If you have problems with your network, such as connection drops, slowdowns or similar, one of the possible solutions is a purchase of an access point. Of course, if you are completely unfamiliar with the whole networking thing, this may present a problem.
However, don’t despair! With a little bit of involvement, you will find the best wireless access point in no time. You will only have to listen to a bit of advice, follow the guidelines and before you know it, you will be setting up your new hardware in your garage or office.
How to Choose the Best Wireless Access Point
There are no easy choices when you are not familiar with the matter, but that’s why this guide is made in the first place: to introduce you to the subject and help you find the best wireless access point that will perfectly suit your requirements and budget.
Speaking of the important aspects of the access point, they include the following:
When it comes to the network equipment, one of the most important characteristics is definitely the supported speed – and access points are no exception. Higher speed undoubtedly leads to better performance. Therefore, always go for the highest possible values.
In the case of Access Points, features can make a significant difference between two devices. For that reason, pay attention to them and make sure that the desired device has a required band or bands, or that it supports MIMO, PoE or any other function that may prove important during use.
Security is always an important aspect and there are never enough of these features. Don’t become a victim and end up with your data stolen, which is rather common these days. Protect yourself and your business, and get the device with the best protection possible.
Best Wireless Access Points
Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC PRO
An Affordable and Great-Performing Access Point Intended for Professional Use
If you are into quality access points that offer great performance and a variety of options dedicated to professional use, Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC PRO might be your ideal choice.
This affordable AP comes equipped with a Qualcomm Atheros QCA9563 chipset (750MHz clock speed), with MIPS32 74K processor and Qualcomm Atheros AR8337 switch chip. Moreover, it is fitted with 16 MB of flash memory and 128MB of RAM and is designed for both inside and outside use.
Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC PRO uses it Qualcomm Atheros QCA9563 chipset for a 2.4GHz transmission and Qualcomm Atheros QCA9880 for 5GHz wireless and can achieve speeds of up to 450Mbps in 2.4GHz band and 1300Mbps on 5GHz band, which is one of the best performances in the class.
Also, it is supplied with two Ethernet ports, Primary for connecting to switch, router or PoE and Secondary dedicated for bridging, and has a one USB port for connection to the PA system.
This AP is run by a universal Ubiquiti UniFi family controller, which allows for centralized control of every device of the family and makes the whole setup much easier. However, if you are not a technician, prepare yourself for a lot of trouble and a non-user-friendly interface, which is, along with its tendency to heat up too much, probably the weakest point of this otherwise great device.
Nevertheless, if you are searching for a good combination of features and price and want one of the best Wi-Fi access points available, this is the device for you.
- Excellent wireless performance
- Fast Roaming
- Wireless uplink support
- It gets a bit hot
- Not user-friendly
High Efficiency and Low Price in One
TP-Link EAP245 V3 is one of those devices that don’t offer the best possible build quality, but on the other hand, offer a ton of features and a great combination of hardware, at an affordable price.
Its hardware set has a lot of similarities to Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC PRO and has the same Qualcomm Atheros QCA9563 chipset that is clocked at 750MHz and responsible for its 2.4GHz radio. Furthermore, this AP uses Qualcomm Atheros QCA9982 chip for its 5GHz band and has a very impressive 128MB of RAM, which altogether results in a maximum speed of 450Mbps in 2.4GHz band and 1750Mbps on 5GHz one.
From the more advanced features that would certainly make your life much easier, TP-Link EAP245 V3 offers MU-MIMO function, Beamforming, Band Steering and Airtime Fairness, features which are nowhere to be found among the main rivals.
Considering performance, this access point has better speeds than the previously mentioned UniFi AP AC PRO and offers great heat management, although its design is pretty thick.
TP-Link EAP245 V3 supports Power over Ethernet and has two Gigabit Ethernet ports. Also, it offers various network options and is equipped with Omada Cloud Controller OC200, as well as Omada Software Controller, which, similar to its dedicated app, allows for its full management.
Altogether, this is a great device and one of the best wireless access points for the home you can find on the market right now.
