The 10 Best Wireless Access Points

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Wireless access points (often called Wi-Fi access points, WAPs, or APs) are an important tool for homes or offices that have a lot of traffic on their wireless networks. If your Wi-Fi seems sluggish, a WAP could be the perfect solution, because sometimes a regular router can’t handle the pressure of several people using the internet simultaneously.

Something else to consider is that a router has a much more limited range than a Wi-Fi access point, or wireless router, does. A WAP is great for boosting the range of a router by dozens of feet. This way, a large home or office can be totally covered, allowing you to access the Wi-Fi anywhere without fear of dead zones. In some cases, devices will even work outside the building where the WAP is situated.

best overall rating
  • 3 dual band antennas
  • Analytics
  • Captive portal
premium choice rating
  • Captive portal
  • Seamless roaming
  • Clustering
great value rating
  • Great value
  • Easy setup
  • Parental control

In our research into the world of WAPs, we have studied a multitude of customer and professional reviews, and we have compiled a list of the ten best Wi-Fi access points.

What follows are ten Wi-Fi access points that we consider the cream of the crop. We’ve broken them down to their bare essentials.

View the Best Wireless Access Points, Below.

best overall rating

1. Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-PRO-E Access Point

Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-PRO-E

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Read Customer Reviews Here »

Ubiquiti Networks is a New York company that was founded in 2005 and sells wireless products. The Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-PRO-E is a Wi-Fi access point which, like its cousin the Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M-US Unifi Mesh, offers stable wireless connections at a fair price.

Features

Ubiquiti’s PRO comes equipped with 3 dual band antennas, meaning the antennas will be able to operate at two different frequencies simultaneously. This access point has a sophisticated statistics and analytics program that allows the admin to easily troubleshoot and also monitor the users. It’s a 3X3 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output that optimizes speed) with a captive portal, POE (power over Ethernet which supplies electrical power through the Ethernet cable).

Airtime fairness (which boosts the total performance of the network by sacrificing some time from the very slowest device in the area)., and band steering (the ability of the WAP to connect to the correct frequency automatically).

Range

All Wi-Fi connections will, of course, be faster if your 450 Mbps wireless device is closer to the access point, but it’s worth knowing how far away you can get in your home or place of business. With the PRO, you can operate your device from as far as 400 feet from the access point.

Speed

At 2.4 GHz it can run at about 450 Mbps, and at 5 GHz it will perform at up to 1300 Mbps.

Wireless Security

The Ubiquiti PRO has a captive portal.

See more information on Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-PRO-E Access Point.

Why We Like It

  • 3 dual band antennas
  • Analytics
  • Captive portal
  • 3X3 MIMO
  • Band steering
  • POE

Wireless Compatibility
802.3af PoE, 802.3at PoE+
Speed
450 Mbps - 1300 Mbps
Dimensions
7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 Inches
Editor Rating
premium choice rating

2. Linksys Business LAPAC2600 Pro Series

Linksys Business LAPAC2600 Pro Series

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Read Customer Reviews Here »

Linksys is a brand under Belkin International, a company that began in founder Chet Pipkin’s parents’ garage in 1983. While the Linksys Business LAPAC2600 Pro has a greater price tag than the Ubiquiti product above, it also brings to the table a higher range, a few more special features, and a speed compatible with Ubiquiti’s.

Features

The Pro Series has 4X4 MIMO, a captive portal, and POE. Seamless roaming means your connection will never drop out on you. It also features clustering, which allows multiple access points to be treated as one entity, saving time on setup and facilitating better reception. Packet capture allows the admin to hunt down any traffic that could cause issues of speed.

Range

The range functions with three special modes: a regular access point, a wireless distribution system (a system that expands the Wi-Fi through multiple access points), or a wireless bridge (which separates two wireless networks that are some distance apart).

The overall range is about 2500 square feet.

Speed

This device runs at an average of 430 Mbps at 2.4 GHz or 1300 Mbps at 5 GHz.

Wireless Security

Like the Ubiquiti Pro and many others on this list, Linksys Business LAPAC2600 Pro Series comes with a captive portal.

