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TP-Link Deco X20 Review

This model comes with an exceptional performance that won't break the bank
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TP-Link Deco X20 Review
Credit: Amazon
Price:  $270 List
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Manufacturer:   TP Link
By Matt Spencer and Becca Glades  ⋅  Jan 12, 2023
79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 10
  • 2.4 GHz Throughput - 35% 8.8
  • 5 GHz Throughput - 35% 8.4
  • Range - 20% 6.5
  • Ease of Use - 10% 6.2

Our Verdict

Finishing around the top of our list, the TP-Link Deco X20 delivers exceptional coverage and WiFi-6 compatibility. We were impressed by its performance in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz throughput tests. Additionally, the system is easy to set up with an app that walks you through the whole process. This WiFi-6 compatible Mesh System has great features, including parental controls, MU-MIMO, and OFDMA. Should you need to expand your WiFi network, this system is compatible with other models in the Deco mesh line. See it ranked against other top products in our article on the best WiFi mesh systems.
REASONS TO BUY
LED on/off
Great 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz throughput
Parental controls
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited QoS options

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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62
59
43
Star Rating
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Bottom Line A top-performing WiFi mesh system with MU-MIMO, WiFi 6, and OFDMAA top-performing mesh router that looks great and comes with exceptional featuresA budget-friendly mesh router that performs well and has great featuresThis middling router has good 2.4 GHz throughput for a low price pointA cheap option that doesn't do the job well
Rating Categories TP-Link Deco X20 Linksys Atlas Pro 6... Google Nest WiFi TP-Link Deco M5 TP-Link Deco S4
2.4 GHz Throughput (35%)
8.8
5.6
4.4
8.2
5.0
5 GHz Throughput (35%)
8.4
9.2
8.4
4.8
3.2
Range (20%)
6.5
8.5
5.5
3.5
4.0
Ease of Use (10%)
6.2
7.1
6.5
6.2
6.2
Specs TP-Link Deco X20 Linksys Atlas Pro 6... Google Nest WiFi TP-Link Deco M5 TP-Link Deco S4
Wi-Fi Version WiFi 6 WiFi 6 WiFi 5 WiFi 5 WiFi 5
Wireless Specification Dual Band Dual Band Dual Band Dual Band Dual Band
Frequency 5 GHz
2.4 GHz
5 GHz
2.4 GHz
5 GHz
2.4 GHz
5 GHz
2.4 GHz
5 GHz
2.4 GHz
Processor 1.0 GHz Dual-Core 1.0 GHz dual-Core 1.4 GHz Quad-core 64-bit ARM Qualcomm 717 MHz Quad-core Qualcomm CPU
Memory N/A 256 MB Flash
512MB RAM
4 GB Flash
1 GB RAM
N/A N/A
MU-MIMO Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
OFDMA Yes Yes No No No
Beamforming Explicit only Explicit only Explicit only Explicit only Explicit only
Security WPA/WPA2/WPA3 - Personal
WPA/WPA2 - Enterprise
WPA/WPA2/WPA3 - Personal
WPA/WPA2 - Enterprise
WPA/WPA2/WPA3 - Personal
WPA/WPA2 - Enterprise
WPA/WPA2 - Personal
WPA/WPA2 - Enterprise
WPA/WPA2 - Personal
WPA/WPA2 - Enterprise
LAN Ports Available 1 3 1 1 1
USB Ports None None None None None
Antenna 2 - Internal 5 - Internal N/A 4 - Internal 2 - Internal
Wall Mountable No No No No No
Wireless On/off button No No No No No
Led on/off Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2.4 GHz 9 ft Unobstructed 144 Mbps 105 Mbps 81 Mbps 129 Mbps 72 Mbps
2.4 GHz 9 ft Obstructed 137 Mbps 77 Mbps 78 Mbps 112 Mbps 79 Mbps
2.4 GHz 35 ft Unobstructed 121 Mbps 74 Mbps 66 Mbps 106 Mbps 81 Mbps
2.4 GHz 35 ft Obstructed 100 Mbps 80 Mbps 68 Mbps 109 Mbps 94 Mbps
2.4 GHz 70 ft Obstructed 20 Mbps 21 Mbps 17 Mbps 7 Mbps 12 Mbps
5.0 GHz 9 ft Unobstructed 365 Mbps 398 Mbps 316 Mbps 332 Mbps 322 Mbps
5.0 GHz 9 ft Obstructed 360 Mbps 309 Mbps 314 Mbps 320 Mbps 297 Mbps
5.0 GHz 35 ft Unobstructed 271 Mbps 348 Mbps 315 Mbps 249 Mbps 236 Mbps
5.0 GHz 35 ft Obstructed 303 Mbps 331 Mbps 313 Mbps 262 Mbps 237 Mbps
5.0 GHz 70 ft Obstructed 52 Mbps 119 Mbps 89 Mbps 4 Mbps 28 Mbps

Our Analysis and Test Results

The TP-Link Deco X20 won its spot as one of our favorite mesh systems with its exceptional 2.4 and 5 GHz throughput performance. The unit's mobile app is user-friendly with great features. You can monitor your network status, prioritize specific devices, and set up parental controls. The nodes are sleek and minimal, allowing them to blend into almost any environment. Additionally, the nodes include two LAN ports on the back for ethernet backhaul or hardwired devices. This system is hard to beat with its top-notch coverage and speeds.

