You know TP Link won’t allow a little thing like pending certificate to stop them, and why would it? Netgear isn’t. The company has launched its first ever Wi-Fi 7 routers – a mesh system, called Deco BE85 and a powerful, single access point router, the TP Link Archer BE800, that looks like a prop for a sci-fi old show.
Wi-Fi 7, on the other hand, means that a laptop with a Wi-Fi 6E network card or Wi-Fi 8 network card can get up to a gigabit of wireless throughput . It could even be more if your ISP is capable, like Google fiber or AT&T or Comcast.
TP-Link has sent us test data and the layout of the home where it tested its mesh Deco BE85 network, using a OnePlus 5G phone to act as a Wi-Fi 7 client. If true, these numbers are impressive, with the phone reaching a throughput of over 3,000Mbps just a few feet away from the main router. It only drops down to a little more than 300Mbps when the phone is at the furthest distance. This is a very fast speed and I have never seen anything like it. Most Wi-Fi 6E Routers can reach speeds of over 1,000Mbps when they are close. I’d be interested to see if that holds up in real-world tests.
These routers should still be impressive, even though the specs are not yet complete. Both routers have 10Gbps and USB 3.0 ports. They also both have an SFP+ WAN/LAN.
Why should Wi-Fi 7 be important to you?
Wi-Fi 7 or 802.11be is the latest wireless standard. It replaces Wi-Fi 6E which replaced 2019’s Wi-6 update. The protocol, like Wi-Fi 6E can be used across all three bands – 2.4GHz (5GHz), 6GHz (6GHz) and WPA3 (and eventually WPA4). Unlike Wi-FI 6E, it comes with massive throughput-increasing features that should result in distinct improvements in the overall experience of Wi-Fi — or so we hope.
Wireless multi-link aggregate is the biggest change. It allows client devices with network hardware that supports it to connect to both bands simultaneously, increasing their data transfer rate and connection stability. Wi-Fi 7 also doubles the channel bandwidth, from 160MHz up to 320MHz. You can expect to get twice as fast over the air with the doubled bandwidth, and other improvements. At least, up close.
The new TP-Link routers can achieve speeds of up to 19Gbps. This is in line with claims made by Qualcomm for its new Wi-Fi7 chipsets, which are likely found inside. This is spread over all bands and data links so don’t expect anything close to that. The company’s network protection package, TP Link HomeShield will be supported by both the free and pro versions.An unassuming Deco BE85 is a lonely Wi-Fi blaster.
TP-Link claims that a Deco BE85 mesh node uses eight antennas. A three-pack of Deco BE85 should cover approximately 9,600 square feet. In the real world with walls, furniture, and bags of sentient meat, this may not be accurate. The company says that it will also use AI to control the roaming. It will move your devices to the best node while you walk around your house. We’ll have to see if TP-Link can improve on what the best mesh systems do without AI.
The nodes have two ports of 2.5Gbps and two ports of 10Gbps, which are each capable of serving as LAN or WAN — meaning that they will auto-configure themselves depending if they’re connected directly to your modem, or the rest of your networks.
Deco BE85 also supports wired backhaul. This means you can run an Ethernet cable between devices to ensure that each mesh node receives your full bandwidth, which it can share with all devices in your home, instead of what it would otherwise be able to pick up wirelessly. Multi-link aggregation is likely to make wireless backhaul faster than gigabit. If your home is already wired and you do not want to run new ethernet drops you may be better off with Deco BE85 wireless nodes.A screen on a router is always a welcome sight.
The TP-Link Archer BE800, which I call “beboo”, is the new single access point from the company. It looks like a discarded Xbox design with its pseudo-x shaped shell and front grate. It has a dot-matrix LED display and TP-Link claims it contains over 3,000 graphics. These include weather, time and, for some reason emoji. It’s not clear who wanted their router to make emojis at them. But it appears that y’all have finally gotten this. TP-Link claims it will also feature the ability to create a separate network for your smart devices.
Its wireless capabilities are similar to the BE85 kit. Although TP-Link did not share the coverage area I would guess that it is somewhere between 2,500-3,000 sq. ft. The company mentioned that you can create a separate network for smart home devices. However, it is unclear if this applies to the BE85 mesh system.
Despite the appearance of this router, TP-Link does not call it a gaming device. That distinction belongs to the Archer GE800 which was announced but hasn’t yet been released.
Best Buy has the TP-Link BE85 in a 3-pack, but it’s not cheap at $1,500. The TP-Link BE800 is also available at Best Buy for $600. Both models will be available to pre-order on Amazon.
Do you need to buy a router today? Most people will say no. As the specification is not finalized until later this year, companies will begin to announce routers that support the new standard. Both devices are expensive, and you won’t find many products in the near future that will take advantage of the new features Wi-Fi 7. If you want to have the latest and greatest, you can still use your existing devices.