See more information on Linksys Business LAPAC2600 Pro Series.

Why We Like It

  • Captive portal
  • Seamless roaming
  • Clustering
  • Packet capture
  • Three range modes

Wireless Compatibility
802.11B, 802.11G, 802.11n
Speed
430 Mbps - 1300 Mbps
Dimensions
9.6 x 9.3 x 1.7 Inches
Editor Rating
great value rating

3. TP-Link N300 Wireless

TP-Link N300 Wireless

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Read Customer Reviews Here »

The TP-LINK N300 Wireless access point is designed for both indoor wireless and outdoors wireless use. It is compact and light and only takes a moment to install. At about $30, it is by far the cheapest access point on our list.

Features

Users can easily avoid any channel conflicts with Clear Channel Assessment, a feature that also helps reception when roaming at a distance. Quality of Service (QoS) can be used to figure out how much bandwidth you will contribute to various applications, effectively controlling bandwidth congestion and improving reception.

Range

The range of this indoor wireless and outdoors wireless N300 WiFi access point is on the lower side at about 1500 square feet. This is the same range as the NETGEAR Insight WAC510 and the Securifi ALM-BLK-IN Almond Wi-Fi access points discussed further on.

Speed

The N300 WiFi access point top speed clocks in at about 300 Mbps.

Wireless Security

The TP-Link N300 WiFi access point comes with a pre-encryption function with an initial SSID and password protection. It also has parental control for home use: parents can restrict access to certain websites and limit how long their children spend online. The Quick Setup Security (QSS) feature uses WPA2 encryptions.

See more information on TP-Link N300 Wireless.

Why We Like It

  • Great value
  • Easy setup
  • Parental control
  • Pre-encryption function
  • Great for outdoor use

Wireless Compatibility
802.11 a/b/g/n
Speed
300 Mbps
Dimensions
2.2 x 2.2 x 0.7 Inches
Editor Rating

4. TP-Link EAP225 V3

TP-Link EAP225 V3 Wireless

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Read Customer Reviews Here »

At just $60, this device is still a deal at twice the cost of the N300 Wireless above, but as you’ll see it comes with plenty more features.

Features

The EAP225 has POE, band steering, MIMO technology, and a central managing system for the admin that makes it simple to control any other access points that you have. The high-gain antennas make it easier for the Wi-Fi signal to pass through walls and other obstacles. This WAP also includes captive portal and load balancing (a feature that distributes incoming traffic in an efficient manner).

Range

While the exact range of the EAP225 is unknown, it does come with beamforming: a concentration of the signal toward where it’s most wanted. This greatly increases the speed and stability of the Wi-Fi.

Speed

The speeds on this WAP are 450 Mbps on a 2.4GHz frequency and 867 Mbps on a 5GHz frequency.

Wireless Security

The EAP225 has a captive portal for guests.

See more information on TP-Link EAP225 V3.

Why We Like It

  • Good value
  • Beamforming
  • Captive portal
  • POE
  • Band steering
  • Load balancing

Wireless Compatibility
802.11B, 802.11G, 802.11n
Speed
450 Mbps - 867 Mbps
Dimensions
8.1 x 7.2 x 1.5 Inches
Editor Rating

5. Securifi Almond ALM-BLK-IN

Securifi ALM-BLK-IN Almond

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Read Customer Reviews Here »

The Securifi Almond ALM-BLK-IN is the first product of Securifi, a tech company launched in 2012. The most prominent thing about the Almond is also its claim to fame: its touchscreen—a first for Wi-Fi access points anywhere. To set it all up, a computer or CD isn’t even needed, and the whole process can take as little as three minutes. It is priced at under $100.

Features

In addition to being an access point, the Securifi Almond can also be used as a router, a range extender, or a wireless bridge. It is a MIMO with two high-gain antennas.

Range

The Securifi almond touchscreen wifi wireless access point has a range of 1500 square feet, the same as the TP-Link N300 Wireless and the NETGEAR Insight WAC510.

Speed

The Securifi Almond reaches an average speed of 300 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps at 5 GHz.

