As we have more and more wirelessly connected devices at home and in the office, we become more dependent on working Wi-Fi, at the same time the load is getting higher and the neighbours’ Wi-Fi competes with ours for the frequency space.
The Wi-Fi 6 standard aimed to remedy that by making the connected gadgets make better use of frequency space so that more devices can share the same router without overloading the network. Wifi 6E takes it one step further by simply introducing a completely new 6GHz frequency band in addition to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz already in use.
To be able to use the new frequencies, both router and device must of course support Wifi 6E. Newer top mobile phones have it, and TP-Link, which makes excellent mesh routers to provide good coverage on the wireless network, now has a new model with support for Wifi 6E that we have had time to test during the summer.
The TP-Link Deco XE75 is sold with two or three routers (you can connect more than that if you live large), and all routers are the same. So it doesn’t matter which of them you connect to your broadband socket. The cans are half-sized but still fit on top of my broadband cabinet in the hall, which not all models do. Each router has an ethernet socket if there is any gadget you would need to connect with a cable to the network.
Easy to start
The connection is just as easy as I have come to expect from TP-Link. I start the app, plug the router into the broadband jack and follow the instructions. Then there isn’t much I have to do on the road, most of it is solved by the app on its own. The routers communicate via a common wireless back channel, so they can be daisy-chained for even longer range unlike some meshed networks where all satellites must be within range of the main unit. You also don’t have to keep track of which router you’re connected to, they’re all part of the same wifi and handover happens automatically.
However, I sometimes get a little worse coverage than I’m used to from TP-link. The units use beamforming and artificial intelligence to point the antennas for the best reception, and it’s possible that this goes awry sometimes, because in any case I end up sitting next to one of the routers but still only have a pin’s worth of signal strength. A check shows that I am then connected to another router that is further away. This is an extreme case, but it definitely happens that I don’t have full signal strength even though I’m close to the router.
The speed of the wifi connection varies greatly when I measure it, not only from place to place but often in the same place at different times. I get at worst 72 Mbit/s, at best over half a gigabit per second, and typically between 100 and 200 Mbit/s. It’s a little less than I expect. If you have a 100 Mbit/s broadband connection, it is quite enough, but if you have more, the Wi-Fi speed can be limiting.
The app gives you an overview of which devices are connected to the network and allows you to update the software in the router. There is security software you can subscribe to in the app, but if you don’t want it, it won’t bother you. Most of the time, you just want a wifi to be there and work, and the Dco XE75 does that.
Wifi 6E then? By default, that frequency is actually only used as a back channel to the mesh network. It is perhaps rational when so few devices so far support Wifi 6E. In any case, it gives the routers considerable capacity between themselves. In the settings, you can change so that you also have Wifi with the 6E standard. However, unlike the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies, it will not be part of the same network, but a separate network that you must connect to separately. This is because Wifi 6E currently only supports WPA3 encryption, while many connected devices still only support WPA2, so in order for no device to have connection problems, there will be two different networks. This may change in the future.
In any case, I don’t get better speeds with Wifi 6E, even though I’m the undisputed king of the frequency band. Wifi 6E might make a difference in an environment with even more competition for the frequency space than I have. As it is now, the feeling of having used Wifi 6E for the first time becomes a bit of an anticlimax.
That doesn’t prevent the TP-Link Deco XE75 from being an excellent mesh network, but it’s not obviously better than TP-Link’s cheaper routers with Wifi 6, such as the Deco X60. At least not at the moment.
Source: Mobil by www.mobil.se.
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