WiFi 6 raises many questions. Should we spend there, is the investment really worth it when you only have a weak ADSL connection? Well the answer might surprise you. Proof by example with the Deco X90 test from TP-Link.
Important precision before starting. While this test will focus mainly on the TP-Link solution, the general remarks regarding WiFi 6 naturally apply to all routers supporting the standard.
What is WiFi 6?
And I think the best way to start is to already explain to you what WiFi 6 really is and, above all, to list its many advantages.
Originally, WiFi 6 did not have this name and was designated by the 802.11 ax standard.
But now, the WiFi Alliance quickly understood that this standard was difficult to understand for the general public. It therefore decided to simplify its nomenclature and this is how it gave birth to WiFi 6.
We are therefore on a new standard. Technically, and in theory, it makes it possible to increase the speed by 40% compared to WiFi 5, for a maximum theoretical speed of the order of 10 Gbps. And the best part is that it can also support more devices while taking a little less strain on their battery.
Concretely, therefore, with WiFi 6, you will be able to benefit from a higher connection speed on your local network and manage more devices simultaneously. And the best part is that WiFi 6 routers can also work with devices running on a previous standard. There is therefore no risk of incompatibility between your computers, smartphones and all connected objects in the house.
And behind, it also means that it will facilitate use. With WiFi 6, you can play online, stream video, do Visio, all at the same time and without risk of saturating the network. It’s not just a new standard, it’s techno that will make your day-to-day life easier.
It’s all great, but how do you go about upgrading to WiFi 6?
Well it’s simple, you have to buy a compatible router.
Indeed, on the side of the boxes, it is not madness. The SFR Box 8 is compatible with WiFi 6, as well as the latest Fiber Bbox, but neither the Orange Livebox 5 nor the Freebox Pop.
But don’t worry, because you won’t necessarily need to change your access provider to switch to WiFi 6. You just have to buy a separate compatible router and plug it into your box, then switch WiFi on. .
Deco X90, WiFi 6 made easy
There is no shortage of WiFi 6 routers. There are hundreds of references on the market. Everyone got into it. Cisco, of course, but also Netgear or even Xiaomi.
The solution I am going to present to you has just been released, it is aimed at the general public and it comes to us from TP-Link. It is indeed the Deco X90.
A solution that has two major advantages for me: it is easy to deploy and it does not only offer you a WiFi 6 access point. It will also allow you to extend the coverage of your network, which can be useful. be very practical when living in a large house. As for speeds, they can reach 6.6 Gbps.
The box of the Deco X90 is rather rich in information. TP-Link has of course placed the focus on the speeds offered by the solution, but also on the number of simultaneous connections supported or on certain key functions.
Functions such as the AI which will choose in real time the best path and the best frequency to send and receive data or the smart antenna system which is based on a total of 6 different antennas: 4 for boosting the signals and 2 for locate other Deco appliances around.
And there, a short break. TP-Link has a modular network design. This means that all Deco products are compatible with each other and that it is possible to add new devices on the fly to extend the network. All this dynamically and without having to configure anything.
In the box, you will find the two Deco X90s from the pack as well as their cables and… that’s about it. TP-Link sticks to the bare minimum and we can just count on a quick start guide.
All you will have to do is turn off your box, plug one of the boxes into it, turn everything back on and download the application offered by TP-Link.
This application will take you completely by the hand and it will firstly allow you to configure the first box and use it as the main WiFi 6 router in your network. Then, by continuing, you can add other boxes and therefore extend the coverage of your WiFi to the entire household.
But that’s not all.
The Deco X90s indeed have two or three interesting features. The first relates to their connections. If you turn them over, you will find two Ethernet sockets with one port capable of balancing 1 Gbps of data and a second one reaching 2.5 Gbps.
Concretely, this means that you can connect some wired devices to avoid unpleasant surprises, or even why not connect switches and then have 8, 16 or 32 additional Ethernet ports for your NAS, your consoles or your computers.
