The Deco XE75 AXE5400 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System, which is also confusingly available as the Deco XE5300, is TP-Link’s very first real Wi-Fi 6E solution. Finally.
Indeed, the networking vendor was one of the first that made all kinds of buzz about the new standard in early 2021 with nothing to show during the entire year. And then, it recommitted the Wi-Fi 6E promise in early 2022.
And now, when the world is getting all excited about Wi-Fi 7, the XE75 is here.
So, it’s fair to say the new mesh system is a bit late to the game — it’s the 6th Wi-Fi 6E system on the market so far, but you already knew that if you had read my reviews on the rest of them (save the no-good eero Pro 6e).
Consequently, you might find this review a bit predictable. My mantra has been Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E is generally not a great idea for a fully wired environment but excellent for a wired home.
So let’s cut to the chase: If you want a reliable wireless mesh system with relatively modest sub-Gigabit performance, at the suggested retail price of just $299.99 for a 2-pack, the XE75 is a great Wi-Fi 6E deal. It’s the most affordable by far.
On the other hand, if you buy into to the marketing that tends to pick (the speed of the 6GHz band) and choose (the range of the 2.4GHz band), you’ll be utterly disappointed.
To put in a sentence, the Deco XE75 is an affordable Wi-Fi 6E system that gets the job done with minimum effort as long as you’re OK with TP-Link’s way.
TP-Link Deco XE75 AXE5400: A typical Deco set, now with Wi-Fi 6E
The review XE75 is a 2-pack system that includes two identical mesh routers. Out of the box, the two are pre-synced, you only need to set up one as the main router, and the other will automatically become a satellite unit once plugged into power.
Afterward, you can manually add more mesh units to the system to extend the coverage when need be. That’s generally how a mesh system works anyway.
Simple design, no Multi-Gig port
Each Deco XE75 router is a relatively compact tube measuring 4.1-inch (105 mm) wide and 6.7-inch (169 mm) tall. It looks like a smart speaker.
On the front, toward the bottom, it has a little indicator status light. And on the back, there are three auto-sensing Gigabit network ports — each can work as a WAN (available only in the unit working as the router) or a LAN port depending on what you plug into it.
There’s no Multi-Gig port which is a big disappointment. And there’s no USB port either.
TP-Link Deco XE75: Hardware specifications
|TP-Link Deco XE75
Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System
|2-pack (as tested),
|Possible Dedicated Backhaul Band
(6GHz as default)
|4.1 × 4.1 × 6.7 in
(105 × 105 × 169 mm)
|1.43 lbs (650 gram)
|2 x 2 AX
Up to 574Mbps
|2 x2 AX
Up to 2402 Mbps
Up to 2402 Mbps
(One for each band)
|Web User Interface
(No local management)
(as a router or a mesh)
|1.7 GHz Quad-Core CPU
|1.1.2 Build 20220224
|Input: 100-240V (50/60Hz 0.8A)
Output: 12V, 2.0A
|Real-Word Power Consumption
|US Retail Price
TP-Link Deco XE75 AXE5400: Detail photos
App-operated, simple local web interface
Like all TP-Link Deco sets, the XE75 requires a login account and is app-operated.
You must use the Deco mobile app for the setup process. And during this time, the phone (or tablet) must connect to the Internet via a cellular connection or an existing Wi-Fi.
But other than that, the setup process proved smooth in my trial. The app’s setup wizard covered all necessary steps in great detail, and I got the system up and running within less than 10 minutes without a hitch.
If you’ve used a mobile app before and can pay some attention, you’ll likely also find this a walk in the park.
After the setup, the app allows for managing the system from anywhere globally, as long as you have Internet access on your phone.
Locally, there’s also a simple web interface, accessible via the router’s default IP address (192.168.68.1) or tplinkdeco.net.
This interface has a simple network map that shows connected clients. And then, there’s an Advanced page with the system’s status, log, and low-level functions, including manual firmware update, time-zone configurations, and a few WAN settings.
The TP-Link Deco XE75’s Web interface is relatively poor and can’t work as a local management method.
It’s worth noting that this web interface is only available after the initial app-based hardware setup. And there’s no way you can use just the web interface to manage the Deco XE75. You can’t use it to change any important essential settings of a home Wi-Fi network.
So the Deco app is the only way to use the mesh system and all that implies.
Your privacy matters
It’s important to note that having to sign in with an account with TP-Link means your mesh system connects to the vendor at all times — you manage your home network through TP-Link.
Privacy is a matter of degree. While it’s never a good idea to have your network managed via a third party, the data collection varies from one company to another.
Relatively thin on features and Wi-Fi settings
The XE75 shares the same features set with the previous Deco set. It comes with the support for Dynamic DNS — in this case it only supports TP-Link’s free domain –, IP reservation and port-forwarding. There’s also a simple QoS engine where you can add individual devices to the priority list.
On top of that, there’s a light version of HomeShield that include a simple basic Network Protection and Parent Controls. If you subscribe for HomeShield Pro — as the app will often nag you –, which cost $6/month or $55/year, you’ll get the more in-depth version of the two.
There’s not much you can do about Wi-Fi settings other than creating a network name (SSID) and password.
After that, you can turn the radio of the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band on or off, effectively making the network 5GHz- or 2.4GHz-only.
Extra on backhaul
This extra content is part of the explainer on mesh systems.
