TP-Link squeezed a smart home hub into its new mesh WiFi router

It's faster than last year's model, too.

Mesh WiFi routers are no longer all that special, so how do you stand out? If you're TP-Link, you roll in a smart home hub. It just introduced a Deco M9 Plus router that builds on last year's model with a hub for ZigBee- and Bluetooth-based devices like light bulbs and thermostats. If you're not fond of connecting dedicated hubs and bridges but still want good whole-home networking coverage, this might scratch your itch. TP-Link is promising compatibility with Alexa and IFTTT commands when steering your household gadgets.

The Deco M9 Plus does have some upgrades to its core network, with tri-band AC2200 WiFi (albeit still at a peak 867Mbps on the 5GHz band) that can handle over 100 devices at once. You'll find two gigabit Ethernet jacks and a USB 2.0 port if you still need to attach printers and other wired devices. Be ready for a price hike, though. It'll cost you $300 to get a two-pack (versus the same price for a three-pack of Deco M5 routers), or $179 if you just need one.