Best wireless access point: Best WAP of 2023 | TechRadar

Best WAP of 2023 | TechRadar

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July 2023 – EDITOR’S NOTE

If you want to give your existing network a little help handling all of these devices, adding a WAP can allow you to upgrade your connectivity and overall internet experience without having to call your ISP. Here you’ll find our top picks for the best WAPs or Wireless Access Points alongside our price comparison tool to help you get the best prices.

This month, we made sure to find some of the best options currently available according to a few significant markers.

Investing in a Wireless Access Point or WAP can be a game-changer for your home office or small business, as doing so will ensure you have a robust Wi-Fi connection everywhere you may need.

Even with one of the best wireless routers on the market, you may still find internet dead zones around your home or small business, especially if it’s a larger property. At the same time, you may have multiple devices vying for bandwidth to stay connected throughout your home or small business. This is where a Wireless Access Point can come in handy, as adding one such device can provide strong internet access for all your smartphones, tablets, computers, smart home devices, and more.

Netgear WAX214 WiFi 6 PoE+ Access Point (Image credit: Netgear)

1. Netgear WAX214 WiFi 6 PoE+ Access Point

An affordable WiFi 6 access point that’s simple to deploy

Specifications

Connectivity: 802.11ax, 2.4GHz, 5GHz

Features: MAC-based access control list, WPA, WPA2 and WPA3 support, PoE powered, up to 128 clients, supports 40 concurrent devices

Dimensions: 160.9 × 160.9 x 33.28mm

Weight: 380g

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy

+

Inexpensive

+

PoE+

+

Small and unobtrusive

+

Easy web-based configuration

Reasons to avoid

Only dual-channel

Netgear has designed the WAX214 to be surprisingly simple to set up and install at your office or home. While it may not allow for as many concurrent users as more expensive options, it’s an affordable solution that supports Wi-Fi 6 and works just as well in a large home as in an office. The WAX214 includes mounting brackets on its underside, as it should be placed either high up on a wall or, ideally, on the ceiling. It’s worth noting that this unit doesn’t come with a power adapter as it supports Power over Ethernet (PoE). Using a LAN cable, you’ll need a PoE switch or injector to power the device. The WAX214 is a dual-band WAP with support for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, and Netgear says it can handle up to 128 devices simultaneously.

Read the full review: Netgear WAX214 WiFi 6 PoE+ Access Point

(Image credit: Future)

2. Cisco CBW150AX Access Point

Cisco’s new Wi-Fi 6AX access point gets the job done

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy

+

Low power

+

Easy installation

+

Low price

Reasons to avoid

Frequent disconnect

The Cisco CBW150AX Wi-Fi 6 access point does a good job at providing fast wireless Internet access across several rooms. Its processor is powerful enough to handle multiple connections over many WLANs while using additional mesh adapters helps increase the access point’s range. Installation requires a few steps with clear instructions given on the mobile application.

Booting the access point can take a lot of time, but once the unit is up, it will stay operational without performance degradation for a long time. The CBW150AX offers features such as a firewall and an RF optimization mode for less than $130. It would have been great if it had been accessible from the cloud. Connected clients cannot be named or blocked off the network, which makes it less appealing if one wants to limit access to the Internet.

Read our full Cisco CBW150AX Access Point review.

(Image credit: Zyxel)

3. Zyxel WAX610D WiFi 6 PoE Access Point

A reliable WiFi 6 WAP that can be managed over the cloud

Specifications

Connectivity: 802.11ax

Features: 6 spatial streams (4×4:4 in 5GHz, 2×2:2 in 2. 4GHz ), OFDMA, MU-Mino, surge and ESD protection, 4G/5G filter, Can be managed remotely using a free cloud service

Dimensions: 180 x 180 x 39mm

Weight: 545g

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy

+

Wi-Fi 6

+

Solid build quality

+

Long-range

+

Cloud support

+

2.5Gb Ethernet port

Reasons to avoid

High price

No power supply

The WAX610D WAP from Zyxel can be wall or ceiling-mounted to bring WiFi 6 to your home office or business reliably. The device itself is made from quality components. Zyxel has included extras like an anti-noise spreader, surge and ESD protection, and a 4G/5G filter to minimize interference from cellular networks. The WAX610D also packs a powerful quad-core CPU, two Ethernet ports (one at 2.5Gbps), and best-in-class internal antennas. While it may be slightly higher than the competition, the WAX610D can be managed remotely via an app and a free cloud service.