- MU-MIMO & Beamforming
- Excellent wireless performance
- A bit too thick
NETGEAR Insight WAC540
A Blazing-Fast Performer in a Modest Package
Finding the best wireless access point for business may be a tricky task, but luckily, there are devices such as NETGEAR Insight WAC540, that combine fast performance, durability and high client density capability in one, which makes them a perfect choice for business deployment.
NETGEAR Insight WAC540 comes with a PoE and LAG (Link Aggregation Groups) support and, more importantly, Tri-band Wi-Fi, which achieves a combined data transfer rate of around 3GBps (400Mbps in 2.4GHz band, 867Mbps in 5GHz low-band and 867Mbps in 5GHz high-band).
Also, it is equipped with many advanced features that are expected from a business-oriented device, such as Beamforming, 4×4 MU-MIMO and self-managing band-steering.
Moreover, this access point is equipped with two Gigabit Ethernet ports, has a very impressive five-year warranty, and more importantly supports for hundreds of Wi-Fi client devices, which makes it perfect for use in schools, hotels and generally crowded spaces.
Although it isn’t perfect and offers fewer features than its main rivals from Zyxel and Ubiquiti, this is still one of the best access points available and overall a great value for the user.
- Five years warranty
- Two Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Joined speed of 3GBps
- High client density
- Offers fewer features than the competition
A Super-Cheap, yet Highly Usable Access Point
An access point doesn’t have to be expensive to be useful, and the best example for that is TP-LINK CPE210 that doesn’t deliver exceptionally fast speeds or have a countless list of features, but on the other hand, does more than a decent job.
Yes, it operates in only 2.4GHz band and can achieve a maximum data transfer rate of 300Mbps, which isn’t much, but it does the job for most users. Inside of it, there is a modest setup, which includes Qualcomm Atheros 560MHz MIPS 74Kc CPU, 64MB of DDR2 RAM and 8MB of flash, while Pharos Control is responsible for its management.
TP-LINK CPE210 comes with a dual-polarized directional MIMO antenna and offers passive PoE support, with a reach of up to 60m. Its design is neat and compact, but also involves waterproofness, which makes it suitable for the outside use.
On the other hand, this AP has rather limited features – they are narrowed to the basic stuff only; nevertheless, it can be used for various purposes, such as Client, Wi-Fi extender, Access Point router, etc.
Moreover, TP-LINK CPE210 offers easy setup and use, and in general, it presents a budget-friendly access point that won’t impress anyone. Nevertheless, it will successfully finish every task you put in front of it.
- Easy to use
- Only one frequency band
- Ethernet port doesn’t have a Gigabit speed
NETGEAR A2000 Dual Band Wireless Access Point (WAC124)
Access Point that’s Both Reliable and Decent-Performing
If you are searching for a decent quality access point that offers a good combination of performance, features and price, NETGEAR A2000 (WAC124) comes as a great solution. It supports for 2.4GHz and 5GHz band, it achieves speeds of 300Mbps (2.4GHz) and 1734Mbps (5GHz) and offers a variety of security features, which, among others, include MAC address filtering, WPA-PSK and three BSSID options. Also, this AP supports three different SSIDs, for three independent networks and allows for modest area coverage, which makes it suitable for smaller shops, offices, or homes.
NETGEAR A2000 (WAC124) is fitted with four Gigabit Ethernet ports, has a USB3.0 port and allows for easy use. It is supplied with many advanced features, such as 4×4 MU-MIMO network and beamforming, which adds to its overall performance. It also allows for connection of up to 64 devices.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t include a built-in modem, but on the other hand, it offers a nice combination of features for both present and future needs and overall represents one of the best wireless access points for the price.
In other words, if you want a good-performing access point, or a router under $100, this device will certainly not disappoint you.
