TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System Review

TP-Link’s Deco X60 AX3000 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System costs $329.99 and comes as a three-piece Wi-Fi mesh network system designed to blanket your home in Wi-Fi 6 goodness. It’s a breeze to install and you can manage it with a user-friendly mobile app that comes with a lifetime subscription to TP-Link’s HomeCare parental controls and anti-malware tools. You can even control the X60 with Alexa voice commands. However, though it's a decent enough performer, it can’t match the throughput speeds and feature set that you get with our more expensive Editors’ Choice, the Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 Wi-Fi system or even its Editors' Choice-winning sibling, the higher-end TP-Link Deco M9.

Design and Features

The X60 3-pack comes with three identical white cylindrical nodes that provide up to 7,000 square feet of coverage. A 2-pack system that covers up to 5,000 square feet is also available for $269.99; a good price, but still not one that will qualify the Deco family as budget routers. Standing 4.5 inches high and 4.3 inches wide the nodes do not offer the low-profile aesthetics of the Deco M9 Plus nodes (2.5 by 5.7 inches) but are still smaller than the TP-Link Deco M4 nodes (7.5 by 3.6 inches). An LED indicator on the base blinks blue during set, is solid green when everything is working properly, and glows red when the node is experiencing connectivity issues.

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The back of each node holds two gigabit LAN ports and a power jack, and there’s a reset button on the bottom of the base. Missing are the USB and multi-gig ports that you get with Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 Wi-Fi system. Under the hood are four internal antennas, a 1 GHz quad-core CPU, and 802.11ax circuitry. The X60 is a six-stream, dual-band AX3000 system capable of throughput speeds of up to 574 megabits per second (Mbps) on the 2.4 GHz band and up to 2,402 Mbps on the 5GHz band. It employs all of the latest Wi-Fi 6 technologies, including 1024 QAM, Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) data transmissions, WPA3 encryption, MU-MIMO simultaneous data streaming, band steering, and direct to client signal beamforming. This system doesn’t offer a dedicated radio band for wireless backhaul but it does support wired backhaul via one of the LAN ports.

The X60 comes with a lifetime subscription to TP-Link’s HomeCare, a suite of parental controls, anti-malware, and Quality of Service (QoS) tools powered by Trend Micro. The parental controls offer age-based presets (Child, Pre-Teen, Teen, Adult) that prevent your child from accessing websites with gambling, social media, file sharing, pornography, and other adult oriented content. You can add any URL to your blocked website list and create access schedules and time limits.

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Anti-malware tools include Malicious Content Filtering for all connected devices, Intrusion Prevention, and Infected Device Quarantine. HomeCare QoS settings offer several optimized presets including Standard, Gaming, Streaming, Surfing, Chatting, and Custom. Here you can also give individual clients high bandwidth priority with specific bandwidth allocations. You can set bandwidth allocations manually or let the Speed Test utility to do it for you.

You can manage the X60 using TP-Link’ Deco mobile app or with a web console but the web console lacks access to many of the management options that you get with the app including parental controls, quality of service, and anti-malware settings. When you launch the app you’ll see an Overview screen with the name of the network and its Internet status as well as a list of currently connected clients. Tapping the Internet icon takes you to a screen that displays all connected mesh nodes, and tapping any node opens a screen with real-time time upload and download speeds and a list of clients currently connected to that node. Here you can turn off seamless roaming for any client.

At the bottom of the Overview screen are three buttons: the Overview button takes you back to the main screen from wherever you are in the app, and the HomeCare button takes you to a screen where you can configure the above-mentioned parental controls, anti-malware settings, and quality of service (QoS) settings. The More button opens a Settings screen with buttons that allow you to configure Wi-Fi settings, test your Internet speed, create a network black list, view monthly usage and security threat reports, and update the firmware. Use the Advanced button to configure IPv4 and IPv6; Port Forwarding; and Fast Roaming settings, create IP address reservations, and enable/disable IPTV/VLAN and MAC Cloning options.

