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

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

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