Read our full Zyxel WAX610D WiFi 6 PoE Access Point review.

(Image credit: Cisco)

4. Cisco 240AC Wi-Fi 5 Access Point

An affordable WiFi 5 WAP packed with functionality

Specifications

Connectivity: 802.11ac Wave 2

Features: 4×4 MU-MIMO, WPA/WPA2, WPA3, WPA2-Enterprise, RADIUS Server, 512MB flash memory, 1GB RAM, 2 Gigabit-Ethernet ports with PoE support

Dimensions: 177mm x 177mm x 38mm

Weight: 427g

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy

+

Powerful CPU

+

Range extension

+

Intuitive mobile app

+

Low cost

Reasons to avoid

Dated Wi-Fi 5 standard

Lengthy boot time

Although Wi-Fi 6 may be the latest and greatest, Wi-Fi 5 still has a lot to offer, and the 240AC from Cisco is a well-built and affordable WAP to meet the needs of most users. The 240AC sports a Qualcomm quad-core CPU with 1GB of RAM and 256MB of Flash memory, and Cisco says that up to 400 clients can use this WAP simultaneously. Wall mounting holes can be found at the unit’s base, and it also ships with a flat Ethernet cable to power it when connected to a PoE Ethernet switch. This WAP’s range can also be extended further when paired with the company’s 142AC mesh extender.

Read our full Cisco 240AC Wi-Fi 5 Access Point review.

(Image credit: Future)

5. TP-Link EAP660HD Wi-Fi 6 Access Point

A big office companion that brings a lot of value to the table

Specifications

Connectivity: 802.11ax

Features: PoE+, Integrated into Omada SDN, Seamless Roaming, 2.4 GHz and 5GHz support, Secure Guest Network

Dimensions: 245 x 245 x 63mm

Weight: 879g

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy

+

Low cost

+

Quad-core CPU

+

Cloud support

+

2.5Gb Ethernet port

Reasons to avoid

Big case

80MHz bandwidth

With the EAP660HD, TP-Link refreshes its small and home office product line with Wi-Fi 6 technology. The access point featuring remote management and high-gain antennas comes in an imposing plastic case. It feels solid and accommodates eight antennas for the two radio bands the EAP660HD serves. A quad-core Qualcomm CPU and a generous amount of memory guarantee good responsiveness. It supports up to 16 SSIDs and multiple concurrent connections streaming video content with very few packet drops.

But where the EAP660HD shines is with the software and tech support that TP-Link provides. First, it is very easy to access the AP remotely, even across the Internet, thanks to the Omada Cloud application. The AP software is regularly updated when potential vulnerabilities are found, and an easy-to-use mobile application is available both for Android and iPhone. Its main drawback is not using the Wi-Fi 6 to its full potential, as the EAP660HD uses an 80MHz bandwidth for the 5GHz band.

Read our full TP-Link EAP660HD Wi-Fi 6 Access Point review.

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

6. Zyxel WAX630S WiFi 6 Access Point

A capable business access point that can be managed for free over the cloud

Specifications

Connectivity: 802. 11ax

Features: Load balancing, 2.5GbE PoE, Nebula control center cloud management

Dimensions: 180 x 180 x 39mm

Weight: 765g

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy

+

Six streams

+

Vertical or horizontal mounting

+

2.5GbE LAN

Reasons to avoid

Overpriced

No PoE injector included

For a Zyxel access point, the WAX630S isn’t the most expensive it makes, but it’s also not the cheapest either.

The attractive features of this design include support for six simultaneous streams, with four over 5GHz and another two using 2.4GHz, a 2.5GbE PoE LAN connection, and a sophisticated internal antenna array.

When combined with special hardware filters, the antenna design reduces the interference from 5G/4G masts and other wireless transmitters. This unit has also been configured to work equally well if it is wall or ceiling-mounted, enabling more flexibility for deployment.

Part of the range of hardware that works with Zyxel’s cloud-based Nebula management tools, the WAX630S is a sophisticated access point built for city office installation and other challenging wireless environments.

Unfortunately, it’s priced accordingly and competes with similar or better specification hardware at a lower price point.

