The new TP-Link Deco M9 Plus Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 2-pack System is multitalented, to say the least.
On paper, the specs of the Deco M9 Plus are impressive. It's a mesh network system, so its two wireless modules are designed to cover twice the space of a standard router thanks to overlapping tri-band wireless coverage -- TP-Link says the system will blanket 4,500 square feet. The system supposedly supports more than 100 devices connecting to it at once and uses a dedicated and dynamic backhaul channel to find the strongest signal for all of your devices.
In addition to its Wi-Fi prowess, the Deco M9 has built-in Bluetooth and Zigbee antennas, so it can also serve as a hub for your smart home sensors. Smaller smart home sensors that detect things like temperature and motion typically don't connect to Wi-Fi directly. They use lower power frequencies such as Zigbee to help their batteries last longer, so you usually need a hub like the popular SmartThings hub to control these devices.
The Deco M9 can help you do away with the extra hardware. You'll be able to control connected devices with the TP-Link app. TP-Link also works with Amazon's voice-activated assistant Alexa and the free online rules platform IFTTT. Give a voice command to a smart speaker with built-in Alexa (such as the Amazon Echo ($70 at Amazon)), and you'll be able to control smart devices connected through the TP-Link system. With IFTTT, you can set up rules such as turning on smart lights if you trigger your door sensor.
TP-Link also has a specialized Alexa skill allowing you to test your router and switch on specific modes like "gaming mode" with a voice command.
The Deco M9 comes with built-in protection from malware and hackers with antivirus called HomeCare powered by Trend Micro. Trend Micro will keep protection up-to-date.
You can monitor and set up the network with the TP-Link app. You'll also be able to use the app to monitor and limit Wi-Fi usage if you want to compel your kids to get away from their smart devices and go outside.
If you're interested in a Wi-Fi system tailored for the smart home, the Deco M9 goes on sale in early July. It'll be sold as a two-pack for $300. You can expand your system with an extra Mesh Wi-Fi one-pack for $180. The Deco M9 will be available overseas, but the company hasn't specified international prices yet. The two-pack price converts to roughly £225 and AU$400. The one pack converts to £130/AU$240.