Performance, on the other hand, is impressive as long as you have compatible devices. The speeds are much higher, but above all you can multiply the uses.
In theory, the Deco X90 can indeed handle 5 simultaneous 4K video stream displays, or 10 in 1080p, which still leaves a lot of room.
Be careful though, because TP-Link’s solution will just speed up your local network. After that, you of course still depend on your internet connection and if you have ADSL, then you will not be able to stream three or four Netflix movies in 4K.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t see changes either. If you have a Plex server, for example, then the accesses will be much faster. The same goes for data transfers to your NAS or access to video streams from connected cameras that you have installed in your home.
Small additional functions
I said this earlier, but the solution developed by TP-Link is aimed at the general public and therefore more generally at all people who do not want to burden themselves with a long configuration session to take advantage of their new router.
But that doesn’t mean the solution is content with the bare minimum on the functionality side either.
The app is intuitive and well thought out. After launching it, you will find yourself facing your personal network. Or to your networks, if you have more than one. It will indeed be possible to deploy several if you wish and if you have the necessary equipment.
The tool will also display the number of connected products on the home page. A simple tap on the network will be enough to make them appear. You will be able to see their name, of course, but also their bit rates.
At the top, on the right, you will also find an envelope referring to all the notifications generated by the application.
The latter will warn you as soon as a new device connects to your network.
At the very bottom are two more tabs. The first refers to Homeshield, a complete solution that aims to help you secure your network. If you press the Scan button, the application will scan your entire home network to assess its degree of security and performance. It will then tell you if a problem has been detected.
For your part, you can also tap on the area to display more information, such as the reliability of the password, any port forwarding or even the analysis of network congestion.
These functions are free, but TP-Link also offers a premium solution called HomeShield Pro which goes even further and which will allow you, for example, to deploy an antivirus on the network.
I said it earlier, but the TP-Link application is able to list all the devices present on the network. For your part, you can go a little further and prioritize some of them or even assign them to profiles corresponding to family members.
This will then allow you to access all the options relating to parental control.
Many options, and ultimately well thought out. TP-Link has gone far enough and it will, for example, be possible to block certain websites or even block sensitive content such as gambling, social networks or adult content. Not to mention the sites that offer you to pay in exchange for certain services.
But that’s not all. You will also be able to set a bedtime and wake-up time. When this is done, the WiFi network will automatically cut off the connection with all the devices associated with the profile.
The last two options are unfortunately not free. The first allows to define a daily time limit for the profile, the second to define hours without internet. Like meal times for example.
I admit that the freemium side is a bit disappointing. I can obviously understand the goal, but it’s always annoying not to have access to functions when buying a product and I sincerely hope that TP-Link will come back to this subscription story.
I’ll be frank, basically, I didn’t see the point of switching to WiFi 6. I don’t have fiber and my ADSL connection is downright sluggish.
But now, in reality, the gain is palpable. It is even significant. There are five of us at home and we all have a computer and a smartphone. Not to mention the consoles and connected devices. And then, above all, with the containment measures, our needs have changed.
My teens do a lot of Visio, so does my wife. For my part, all press events are organized directly online. And that’s of course without counting on the little Netflix of families in the evening. And I can assure you that when we each look at their program, after a while, it gets a bit stuck.
At least it got stuck. WiFi 6 has of course not improved my connection, it is still sluggish, but it has clearly decongested my internal network. Which translates into better overall performance.
So after that, there is also WiFi 6E. An evolution of WiFi 6 which allows the use of the 6 GHz band. But it will probably take another year or two to establish itself. And until then, I sincerely think the switch to WiFi 6 is worth it.
There, of course, it will be up to you to choose your solution, but if you want something easy to deploy, understandable and in addition to modular, I sincerely think that TP-Link’s proposal is to be retained.
Watch in hand, it took me only 5 minutes to switch to WiFi 6 and these were clearly some of the best used 5 minutes of my life. If you want to discover, or buy, TP-Link products, then it’s on Amazon .