If it were to become cheaper, many IT professionals might find the WAX630S an attractive proposition.

Read our full Zyxel WAX630S review.

(Image credit: EnGenius)

7. EnGenius EWS850AP Outdoor Access Point

A mesh cable access point ideal for outdoor use

Specifications

Connectivity: 802.11ax

Features: IP67 rated, 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet PoE port, Uplink & Downlink MU-MIMO, OFDMA, 1GB RAM, WP3 support, detachable SMA-type antennas

Dimensions: 190 x 103.4 x 52.6mm

Weight: 698g

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy

+

PoE+ 2.5GbE

+

Built for purpose

+

8 SSIDs

Reasons to avoid

Included a 1Gbit PoE injector

Needs handmade Ethernet cables

Only 2×2 configuration

The EWS850AP is a mesh-enabled WAP from EnGenius that is ideal for businesses that operate outdoors, but it can also be used in your home if you want full wireless coverage in your backyard. As the device is powered over Ethernet, a 1Gbit PoE injector is included, so you don’t have to buy your own. As the EWS850AP is intended for outdoor use, EnGenius includes all the hardware needed to mount it directly on a wall or a metal pole. One downside, though is that it only has a 2×2 WiFi configuration which means that it only supports two channels on each frequency with its four antennas. Still, though, for a 2×2 WiFi 6 access point, the EWS850AP has excellent performance, and it can also connect via 2.5GbE, but you will need to purchase a separate PoE injector.

Read our full EnGenius EWS850AP Outdoor Access Point review.

(Image credit: Netgear)

8. Netgear Powerline 500 Wi-Fi Access Point

A powerline adapter that’s also a wireless access point

Specifications

Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n

Features: Compact design, Pick-A-Plug LED Indicator, Push-and-Secure button

Dimensions: 86 x 67 x 40mm

Weight: 85g

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy

+

Compact design

+

Easy setup

+

Good value

+

Network cables included

Reasons to avoid

No pass-through

Wireless network is unprotected by default

Slow speeds

The final device on our list is an outlier since it’s technically a powerline adapter. Still, the Powerline 500 Wi-Fi Access Point from Netgear can help extend your network by using the power lines in your home or business to carry the network further before turning it into a wireless signal. While the adapters included in this package are quite small, they can only deliver 100 Mbps per second over Ethernet and 300 Mbps via the access point.

Read our full Netgear Powerline 500 Wi-Fi Access Point review.


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A Wireless Access Point (WAP) can be an excellent solution if the Wi-Fi signal from your router isn’t covering the entirety of your home or office.

As is often the case, a router’s Wi-Fi signal may not cover your whole property, and you’ll have dead spots as you move farther away from your router. Fortunately, a WAP can address these by boosting a router’s signal further.

At the same time, this connectivity boost can allow you to connect more devices to your Wi-Fi network, which can be especially useful if you have a lot of smart home or connected devices in your house or office.

We’ve also highlighted the best wireless routers and the best small business routers

Round up of today’s best deals

NetGear WAX214 WiFi 6 PoE+ Access Point

$119.99

View

See all prices

Zyxel WAX610D WiFi 6 PoE Access Point

$179.99

View

See all prices

Cisco 240AC Wi-Fi 5 Access Point

$674.86

View

See all prices

EnGenius EWS850AP Outdoor Access Point

See all prices

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Cisco CBW150AX Access Point | TechRadar

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TechRadar Verdict

The CBW150AX exceeds expectations by being fast and straightforward. It is compact, affordable, and packed with pro features such as a firewall. If the range is insufficient, installing additional CBW151AX mesh adapters boosts both reach and data throughput.

Pros
  • +

    Low power

  • +

    Easy installation

  • +

    Low price

Cons
  • Frequent disconnect

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We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Cisco’s new CBW150AX Wi-Fi 6 wireless access point and CBW151AX mesh extender provide fast wireless connectivity on a shoestring. It is simple to deploy and works out of the box. A 1.5Gbps wireless throughput will be more than enough to fully utilize the built-in 1G Ethernet port, while a 2×2 radio offers enough gain to cover a 10-meter radius at over 100Mbps.

The CBW150AX can support up to 25 CBW151AX mesh extenders. Accessories provided with the Access Point include a 15W 1G PoE AC. The AP firmware has features such as VLANs and a basic firewall. Monitoring the AP and its connected clients is limited to the intranet with no cloud option, while the mobile app could benefit from some polishing, such as giving custom names to clients. 

