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TP-Link Deco XE75 Pro Review

The TP-Link Deco X75 Pro is one of the best mesh systems you can get.

Is the Deco XE75 Pro right for you?

The TP-Link Deco XE75 Pro is a great system to have, even if you don’t pay for a multi-gig internet connection. Its biggest selling point is the third band accessing the new 6 GHz spectrum, but you don’t necessarily need a Wi-Fi 6E device to enjoy the speeds the XE75 Pro brings to your home network. It also has a few unexpected surprises under the hood, making it one of our favorite mesh systems to date.

Pros:

  • Built-in VPN tools
  • IoT networking
  • Device isolation

Cons:

  • Subscription-locked features
  • Limited number of streams
  • No USB connectivity

Fastest internet plans for the Deco XE75 Pro

You can use any of the three Ethernet ports for internet—the system automatically detects your connection. But what makes this system a “pro” model is its 2.5Gbps Ethernet port you can use for internet or a wired connection of up to 2,370Mbps (give or take).

To see if you have the best internet speeds for the Deco XE75 Pro, run our speed test first:

Also, you don’t absolutely need a 2,000Mbps plan to use this system—any plan under 2,300Mbps will do. Here’s a list of options if you were already thinking about an upgrade anyway:

PlanSpeedTypePriceOrder online
Astound Broadband 1500 Mbps InternetUp to 1,500MbpsFiber$60.00-$70.00/mo.*
AT&T Internet 2000Up to 2,000MbpsFiber$125.00/mo.View Plans for AT&T
CenturyLink Fiber GigabitUp to 940MbpsFiber$65.00/mo.
Cox Go Beyond FastUp to 2,000MbpsCable$149.99/mo.§View Plans for Cox Communications
Frontier Fiber 2 GigUp to 2,000MbpsFiber$99.99/mo.||View Plans for Frontier
Google Fiber 2 GigUp to 2,000MbpsFiber$100.00/mo.||||View Plans for Google Fiber
Mediacom Prime Internet 1 GIGUp to 1,000MbpsCable$54.99/mo.#View Plans for Mediacom
Optimum 2 Gig Fiber InternetUp to 2,000MbpsFiber$55.00/mo.**View Plans for Optimum
Spectrum Internet® GigUp to 1,000Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
Cable/fiber$89.99/mo.††
for 12 mos.
View Plans for Spectrum
Verizon Internet 2 GigUp to 2,300MbpsFiber$94.99/mo.‡‡
WOW Internet 1 GigUp to 1,000MbpsCable$50.00/mo.##View Plans for WOW!
Xfinity Gigabit ExtraUp to 1,200MbpsCable$80.00/mo.§§View Plans for Xfinity

Deco XE75 Pro standout features

The Deco XE75 Pro has a few more features than all the other mesh systems we’ve tested to date, which is nice.

The best features at a glance:

  • Built-in VPN tools
  • Device isolation
  • IoT networking
  • Basic parental controls

Compare the Deco XE75 Pro to the competition

ProductWi-Fi versionMax throughputPrice*Order online
TP-Link Deco XE75 ProWi-Fi 6E5,400Mbps$249.99View on Amazon
TP-Link Deco X50-PoEWi-Fi 63,000Mbps$299.99View on Amazon
TP-Link Deco X55Wi-Fi 63,000Mbps$199.99View on Amazon
Amazon Eero Pro 6Wi-Fi 64,200Mbps$399.99View on Amazon
NETGEAR Nighthawk MK83Wi-Fi 63,600Mbps$299.99View on Amazon

The Deco XE75 Pro is the only mesh system on the list that accesses the 6 GHz spectrum. By default, it uses this connection for Deco-to-Deco communication, while the Nighthawk MK83 has a third dedicated line with slower 5 GHz speeds. The Eero Pro 6 has three bands, too, but it picks the best one for Eero-to-Eero communication versus locking one down solely for internal use like the XE75 and MK83.

