[Is it Worth it?]: Mesh WiFi to Fix Unstable Internet on 2nd Floor

In the Work From Home (WFH) era, with daily video conferencing, unstable WiFi connection in your room is a no-go.

This article will share how I solved my weak internet connection in my upstairs room with the TP-Link Deco E4, mesh WiFi.

Is it worth it?: Yes
Purchase satisfaction: 6 out of 10

Here’s the breakdown:

Let’s get right into it:

Common Internet Problem in a 2 Story Home

Common issues for people living in 2 story houses is that WiFi coverage and stability are not consistent, especially on the 2nd floor.

Both the 5 GHz & 2.4 GHz WiFi from the router could not reach my upstairs room. So I installed a WiFi extender in the middle of level 2:

The TP-Link WiFi Extender on the 2nd floor

With the WiFi extender, I can stream YouTube videos in my 2nd-floor room. But since I had to work from home, I started to see limitations:

  • Often, the internet from the WiFi extender is unavailable at midnight for about 15 minutes.
  • The speed is enough to stream videos, but my video conferencing always lags.

So I started researching for a better solution and stumbled on a fancy new thing called the ‘Mesh WiFi.’

Mesh WiFi Vs. WiFi Extender

WiFi extender rebroadcasts your WiFi signal from your router as a new, different WiFi signal. You’ll connect to the main router WiFi when you’re downstairs, but you’ll have to connect to the WiFi from the extender manually when you move upstairs. 

Expect a significant drop in speed (more than half) from the WiFi extender than the main router.

Mesh WiFi: Mesh WiFi routers (satellites) are modular, meaning you can connect a few of them and it acts as one extensive network, as opposed to 2 different signals.

DifferenceWiFi ExtenderMesh WiFi
Price ~RM60~RM 230
Reduced SpeedMore than halfLess than half
Different Network NameYesSame
Do You Need to Change Networks
as you move in your home?
YesNo

TP-Link Deco E4 vs M4 vs M5 Which to Pick?

If you’re shopping around for mesh WiFi, you’d probably seen these 3 models: Deco E4, M4 & M5. Here’s what they look like:

Deco E4
Deco M4
Deco M5

There isn’t much difference between the M4 & M5 besides the design & cost. If you want the lates and greatest, get the Deco M5.

But if you want to get the most of for money, the only comparison you should be making is between the Deco E4 & the M4.

The first order of business is to run a WiFi speed test. Connect to your WiFi & sit close to the router and run a speed test using this link.

Once you know your internet speed, you can use the table below to narrow down your choices:

Internet PackageHouse Built-UpRecommendationRM
< 100 Mbps< 3,000 sf (2 storey)
> 3,000 sf (2 storey+)
TP-Link Deco E4 (2 pack)
TP-Link Deco E4 (3 pack)
RM 269
RM 395
> 100 Mbps< 3,000 sf (2 storey)
> 3,000 sf (2 storey+)
TP-Link Deco M4 (2 pack)
TP-Link Deco M4 (3 pack)
RM 379
RM 545

In my case, the house that I’m installing the Mesh WiFi has an internet speed of 230 Mbps.

Logically, the best product is the TP-Link Deco M4, but money is a little tight, so I had to choose the cheapest Deco E4, 2 pack, and ordered it off Shopee.

TP-Link Deco E4 Setup

You’ll need an extra ethernet cable that is not supplied in the box. Hopefully, you have extras laying around in a drawer somewhere. If not, you can get them on Shopee.

There are some conflicting instructions; On the setup process of the app, it says:

WRONG: Connect the modem to the Deco E4 with the ethernet cable
CORRECT: Connect the TM Router to the Deco E4 with the ethernet cable

The next step is to set up the next Mesh WiFi satellite on my second floor. Here’s how the setup placement looks like:

Ground Floor, WiFi router in front of Sofa
2nd floor, with my office at the upper left corner

TP-Link Deco E4 WiFi Speed Test

Condition of TestDownstairs2nd Floor Office2nd Floor
Speed Retainment
Original Router234 Mbps0%
WiFi Extender14 Mbps6%
TP-Link Deco E495 Mbps
(E4 Limited to 100 Mbps)
60 Mbps63%

Is It Worth It?

Yes, It solved my problem, but it created a new one.

Buyer satisfaction rating: 6 out of 10

Pros

I don’t have to manually change the WiFI every time I go up or down in the house.

The WiFi is more stable in my 2nd-floor room for seamless video conferencing.

Cons

RM 230+ is still a big jump from my WiFi Extender that cost me RM 60.

I was a little disappointed that the TP-Link WiFi can only retain 63% of the Mesh WiFi satellite connected to the router downstairs.

Considering that my internet package speed is 234 Mbps, The Deco E4 limited the WiFi speed downstairs to 100 Mbps, and the mesh WiFi upstairs is a fraction (63%) of that 100 Mbps.

If I had a higher budget with such a fast internet package (above 100 Mbps), I would have gone for the Deco M4 instead that is not limited to 100 Mbps.

If you don’t do video conferences at home and only stream videos at most, a cheap WiFi Extender would be enough.

Helmi Hasan

Hi, I'm Helmi Hasan, the founder, and writer for the personal finance blog, Balkoni Hijau. Read more in the 'About Me' page or follow me on Twitter.

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