Cisco CBW150AX: Pricing

The Cisco CBW150AX access point will take $125.58 off your budget, while the CBW151AX mesh extender will cost another $105.49. Both Cisco products come with a limited 3-year warranty. 

(Image credit: Future)

Cisco CBW150AX: Design

The Cisco CBW150AX access point ships in a generic brown box. It is small for a Wi-Fi 6 AP, measuring 15 cm x 15 cm x 4 cm and weighing 330 g. The white plastic enclosure blends perfectly on a white wall and can be mounted either horizontally or vertically. The accessories are a 15W 1G power injector and a mounting bracket with hardware. The access point is passively cooled, drawing a maximum of 9.2W over the PoE port.

The CBW150AX has one multi-colored LED on the front and a single 1G Ethernet port at the back. A reset button also accessible at the back with a pin allows restoring the device to its factory settings. A small rubber pad conceals a four-pin header that connects to a service port. A small slot prevents unauthorized removal of the AP when combined with a Kensington lock.

The access point sports a Broadcom quad-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz with 1GB of DDR4 and 512MB of flash memory. Four radios arranged as two transmitters and two receivers provide the hardware to utilize the 1.5Gbps Wi-Fi 6 bandwidth across multiple devices efficiently. Finally, an onboard Bluetooth Low Energy radio is included but unused.

The Cisco CBW151AX mesh adapter has similar hardware as the AP. The white plastic case measures 17cm x 9.2cm x 5.3cm and weighs 285g. It ships without any accessories and integrates an AC adapter. The total power drawn is under 9W, which is what the access point consumes. 

(Image credit: Future)

Cisco CBW150AX: In use

Powering the CBW150AX requires connecting the supplied PoE injector and Ethernet cable to an existing LAN. The access point is slow to boot and can take up to ten minutes on the first power-up. When ready, the front status LED goes green, and the setup continues on the mobile app or a web browser.

As with most access points, software setup requires registering a username and password before the actual configuration can begin. Cisco uses QR codes printed at the back to identify its products. After registration, the user can add network components by scanning the QR code with the mobile app. Clear on-screen instructions guide the user through the remaining steps.

Once added, the AP and mesh extender work without any hitch. It is recommended to update both devices’ firmware before using them. The welcome page provides a quick overview of connected clients, the most used SSIDs, and if guest accounts are in use.

The Wi-Fi 6 AX standard allows wireless clients to seamlessly switch between the primary unit and extender. In practice, a test smartphone favored the extender module more than the access point. A thorough investigation showed that Optimized Roaming is off by default, and enabling the feature solved the issue.

The range of the access point increases with the use of mesh extender modules. Radio channels reserved for the data backhaul differ from what clients will use, thus preserving client bandwidth without degrading throughput. The AP contains software to benchmark the wireless link, which can help troubleshoot and optimize the network.

(Image credit: Future)

Cisco CBW150AX: The competition

There are plenty of options when it comes to Wi-Fi 6 access points. The main differentiators are the mobile app and technical support, while the hardware is mostly the same at this price point.

For just under $100, the TP-link EAP610 is one of the cheapest Wi-Fi 6 access points available, and with an advertised throughput of 1800Mbps, it is a decent investment. But hidden beneath these excellent specifications are drawbacks that will make the EAP610 more expensive in the long run compared to the CBW150AX.

The EAP610 consumes about 5W more than the CBW150AX, which might seem negligible but will cost with the AP running 24/7. Lastly, the EAP610 requires additional hardware to support a mesh configuration in addition to the extender module.

Cisco CBW150AX: Final verdict

The Cisco CBW150AX Wi-Fi 6 access point is a fast and easy-to-use Wi-Fi. It comes with all bells and whistles that one can expect in a modern AP, such as additional range with mesh extenders, RF optimization, and mobile app support. With its 1GE port and PoE support, it will adequately find its place in a small office setup. The 1.5Gb throughput is lower than competitive products, but that should be sufficient for daily usage, including streaming media on multiple connected devices.

What we liked about the CBW150AX and its mesh extender, the CBW151A, were the simple setup procedure and the snappy web interface. The extender module can lead to lower throughput or regular disconnect without proper setup. The online documentation provided by Cisco is sufficient to resolve most issues.