If multi-gig internet is what you need, the Deco XE75 Pro supports that, too: up to 2,370Mbps. TP-Link’s Deco X50-PoE system also has a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, but you can use Ethernet to supply power to each X50-PoE unit, whereas you can’t with the Deco XE75 Pro. The power-over-Ethernet feature is handy if you need to install a satellite in areas without a power outlet.

See our full coverage of the best mesh systems and routers.

Our Deco XE75 Pro scoring breakdown

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Has some of the best speeds we’ve tested for a mesh system.
Features 5 Packs VPN tools, IoT networking, and more.
Design 4 Includes a third 6 GHz band for Deco-to-Deco use.
Setup 4 Gets you up and running quickly.
Ease of use 5 Makes network management easy through the Deco app.

* out of 5 points

Green LED internet light on base of Deco XE75

Performance

4

Wi-Fi configuration:

  • 2.4 GHz band: 574Mbps (2 x 287Mbps)
  • 5 GHz band: 2,402Mbps (2 x 1,200Mbps)*
  • 6 GHz band: 2,402Mbps (2 x 1,200Mbps)*

We almost gave the XE75 Pro a perfect score in performance. In fact, we probably should, given what we recorded from the satellite. But the lack of channel selection control is problematic and reduces the score. In short, your speeds depend wholly on the channel the AI selects, which may or may not be optimal for your setting.

Still, there are some really good speeds to be had with the XE75 Pro based on our tests. Its 5 GHz speeds are mostly on par with other Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems we’ve tested to date, including the Deco X50-PoE, NETGEAR’s Nighthawk MK83, and Amazon’s Eero Pro 6.

For example, when we measure speeds with an iPhone, mesh systems usually start around 850Mbps at close range. Check out the close-range averages we recorded with the XE75 Pro:

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max*Lenovo ThinkPadGoogle Pixel 6
Ceiling speed1,2002,4002,400
Connection5 GHz5 GHz6 GHz
Speed @ 2 ft.8291,1201,590

However, the speed averages become less similar as we move away from the router unit and our iPhone transitions to the satellites. Here is where a third band dedicated to router-to-satellite communication plays a vital role in how these systems provide faster whole-home speeds than those that don’t.

And with the Deco XE75 Pro, there’s an even more noticeable difference when we compare its satellite speeds to the competition. We go into detail in the FAQ if you want to know more, but the bottom line is you don’t need Wi-Fi 6E devices to use this system. The connection is primarily used as your Wi-Fi backbone, so you’re not snaking Ethernet everywhere to get the fastest speeds possible from each Deco unit.

Top of unit with ripple design

Features

5

Notable features:

  • Built-in VPN tools
  • Device isolation
  • IoT networking

For a mesh system, the XE75 Pro deserves a perfect score. First, it includes a built-in VPN server and client, which is rare for a mesh system. You can use the server to remotely access your home network or use it to surf the internet anonymously while you’re away from home. The client works with any VPN subscription service to protect devices that don’t support VPN software.

Next, you can create a separate network for your IoT devices. This feature produces a different SSID and password and isolates your IoT gadgets from all the other devices connected to your primary network.

Device isolation is a similar feature, only you don’t create a separate network. Instead, you can group specific devices so they don’t communicate with other non-isolated ones. This feature is probably best used if you’re hosting an FTP server that’s accessible from the internet.

Rounding out the features list is its compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and its built-in support for TP-Link Tapo, TP-Link Kasa, and Philips Hue smart devices. You can check out experimental features, too, like the new Wi-Fi Assistant now available in the app’s Deco Lab section.

What we wish the Deco XE75 Pro did better

  • Free security and full parental controls
  • USB connectivity

Unlike many standalone routers, mesh systems often stand in as a way to sell security and parental control services. The XE75 Pro has some great free parental controls, but things like custom bedtimes and internet time limits require a subscription. The XE75 Pro offers some basic security, too, but you need a subscription for web, intrusion, and IoT protection features.

