TP-Link Deco S4 vs M5: Which One To Pick in 2023?

In the mesh wireless networking system, TP-Link Deco M5 and S4 are strong contenders. Although the price difference isn’t too much, they differ from each other in a couple of aspects.

Being an entry-level mesh router system, the S4 can handle lots of devices at a time in a stable Wi-Fi network.

The M5 comes with all the conveniences similar to the S4 but with much stronger security. But there are a few more advantages.

If both these routers are on your shortlist, and you want a comparison on TP-Link Deco S4 vs M5, this article can help you decide which one would be the right pick according to your internet consumption and needs.

TP-Link Deco S4 vs M5- Comparison Table

TP-Link Deco S4

TP-Link Deco M5

Processor

Qualcomm (Model isn’t specified)

Qualcomm 717 MHz

Range

5,500 square feet

5,500 square feet

Design and Shape

Cylindrical Housing Tower Design

Round Flat Design

Speed

1200Mbps

1300Mbps

Security

No Security System

TP Link’s Homecare Security System

Parental Control

Limited Parental Control

Full Parental Control

Antennas

2 antennas for each deco

4 antennas for each deco

TP-Link Deco S4 Review
Credit: TP-Link

This one is probably the cheapest mesh network system available in the market. However, when it comes to performance and connecting lots of devices, and providing simultaneous coverage, customers seem quite happy with this router.

But, before you decide to pick this one, you should have a clear idea about what this router is all about. In the following sections, I’ll cover pretty much every aspect that will help you with your buying decision.

This package comes with three units, but you can purchase less or more than 3.

Appearance

deco s4

First thing first, the appearance. Each router of this mesh setup got a cylindrical housing with a tower form factor. The footprints are relatively narrower than its predecessor. So, from the space-saving perspective, Deco S4 leads the competition.

From the design aspect, these routers are quite smart-looking devices. Regardless of your room or house setup, these units will perfectly blend with the decor without any issue.

If your home workstation setup is themed in white color, then this system will add more to the aesthetics.

Range

On paper, TP-Link claims the Wi-Fi network to cover up to 5,500 square feet with 3 units.

In reality, the coverage was as claimed. There was no dead zone in the house. And regardless of your house structure and shape, the system will provide a decent Wi-Fi coverage.

Customers reported that their devices connect seamlessly all across the house without compromising speeds at all. It even will extend to your yard a bit. You can roam with your smartphone around the house and still will be in the home network system.

Technically it can cover up to 8,000 square feet. But speeds won’t be as consistent as what you’ll get within 5,500 square feet.

Hardware

Powered by a Qualcomm CPU, this router manages to provide consistent connection regardless of the number of connected devices.

Unfortunately, the chipset model name wasn’t found even on their official website.

Although the manufacturer claims it can handle up to 100 devices, there was no real test connecting this number of devices.

As for the antenna, TP-Link Deco S4 comes with dual band internal antennas. This is one of the areas that it lacks behind the latest M5 model.

Bandwidth Speeds

Based on AC1200, combinedly, the system can get you up to 1167 Mbps.

Separately, it’s 867 Mbps over 5 GHz and 300 Mbps over 2.4GHz band. Even though it’s relatively lower than the other one I’m comparing in this article, the difference won’t be much noticeable at all.

While connected to this router, multiple devices can enjoy full HD streaming as well as 4K videos without much issues. You won’t notice speed drop while downloading and streaming contents at the same time as per your internal plan.

Even if the house has multiple smart home devices, you won’t notice a speed drop whatsoever.

So, when it comes to speeds, this TP-Link home Wi-Fi system is top-notch.

Ports

Each router in this mesh Wi-Fi system has two Ethernet Gigabit ports for wired connectivity. Say, one of the rooms has devices that require cable to connect to the internet, in that case, this router will be just perfect.

So, in total, you’ll get 6 Ethernet ports. Even for a small office or business, this networking system will provide you with more wired connections than you would need.