Wireless Security

Every Securifi Almond has a random SSID and password set at the factory. In its default mode, the touchscreen wifi wireless access point “nomap” tag stops your router from being seen by Google’s location tracking database.

See more information on Securifi Almond ALM-BLK-IN.

Why We Like It

  • Intuitive touch screen
  • Extremely easy to setup
  • Good value
  • Random SSID and password
  • Extra safety features

Wireless Compatibility
802.11bgn
Speed
300 Mbps - 1300 Mbps
Dimensions
1.9 x 4.8 x 4.3 Inches
Editor Rating

6. Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M-US Unifi Mesh

Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M-US Unifi Mesh

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Read Customer Reviews Here »

A mesh WAP is a little bit different from other WAPs. Ubiquitis Unifi works by using multiple WAPs to communicate with each other, instead of a regular WAP that works through a small number of wired gateways.

Features

Ubiquitis Unifi uses multi-hop (a system that efficiently gets the Wi-Fi signal to the most out of the way areas of your home or office), band steering, and airtime fairness. The Unifi Mesh is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The Unifi Controller is an easy tool for mapping out networks, managing incoming traffic, and analyzing radio frequencies.

Range

Ubiquitis Unifi range can reach up to a distance of 600 feet. You can also use the omnidirectional antennas that come with the product. They will expand the range even more.

Speed

Ubiquitis Unifi can reach speeds of up to 867 Mbps at 5 GHz and 300 Mbps at 2.4 GHz.

Security

This Wi-Fi access point does not have anything like a captive portal.

See more information on Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M-US Unifi Mesh.

Why We Like It

  • Multi-hop
  • Indoor and outdoor
  • Easy monitoring and analysis
  • Band steering
  • Airtime fairness
  • High speed

Wireless Compatibility
802.11 a/b/g/n
Speed
300 Mbps - 867 Mbps
Dimensions
1.8 x 1.3 x 13.9 Inches
Editor Rating

7. Linksys Business LAPAC1200

Linksys Business LAPAC1200

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Read Customer Reviews Here »

This Wi-Fi access point is pretty distinct from the Pro version of it mentioned above. For starters, it’s a 2X2 MIMO instead of a 4X4. It doesn’t appear to have the seamless roaming or the packet capture that the Pro has.

Features

The LAPAC1200 is a dual-band access point with POE, high-power antennas, clustering, captive portal, and band steering.

Range

Just like the Linksys Business LAPAC2600 Pro Series, the Linksys Business LAPAC1200 comes with three range modes: a traditional access point, a wireless distribution system, and a wireless bridge. Overall, the LAPAC1200’s signal can reach up to 4000 square feet.

Speed

This WAP runs at speeds of 300 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 1200 Mbps at 5 GHz.

Security

With the LAPAC1200, the admin has the ability to see the health and status of all their clustered WAPs and can view any wireless user. You can also choose to use a captive portal.

See more information on Linksys Business LAPAC1200.

Why We Like It

  • POE
  • Clustering
  • Captive portal
  • Band steering

Wireless Compatibility
801.11 AC, 802.11n
Speed
300 Mbps - 1200 Mbps
Dimensions
20.9 x 13.7 x 12.2 Inches
Editor Rating

8. EnGenius Technologies EAP1300EXT

EnGenius Technologies EAP1300EXT

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Read Customer Reviews Here »

EnGenius Technologies was started in the 1990s and continues to supply us with wireless communication products.

Features

The EnGenius is positively packed with features. To name just a few: beamforming, high-gain detachable antennas, POE, captive portal, band steering, rogue access point detection, fast roaming, and Quality of Service (QoS) to manage network traffic.

Range

The EnGenius has a range of 4400 square feet, giving it the greatest range of all of the WAPs on this list, narrowly beating out the Linksys Business LAPAC1200 by 400 square feet.

Speed

This WAP can reach speeds of 400 Mbps at 2.4 GHz or 867 Mbps at 5 GHz.

Security

The EnGenius has an advanced managing system that allows users to monitor security threats. The rogue access point detection minimizes the security threats posed by rogue WAPs.

See more information on EnGenius Technologies EAP1300EXT.