And while mesh systems never include USB ports (at least, not the ones we’ve tested), we’d still like to see USB connectivity for sharing files and streaming stored media locally across the network. Maybe one day, components will get small enough to allow a USB port to fit on the Deco’s motherboard.

Ethernet ports on Deco XE75 router

Design

4

Buttons:

  • 1x Reset recessed button (bottom)

Ports:

  • 2x Gigabit Ethernet WAN/LAN ports (back)
  • 1x 2.5Gbps Ethernet WAN/LAN port (back)

So, there are two huge design wins with the XE75 Pro, starting with the added 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, which isn’t included in the vanilla XE75 model. This port is a big deal since the XE75 Pro supports superwide channels and the new 6 GHz band. It allows you to fully utilize a 1,000Mbps internet connection versus a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port that limits your top speeds to around 940Mbps. This port also complements the high real-world wireless speeds you can get using 160 MHz channels—we explain why in our FAQ.

The second callout is the 6 GHz band. It’s a new(ish) spectrum with new channels that enable real-world wireless gigabit speeds. By default, the XE75 Pro uses this band as a dedicated connection for Deco-to-Deco communication (called the backhaul). If you don’t have Wi-Fi 6E devices, then you’d keep this private road enabled as-is. If you do have W-Fi 6E devices, you can toggle on the Wi-Fi Network & Backhaul mode so the XE75 Pro shares the 6 GHz connection with them.

The one major design flaw that keeps us from assigning a perfect score is the inability to change channels. After reviewing NETGEAR’s Nighthawk MK83 system, we know it’s possible, and we’re not sure why all mesh systems don’t have this function. The only thing you can do is toggle between 80 MHz and 160 MHz channel widths.

Setup

4

Inside the box:

  • 2x Deco XE75 Pro units
  • 2x power adapters
  • 1x Ethernet cable
  • 1x Quick Start Guide

Mesh network setups are generally pretty easy. Most of the systems we’ve reviewed come preconfigured, so all you do is set up the “router” model while all the other units join the new network automatically. The setup is a little longer than standalone router ones because mesh systems target a general audience that may not know how to power cycle a modem or connect the router unit.

That said, there’s nothing to report here. You shouldn’t have problems getting the XE75 Pro system up and running in no time flat. But remember that you need a free TP-Link ID account to use this system, so if you’re resistant to having yet another account to use a service or product… well, too bad (grin).

Screenshots of Deco XE75 Pro app interface

Ease of use

5

Router interface:

The XE75 Pro has a web interface, but don’t bother—it’s a barren landscape compared to other standalone routers and mesh systems. Everything you need resides in the Deco app, so you’ll probably never have a reason to log in through the web interface anyway.

The Deco app does an excellent job of spreading out and categorizing all your settings into four tabs. Most of the “hard core” settings reside under the More tab, while your most-used settings appear on the main Network tab, like changing the Wi-Fi settings, managing devices, and adding smart devices.

Are there any additional costs?

The optional HomeShield Pro subscription costs $5.99 per month or $54.99 per year. It includes the security and parental control features not offered through the free HomeShield Basic service.

Two Deco XE75 Pro router units

Our Deco XE75 Pro review: The verdict

We can’t help but say good things about the Deco XE75 Pro. If you haven’t figured it out by now, the “pro” label only means this system has a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port for internet or wired networking, whereas the vanilla Deco XE75 version does not. If you have an internet plan of 940Mbps or slower, then the non-Pro version is a better fit for you.

Overall, mesh systems are usually bland in terms of features, so we were pleasantly surprised to see all the cool things the XE75 Pro has under the hood, like the VPN tools and the IoT device networking component. It even has more basic parental controls than what we’ve seen on competing systems.