Performance

While testing this Deco S4 for a whole home Wi-Fi network with 30 devices, including smartphones, laptops, desktops, iPads, IP cameras, and several smart home devices, it held up really well in terms of providing a great internet speeds and reliable wireless coverage.

Connected gaming devices via gigabit ports showed decent internet speed for seamless gameplay.

You can pretty much roam around the house connecting your device with this router, and get seamless speeds and coverage under a single network name and password. This is one of the benefits of having a mesh system.

Your smartphone or other portable device will automatically switch between decos without even letting you know.

Unless typical Wi-Fi extenders or repeaters, no need to manually connect your device when you’re on the other end of the house.

So, yeah, if you’re to buy this for a whole home system, this mesh wifi system won’t disappoint you for sure.

Setup

For an easy setup process, there are both android and ios apps available for the Deco S4. You’ll have to follow simple screen instructions to set up the router in a few minutes.

But, there isn’t any web version of this setup procedure. That means, you can’t do it using your laptop.

Security

There isn’t any mentionable security system for the TP-link deco S4 package.

However, you can use the parental control feature to monitor and limit the online activities of other devices connected to this system.

You can create customizable profiles for each person to block sites, set data limits, get reports, restrict time, etc.

Advantages and Disadvantages of TP-Link Deco S4 Mesh Wi-Fi System

Let’s look at the benefits you’ll be getting from this TP-link Deco mesh router –

Advantages

  • Consistent and reliable, wide Wi-Fi coverage
  • Can handle a huge number of devices at a time
  • Up to 1100 Mbps of speed combinedly
  • 6-Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connectivity
  • Automatically switches to different Decos
  • Full parental controls for other users connected to this network
  • Compatible with most internet service providers

Disadvantages

  • Security isn’t that strong
  • Automatically selects bandwidth channels
  • Installation is only possible using apps

TP-Link Deco M5 Review

Tp-lINK m5

The Deco M5 is another most popular mesh whole home wifi system from TP-Link. For a bit higher price tag, it does come with some additional features and benefits. This package includes three units, you can customize the order if you want. But, does the additional cost justify those extra benefits? Time to find out.

Appearance

deco m5

The design of these routers is based on round flat housing. Although it takes more space from where it’s placed, aesthetically saying, M5 routers are more eye-pleasing to see. Its disc shape design got a 4.5 inch diameter and comes in white color, which easily goes with pretty much all decor and setup styles.

Range

Similar to the Deco S4 model, this one has a decent Wi-Fi coverage up to 5,500 square feet. If your house has a lot of smart devices including smart home devices, all of those devices will get consistent network coverage.

For Apple Ecosystem users, this would be equally beneficial as the S4 model. No need to switch between routers manually. Also, regardless of the construction type of your house, there won’t be any dead spots if you can place all these routers strategically.

Hardware

The TP Link Deco M5 mesh router is powered by a Qualcomm 717 MHz chipset, which is a quad core processor. That’s the main reason why it can handle so many devices at a time. As per the claim, you can connect up to 100 devices with this Wi-Fi system.

Each router has four internal antennas; 2 for 2.5 GHz and 2 for 5 GHz bandwidth channel. This is one of the major differences between these two mesh network systems. Technically, the wireless signal will be much stronger transmitted from this mesh router.

Bandwidth Speed

TP-Link Deco M5 mesh router can get you up to 1300 Mbps of internet speed as per your internet service plan. From 2.4 GHz channels, you’ll get about 400 Mbps, whereas it’s 867 Mbps from 5 GHz channels.

Ports

For ports and wired connectivity, each TP-Link deco M5 router comes with two Ethernet ports. So, whenever you need to establish a wired Gigabit internet connection for a device, Deco M5 will always have a dedicated port for you.

Performance

When it comes to the performance factor, both these routers are pretty much the same. You won’t find a dead spot for its wider wireless coverage, there will always be consistent internet speed even when you’re a bit outside of the house.

Full HD, 4K, live streaming, gaming, web browsing, and other day-to-day online activities won’t be interrupted by low internet speed whatsoever. Keep in mind, this will depend on your current internet plan.

