d recommend the Deco X5700 right off the bat, simply because it’s less expensive.

The only time you’d want to get the Deco X90 over the other is when you want to use it as a single router. But in this case, there are many other better options.

And for those considering it as a mesh with Multi-Gig wired backhaul, that will likely work out but won’t make it worth the cost. That’s because, on the client-side, there’s no way to take advantage of that high-speed backhaul link.

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37 thoughts on “TP-Link Deco X90 (vs the Deco X5700): An Expensive Wi-Fi 6 Alternative”

  1. I really like your reviews, they look honest and sincere.
    I am struggling with deciding between the Asus RT-AX92U or the Tp-link Deco x90 as a home mesh system.
    after reading your reviews.
    I learned that the Asus doesn’t have a mesh WIFI6 ability and only 860Mb Link between the units.
    The Deco x90 got WIFI6 mesh ability and 1200Mb link between units, but if I understand corectly, you can’t configure the mesh directly but need to install a cell phone app that have some privacy issues.

    I don’t have any WIFI6 devices right now, but posibly going to have in the future, does it really matter? if according to the specs, you get the same theoretical speed both from WIFI5 and WIFI6?

    also the Asus is a bit old, it got out in 2019, but I’ve noticed that it got a firmware uptade from 2022, while the younger X90 got the latest one from 2021.

    Also how both of them in regard to stability and conecction reliability for long period of time?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • I’d go with the Asus and open the backhaul link to clients as mentioned in the review, Itai. But it’s your call. If you pay attention to the the reviews, you’ll be able to come to the conclusion, yourself. As for Wi-Fi speeds, check out this post for more. It’s in the nuance. Per the rules, make sure you READ before posting questions. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Hi Dong,

    Just came across your website, which is super helpful and amazingly comprehensive. Thank you.

    Quick question about the Deco X90. As I understand you are saying that because backhaul is dedicated to the 5GhZ-2 band on both the X90 and the 5700 spec, and the max speed of that band on both is 1200Mbps, there is no advantage to the X90 mesh set-up over the 5700.

    On the Amazon page for the X90, someone posted this question and got this answer from TP-Link:

    Which 5ghz band is used for backhaul? 1802 mbps or 1201 mbps?

    Answer: 5GHz 2, the 1201 Mbps is the dedicated backhaul. However, like our other tri-band Deco products if needed the system will use the other bands to send backhaul data as well.

    If that is correct, wouldn’t that imply that the X90 has the potential to offer faster mesh connections than the 5700?

    Thanks!

    Reply
      • Thanks for the response. Doesn’t the TP-Link answer on Amazon imply that the backhaul channel isn’t just limited to the 5GHz-2 channel, but that the device can also use spare capacity on its other channels to augment the backhaul and thus (presumably) increase the overall backhaul capacity beyond 1200Mbps?

        Reply
  3. What are your thoughts of the Deco X5700 (2-pack) vs the Deco AX3600 (3-pack)? (both available at Costco). Would you consider one being much better than the other? The main differences I am seeing is the 2.5G port and 160Mhz support with the X5700. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Hello Dong,

    I love all the information and reviews on your site. We currently have the Orbi RBK50 we bought in 2017 but it’s getting bogged down with connected devices. We have 1GB down/up speeds currently. I want the new Orbi RBK852 but the price is to high for us right now. I’m a big review person so the TP-link Deco X90 & Asus XT8 seem to be the second best option according to many YouTube and Amazon reviews. I was hoping you had a hands on review to test the stability and speeds on the X90. I also noticed on your speed chart that the ARRIS SURFboard mAX was very high but when I checked Amazon the reviews weren’t as good as the X90 or the XT8. So I’m more confused now πŸ˜‚ My wife works a lot from home doing telehealth … we connect many devices … gaming and stream all of our tv programming. We need something that can handle our smart home πŸ‘ Any recommendation from you or anyone else that might personally own a great mesh unit. Thank you in advance πŸ™

    Reply
    • You need to get your home wired, maybe just one network cable is enough, and get a dual-band set, Adam. Wireless mesh just won’t do well for your needs. But if you had to go with one, I’d recommend the XT8, just make sure you don’t use the 160MHz channel for the backhaul band. See the review for more.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the response πŸ‘ We have a two story home is why we use a mesh currently. With this older Orbi I’m getting about 480-550 mbps on Wifi @ about 15 ft away from the unit. When we had the house built I did run some Ethernet cable. It was mostly for the security cameras and TV’s. Some devices are hard wired but not a lot. We have a lot of smart things that are on the Wifi. This old Orbi still works well but not as good as I want since we have 1gig service. I really appreciate the help and information you have provided πŸ™

        Reply
          • Hello Dong,

            So we bought the Orbi RBK852 and wow am I disappointed. I ran some Wifi test on the old Orbi RBK50 using my new MacBook before I installed the new Orbi, I did 3 test in different locations around my home. For example- my coffee table I got an average of 512 mbps and on the new Orbi RBK852’s I get around 377mbps. I connected my MacBook directly to the wall and received 921mbps. I connected Netgear support the last 3 days and it’s been escalated to a senior support member. I’m guessing this unit is faulty. I’ll probably return it and try my luck with Orbi once more and hope I get a good system. If that flops then I might have to try the Asus XT8.

  5. Hello,

    Longtime reader of your reviews.

    I’m looking to outfit a large home (Approx 12k square feet, two floors, essentially a large U shape). The home is wired up (cat6 to all planned node locations) but internet speeds are restricted to gigabit right now.

    I’m considering setting up 4 asus ax5700 routers in AImesh, but also looking at dedicated mesh systems like the Ax6600 Zenwifi and Ax6000 Netgear Orbi units. It’s hard to tell if linksys velop AX5300 units can hang with the other two brands, but I’ve thought about it as well.

