front 1Nowadays, people prefer not to use a cable connection when this can be avoided. Some of us are charging the smartphones wirelessly, we talk through smartwatches that are paired to our phones via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and a router with a wireless connection is an ideal solution for small homes.

Unfortunately, most Wi-Fi routers have their limitations like poor signal in some rooms, unstable connection to a faraway point, limited count of connected devices at the same time, or connection hanging when the device is overloaded, etc. hardwareOf course, the abovementioned situation doesn’t apply to all routers, but it’s most likely to experience these kinds of problems in your home during the holiday when everybody has some free time and all phones, laptops, smartwatches, and other smart devices are connected to your home network.

In most cases, if your router is powerful enough to handle numerous connections at once, the main problem can be an unstable connection in a room where the signal goes through a lot of walls before reaching the end device. In a situation like this, a mesh system like Tenda MW5 can be a real problem solver.

The purpose of this kind of gadget is to extend and improve the quality of the Wi-Fi signal to a place where you’re having trouble with slow Internet speed or sudden disconnects. Tenda MW5 is a compact mesh system that has three nodes (or 3-pack like it’s mentioned on the retail box). The device isn’t too expensive so it could be a decent solution for a normal household or small office that needs a better wireless connection.

You can check the current price of Tenda MW5 here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

Contents


Specs Sheet

Tenda MW5
Standard&Protocol IEEE802.11a/b/g/n/ac
IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u, IEEE 802.4ab
Ethernet Interface Primary Node: 2 x 10/100/1000Mbps RJ45 ports
Secondary Node: 2 x 10/100Mbps RJ45 ports
Antenna 2 x Internal antenna
Power Primary Node Input: 100-240V—50/60Hz, 0.6A
Output: 12V1A
Secondary Node Input:100-240V—50/60Hz, 0.3A
Output: 9V 800mA
Wireless Standard IEEE802.11a/b/g/n/ac (Wi-Fi 5 wave 2)
Mesh network Standard IEEE802.11s
Rate 2.4GHz: 300Mbps
5GHz: 867Mbps
Transmission Power CE:
<20dBm(2.4G)
<23dBm(5G)
Basic Features SSID Broadcast
Beam Forming
MU-MIMO
AP Steering
Band Steering
Special Features Smart QoS (Gaming, Video & Audio, Download)
Others Auto-sensing internet connection
Support App management and Remote management
Guest Network
Firmware upgrade online
Dimension Primary Node: 91 x 91 x 93mm (3.58 x 3.58 x 3.66 in.)
Secondary Node: 114 x 68 x45mm (4.48 x 2.67 x 1.77 in.)

What’s in the box?

The good news is that the box is sturdy which is nice. On the other hand, the upper part of the three nodes has almost zero protection (ergo, there is just a wall of the cardboard box that is ensuring some kind of shielding) which is bad if someone is playing “ping-pong” with the package before you receive it.

The box contains some manuals, the three nodes, a power adapter, and an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet cable.

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Design and construction

The design of the nodes is simple and minimalistic. The main one is bigger than the others, it has smoother curved lines and the same goes for the corners. This unit is surprisingly light so it’s not a bad idea to place it somewhere that no one can shove it to the ground by mistake. The main unit comes with an external power adapter while the smaller siblings have their power supplies build-in inside of them. Expectedly, the other two meshes are noticeably smaller because they are meant to be plugged into a wall socket. We are happy to see an Ethernet port for each of the three modules.

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Installation, Features, Setup, and Testing

z1 e1633615215622The first thing that you can actually do is to download the Tenda app if you want to fine-tune the settings of the unit. The best reason to use the application is to change the default username and password – that’s good for your network safety.

Additionally, you can do a lot more things with the aid of Tenda’s software – the Guest Network option (a really handy feature when you have guests and everybody is asking for the Wi-Fi password – this can be always on or it can be active for a limited period of time).

Another feature is the Capacity Mode that can be quite useful if you’re establishing a Wi-Fi Hotspot for an office, restaurant, or another public space.

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This mode helps for smartly balancing the connection load between all connected devices. As always, you can monitor your connection (download and upload speed), you can check all the connected devices and you can block some of them if you want.

Every node has its own Ethernet port – the main one has two Gigabit ports (one is for connection with the router), while the smaller nodes rely on standard 10/100Mbps speed. Having the possibility to plug an Ethernet cable directly into the three devices can be good for office usage. For example, you can plug it into a LAN switch that can power with an Internet connection to a lot of devices at the same time via cables.

The installation is pretty straightforward. You have to connect the main device to your Ethernet cable. When you see a green light on the big device you’re ready to go and you can connect the other two smaller devices by plugging them into a wall socket (actually, they are already paired with the main one by default).

After that, you have to enter the default user name and password for using the Wi-Fi network (which is mentioned on the bottom sides of the units) and that’s all. Oh, yes, at least in our case, there was a firmware update that didn’t take much time, something around 6 or 7 minutes.

After the initial setup, you can test the connection. Especially when you’re close to the big node, the connection is great – you can download files with high speed, you can watch 4K or even 8K content on YouTube (or maybe some movie on Netflix/Amazon Prime/Apple TV).

usage

As we said earlier, Tenda MW5 seems like a good compliment for home usage or for a small office, and its performance proves it. The connection was always stable, the Wi-Fi signal was “full” – no complaints here.

Verdict

verdictTenda MW5 is a good device that is positioned between the MW3 and MW6 models. The bigger one could be a bit hefty-priced for normal households while the smaller one can’t offer the same performance as the MW5 variant. So, this Tenda device scores right in the middle – it’s fairly priced and it brings a good price/performance ratio to the table. The product comes with a decent amount of features – you can blacklist devices which can be very useful for a local hotspot.

The Capacity Mode is great, it is designed to balance the connection load when more than 30 devices are connected to the network at the same time. This can save you some time and a lot of headaches. The Guest Network is a real lifesaver when you have a lot of guests and they all want to use the Wi-Fi at the same time – you don’t have to share your main network password or you don’t have to change it after the party is over.

Connection-wise, we didn’t have any problems during the testing. The signal was strong all the time and it remains almost the same when one of the smartphones was two rooms away from the main node. Every one of the three units comes with an Ethernet port so you can connect your computer with a cable or you can multiply the connection with a LAN switch.

This is an on-the-go device – it’s lightweight, it doesn’t take a lot of space, the design of the three siblings is good and non-intrusive. You can carry it to other places when you’re on a holiday or somewhere else and as soon as Tenda MW5 is connected to a router, you can use it immediately because you don’t have to set up a new password again.

You can check the current price of Tenda MW5 here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

Pros

  • Good price
  • Comes with two additional nodes
  • Every unit has its own Ethernet port
  • Supports device blacklisting, Capacity Mode, and Guest Network mode
  • Good and stable wireless speed
  • Can handle up to 867Mbps
  • The nodes are lightweight and have a good design
  • On-the-go capabilities

Cons

  • The retail box doesn’t provide full protection for the nodes
  • The provided Ethernet cable is too short

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