Users reported that they had absolutely zero connectivity issues even with a considerable number of connected devices.

Even if you connect a wide variety of wireless devices apart from smartphones and laptops like IP cameras, printers, TV, gaming consoles, etc. it will hold up really well.

Setup

Similar to the Deco S4 mesh system, the M5 model also requires you to use their android or ios app for installation. The process is pretty self-explanatory and straightforward. It won’t take more than a few minutes.

However, keep in mind, you can’t proceed with the installation process from a web browser. It can only be done from a mobile app.

Security

For security and stuff, TP Link Deco M5 system is far better than other models out there in the market. With TP Link’s HomeCare security system, your online activities will be protected from malicious sites, port intrusion, device isolation, and other threatening issues.

Apart from that, you’ll get full access to the online activities of the connected devices under this system from App’s parental control option. You can monitor, set data limits, set time for the internet connection for each and every device connected to it.

If you want to monitor what your kids are doing, you’ll find it extremely convenient and easy.

Advantages and Disadvantages of TP-Link Deco M5 Mesh Wi-Fi System

Even though almost all benefits of TP-link Deco M5 are similar to the S4 Wi-Fi system, there are several distinct advantages you’ll get from the M5 router.

Advantages

  • Extremely reliable online security for its built-in antivirus
  • Bandwidth speed is better than S4, up to 1300 Mbps
  • 4 Internal antennas for more bandwidth channels
  • Great speed even when too many devices are connected to it
  • No dead spot in the house
  • Full parental control of all devices connect to the system
  • Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired internet connection
  • Compatible with most internet service providers

Disadvantages

  • Relatively expensive than the Deco S4
  • Internet speed isn’t that noticeable when compared to S4 routers
  • Installation only from apps

Key Differences Between TP-Link Deco M5 and Deco S4

Even though both these router models have similar specs in many aspects, there are a few things that they differ from each other. If you’re confused about which one to pick, this section will put things into perspective.

1. Robust Security

This is where the TP-Link Deco M5 router is far ahead of the Deco S4 model. Your devices will be protected from malicious websites that are listed in their database.

Also, the built-in antivirus makes sure there aren’t too many vulnerabilities for external attacks on your home Wi-Fi network.

In addition, devices won’t be able to send sensitive information to clients outside the Wi-Fi network.

Considering the security aspect in mind, the extra price is totally worth it.

2. More Internal Antennas

Each Deco M5 router has 4 internal antennas, whereas the Deco S4 has only 2. This makes the network signal transmitted from the M5 router stronger and more stable.

However, if you have a mid-size house, the difference won’t be noticeable at all.

3. Strong Parental Controls

The Deco S4 only allows you to filter URLs and control time for devices connected to it.

Whereas Deco M5 can filter contents, set bedtime schedule, show monthly reports, and so on. If this is one of your concerns, M5 would be a much better option for you to invest in.

4. Faster Speed

Based on AC1200, S4 router can go up to 1200 Mbps without any issue. But, the AC1300 allows the TP link Deco M5 to hit 1300 Mbps. This won’t be that noticeable unless there are too many devices connected to the router that are consuming high bandwidth speed.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between Deco S4 and Deco M5?

The Deco S4 and M5 routers are different from each other in terms of security, relatively higher internet speed, and stronger parental controls. Deco M5 is ahead in these aspects of its predecessor.

2. Does Deco S4 work with M5?

All Deco mesh models can work together in one network topology.

3. How many TP-Link Deco M5 can I have?

You can use a total of 9 Deco M5 units with the Deco M5 mesh networking system.


WRAPPING UP

To summarize the entire comparison of TP-Link Deco S4 vs M5, if security and additional parental controls matter to you, go with the M5 mesh system.

Otherwise, stick to the S4 at a relatively low-price tag. The internet speed will be pretty much the same. The Deco S4 is still a decent whole-home mesh system, which is far better than the Netgear Orbi system in many aspects.

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