Our only real big beef with the Deco XE75 Pro is you can’t change channels. Plus, if you leave the 6 GHz band as is, the system only supports up to four of your devices in any given second. Add more active devices to Wi-Fi and you introduce added latency and slower speeds. If you need lots of devices downloading simultaneously, then you may want to consider a standalone router with mesh support.

Still, it’s a good system to have if you need whole-home coverage. It has our highest review score to date, so keep the XE75 Pro in mind when you shop for your next home network centerpiece.

Get the TP-Link Deco XE75 Pro

Get the TP-Link Deco XE75

FAQ about the Deco XE75 Pro

Which Ethernet port do you use for internet?
Why is the 2.5Gbps an important addition?
How does the 6 GHz band improve whole-home speeds?
What’s the difference between HomeCare and HomeShield?
What parental controls are made available for free?

Methodology

We test router speed by setting up each router in an office and connecting it to a local test server. Then, we transmit test data between our wireless devices and the server, taking numerous measurements to account for fluctuations in Wi-Fi speeds.

The first tests occur close to the router, without obstructions—so the Wi-Fi is as strong and fast as it’s gonna get. We repeat the process straight out at 10, 20, and 30 feet, with only a glass door obstructing our view of the router. The same glass door and an exterior door blocks our path when we test outside at 40 and 50 feet.

We also run tests in a hallway to the left of the TV room and office—where there’s a glass door, three walls, and an air handler unit blocking our view of the router. The dining room, another testing point, sits to the right of the kitchen, TV room, and office—two walls and a glass door block the path in this test.

To test video streaming, we connect a fast storage device to the router and stream a 4K video to six wireless devices simultaneously—two phones, three tablets, and a laptop—connected to the same wireless band.

Client devices used in testing

iPhone 12 Pro MaxGoogle Pixel 3
Wi-Fi versionWi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 5
Stream configuration2 x 22 x 2
Max channel width80 MHz80 MHz
Max 5 GHz speed (AX)1,200 Mbps
Max 5 GHz speed (AC)866 Mbps866 Mbps
Max 2.4 GHz speed (AX)195 Mbps
Max 2.4 GHz speed (AC)195 Mbps144 Mbps

Deco XE75 Pro benchmarks (5 GHz only)

iPhone 12 Pro Max*Google Pixel 3*
2 feet829621
10 feet767570
20 feet634509
30 feet595419
40 feet (porch)413254
120 feet (across street)12493
160 feet (mailboxes)Not connectedNot connected
20 feet (hallway)756586
20 feet (dining room)785551

Disclaimer

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Best internet plans for the Deco XE75 Pro

* No contract required. 24 Month Internet Pricing. Equipment priced separately. Includes $5 discount w/ ebill & autopay. Observed speeds may vary. Excludes surcharges and fees. New residential customers only.

Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes & fees. Monthly State Cost Recovery Charge in TX, OH, NV applies. Ltd. availability/areas.

Speed may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection. Paperless billing required. Taxes and fees apply. Offer details. Offer includes professional installation at customer’s eligible location

§ No annual contract or cancellation fees.

|| w/ Auto Pay & Paperless Bill. Max wired speed 2000/2000 Mbps. Wi-Fi, actual & average speeds vary. One-time charges apply.

# For the first 12 months. Plus, activation, installation and monthly modem rental fees.

** w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill. Terms apply.

†† For 12 months when bundled. Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum Internet® Gig promotion price is $89.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra.

‡‡ Available in select areas only. Price per month with Auto Pay & without select 5G mobile plans. Fios plan prices include taxes & fees

§§ For 24 months. No term contract. Taxes not included. Includes $10/mo automatic payments and paperless billing discount.

|||| Plus taxes and fees. Upload/download speed and device streaming claims are based on maximum wired speeds. Actual Internet speeds are not guaranteed and may vary based on factors such as hardware and software limitations, latency, packet loss, etc.

## With AutoPay & paperless billing. Equipment, taxes, data allowance, and other fees extra.

Author -

Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on network equipment testing and review.