If you want to set up a network over a big area with lots of internet traffic like cafes, restaurants, a big house, etc., a wireless access point is exactly what you need. While routers are always great for creating a network, when it comes to covering a significant amount of area, the router may likely fail.
That’s where the WAPs come in. These are perfect for extending the range of the pre-existing network.
And if you are thinking of buying one of these devices but are confused about which one is the best wireless access point, you have come to the right place. Here we will review 10 of the very best WAPs out there, and we will also give you the perfect buying guide to assist you in your search.
- Best Wireless Access Point Reviews
- 1. Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac
- 2. TP-Link Omada AC1750
- 3. NETGEAR AC2000 Dual Band Wireless Access Point
- 4. Ubiquiti Unifi Ap-Ac Long Range
- 5. TP-Link Long Range Outdoor WiFi
- 6. TP-Link Wireless N300
- 7. TP-Link TL-WA901ND Wireless N450
- 8. Ubiquiti UAP-AC-LITE Unifi AP AC LITE
- 9. Linksys LAPAC1200C AC1200
- 10. EnGenius EAP1300
- Wireless Access Point Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a wireless access point, and how does it work?
- Wireless Access Point vs. Wireless Router; which one is better?
- Can I turn a router into a wireless access point?
- Which company makes the best wireless access points?
- Single radio access point vs. dual-radio access point; which one is more advantageous?
Best Wireless Access Point Reviews
Without further ado, let us jump into the list of 10 of the very best devices in the market that will extend your WiFi range significantly.
1. Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac
The Unifi series from Ubiquiti has some of the best wireless access points in the market. Their combination of range, power, and speed makes them a very desirable product. However, this combination does come at a slightly high price compared to other products. But this product definitely delivers when it comes to performance.
This WAP has 3 dual-band antennas, which are kept conspicuous so that they don’t ruin the standard Ubiquiti aesthetic. All of these antennas are 3dBi each, which makes sure you have a sufficient range no matter where you set it up.
Speaking of setting up, this particular product is extremely easy to set up. The simplistic and stylish design not only makes it look good, but it also makes it very easy to set up.
If that wasn’t all, the device is also very easy to monitor. The Unifi mobile app is an extremely reliable and easy-to-use app through which you can effortlessly monitor everything that is going on with the access point. This also contributes to saving power. The highest power consumption by this device is 9 Watts.
And this device also comes with an auto-sensing 802.3af PoE support, which just makes the product even more desirable. The biggest issue this device has is the overheating. That may be a result of its power-saving, which puts added stress on the device.
- Has great range and coverage owing to its 3 antennas of 3dBi each
- Saves power significantly by limiting power consumption
- Has an auto-sensing 802.3af PoE support
- Comes with a stylish and simplistic design
- Very easy to monitor and use through the Unifi mobile app
- Comparatively expensive
- Prone to overheat
Along with Ubiquiti, TP-Link is one of the leading companies when it comes to making quality wireless access points, and the Omada AC1750 is one of the best they have to offer. The roaming in this device is second to none.
And the effortless 802.11k and 802.11v roaming make it a very desirable product as it ensures that voice chats and video conferences can go uninterrupted. The speed of the WAP also contributes to making that happen. This product can work on two frequency bands, the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band.
On the 2.4Ghz band, this device delivers 450 Mbps speed, and on the 5 GHz band, it can go up to 1300 Mbps. This amount of speed is almost unrivaled.
This device doesn’t let you down when it comes to ease as well. You can effortlessly install the device because of its simple set up. It also comes with multiple Ethernet ports to make the process easier.
The Omada app is a very good app that you can use to monitor the product. And the app allows you to easily monitor the device from anywhere you may be and also lets you troubleshoot problems if one arises.
However, the lack of good antennas in this device definitely poses a problem when it comes to the range. This device can give you the best speed and performance, but that is limited to a short distance because of its low range that leaves much to be desired.
- Allows easy roaming for very long periods of time
- Delivers a combined total of 1750 Mbps on both 2.4 GHz and 5GHz
- Simple setup owing to its simple design
- Very easy to control and monitor through the Omada mobile app
- Low range because of the lack of powerful antennas
- Arguably overpriced
3. NETGEAR AC2000 Dual Band Wireless Access Point
This product is quite budget-friendly compared to the previous two products. So that’s obviously a huge relief.