    Any thoughts? One theme I’m getting from reading your reviews is that wired backhaul means you don’t need a tri-band system. In this article you recommend the X60 system over the X90 system for wired homes for example. Aren’t the midrange systems a bit weaker from a coverage perspective as well? Should I be looking at AX4200 units?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Reply
      • Thank you! It does work. I have 5 of them as noted in my comment over in your new Netgear Orbi post.

        Unfortunately, I have 2Gbps Internet and the X90 has 2.5GbE ports on every X90 device. My entire house is connected via 2.5GbE switches. Unfortunately as you noted, the Asus Zen XD6 only have Gigabit ports. So Gigabit ports or less are not what I’m looking for.

        I’m getting results all over the place with the X90s. I can get 200Mbps and sometimes I get 900Mbps! I think they will stabilize with future firmware updates. I’m coming from the Deco M5’s which offered very stable WiFi 5 speed at 300Mbps.

        I have until January 31, 2022 to return the X90s, so if you think of something in the meantime with 2.5GbE for backhaul support, I’d appreciate it! I ideally want 160Mhz channel support on the 5Ghz band since that is what my devices have now (and will for the next 5 years or so.)

        Reply
          • In the article you said this, “In both cases, clients will connect to the satellite unit at the speed of the slower 5GHz band (1201Mbps) at best. There’s no other way around this.”

            Just a heads up, that’s absolutely not true. I have all 5 of my X90’s on wired backhaul and my WiFi 6 clients DO connect to the satellite units at 2.4Gbps.

          • I meant, Richard, that the client would connect to the router, hence the network, at the speed of the slower 5GHz band, either as backhaul or fronthaul, which is 1200Mbps. And that was just my speculation since I didn’t test the X90. So you were right but kind of missed the context.

  6. Hi Dong,

    I am considering to buy Deco X90 or Asus Zenwifi XT8.

    -Double story house
    -I want use only want connect 5GHZ.
    -I want improve coverage and high speed Internet at 2nd floor and stability between 2 node.

    Which you recommend?

    Reply
  7. Hi, I’m planning below setup for a 3 storey house using mesh and wifi backhaul.
    1 setup. Tplink Deco m9 plus 3 packs
    A. Ground floor unit placed in closed stored room.
    B. First floor – unit place in middle open living area.
    C. Second floor – unit place in middle open living area.
    2 setup. Tplink Deco x90 2 packs
    A. Ground floor unit placed in closed stored room.
    B. First floor – unit place in middle open living area.

    1. May i know which setup is better?
    2. If deco x90 cannot cover for second floor, add a tplink re605x?

    Reply
    • It’s a tri-band Wi-Fi 5 mesh that I tested in my past life before I started this website. It was good when it first came out years ago. For now, there’s no point in getting it. You’re better off with a Wi-Fi 6 Deco instead (or another brand,) Zilla.

      Reply
  8. Hi Dong, thanks for your informative post on the AX5700 and X90. It really helped me with my plans for a home network upgrade.

    I do have a question though. If say I connect the satellite mesh (X90) to the main node (X90) with an ethernet backhaul. Are both 5ghz bands available to clients? I’d like that my 2×2 160mhz capable wifi 6 client is able to connect at full speed while still maintaining 80mhz channel compatibility for my older wifi 5 clients.

    I’m asking this because in one of your posts on the Deco X60, you mentioned that it lacks real-world AX 160mhz when AC and AX clients are connected. Is the Deco X90 plagued with the same design flaw?

    Reply
    • If you have a wired backhaul, I’d recommend getting dual-band hardware. The Deco has few Wi-Fi settings so it’s impossible to know if it’ll work the way you’d expect. For the price, though, consider the Asus XD4 instead.

      Reply
  9. I am really enjoying your reviews and learning quite a bit. I have a 2800 square-foot home and a relatively modest Internet provider speed. I am down to the Orbi 752 or this X 5700. At about $310 for the Orby and about $290 for the x5700 both on sale now, the prices are comparable. I wonder which of the two you would recommend? I will be using a wireless connection to the satelite. I’m not sure how much of a concern privacy should be, although I am a bit concerned. Parental controls are a benefit, but also not 100% necessary. Thanks much.

    Reply
  10. Hi Juan! Just purchased the Deco X5700 2 node setup. If I were to add a cheap third node (dual band) would it kill off the benefit of having the other two nodes tri band? Seems like according to Deco’s website it would work…. just don’t know if it would negatively impact what I have today. Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Hi Dong, Thanks for your website. I learn a lot. My issue is my kids do online schooling and have a 7000 sq ft area to cover. I used Google wifi and upgraded to Google nest. My ISP connection is stable and its located in the bedroom upstairs. The kids do online class downstairs. The nest sometimes lose connection (once or twice in a week) but only for a short time (5 min or less) still its a bit of a hassle. I was thinking of switching to Eero 6 or a TP link M9 plus
    I use 1 wired nest wifi and 3 nodes (wireless) to create a mesh.
    2 upstairs and 2 downstairs. Coverage is ok, the downtime is my only issue. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Reply
  12. Thanks a lot Dong,

    It is amazing that you have taken into acount the question i asked to you a few weeks ago, and came now to me with such a proper, accurate and extensive answer.
    I am really grateful to you.
    It is amazing that you do all this work for all of us, sharing you aMazing knowlegde for free.

    Thanks, thanks an thanks for your support.

    After reading this information about Tp Link X90, I think my final decision will go to Netgear Orbi RBK 852…

    Thanks a lot. Sincerely…

    Reply

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