Why We Like It

  • POE
  • Captive portal
  • Beamforming
  • Band steering
  • Rogue access point detection

Wireless Compatibility
801.11 AC
Speed
400 Mbps - 867 Mbps
Dimensions
6.4 x 6.4 x 1.6 Inches
Editor Rating

9. Open-Mesh OM2P-HS (V2)

Open-Mesh OM2P-HS (V2)

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Read Customer Reviews Here »

Like the Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M-US Unifi Mesh and the Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-PRO-E, the OM2P is a mesh WAP. It is easy to install and can be bought for under $100, putting it in the same price range as the EnGenius Technologies EAP1300EXT and the Securifi ALM-BLK-IN Almond.

Features

The Open-Mesh has dual POE injector support and dual internal antennas. The managing system is cloud-based, meaning you can configure your SSID and handle any security issues all in the same place.

Range

The range can vary from a distance of 100 to 300 feet.

Speed

The Open-Mesh can function at the rate of 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz frequency.

Security

There’s not much to say about security on the Open-Mesh besides the security management that can be done on the cloud. As with the NETGEAR Insight WAC510 and the Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M-US Unifi Mesh, there is no captive portal included with this machine.

See more information on Open-Mesh OM2P-HS (V2).

Why We Like It

  • Easy to install
  • Dual POE injector support
  • Dual internal antennas

Wireless Compatibility
802.11G, 802.11n
Speed
300 Mbps
Dimensions
3.8 x 1 x 2.8 Inches
Editor Rating

10. NETGEAR Insight WAC510

NETGEAR Insight WAC510

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Read Customer Reviews Here »

NETGEAR is a California-based company that strives to improve the world of networking technology. Their product, the Insight WAC510 , is a piece of tech built with small businesses in mind. It is easy to setup and fairly inexpensive at $75.

Features

This is a 2X2 dual-band MIMO with POE. It has rogue AP detection like the EnGenius. It also has WPA and WPA2 password security. With the analytics page, the admin can see the users and their access points as well as the amount of data being used.

Range

The Insight has a range of about 1500 square feet, the same as the Securifi ALM-BLK-IN Almond and the TP-Link N300 Wireless.

Speed

This WAP has two speeds: 300 Mbps at 2.4GHz and 900 Mbps at 5GHz.

Security

The Insight does not have a captive portal, but it does have WPA and WPA2 security as well as rogue AP detection.

See more information on NETGEAR Insight WAC510.

Why We Like It

  • POE
  • Easy setup
  • Rogue AP detection
  • WPA, WPA2 security

Wireless Compatibility
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Speed
300 Mbps - 900 Mbps
Dimensions
7.8 x 1.4 x 7.8 Inches
Editor Rating

What to Look for When Buying a Wireless Access Point

There is a lot to consider when shopping for the perfect access point. The first question might be what you’re using it for: a home or an office, outdoors or indoors access? A small family or a big company? Are you playing a lot of videos or just looking to give your connection a little boost? Range, speed, and security all have a hand in this. They are discussed in detail in our buying guide, below.

Range

On our top ten list of wireless router access points at the end of this article, the range is usually listed in square feet unless the product’s range was never specified by the seller or by reviewers. In those cases, the range is marked as a general distance (e.g., the WAP gives off a high wireless signal strength reaching as far as 400 feet). The ranges of our featured WAPs are somewhere between 1500 and 4500 square feet.

Since the average house, today is around 2000 square feet, a consumer should be careful about any Wi-Fi access points that dip below the 2000 square foot range.

If you’re set on buying a WAP with a lower range, it might be in your best interest to also buy a range extender to further boost the reach of your Wi-Fi. In reality, ranges are tricky to test: a Wi-Fi signal strength is dependent upon many factors, not least of all whether or not there are a lot of obstacles (like thick walls) in between the access point and the device receiving the wireless signal.

Speed

Much like range, a WAP’s or wireless router access points’ speed is highly variable and challenging to test. The speed is always measured in megabits per second (or Mbps). On average, the Wi-Fi access points that made it onto our list run at around 350 Mbps when the WAPs’ 2.4 GHz frequencies are considered. At the 5 GHz frequency, speeds can reach up to 1300 Mbps, though the most common speed at this frequency is about 867 Mbps.