A Wi-Fi connection between two direct devices takes place in a single band, using a fixed channel, at any given time. (That’s always been the case before Wi-Fi 7, which might work differently.)
Generally, when you use multiple Wi-Fi hardware units in a mesh network, there are two types of connections: the fronthaul and the backhaul.
Fronthaul is the Wi-Fi signal a mesh hub broadcasts outward for clients or its network ports for wired devices. That’s what we generally expect from a Wi-Fi broadcaster.
On the other hand, backhaul, a.k.a backbone, is the link between one broadcasting hub and another, be it the main router or another satellite hub. This link works behind the scene to keep the hardware units together as a system. It also determines the ceiling speed of all devices connected to the satellite hub.
When a Wi-Fi band handles backhaul and fronthaul simultaneously, only half of its bandwidth is available to either end. From the perspective of a connected client, that phenomenon is called signal loss. When a band functions solely for backhauling, it’s called a dedicated backhaul band.
In a mesh system, only traditional Tri-band hardware with an additional 5GHz band can have a dedicated backhaul band.
Generally, it’s best to use a network cable for backhauling or wired backhaul. In this case, a hub can use all of its Wi-Fi bandwidth for front-hauling.
In networking, using network cables is always much better than wireless in speed and reliability.
The pseudo dedicated backhaul band
As for the 6GHz, it gets interesting: By default, this band is set as the dedicated backhaul for the mesh system. But you can also make it available for clients, too.
When you choose to use the 6GHz as a dedicated backhaul, you only make this band unavailable to clients — and the system will still use its other two bands (2.4GHz or 5GHz) as backhaul when necessary.
And that is necessary in most cases since the 6GHz band’s range is very short.
When I placed the satellite unit behind a wall in my testing, the mesh immediately stopped using the 6GHz band as backhaul. I figured that out via testing — there was no way to know which band was working as backhaul via the app.
That said, there’s no point in using the 6GHz as the dedicated backhaul unless:
- You have no 6GHz clients, and
- You can place the hardware units at a relatively short distance — some 65 feet (20 meters) — from each other within a line of sight.
When you open the 6GHz band to the client, it’ll be able as a separate network name (SSID), though you can name it the same as the other two bands.
Like all applicable Deco sets, the XE75 support wired backhaul, which is also what I’d recommend for best performance.
TP-Link Deco XE75 AXE5400: Reliable sub-Gigabit performance
In my testing, the Deco XE75 did well for its hardware specs. I tested it both as a single router and a wireless mesh system.
Since it doesn’t have a Multi-Gig port, its sustained speed is generally capped below Gigabit. And compared to other Wi-Fi 6E broadcasters, it did quite well, as you can see on the chart below.
As a mesh system, I placed the satellite unit 40 feet away from the router unit within a line of sight. The number below is generally the best-case scenario, presumably when the 6GHz band was working as the backhaul.
(Again, there was no way to know which band the system was using for its backhaul at any given time.)
I did try the system via wired backhaul, and in that case, the satellite unit delivered similar sustained rates as the router units.
In real-world usage and additional anecdotal testing, the Deco XE75’s performance generally topped at around 300Mbps at the satellite unit and close to 900Mbps at the router unit.
Typically, you’ll have placed the two quite far from each other with a wall or two in between. The screenshot below shows the best possible Internet speeds out of the two in my case, where I placed the satellite 45 feet (14 meters) from the router, and there were a few thin walls between them.
I tested that using a Pixel 6 — which, in my experience, was capable of over 1200Mbps of sustained Wi-Fi speeds — via a 10Gbps Fiber-optic connection. In case you’re curious, here’s the speed test page I used for this testing.
I did this test many times over a week, using all different bands, and picked the best result for each case to show here. Hint: Your experience will likely be lower, especially at the router.
If you don’t care about getting the most out of a Gigabit-class broadband connection, as you probably shouldn’t since anything over 100Mbps is enough for any applications, the Deco XE75’s real-world speeds sure will suffice. If you want more, getting your home wired is a must and maybe consider the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12.
As for coverage, TP-Link claims that 2-pack Deco XE75 can blanket 5,500 ft2 (511 m2) — or 7200 ft2 if you use a 3-pack — and that’s a bit of a stretch.
Clearly, in a wireless setup, we must balance range and performance. I’d say this 2-pack can handle around 4000 ft2 with decent speed. Larger than that, you will need to use a network cable to connect the two units or be content with using the 2.4GHz as backhaul, which is very slow. In any case, your mileage will vary depending on the layout of your home.
Before publishing this review, I used the Deco Xe75 for over two weeks, and it proved reliable. We had no issue with disconnections.
Wi-Fi 6E-ready with reliable and extensive coverage
No Multi-Gig port, Link Aggregation or Dual-WAN
TP-Link login account and mobile app required
No real, local web-based management
Only three network ports on each unit
For the current friendly retail price of $300, the 2-pack TP-Link Deco XE75 AXE5400 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System is an excellent buy — it’s definitely much better than the eero Pro 6E in hardware specs alone.
This mesh is great if you want a reliable wireless mesh for a modest home network. And for a wired home, it’ll deliver Gigabit-class wireless performance.
On the downside, the lack of a real, local web interface can translate into privacy risks and a lackluster feature set, even when you want to spend another $6/month for the subscription add-ons.
That said, I’d recommend it with reservation. This new mesh system, in a way, is a testament to the fact that we can’t have everything, and sometimes, not even close to that. But even that can still be a good deal.