Despite being the least costly of the 3 products we have reviewed so far, it is easily the fastest. Like the Omada, this one also has two frequency bands. On the 2.4GHz band, it has a speed that extends up to 300 Mbps. And on the 5GHz, it has a speed of 1733 Mbps.
A unique feature of this device is the ability to create 3 separate SSIDs. That makes this device absolutely perfect for cafes and restaurants because you can create separate SSIDs for the admin, the employees, and the customers.
Unlike the last product, this one also delivers greatly on the range. It has 3 external antennas, each of which is quite powerful. This allows you to extend the range of your network significantly.
However, it is important to note that this device is quite difficult to set up. Unlike the previous two products, the design of this device is way too complicated, and so is the setup process. That makes the installation process very time-consuming.
The poor tech support and management system is definitely a problem, though. It doesn’t have any separate mobile app that allows you to monitor and manage the device. And the poor tech support also doesn’t help that case. So it is quite difficult to use this device.
- Comparatively budget-friendly
- Can offer a total of 2033 Mbps speed across both bands
- Allows you to create 3 separate SSIDS
- A great range that covers a large area due to its powerful antennas
- Has a very complicated setup process
- Lack of a proper management system
4. Ubiquiti Unifi Ap-Ac Long Range
The second product from the Ubiquiti Unifi series on our list excels in spreading the network over a very large area. And the name itself suggests that it specializes in long-range network extension. This device can easily cover an area of 5000 square feet.
And this product is also extremely easy to install. Like most products from the Unifi series, it has a very simplistic design along with an easy setup process. So it saves you a lot of hassle.
It is also extremely easy to use. Unlike the previous Ubiquiti product, this one cannot be operated through a mobile app. However, the Unifi controller software is more than enough for that purpose. It’s easy to use and monitor even though it doesn’t allow remote access.
Moreover, the speed is great on this WAP. On the 2.4 GHz band, it can go up to 450 Mbps speed. And on the 5GHz frequency band, the speed can go up to 867 Mbps. While there are alternatives with better speed, very few WAPs have such an amazing combination of range and speed.
This device is also 100% weatherproof, which makes it suitable for outdoor use. Regardless of the weather condition, it will give you top-notch speed all the time.
However, this product isn’t the most suitable product for beginners. As good as the controller software is, it might be a problem for you if you are a beginner with no pre-existing knowledge about access points.
- Can easily cover a huge area as it specializes in long-range networking
- Very simple design that makes it easy to set up
- Great speed at both frequency bands
- Suitable for outdoor use as it is completely weatherproof
- Not suitable for beginners
This is one of the most budget-friendly options in the market. Part of the reason for TP-Link’s success as a company is its unique combination of performance and affordability. And this product delivers on that. This WAP has 2 dual-band antennas. Each of them is 13 dBi.
And this makes sure that the WAP can extend the network up to a significant distance. This device is also completely weatherproof. Combining that with its brilliant range, it makes for a great outdoor device. It can deliver a great transmission power. Not only that, but it’s also fully adjustable.
You can adjust the power from 0-500 megawatts. However, the speed of this device leaves a lot to be desired. Firstly, it only works on one frequency band, and that is 5 GHz. And on that band, the speed can go up to 300 Mbps only, which is much less compared to the previous products on the list.
But thankfully, this product comes with the TP-Link signature Pharos Maxtream TDMA. This ensures that the capacity and the latency vastly improves.
However, the biggest issue with this device is the complicated user interface. Unlike the previous products, this one doesn’t provide any easier alternative management system. You have to rely completely on the user interface of the device, and that’s where it lets you down. This makes it difficult to use sometimes.
- Very budget-friendly
- Covers a huge area owing to its two 13dBi antennas
- Offers great adjustable transmission power
- Equipped with the signature TP-Link Maxtream TDMA
- Works on only one frequency band
- Complicated user interface
This is the first of the TP-Link Indoor wireless access point series on our list. The special feature of all the products of this series is that they are all very good devices at extremely low prices. A very unique feature of this device is its ability to support multiple option modes.