We’ve listed the best wireless routers.

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2023 rating of wireless and wired models

Access points needed everywhere – at home, in the office in various public places. They are used for wireless Internet distribution using Wi-Fi.

These are not routers – they cannot distribute ip-addresses or the Internet from the provider, only connect to an existing network. But how to choose the right access point?

Page navigation:

What is a Wi-Fi hotspot?

First of all, you need to understand that the router and the access point are different technical units.

Be aware! The wireless access point is trying to connect to an existing network.

The access point receives the Internet from the router and distributes it via Wi-Fi .

Some models can distribute IP, create a separate network, and so on, but these functions are limited because they only work with Static IP, or DHCP.

It is also worth considering that the access point has one connector, therefore, the Internet is not transmitted over the cable.

What to look for when choosing an access point?

There are a number of features to consider when choosing an access point. The most significant of them are:

  1. Wi-Fi standard.
    Most often, one device supports different standards.
    Each of the standards supports different speeds and different frequencies, you need to look at each option separately.
  2. Version.
    Access points are indoor and outdoor.
    The latter are suitable for gazebos or other open areas outside the premises.
  3. Port speed.
    This criterion determines the Internet transmission speed.
  4. Number of Internet ports.
    This is an important criterion if it is necessary not only to build a network, but also to combine wired clients into a single network.
  5. Maximum number of devices connected to one point.
    If there is a large amount of equipment in the house, you need to clarify what the maximum number of connections is possible for a particular access point.

How to choose an access point?

When choosing, you must carefully read all the nuances of the device – advantages, disadvantages and features.

Wireless wi-fi models

0009

Wireless connectivity is incredibly convenient for multiple devices.

TOP 7 best wireless wi-fi access points in 2023 according to customer reviews and ratings.

MikroTik cAP ac

An efficient and powerful model that can be placed almost anywhere.

The device supports two frequencies – 2.4 and 5 GHz, as well as legacy versions, so the coverage will be one hundred percent.

Two ports allow you to expand your network with additional cables.

It is possible to reconfigure to run any RouterOS script.

Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11: b, a, g, n, ac;
  • RAM: 128 MB;
  • number of ports: 2;
  • Port speed: 1 Gbps;
  • linear dimensions: 145x30x145 mm.

Benefits

  • can be placed anywhere the cable can reach;
  • stylish design suitable for any interior;
  • increased power;
  • incredibly low price among competitors;
  • comes with two housings.

Disadvantages

  • connection may be difficult;
  • is more suitable for professional use;
  • fasteners are inconvenient to use.
ZYXEL NebulaFlex NWA1123-AC PRO

An easy-to-use device that provides a stable connection anywhere.

The device delivers industry-leading performance. The unique design can fit into any interior without unnecessary discomfort.

Optimization possible with antenna and radio modules.

Designed for maximum performance, which is supported by a dual-optimized antenna.

Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11: b, a, g, n, ac;
  • number of internal antennas: 6;
  • number of ports: 2;
  • Port speed: 1 Gbps;
  • linear dimensions: 204x35x192 mm.

Benefits

  • low power consumption;
  • powerful signal amplifiers available;
  • configurable via ZON – no need for a computer anymore;
  • good load balancing;
  • Creation of several networks and the ability to bind each to a VLAN subnet.

Disadvantages

  • setup takes a long time;
  • rather bulky design;
  • does not penetrate concrete pavement.
Ubiquiti airCube AC ​​

A worthy alternative to a powerful router for small offices or apartments with a small coverage area.

Good wireless coverage is provided by the built-in antenna system.

Support for two types of frequency increases the versatility of the device – it fits any standard.

The router actively supports Passive PoE 24V technology.

Application provided for control.

Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11: b, a, g, n, ac;
  • maximum possible speed: 867 Mbps;
  • number of ports: 3;
  • Port speed: 1 Gbps;
  • linear dimensions: 90x88x89 mm.

Benefits

  • smart design — no unnecessary light bulbs and elements that are unpleasant to the eye;
  • easy to set up;
  • it is possible to adjust the power;
  • new settings are regularly added to the firmware;
  • Intuitive app controls.