Performance Comparison


tp-link deco x20 - the tp-link deco x20 is a top performer in throughput and range. the...
The TP-Link Deco X20 is a top performer in throughput and range. The pack includes three nodes.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

2.4 GHz Throughput


Most homes have WiFi dead spots of some sort. Naturally, walls and furniture are the culprits. Mesh systems work to eliminate dead zones by extending WiFi to all nooks and crannies. We tested various locations to see how well each system distributed the WiFi. Starting nine feet from the router, we assessed the throughput of each mesh system. We then obstructed the path with a wall, reassessing the connection strength. This test was performed again at 35 and 70 feet. At each location, we took three measurements and averaged those together. These measurements are worth 35% of the overall score.


The Deco X20 performed exceptionally well in this test. At each location, this unit led the pack in megabits per second (Mbps). Only at the 35-foot obstructed point did it drop slightly in performance, but it was still far above average. The system remained above 100 Mbps until the 70-foot obstructed mark. Here, the speed fell to 20 Mbps. Although this appears to be a large jump, our lineup averaged 15 Mbps at this location. Because the nodes are moveable, should you find yourself consistently this far away, you can simply move the node to be closer.

tp-link deco x20 - included in the tp-link deco x20 design is two wan/lan ports and a...
Included in the TP-Link Deco X20 design is two WAN/LAN ports and a power cord.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

5 GHz Throughput


To assess the throughput of the 5 GHz, we followed the same steps as the 2.4 GHz test. We started by testing the connection at a short distance of nine feet. We then moved to a midrange location 35 feet away. Then, a distant location 70 feet away. The nine and 35-foot tests were conducted with an unobstructed and an obstructed path. The 70-foot path was only assessed with an obstructed path as most buildings won't offer an open 70-foot room.


The Deco X20 performed well in this test, only dropping off at mid to long-range distances. Our short-range obstructed and unobstructed measurements revealed speeds of 360-365 Mbps. Most of the others in our lineup struggled to reach 350 Mbps. The system dropped substantially at the 70-foot obstructed point with speeds of 52 Mbps. This was slightly above average.

tp-link deco x20 - the tp-link deco x20 was a top-performing wifi mesh system in our...
The TP-Link Deco X20 was a top-performing WiFi Mesh System in our throughput tests.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Range


For our range test, we played a YouTube video on 1080p and then walked away from the router in 10-foot increments. As soon as the video started buffering, we noted the distance we had traveled. We tested this on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz channels.


The TP-Link Deco X20 had a great range of 90 feet on the 2.4 GHz channel. Likewise, on the 5 GHz channel, the system lasted for 110 feet before buffering. This mesh system includes three intersecting pathways (nodes), so you should never be too far from one. Additionally, you can change the location of the nodes should you find yourself in one location more often than another. This change can easily be managed in the app. However, those with large backyards might be interested in this extensive range.

tp-link deco x20 - the tp-link deco x20 kit comes with three nodes and power cords.
The TP-Link Deco X20 kit comes with three nodes and power cords.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


We assessed the simplicity of the mobile app, full setup, QoS, and additional features. The X20 is set up using the Deco application. Simply download the app to your phone and start the setup process. The app will walk you through the steps of setup, which include plugging in your Deco unit to the modem. The process is pretty straightforward. Once the app is connected to the system, the app will finish the setup for you. After which, you'll be able to begin setting up your WiFi name and password. You can easily add other Deco mesh products to expand your network at any time. Unfortunately, no computer option is available for this setup process.


Once you've gone through the steps on the app, you'll have access to the features. This includes WiFi settings, QoS, and parental controls. In the parental controls, you can create different user profiles. Within each profile, you are able to set time limits, block content, and monitor usage. We appreciate the ability to change these settings within each profile. This might be very useful for families with multiple children who are of different ages or for restriction progression as the kids get older. In each profile, you can restrict and block specific sites or content within certain categories like gambling, adult content, social networking, and more.

The app also has a Quality of Service (QoS) feature. Through this feature, you'll be able to set bandwidth priorities. Though we appreciate this, we weren't extremely impressed with this system's QoS. It only lets you specify upload and download speed caps. This was quite disappointing as other systems allow you to allocate more or less bandwidth for different functions like streaming, gaming, messaging, and more.

Within the WiFi settings, you are able to change the network name or password. You will also be able to set up a guest network. Any of these features can be accessed from anywhere as long as the app is downloaded and connected. Additionally, you can test the internet speed at any point.

The parental controls of the Deco X20 give options that include...
The parental controls of the Deco X20 give options that include filtered content, blocked content, and schedules.
The TP-Link Deco X20 gives you the QoS options to set bandwidth for...
The TP-Link Deco X20 gives you the QoS options to set bandwidth for downloads or uploads.


Should you buy the TP-Link Deco X20?


The TP-Link Deco X20 is one of our favorite WiFi mesh systems. It did exceptionally well in our tests and has advanced features like WiFi 6, MU-MIMO, and OFDMA. This is great for large families or those with lots of smart devices. The system also has great additional features like parental controls and QoS. We appreciate how easy it is to add additional nodes. Expanding the WiFi coverage can be done with any Deco mesh system, not just the X20 model. We would happily recommend this system to our families and friends.

tp-link deco x20 - the tp-link deco x20 nodes are sleek and minimalist, blending into...
The TP-Link Deco X20 nodes are sleek and minimalist, blending into any room or office.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

What other WiFi mesh system should you consider?


Though this was one of our favorite systems, we also tested many others. Another top performer is the Linksys Atlas Pro 6. This unit has many of the same features but a larger range. Unfortunately, this system is quite a bit pricier than the Deco X20. For a mesh system that is better on a budget, check out the Google Nest WiFi. This unit is great for those who already have smart homes with Google devices. Both the Linksys Atlas and the Google Nest have great features, including parental controls and device prioritization.

Matt Spencer and Becca Glades
 

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