These include access point, client, multi-SSID, universal repeater, and bridge with AP. This allows you to easily create a network, and the product can also be used for many different purposes. And this WAP is also extremely easy to set up. It has a simple and attractive design that makes the setup process simple and easy.
However, the management process can be quite difficult at times. This device doesn’t come with any special app or software to help monitor the device. So you have to completely rely on the general user interface, which is very subpar.
It does ensure your security, though. You can get a completely WPA secure connection just by pressing the WPS button.
But the biggest problem this device faces is in its speed. Firstly, it only works on the 2.4 GHz band. Secondly, the highest speed it can obtain is 300 Mbps, which is quite low. Given the low price, this might be a sacrifice worth making. But anyone looking for something heavy-duty should avoid this.
- Very low cost and budget-friendly
- Can support multiple operation modes
- Very easy to set up owing to its design
- Offers complete WPA encrypted security at the push of a button
- Works on only one frequency band
- Difficult to manage and monitor
This is the second wireless access point from the budget-friendly TP-Link Wireless series. And this device also gives you solid performance at quite a low price.
Unlike the previous device, this one focuses a lot on the range. This product comes with 3 dual-band antennas, and all of them are high power antennas. It ensures that the device can cover a significant area with its network.
Similar to the previous product, this WAP also works on the 2.4 GHz band only. On that frequency band, it can deliver a speed up to 450 Mbps, which is actually a great speed at 2.4GHz. But the lack of a 5GHz frequency band might be a deal-breaker for many.
Like most TP-Link products of this series, this one also supports multiple operation modes. These include Access point, multi-SSID, client, universal repeater, etc. All of these make it very easy to set up networks. You can also add a lot of variety to your networks.
The design is quite simple, as is the case for almost all of the TP-Link products. That is why there is rarely any hassle in setting up the WAP. The setup process is very simple and easy.
However, the overall performance of the WAP has been said to be quite unreliable. The WAP often gives out lower speed and range than it usually does, and that is a problem that may cause you to suffer a lot.
- Solid performing device at a cost-effective price
- Can easily cover a great distance because of its 3 dual-band antennas
- Very good speed at 2.4 GHz
- Extremely easy to set up and monitor
- Supports multiple operation modes
- Can only work on one frequency band
- Has an overall unreliable performance
8. Ubiquiti UAP-AC-LITE Unifi AP AC LITE
As the name suggests, this is the lite version of the Unifi AP AC Long range access point that we reviewed earlier on the list.
This lite version comes at a lower cost compared to the LR version and is more suitable for indoor use rather than outdoor use. If you need to extend a pre-existing network, this WAP will be a great help in that regard.
It is also necessary to mention that this product is much smaller in size compared to the LR version. So it is very lightweight and portable. It is easy to carry around, and as a consequence, it is also quite easy to install. The signature Unifi design also has a lot of contributions in making its setup so simple.
Like the LR, this one can also work on two frequency bands, i.e., the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. While the transmission power on the 2.4 GHz band is less than the LR at 300 Mbps, the power on the 5 GHz band is exactly the same at 867 Mbps. Considering the slightly lower price of the lite version, that’s a good deal.
But with all that being said, there is an argument to be made that this device is slightly overpriced. Compared to the LR version, there are quite a few fields in which this one is lacking. But the price isn’t exactly reduced significantly. In fact, the price difference is almost negligible.
- More portability because of its smaller size
- Can work on both 2.4 GHz and 5GHz bands
- Very efficient in extending pre-existing networks
- Simple design and lightweight which makes it very easy to install
- Delivers less speed compared to the long-range version
- Arguably overpriced
Before we move forward with this review, it is essential to mention that this device is comparatively very expensive. Most of the products we have reviewed so far came at very reasonable prices. But compared to those, this one is quite expensive.
However, an argument to justify its price can be made through its performance, and that’s exactly what we are going to do.
Firstly, the transmission power of this device is almost unrivaled. Working on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands, this device delivers a speed of 300 Mbps and 866 Mbps. While the 2.4 GHz speed could see improvements, the 5 GHz speed is quite a lot.
