These days, any network needs a WAP (Wireless Access Point), or sometimes just referred to as an AP (Access Point). This allows other Wi-Fi devices to connect to a wired network. This can either be a standalone device or a component of the router itself.
A home will usually have its WAP built into the router. However, offices, schools, or other large areas may require additional WAPs to cover both the additional area and the auxiliary devices trying to access the network.
So, let’s go through the best wireless access points and help you identify the right one for your needs…
- 1 Top 8 Best Wireless Access Points In 2021 Review
- 1.1 1 Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC Pro – Best Entry Level Commercial Wireless Access Point
- 1.2 2 Netgear WAC 540 – Best Wireless Access Point for Schools
- 1.3 3 Netgear WAC 124 – Best Value Wireless Access Point
- 1.4 4 Linksys Business AC 1750 – Best Cloud Based Wireless Access Point
- 1.5 5 EnGenius Technologies EAP 1300 – Best Ceiling Mounted Wireless Access Point
- 1.6 6 TP-Link Omada AC 1750 – Wireless Access Point with Best Free Software
- 1.7 7 TP-Link Pharos CPE 210 – Best Weatherproof Wireless Access Point
- 1.8 8 TP-Link WA901ND – Best Affordable Home Wireless Access Point
- 2 Best Wireless Access Points Buying Guide
- 3 Get Connected…
- 4 So, What Are The Best Wireless Access Points?
Top 8 Best Wireless Access Points In 2021 Review
1 Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC Pro – Best Entry Level Commercial Wireless Access Point
Ubiquiti often manufactures Wi-Fi systems that are installed in hotels and airports. This should give some confidence in their capabilities; as you can guess, these would require covering large areas and numerous users simultaneously.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t add one of these to your home network. It would certainly cover your entire home and support plenty of devices. It’s important to remember that this is a standalone WAP and does not have a router component.
Setting it up…
If you intend to use this for a home network, it’s not as simple to set up as a range extender. It is designed to support hundreds, potentially thousands of wireless clients. Connecting is relatively simple, though, using just LAN cables and a power adapter.
The next step is installing the software, which supports Windows, Linux, and OS X. The software uses a setup wizard, which is easy enough. The daunting part is the number of settings that are now under your control once complete.
Speeds and coverage…
For businesses and organizations, nearly any setting you can imagine is possible; for home users best to leave the defaults. Both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies are supported with speeds of 450 Mbps and 1300 Mbps, respectively.
If you only have a single WAP, it must be connected via LAN to your existing router or modem. This may restrict the range made possible; however, there is a handy map setting inside the software that will measure the range of each device.
- Industry network leader.
- High speeds on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
- Easy setup wizard.
- Complicated settings for home use.
- Requires LAN connection.
2 Netgear WAC 540 – Best Wireless Access Point for Schools
Netgear is one of the world’s most recognized network device companies. It is no wonder they’ve been able to create this excellent value WAP for high-density environments. Being available in both a single and three-pack should give you an idea of its intentions.
It features three radio frequencies of 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz low, and 5 GHz high. This can offer speeds ranging from 400 Mbps up to 1,733 Mbps, more than enough to cover today’s Wi-Fi capabilities.
Preparing the network…
Control of the WPA can be accessed using an App that is available for both Android and iOS. There is also a web portal. Web access is compatible with both PC and Mac, but there is something you should be aware of before purchasing.
If you plan to use three or more devices, only then will you have access to the web portal. That’s not all; there is an annual subscription service that will be charged per device. You do also gain access to additional features such as Wi-Fi roaming.
Is it all worth it?
Even though the subscription service does cost a little extra, it does offer a user-friendly interface. This makes it much simpler to keep a centralized management system and complete visibility of your wireless networks.
We also enjoyed the ability to set guest networks, with captive portals displaying custom logos and policies. Security settings also excelled, including being able to set upload and download rate limits.
- High bandwidth passthrough.
- Easy to navigate App.
- Good security features.
- Subscription fee for three or more WAPs.
3 Netgear WAC 124 – Best Value Wireless Access Point
If you’re after a device where you’re only paying for things that you’ll actually use, look no further. Able to cover your current necessities and also retain some future value. Unlike the other WAPs so far, this can be used as a router as well.
While this may not be suitable for large businesses or organizations, it is excellent for both home and small business use. Being a bit of an all-rounder makes this WAP a superb value option worth considering.
Design and features…
Having a small footprint and being lightweight makes it easy to find a location for your device. Being wall-mountable makes it even easier still. Powered by a 12V power adapter, it consumes about 16W during peak consumption, meaning it gets warm but not excessively hot.
