TP-Link unveiled Deco BE85, the first-ever and much-anticipated mesh router with WiFi 7 technology. In fact, it’s the maiden product in this space. Seems like it wasn’t long before we had WiFi 6, and now we have already entered the new generation.
The intention is clear. TP-Link, with the launch of the WiFi 7 mesh system, intends to set down its roots as the leader in networking products. With internet plans racing ahead of 5 Gbps and newly available WiFi 7 compatible clients, having a suitable router is more than a blessing.
But what’s the hype around WiFi 7 technology and what it offers?
It’s the latest wireless standard, also known as IEEE 802.11be EHT (Extremely High Throughput), and operates across the available three bands, i.e., 6GHz, 5GHz, and 2.4GHz to fully utilize the spectrum resources.
Not only that, it introduces 320 MHz ultra-wide bandwidth, 4096-QAM, Multi-link Operation, and Multi-RU. This means the new wireless standard i.e. WiFi 7 is 5x faster than WiFi 6 and 13x speeds than WiFi 5.
Pricing & Availability
Since its inception, it’s available in more than 200 BestBuy retail locations and online at Amazon.com and Bestbuy.com.
Wireless Capabilities of BE85
The 3 bands of BE85 have a combined throughput of 22 Gbps, with 11,520 Mbps speed on the 6GHz band alone and 8640 Mbps & 1376 Mbps on the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands, respectively.
The Multi-link Operation feature enables the smart devices to establish smart connections on multiple bands simultaneously for a lightning-fast WiFi experience.
TP-Link BE85 makes an extra effort with its port setup. A pair of 10 Gbps ports (one ethernet/fiber combo and the other is a LAN/WAN port) pairs with the three operating bands to deliver an unprecedented multi-gig performance on your smart device. Besides, there are two 2.5 Gbps Ethernet ports and a USB 3.0 port, one that is usually missing from mesh routers.
Now, aside from speeds, coverage is the dominant trait of these mesh systems. Keeping up with the reputation, its eight high-gain beamforming antennas form a signal-boosting array to cover large areas of up to 9,600 Sq Ft with three and 5,500 Sq Ft with two access points.
Both setups come with the respective ability to handle 100 and 150 devices. Here, MU-MIMO and OFDMA tech becomes crucial.
And with built-in TP-Link Intelligent mesh and AI-roaming technology, it creates an ideal WiFi solution with its advanced algorithm. You can walk through your space and enjoy the fastest streams possible.
On top of it, Deco BE85 is augmented with a 2.2GHz quad-core processor, and to complement it well, there is 1GB RAM and 512MB flash storage. That’s one of the best I have seen, meaning you can expect a much-improved performance, especially in high-intensity tasks like media streaming and gaming.
To know how these features turn out in practical scenarios, check out my full review of the TP-Link Deco BE85.
How good is its software?
Now beside its praise-worthy hardware setup, let me present my honest take on Deco BE85’s software.
TP-Link makes lives simpler with its feature-laid yet user-friendly Deco app. To start, the Deco app lets you easily and quickly set up and install the mesh system. I had the opportunity to use the Deco X55 Pro, and with simple-to-follow instructions on the app, the set up was concluded in not more than a few minutes.
Using the app, you can monitor your home network from anywhere, and make changes from your tablet or smartphone. Besides, you can manage network clients (add or delete any if needed), toggle through the security and parental control tools. In short, the entire control of network is in the palm of your hands.
Meanwhile, security and parental control are its standout aspect. As with most TP-Link routers, you have two options to choose from: TP-HomeShield Basic and TP-Link HomeShield Pro. Former comes right out of the box and the latter is available at a $5.99 per month or $54.99 yearly subscription.
Let me brief about what you get from each. With the basic feature, there’s a WPA3-Personal encryption, SPI-firewall, access control, guest network, and auto-firmware updates.
And the premium feature is rather advanced. Powered by Tenda-Micro, it includes a real-time IoT protection, malicious site blocker, intrusion prevention system, DDoS attack prevention, and home network scanner.
These features are rather constant with its previous generation of routers, and having them should keep your sensitive data or information safe from cybercriminals.
Aside from security tools, Deco BE85 posits a rich variety of parental control tools designed especially for digital mothers. With online education established as the new normal, it’s fairly simpler for kids to entangle in the never-ending dangers of the online world.
With features like SafeSearch, Youtube restriction, custom profiles, professional content filter library, and others, it’s now easier for mothers to keep their kids safe.
Other customization options
There’s a Quality of Service (QoS) that you can use to prioritize your gaming or media-streaming traffic, and potentially enhance the overall performance.
Also, its Amazon Alexa compatibility lets you manage the mesh system by just saying things. For example, you can say “Alexa, turn the HomeShield security on or update the firmware” etc. Technologically inept users, now rejoice!
Here’s a list of features of TP-Link Deco BE85:
- WiFi technology: WiFi 7 (802.11be)
- Maximum throughput capacity: 22 Gbps (6GHz: 11520 Mbps, 5GHz: 8640 Mbps, 2.4GHz: 1376 Mbps)
- Number of streams: 12
- Ports: 1× 10 Gbps LAN + 1× 10 Gbps SFP+/RJ45 Combo + 2× 2.5 Gbps LAN/WAN + 1× USB 3.0
- WiFi range: 9,600 Sq Ft (for 3-unit), 5,500 Sq Ft (for 2 unit)
- Security: HomeShield basic (free), HomeShield Pro ($5.99 per month/ $54.99 per year)
- Deco Tether app
Welcome to the WiFi 7 era, which promises super-fast data and extraordinary performance that leaves previous generation of routers into the dust. Being the premier product in this category, it stands atop most in the space. The only off-putting aspect of Deco BE85 is its exorbitant price and limited compatibility, so evaluate your options first prior investing on it.