This product also allows remote management as well through its mobile app. You can control and monitor it at any time, anywhere. Equipped with PoE+ technology, the transmission of power happens very smoothly and effectively on this device.
The data shared is also heavily protected owing to the Linksys advanced security system. However, the biggest drawback of this device is the complicated design. This complexity in the construction leads to a much more difficult and time-consuming setup process.
- Able to work on both 2.4 GHz and 5GHz frequency bands
- Delivers a combined total of 1.17 Gbps across both bands
- Allows remote management through its mobile app
- Easy transmission of power because of its PoE+ technology
- Comes with an advanced security system to protect your data
- Comparatively expensive
- Very complicated setup process
10. EnGenius EAP1300
The last product on our list comes from EnGenius. A particular specialty of this product is the unique processor. This device comes equipped with a Qualcomm 717 MHz Quad-core processor. And this is an extremely high-end processor which not only enhances the performance but also boosts the speed of the WAP by 30%.
Speaking of speed, this one can deliver a great amount of speed. This device also works on two frequency bands. On the 2.4 GHz band, the speed of the device can go up to 400 Mbps, which is a lot compared to most devices.
Combining that with the 867 Mbps speed of the 5 GHz band, we have an almost unrivaled device when it comes to speed. This device also allows a lot more users to connect. The multi-SSID feature makes it very for people at different levels to use this feature. This also makes it a great product to use in a restaurant or cafe.
And the design of this device, in particular, is very attractive and stylish. Not only that, but it is also very compact and takes up very little space. It is also much more portable compared to the usual WAPs.
However, issues can be pointed out in its setup and tech support. The setup process can be quite complicated and unsuitable for beginners.
Without professional help, it is very difficult to install. The poor tech support doesn’t help in that regard. And the lack of a proper management system makes the device quite difficult to use as well sometimes.
- Equipped with a special Qualcomm Quad-core processor
- Delivers a total of 1267 Mbps speed on both frequency bands
- Comes with a multi-SSID feature that allows for more users
- Very attractive and compact design
- Complicated set up that makes it difficult to install
- Lack of proper management system and tech support
Wireless Access Point Buying Guide
It is natural to be confused about all the complicated terms that you hear about a wireless access point. This confusion may lead to many people making rash and irresponsible decisions before buying a product like this. In this section of the article, we aim to avoid that.
Before buying any product, you should be aware of all the features that you are looking for, and that is why we have mentioned and talked about all the necessary features that you should take into careful consideration below:
The IEEE standard essentially indicates the nature of the technology that is being used in any device. You will find these in both routers and wireless access points, and it is perfectly normal to be confused about what this indicates. The general format of an IEEE standard is 802.11X.
In place of this “X”, we use various other symbols to signify the true nature of the technology. These symbols include b, g, n, and AC. The oldest IEEE standard is 802.11b. This is nearly extinct in this day and age.
And this model of WAP can only provide a speed up to 11 Mbps, which can never satisfy the current demand for speed from WAPs. The next IEEE standard is 802.11g. While this one is definitely better and faster than the 802.11b, it is also nearly nonexistent in this day and age.
Moreover, the highest speed this technology can provide is 54 Mbps, which also doesn’t nearly satisfy the current needs of people. The 802.11n and 802.11AC are the only relevant standards today. Most people using WAPs will look for devices with these standards.
Also, the 802.11n can deliver a speed of 300 Mbps at best. While that speed is definitely great and you can easily make good use of it in short spaces, you wouldn’t be blamed for desiring something more.
That’s where the 802.11AC comes in. With this standard, your wireless access point can deliver a speed up to 5200 Mbps, which is more than enough to satisfy all your needs.
Any wireless access point can either have one frequency band or have two of them. An access point with one frequency band is called a single radio access point, and an access point with two frequency bands is called a dual-radio access point.
Usually, these frequency bands are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Naturally, the price of the WAP also depends on the number of frequency bands. A dual-radio access point will ordinarily cost much more than a single radio one.