Connections include four Ethernet ports and a USB 2.0 port. The USB Type-A port can be used to share data across the network or also to set up the WAP. Omnidirectional antennas make things easy without the need for special positioning.
Security and software…
With support for up to three dedicated SSID network slots, you can have a different profile for guests, employees, or admins. Within these profiles, you can add restrictions such as blocking torrent files or video streaming.
Accessing the control panel software can be done either via the App or on a PC. The software is rather polished and easy to use. You’d expect this from Netgear, as they have been making interfaces for around 20 years.
- All in one device.
- Both WAP and router capabilities.
- Easy to use App with full functions.
- Wall mountable.
- Not suitable for larger businesses.
- Can be tricky for novice users to set up.
4 Linksys Business AC 1750 – Best Cloud Based Wireless Access Point
There are some things that a business WAP needs: extra security, network usage control, automatic data backup, and even some future-proofing. The Linksys can provide all of this and also do it well.
More than just a router or WAP, having cloud access makes controlling your business’s network a breeze. The functionality is more like a network hub, giving the operator control from one central place.
Taking control of the network…
Things are kept simple with browser-based network management. This, of course, can all be accessed remotely, giving complete control from absolutely anywhere. The dashboard is easy to use with a centralized control system.
Cloud-based management allows for real-time statistical monitoring of network activity and health. It is possible to set alerts so network admins can address potential network issues before they become a problem.
Staying safe and secure…
The Linksys WAP has all the security settings that you would expect. These include Wi-Fi protected access WPA and WPA2 protocols. Wi-Fi can also be locked behind a captive portal, requiring the user to have an authentication code before use.
Having a cloud-based system allows for instant updates, protecting your network from the latest threats. The one feature we felt was lacking, though, is the support for native VPN—a missed opportunity.
- Cloud based operation.
- Easy to navigate dashboard.
- Useful alert system.
- No native VPN support.
5 EnGenius Technologies EAP 1300 – Best Ceiling Mounted Wireless Access Point
Next, in our review of the Best Wireless Access Points, we have one that is dome-shaped and designed to be mounted to a ceiling. It’s a great network solution for small to medium-sized businesses, easy to install with its included network management software and without the need for any subscription services.
The design of the device itself is low profile and will blend into almost any setting. It can also be powered using PoE (Power-over-Ethernet), eliminating the need for being near a power outlet.
EnGenius has used a quad-core processor combined with 11ac technology. This results in improved speed, performance, device capacity, and connection reliability. Combined with a Beamforming antenna, users can move around the network uninterrupted.
MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multi-Input Multi-Output) sends dedicated wireless streams to multiple user devices at the same time. This creates a high level of network efficiency. Achieved using both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio frequencies.
EnGenius works with ezMaster software that allows users to monitor, manage, and receive alerts. It can also be deployed locally, remotely, or even via a cloud-based service. And best of all, there are no licensing or subscription fees.
The software includes handy features such as one-click firmware updates. These updates can then be sent to your WAPs without even stepping foot on site. There is even the option of creating branded welcome pages, customer data collection, and promotional coupons. All very useful for any business.
- No licensing or subscription software.
- Attractive design.
- Useful business features.
- Faster speeds on other products.
6 TP-Link Omada AC 1750 – Wireless Access Point with Best Free Software
TP-Link is another highly recognized and respected manufacturer of networking solutions. This Omada WAP provides fantastic speed and coverage for both home and business use, expanding range, and accessibility.
The device can be mounted to a wall or ceiling and can also be powered using PoE. Finished in a neutral white color, it should blend in just about anywhere. We particularly liked the wavy design on the front panel. It looks like lines in the sand left from waves on the beach.
Using 802.11k and 802.11v seamless roaming allows for an uninterrupted transition between WAPs. Perfect for maintaining signal strength when using VoIP or video conferencing. Perfect for if you need to roam around the home or office.
Utilizing Wave 2 MU-MIMO technology assists with having multiple users accessing the network simultaneously. The Omada can easily deliver dual-band speeds of up to 1750 Mbps to numerous users at the same time.
The network can be managed and monitored using the free Omada Controller software. It includes cloud management, so it can be accessed from absolutely anywhere. There is also an Omada App, so everything can be controlled from a smartphone or tablet.
Captive portal ability is included within the software with some fantastic business features, like the addition of Facebook or SMS authentication. This can easily be used across multiple SSIDs, each with their own bandwidth and security settings.
- Superior free software.
- Cloud based access.
- Useful business settings.
- Feels plasticky.
- Not suitable for large businesses.