Disadvantages

  • PoE IN only works on LAN port;
  • Only PoE OUT works on the WAN port;
  • A large amount of dust adheres to the surface.
Ubiquiti NanoStation 5AC Loco

A model that allows you to work with a modern revision of Ubiquiti’s proprietary protocol called AirMax AC.

The access point has an impressive radio part that allows you to create stable connections at a distance of up to 7 kilometers.

Decent computing contributes to the creation of flexible wireless structures with high bandwidth.

Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11: b, a, g, n, ac;
  • maximum possible speed: 450 Mbps;
  • number of ports: 1;
  • Port speed: 1 Gbps;
  • linear dimensions: 78x179x59 mm.

Benefits

  • good call quality;
  • stable operation of the device;
  • advanced settings available;
  • relatively low price for this price segment;
  • the ability to work as a base station.

Disadvantages

  • no adapters included;
  • advanced professional installation – specific knowledge required;
  • inconvenient attachment.
Ubiquiti UniFi AC LR

Ideal for small spaces with limited coverage.

Built-in radio module with a maximum output power of 24 dBm and antennas with a gain of 3 dBi allows you to increase the range up to 180 meters.

This device can better receive signals from remote clients thanks to a modern antenna module.

Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11: b, a, g, n, ac;
  • maximum possible speed: 1300 Mbps;
  • number of ports: 1;
  • Port speed: 1 Gbps;
  • linear dimensions: 176x43x176 mm.

Benefits

  • intuitive installation;
  • impressive coverage;
  • design will fit perfectly into any interior;
  • PoE;
  • the ability to flexibly customize the insides.

Disadvantages

  • relatively high price compared to similar competitors;
  • lower transmit power than single band model;
  • PoE standard is peculiar.
MikroTik wsAP ac lite

Compact model suitable for large areas – hotel complexes, airports and so on.

There are three main ports – one for PoE charging and two LAN ports.

It is possible to provide full coverage on different frequencies at the same time.

There is a separate port for charging smartphones or for expanding memory.

A set of screws for opening the front cover can be ordered as an option.

Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11: b, a, g, n, ac;
  • RAM: 64 MB;
  • number of ports: 2;
  • Port speed: 100 Mbps;
  • linear dimensions: 112x30x126 mm.

Advantages

  • compact dimensions;
  • USB port available;
  • a large number of additional ports that increase ease of use;
  • possibility of installation in a cable channel instead of a socket;
  • Remote PoE option.

Disadvantages

  • A large amount of dust adheres to the surface;
  • Difficulties occur during connection;
  • is more suitable for professional use.
MikroTik SXTsq Lite2

An outdoor model that works in any weather.

An improved design of the antenna made it possible to reduce the size of the body, making it twice as thin.

It is equipped with several mounting slots located in different places, allowing you to attach the device anywhere.

Grounding provided as lightning protection.

Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11: b, a, g, n;
  • RAM: 64 MB;
  • number of ports: 1;
  • Port speed: 100 Mbps;
  • linear dimensions: 129x34x129 mm.

Benefits

  • Incredibly low cost compared to competitors;
  • compact;
  • stable operation of the device;
  • stable communication in any weather;
  • can be mounted on three different sides.

Disadvantages

  • only L3 license;
  • difficult to set up for use;
  • only works in bridge and client mode.

Models with the ability to connect to the Internet via cable rg-45

These devices have a more stable connection and better communication, but have mobility limitations due to the cable.

Ubiquiti UniFi AC Lite

Compact model with high data transfer rate and quality connection at a low price.

Transmits a signal without barriers over a distance of up to 122 meters.

Designed specifically for hanging from the ceiling or mounting anywhere.

The specifications of this model are sufficient to cover a standard home environment and provide a stable connection.

Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11: b, a, g, n, ac;
  • maximum possible connection speed: 1167 Mbps;
  • number of ports: 2;
  • Port speed: 1 Gbps;
  • linear dimensions: 160x32x160 mm.

Benefits

  • stable connection throughout the entire period of use;
  • high speed;
  • stylish design to match any interior;
  • impressive coverage;
  • support for two WiFi bands.

Disadvantages

  • relatively high cost compared to competitors;
  • it is not possible to turn off the LEDs according to the schedule;
  • can only be set via the controller.
Ubiquiti UniFi AC Mesh

A modern point suitable for outdoor use – can work in any weather.

Designed for maximum weather resistance.

