TP-LINK Deco P7 Test: Punching Concrete Walls

Three Deco P7 modules are well placed under the box cover in the recesses. Under them, on the “second bridge” – boxes with power supplies (3 pcs), an RJ45 Ethernet cable, an envelope with instructions for a quick start.

The power supply is quite massive, heavy, white plastic, the cable is dense, soft, USB Type-C connector.

All modules are identical, made of high quality white plastic. Above Deco P7 looks round, in the center you can see an LED for notifications about the work status. From the side, the top part with a diode in the center looks like a slightly wavy, spiral conical “wave” – ​​as if the pastry chef has confidently and gracefully smeared snow-white cream on the cake. Diameter 12 cm, height – almost 4 cm Such a device will not be difficult to insert inside and, if desired, to hide.

On the side of the Deco P7 there are two RJ-45 ports and a USB Type-C for connecting power and data transfer using Powerline technology.

At the bottom there are four low non-slip “tabs” along the edges, a label with technical information in the center, and between them there are ventilation holes.

 

How I tested TP-LINK Deco P7, under what conditions, what problems did I solve

I live in a small apartment (48 sqm), the cable from the provider to the modem is connected to the library in the corner of the living room, which creates problems. The point is that this corner is formed by half a meter reinforced concrete walls, and my small office is located just diagonally – the router barely “crosses” this barrier. I won’t say there is no signal – it’s there, but it’s weak and unstable, and the situation where like a ghost I’m standing with a MacBook in my hand closer to the router while downloading a large file repeats itself so often that it has stopped scaring my family.

On the other side of the wall, in the bedroom, there is a TV connected to an Android TV box for watching Netflix and Youtube. The set-top box only connects via Wi-Fi, so a stable signal is essential for a good picture.

Before starting the installation, I took out a quick start instruction from a small envelope – yes, I am the one reading the technique instructions. And now let’s go.

Using Google Assistant, I read the QR code on the Deco P7 box, installed the TP-Link Deco app on Google Play. At this point, you will already need the internet – since you actually want to connect and set it up, this can be a problem. I recommend that you take care of mobile internet access at least for the time of decorating Deco P7 – immediately after installing the app you will still need to register a TP-Link ID.

This identifier is necessary to administer networks (there may be several) – even remotely. For example, your house and your parents. And also to integrate your network with Amazon Alexa and the IFTTT service (more on that below, please indulge me).

I connected a twisted pair cable from the modem from the supplier via RJ-45 (it doesn’t matter which of the two ports looks good), the power supply to the USB Type-C port and to the jack. I waited for the yellow LED signal in the center of the Deco P7 module to turn flashing blue. Then the installation process went like clockwork: screen by screen, clear and illustrated explanations – the application is designed, if not for a very beginner, as well as for an ordinary smartphone user who distinguishes “Google” for “handkerchiefs”.

After setting up the first device in the kit (they’re all the same no matter which one you choose – but I chose the middle one, if you’re interested) the app offered to complete setup or add modules Additional deco. I plugged in two more – one right next to the Android TV box, the other on the office shelf (remember, behind the concrete walls).

After connection, the application offers to update the “firmware” of the router. It all happened quickly, I didn’t even notice when the new software was installed. I repeated the procedure twice – after 20 minutes after connecting to the network of the first Deco P7, a mesh Wi-Fi network started working in my apartment.

You can test your connection speed directly from the TP-Link Deco app. As the measurements showed, the access speed is practically the same. No more “dead zones” and walking through the apartment with the MacBook.

I would like to draw your attention to several interesting points. Although the application is simple, you will find there the minimum settings necessary for the reliable operation of your home network. On the first screen, you will see an image of the globe (behind this button is a screen with a list of nodes in your new mesh network), icons for configuring antivirus (on / off) and parental controls ( creation of profiles for limited use of the network), below is a list of devices connected to the network. By pressing the name, you can define the priority of the device and / or limit the duration of its connection. Practical and clear.

The second tab contains icons to access the router settings. For advanced and just curious users, there is an “Advanced” button, where you can configure port forwarding, TP-Link dynamic DNS (DDNS), configure LED indication, enable “fast roaming” ( 802.11r). For those who want to learn more, but are too lazy to google, 802.11r is an amendment to the IEEE 802.11 (simply Wi-FI) standard, which enables seamless, smooth, and fast switching between nodes in the network.

 

How to configure IFTTT in TP-LINK Deco P7

In the side menu of TP-Link Deco, there is an item “Friends of Deco” – you can connect to it and configure an Amazon voice assistant “Alex”, and a free web service to create conditional operator chains IFTTT (If This Then That – “If this, then then”). If you’ve never encountered it before, now is the time to fix it.

In the TP-Link Deco app itself, there is a proprietary “skill” for Alexa, and a number of channels for IFTTT are available, but for a bit more complex integration, it’s best to install the IFTTT app from Google Play (or the App Store, of course).

So, I did not find a device with “Alexa”, but with “Google Assistant” in addition to smartphones and an Android TV decoder, there is Google Home Mini in the home network. I knew IFTTT supports the Google Assistant, so making friends with Deco would be easy.

Let’s teach my minicam to put Deco in broadcast priority mode. In the IFTTT app, I created a new applet (this is how action strings are called in IFTTT), I selected the Google Assistant condition “say a simple sentence”, I have indicated the sentence “Change the priority of Deco in streaming”, I have indicated some alternative variations of the sentence and the answer that I want to hear as confirmation of the order.

Then in the chain, I chose TP-Link Router (during the first configuration, I will have to link my TP-Link profile to IFTTT), indicated the Wi-Fi network to which I will have to apply the command, and saved it . I immediately checked: “Ok, Google: change Deco priority in streaming”. Seconds later, I heard the response: “Ok, your network is ready to broadcast now.” I check the settings in the app – the priority for streaming is really set. Ok Google, thank you!

This way you can associate the different services available in IFTTT with your mesh network. For example, to record the activity of a certain device on the network in Google tables, or “teach” the same Google Home Mini to report the appearance of a woman in the network coverage area. I hope for your imagination, Deco P7 and IFTTT will do the rest.

 

Neighbors of the TP-LINK Deco P7 range

The TP-Link Deco family is quite extensive, and at the time of writing this review includes the following devices:

Deco M4 (already waiting for the editorial review, follow the journal’s publications on the site), Deco M5, Deco M7 (subject of the review) and Deco M9.

While the M5, M7 and M9 look like twins, the Deco M4 differs – they are neat “columns”. Consider the main differences between them:

M4 Deco M5 Deco Deco P7 M9 Deco
Dual band Dual band Dual band Tri-band
2 integrated antennas 4 integrated antennas 4 integrated antennas 8 integrated antennas
2.4 GHz, 5 GHz Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, Powerline (HomePlug AV600) 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, ZigBee HA1.2

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