July 4, 2017 // 10:16 a.m.
Networking expert TP-Link has announced the launch of a whole-home mesh networking system with built-in malware protection: the Deco M5.
Designed to compete with Google Wifi and other mesh-based Wi-Fi platforms, the Deco M5 aims to eliminate network dead-zones by allowing multiple base stations to cooperatively route traffic even in the absence of wired connections between them. While similar in principle to readily-available Wi-Fi range extenders, mesh networks are significantly smarter: Traffic in a Wi-Fi mesh network will always take the shortest route to its destination, without the need to hit a single central point as with range-extended networks.
'Today's consumers want seamless wireless throughout their homes and beyond into the garden. Deco M5 creates seamless Wi-Fi that allows them to stream, game and browse the internet in any room,' boasted TP-Link's Will Liu at the unveiling. 'Deco M5 takes the effort out of home connectivity. The Deco app holds your hand through the simple set up and then enables you to set parental controls based on the individual device user's age and interests. ART [Adaptive Routing Technology] automatically optimises Wi-Fi connections for every device, and Deco comes equipped with TP-Link HomeCare, which allows consumers to customise their network security through powerful features that include robust parental controls.'
In the wake of headline-grabbing large-scale ransomware attacks, it's no surprise to find that TP-Link is making much of the Deco M5's security chops. According to the company, the HomeCare system built in to each Deco M5 station features active protections against malware through a Trend Micro-powered anti-virus system and a constantly-updated blacklist of known-compromised and malicious sites. 'As home Wi-Fi networks are supporting more users and mobile devices than ever before, security across your home network becomes increasingly important,' explained Terence Liu, Trend Micro vice president, of the system. 'Through our integration in TP-Link HomeCare, Deco M5 Whole Home Wi-Fi System is equipped with the most comprehensive package of security features on the market, so you can trust that your home network is always protected.'
Each Deco M5 base station features a quad-core processor powering a radio offering 400Mb/s throughput on the 2.4GHz spectrum and a somewhat disappointing 867Mb/s on the 5GHz spectrum through four internal antennas. Two wired gigabit Ethernet ports are included, along with a single USB Type-C port and Bluetooth 4.2 for connectivity to smart home systems. More information is available on the official website, while the devices themselves are available now priced at £229.99 (inc. VAT) for a three-pack starter kit which includes a two-year warranty and a three-year subscription to the Trend Micro anti-virus system after which an as-yet unspecified monthly subscription fee will be required or the anti-virus functionality will be disabled.