The X60 supports Amazon Alexa commands which allow you to use your voice to do things like pause internet access for clients, enable/disable guest networking, and turn off LED indicator lights.

Installation and Performance

As we've stated, the was a breeze when it came to setup. We had the X60 up and running in no time, a process that started by downloading the Deco app and creating an account. After that we just tapped Let’s Begin, selected the X60 from the list of Deco models, and followed the instructions to power down our modem. We connected a Deco node to the modem using the supplied LAN cable and powered up the modem and the Deco node.

After a few seconds the node’s LED went from yellow to flashing blue, indicating that it was ready for setup. Using our smartphone’s Wi-Fi settings, we connected to the Deco’s SSID and waited a second or two for the app to find the node. We then gave the node a location (office) and let the app use the DHCP and default MAC address settings to configure Internet access. Finally, we gave the new network a name and password, connected our phone to the new SSID, and network setup was complete. We tapped Next and followed the instructions to plug in the other nodes, which were recognized within 30 seconds or so. We gave them each a location name, and after a quick 5 minute firmware update, we were fully up and running.

The X60 turned in decent scores on our throughput performance tests but it couldn’t keep pace with the other more expensive Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems we’ve tested nor many of the mesh-capable gaming routers and general-purpose wireless routers. The X60’s score of 758 Mbps on our close proximity (same room) test was certainly faster than most Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) mesh router scores, which average somewhere in the 540 Mbps range. But it trailed the Wi-Fi 6-based Linksy Velop MX10, Netgear Orbi RBK852, and Asus ZenWiFi XT8 routers by more than 100 Mbps. The Velop MX10 led with a score 865 Mbps. On the 30-foot test the X60 router’s score of 290 Mbps was a bit slower than the others, but not by much. The ZenWiFi XT8 led with a score of 347 Mbps.

The X60 satellite node didn’t fare so well. It garnered 521Mbps on the close proximity test, trailing the leader, the Asus ZenWiFi XT8, by 154 Mbps. The Linksys Velop MX10 and Netgear Orbi RBK852 both were more than 100 Mbps faster than the X60. On the 30-foot test the X60 node scored 386 Mbps. That’s 233 Mbps slower than the ZenWiFi XT8 node. It should be noted that the X60 is a dual-band system and therefore does not have the benefit of a secondary 5GHz band to handle backhaul, something that the other leading systems all provide, including the Linksys Velop AX MX10, the Netgear Orbi AX600 RBK852, and the Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8.

We use an Ekahau Sidekick Wi-Fi diagnostic device and Ekahau’s Survey mobile app to measure signal strength and use heat maps to illustrate coverage throughout our test home. On the map, darker green areas indicate the strongest signal measurements, and lighter green and yellow areas show a weaker signal. The circles represent the location of the router and the satellite node. With band steering enabled the X60 system provided strong signals throughout most of the house but became a bit weaker in the far corner of the lower left bedroom. This is likely due to the fact that this area has more walls between it and the router than any other room in the house.

Not Speedy, But With Good Features

The TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System may not be the fastest kid on the block but it’s very easy to install and manage and comes with some nice perks, especially the free lifetime parental controls and malware protection for your network and clients. The 3-pack covers a lot of ground (7,000 square feet) and showed good signal strength in testing, and it supports Alexa voice commands. That said, the Asus ZenWiFi XT8 offers superior throughput performance and more robust features, including four LAN ports (one of which is a 2.5GB LAN port), USB 3.1 connectivity, and a secondary 5GHz band which can be dedicated to wireless backhaul.

TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System

3.5See It$219.99 at AmazonMSRP $329.99


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The Bottom Line

The TP-Link Deco X60 is a whole home mesh system that uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology to help eliminate dead spots in your home. While it won't blow your doors off from a performance standpoint, it's fast enough, easy to use, and comes with a lifetime subscription to TP-Link’s HomeCare security tools.

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TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System Review