It is often the case that activities, like going on Youtube, playing video games, or talking to clients on Skype, can hurt the speed of your internet connection. Make sure to find an access point capable of offering high enough speeds to offset these bandwidth-slowing issues.

Good access points also allow the admin to have control over their internet experience: features like quality of service (available on the EnGenius Technologies EAP1300EXT and the TP-Link N300 Wireless) and packet shaping can drastically improve the connection speed.

Security

There are a wide variety of security features available with the latest access points. Something to look out for if you’re running a business is the captive portal feature. With captive portal, you can set up a password-protected connection for guest networks users. This ensures that not everyone in the area can get onto your Wi-Fi (perfect for businesses like coffee shops). The service set identifier (SSID) is the name of your wireless network.

Right out of the box, many WiFi router access points offer the same SSID for their product. It is a security issue to keep the same SSID, but it is even better to purchase an access point where the SSID is randomized from the start (the Securifi ALM-BLK-IN Almond and TP-Link N300 Wireless both have this safety feature).

Rogue access point detection is another security measure to be on the lookout for. It alerts the admin to any unauthorized users, protecting you from the threat of hackers on your network. Both the NETGEAR Insight WAC510 and the EnGenius Technologies EAP1300EXT are capable of this.

What is a Wireless Access Point?

WiFi Extenders are machines that better allow your devices (laptops, phones, iPads, etc.) to connect to your Wi-Fi. WAPs are sometimes confused with routers, but unlike routers, they are not designed to provide a Wi-Fi signal. Instead, they extend that wireless signal strength; known as wireless signal boosters. For this reason, WAPs can never function on their own as routers, but routers can sometimes function as WAPs.

Overall, WAPs will enable more people to use the internet at the same time. WAPs lessen dead spots and give your Wi-Fi a more seamless performance. They are great for homes, offices, the outdoors, and for businesses like coffee shops that want to let their customers access the Wi-Fi.

wireless-access-image-2

How does a Wireless Access Point Work?

Most of the time, standalone WAPs are wired via Ethernet switch to a router. WAPs will use radio frequencies (RF) that lead to your devices being able to connect to the internet. An RF current goes through the WAP’s antennas and creates an electromagnetic field that travels through the air, connecting the WAP and your devices. Basically, the electromagnetic field is something that your devices can attune themselves to. For a computer to react to that field, it has to have a wireless adapter, a component that is more often than not already built into the computer.

How do you set up a Wireless Access Point?

For most Wi-Fi access points, the physical setup is incredibly straightforward, often taking five minutes or less for even a first-time user to figure out. Just plug your new WAP into an Ethernet port and a power outlet. Be sure to not put your WAP next to tech that will interfere with its frequencies (microwave ovens and cordless phones are common culprits). That’s about it for the physical logistics.

Next is the software configuration which is a little more complex but still doable even for a beginner. First, you’ll need to know the IP address of the WAP. Then type that address into the address bar on your device’s browser. This will take you to the WAP’s configuration page where you can make decisions about what channels you’ll broadcast on, what security functions you’ll use, and more.

We hope that our top ten list was helpful to you. Remember that there are many more products out there waiting to be found. There is also a wealth of information in the form of forums and videos that will answer any further questions you may have.

Conclusion

These technologies were only put on the market a short while ago. In fact, public use of the internet itself began in 1989, and the first instance of Wi-Fi was in 1997. As such, Wi-Fi access points are a very new invention that is constantly undergoing rapid development. The latest and greatest of these offer incredible speeds, ranges, and seamless connections. Whether you’re a first-time wireless router access point user or just looking for an upgrade, access points are vital to a happy internet experience.

Did You Know?

Bluetooth sends a signal strength of 2.4 GHz, so it can cause interference with your WAP. Switching your WAP to 5 GHz band or moving the Bluetooth device away will help this.

Expert Tip

A password encryption like the WPA-TKIP cannot be recognized by the very fastest wireless connections. This incompatibility will drop your speed to 54 Mbps.