- Easy to use
- Good value for the money
- No built-in modem
A Feature-Packed Access Point Dedicated to Professionals and Heavy Users
Linksys has been a synonym for a good performance and quality products for a long time, and its Business LAPAC1750C access point is no exception to that rule. It offers a nice set of features that, among others, include 3×3 MU-MIMO function, band steering and PoE compatibility. Also, it is equipped with security features such as MAC address filtering and Access Control List that will secure your network from trespassers.
Linksys Business LAPAC1750C shares the same hardware as its predecessor (LAPAC1750) and has a Qualcomm Atheros QCA9558-AT4A FK833N95 chipset, accompanied with 128MB of RAM and 16MB of flash and two Ethernet Switch Qualcomm Atheros chips (AR8035-A NJ828002 and QCA9558). Likewise, this AP uses its Atheros chipset for a 2.4GHz transmission and Qualcomm Atheros QCA9880 for a 5GHz one and can achieve data transfer rates of 450Mbps in 2.4Ghz and 1750Mbps in 5GHz band.
Moreover, this AP supports up to eight SSIDs, which is too many for the most users and offers five years of free Linksys Cloud Manager use, for an easier Access Point management. Along with that, Linksys Business LAPAC1750C is easy to use, and more importantly, it comes with a lifetime warranty, which furthermore adds to its overall value.
All in all, the best wireless access point for business use is in front of you.
- Decent wireless performance
- Fast Cloud Controller
- Free five-year use of Cloud controller
- No Mesh Technology support
- Cloud controller allows only for the access point configuration
- Just one Ethernet port
A Budget-Friendly Access Point Perfect for Basic Use
Sometimes users are just looking for a cheap, but a functional device that covers only the basics, without too many features and advanced capabilities, and TP-Link TL-WA901ND is a prime example of such a product.
There is nothing impressive about it. It offers modest data transfer speeds of 450Mbps in a 2.4GHz band, has a limited range of only 30 meters and is supplied with Ethernet port, which isn’t even a Gigabit one. On the other hand, this AP has a passive PoE support, offers smooth wireless experience and allows for the creation of up to four separate SSIDs.
Also, it can be used as an Access Point, repeater, or wireless bridge, and it allows for easy operations, which is another one of its benefits.
Nevertheless, by its performance and functionality, TP-Link TL-WA901ND definitely isn’t among the best access points on the market right now. However, its low price and the fact that it is doing a flawless job in the access point department, make it a perfect option for users with a limited budget.
- Good overall value
- Easy setup
- Not the best performance
- Limited features
EnGenius Technologies EAP1300
A Perfect Value for the Money
Reliable devices, with a fair price and good set of features, have always been welcomed by users, and EnGenius Technologies EAP1300 is one of them. Although it isn’t cheap, its price properly corresponds with its performance and features, which include MU-MIMO functionality, Beamforming and Fast Roaming. Also, there are numerous security features such as MAC address filtering, email alerts and Pre-Authentication.
Inside EnGenius Technologies EAP1300, there is a Qualcomm quad-core ARM Cortex A7 CPU with 717MHz that guarantees for smooth performance, along with two integrated 5dBi antennas that secure its wireless reliability. This AP transmits in two bands, 2.4GHz one with maximum data transfer rate of 400Mbps, and 5GHz range with maximum data transfer rate of 867. These two, thanks to MU-MIMO function, make a combined speed of around 1267Mbps.
In addition to that, this device is PoE compliant, allows for creation of up to eight independent SSDIs and offers a great overall reach. EnGenius ezMaster Software is responsible for its management. It offers an intuitive and easy to use interface, that allows for great flexibility and simple monitoring.
EnGenius Technologies EAP1300 is, in general, a good value device that offers the proper amount of features and capabilities for the price, and overall presents one of the best wireless access points that money can buy. In other words, it is a great device for the price.
- Good performance
- Nice set of features
- Fast processor
- Not the best customer support
Are you ready to put up a new Access Point in your home or office? Well, you are now! Use our instructions, advice, and suggestions, and you surely won’t make a mistake. Enjoy a fast connection and don’t worry about security, and remember not to buy something just because it is expensive – it is much more important that it fits your needs!