The number of frequency bands and the value of the said frequency also influence the speed of the device. An access point will be able to deliver a higher speed at 5 GHz compared to its speed on 2.4 GHz.
So a device that can work on both frequency bands will obviously have a higher total speed compared to a device that can only work on one frequency band.
This is where you have to weigh your options. Do you want a dual-radio access point with more speed at a higher cost, or are you okay with a single radio access point with less speed but at a great price? The answer depends on what you value most. Based on that, you have to make your decision.
Antennas are of the most crucial parts of a wireless access point and with good reason. These antennas determine how well your network will function.
One of the primary objectives of a wireless access point is to be able to create strong and reliable networks, and the antennas are its primary weapon in completing that objective. The power of the antenna also determines the overall range of the network, i.e., how large an area the network can cover.
Moreover, antennas can be external or internal. In most Ubiquiti products, the antennas were internal. But in most wireless access points, the antennas are external. External antennas usually can deliver better range, but they are also easily influenced by the weather and are prone to breaking.
Even though internal antennas don’t usually have the range of an external antenna, they are completely weatherproof and have almost zero chance of breaking. So, assess these options and determine which one is more important for you.
Lastly, you should make sure the antennas are powerful enough. The power of antennas is measured in dBi unit. Make sure the antennas have a high dBi value to get the most out of your wireless access point.
You need to make sure that your access point is easy to monitor and control. That is where the management system comes in. Every wireless access point has a different system of monitoring the device. Some of them are standalone access points, and some of them are controller-based access points.
The standalone access points are those that don’t need any external software to operate or control the access point. And controller-based access points are those that require some sort of external software to control its operations. These software may include mobile apps, computer programs, etc.
And the standalone access points are great for creating a network over a small area. In that case, you can easily monitor and control it through the device itself. It doesn’t require any special software or any sort of remote access.
But the access points which you need for larger areas cannot be controlled just through the device itself as they are more complicated than that. In that case, external software like mobile apps or computer programs is necessary. The Unifi and the Omada apps are examples of such software.
Also, you will require some sort of controller if you want to set up multiple standalone access points in an area and make them work in unity.
Various Other Services
Many access points have the support of many other services.
For example, the PoE service can come very handy. PoE stands for Power over Ethernet. Through this service, an access point can make use of electric power through data cables to transport data. In many cases, this may make up for weak WiFi signals or bad weather.
Again, there is the WPA encryption. This is a security system that is available in many access points. This makes sure your data is completely encrypted ad secure.
So before buying any wireless access points, look out for these extra services and decide whether you need them or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most commonly asked queries regarding the best WAPs:
What is a wireless access point, and how does it work?
Wireless access points are networking devices, and they help in connecting WiFi devices to a WLAN. These access points receive and transmit radio signals across a network.
Wireless Access Point vs. Wireless Router; which one is better?
A wireless router acts as a host router with an inbuilt access point to create a network. And a wireless access point, however, cannot do that. It can either give access to a device without a WiFi connection to a wireless network through Ethernet cables or extend the range of a pre-existing wireless network.
Can I turn a router into a wireless access point?
Yes, it is possible to turn a router into an access point. It may even be wiser to turn old routers into WAP. You can look at other places on the internet for a more detailed step-by-step guide regarding this.
Which company makes the best wireless access points?
If we had to choose, we would go with Ubiquiti. Even though their products cost a bit more, no company can beat their consistency.
Single radio access point vs. dual-radio access point; which one is more advantageous?
We will always go with a dual-radio access point because of its higher speed and functionality.
It is natural to be confused and wary before buying sensitive things like these. But if you follow our guide properly, you will not run into any trouble.
Among all the products we reviewed here, we would go with the Ubiquiti Unifi 802.11ac, i.e., the very first product on our list. As mentioned, the 802.11ac is the best standard for an access point.
If you need something short scale for a small area, then we would recommend the TP-Link N300. It is very budget-friendly and has a lot of attractive features. And it is the best standalone access point on the list.
However, if you are looking for a compromise between price and performance, the TP-Link Omada will be your best bet because of its great speed, range, and performance. No matter what you buy, make sure you know what you want and follow our guide for finding the best wireless access point.