7 TP-Link Pharos CPE 210 – Best Weatherproof Wireless Access Point
If you want a heavy-duty outdoor WAP that can operate in climates between -40°F (-40°C) and 158°F (70°C), look no further. This device from TP-Link can transmit up to three miles (five kilometers).
Running solely on the 2.4 GHz frequency, the Pharos CPE can be mounted on a pole outdoors. If positioned vertically with the included mounting kit, it is entirely waterproof.
Affordable and effective…
Power can be supplied using PoE, which is useful for outdoor installation. Hidden inside the unit is a powerful 650 MHz Qualcomm Atheros CPU. Paired with high gain antennas, plus high power Tx and high sensitivity Rx radios to provide the strongest possible signal.
We think this product would be particularly useful for someone who lives on a rural property. It can easily extend your existing Wi-Fi signal from your house to a barn or shed. Perfect for watching Netflix in the man cave.
Centralized management system…
Keeping control of your WAP can be managed through the Pharos Control System. Compatible with both Windows and Mac, the software is accessed through a web portal. It is recommended to use either Google Chrome or Safari.
Functions of the software include device discovery, status monitoring, firmware upgrading, and network maintenance. We found accessing the settings intuitive and easy to use, with the most used options readily available.
- Outdoor use and weatherproof.
- Long-range capabilities.
- Affordable option.
- Limited security options for business use.
- Only 2.4 GHz frequency.
8 TP-Link WA901ND – Best Affordable Home Wireless Access Point
There are two main functions that the TP-Link WA901-ND was designed for. The first is establishing or expanding a scalable high-speed wireless N network, which is useful for those with Wi-Fi dead spots in their home.
The second function is to connect multiple Ethernet controlled devices. These could include game consoles, media adapters, printers, NAS systems, or anything that requires data transmission.
It can see through walls…
By utilizing IEEE 802.11n advanced MIMO technology, along with three smart antennas, this WAP has a trick up its sleeve. By overcoming signal interference and signal degradation, an incredible improvement in wireless performance becomes possible.
All of this technology allows the signal to travel through physical barriers in a home or even a small office. Even in a steel-and-concrete building, this device is sure to improve any home Wi-Fi signal.
And that’s not all…
Power can be supplied using PoE, meaning there is no need for an additional power source. Now the device can be located in a location that best suits you, as long as it is within 100-feet (30 meters) of the wired connection.
Security is encrypted using WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK and can be accessed via the WPS button. This should cover home users; however, it somewhat lacks for businesses.
- Great for extending home Wi-Fi networks.
- PoE power compatible.
- MIMO and smart antenna technology.
- Lacks security for businesses.
- Limited software control options.
Best Wireless Access Points Buying Guide
As you can see, there is a range of options when it comes to WAPs, from entry-level home solutions right up to heavy-duty industrial coverage. So, let us guide you to what product will suit you the best…
Home Or Business
The first step will be deciding if you need the WAP for your home or business. If you’re just looking to expand your home network or are possibly looking into building a smart home, your best bet is keeping things simple.
It would be best to avoid any devices that require a subscription service for a home network. The additional features that you are paying for would mostly go unused, and most likely, you will be over complicating things for yourself.
For business use, obviously, having additional security features is essential. You should also consider features such as captive portals. This is invaluable for capturing client information and can also offer marketing opportunities.
Indoor Or Outdoor Installation
Whether installing the device in a home, business, school, or factory, you need to consider precisely where that location might be. Not all the devices are waterproof, so you will be limited to either the Ubiquiti or the TP-Link Pharos if you require outdoor installation.
If you’re still having trouble deciding which device will suit you best, keep reading. Because next, we will reveal which is the top wireless access point and why.
You’d be amazed at what devices are compatible with your WAP. So, don’t miss our Best Wireless Outdoor Home Security Cameras Review, our Best 4K POE Security Camera System Reviews, our Best Automated Light Switch Timer Reviews, and our Best 3D Printers Review!
Small business owner? We recommend reading our Best Small Business Routers Review, our Best Time Clocks for Small Business Review, our Best All in One Printers Review, and our Best Cordless Phones Reviews for 2021!
Back to WAPs…
So, What Are The Best Wireless Access Points?
In order to pick which WAP is the best, we have decided to combine both home and commercial uses. This device can cover both effectively and efficiently.
The WAP we have crowned as the best WAP is the…Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC Pro
The Ubiquiti combines weatherproofing, super-fast speeds, and advanced business features. Yet still, the interface is easy enough to manage for a home user.
Even though it is one of the most expensive options, it still represents excellent value with its superior features.