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Networking

TP-Link Deco M9 Plus is a smart home-friendly mesh network system

Throw your other hubs to the curb. You'll be able to center your smart home around TP-Link's Mesh Wi-Fi system.

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TP-Link

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.

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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 ($100 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.  

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