Protective boxes are no longer needed – a sealed housing made of UV-resistant plastic protects the inside from any environmental influences.

The technical specifications are kept to the maximum.

Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11: b, a, g, n, ac;
  • maximum possible connection speed: 1167 Mbps;
  • number of ports: 2;
  • Port speed: 1 Gbps;
  • linear dimensions: 46x353x34 mm.

Benefits

  • compact;
  • good weather resistance;
  • high-quality design, suitable for any interior;
  • quality fastening;
  • SSH access with full rights.

Disadvantages

  • setup problems – many errors and incomprehensible moments;
  • Cloud key intermittently does not work right out of the box;
  • small transmission radius;
  • is a pretty mediocre speed.
MikroTik wAP ac (RBwAPG-5HacD2HnD)

All-weather dual band point supporting AC standard.

The device can operate in two bands at the same time, which makes it more versatile.

Has a completely waterproof housing, so the point can be installed in a garden or outdoor gazebo.

Two cabinet designs are available for those who choose their interior carefully.

Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11: b, a, g, n, ac;
  • maximum possible connection speed: 1167 Mbps;
  • number of ports: 2;
  • Port speed: 1 Gbps;
  • linear dimensions: 85x185x30 mm.

Benefits

  • environmentally protected housing;
  • stylish design suitable for every interior;
  • good baud rate;
  • support for two WiFi bands.
  • stable connection in any weather.

Disadvantages

  • difficult to set up for use;
  • Difficulties occur during connection;
  • is more suitable for professional use.
MikroTik wAP ac LTE kit

Incredibly economical model for the home.

Designed to withstand all weather conditions, the connection remains stable and secure in all conditions.

Includes a micro-SIM slot for easier use.

The 716 MHz processor and 128 MB of RAM provide reliable and confident performance despite the compact size of the device.

Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11: b, a, g, n, ac;
  • maximum possible connection speed: 867 Mbps;
  • number of ports: 2;
  • Port speed: 1 Gbps;
  • linear dimensions: 85x185x30 mm.

Advantages

  • decent connection speed;
  • weather resistant;
  • attractive price compared to competitors;
  • discreet design;
  • durability.

Disadvantages

  • complicated installation;
  • branded body surface;
  • very confusing usage settings.
ZYXEL NebulaFlex Pro WAC6503D-S

The best data transmission among all devices.

You can use the point in three different modes – standalone, controller-managed, and cloud-managed.

The antenna determines the optimal radiation pattern for each client.

Suitable for use with many devices.

Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11: b, a, g, n, ac;
  • maximum possible connection speed: 1750 Mbps;
  • number of ports: 2;
  • Port speed: 1 Gbps;
  • linear dimensions: 236x62x227 mm.

Benefits

  • Fairly easy to mount;
  • RADIUS custom authentication support;
  • app controllable;
  • analysis of the area before setting the point;
  • impressive throughput.

Drawbacks

  • complex setting;
  • high cost;
  • is more suitable for professional use.

Reviews

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Conclusions

Based on the above characteristics, advantages and disadvantages, the following conclusions can be drawn:

  1. Not all points access suitable for houses , some of them are for professional use.
  2. It is better to choose a point protected from the environment .
  3. It is worth paying special attention to the settings of – many access points are difficult to install for the layman.

Useful video

From this video you will learn what to look for when choosing a Wi-Fi access point:

for home

How to build a powerful Wi-Fi network – choosing the best access points

Wi-Fi access points (WAP or AP) are like extenders, with one significant difference: the AP connects to an existing network, namely to your router using network cable. And this changes everything!

Although access points may seem strange, they are the ideal solution for many modern wired homes, where the Internet terminal is located in a place inappropriate for a Wi-Fi broadcaster – in a closet, concrete basement or metal box.

In this post, I’ll briefly explain the idea behind the Wi-Fi hotspots, offer tips on choosing the best one for your network, and list the top five hotspots I’ve tested.

Wi-Fi hotspots – building a network with wired backhaul

Using a Wi-Fi hotspot means you are building a network using network cables. This is the traditional way, and also the only way to get the most out of your network. This is especially true for Multi-Gig.

But, what is an access point?

Access points in brief

An access point is a device that broadcasts Wi-Fi signals. This is the minimum requirement for an infrastructure Wi-Fi network.

In many ways, the access point is similar to the network switch , but instead of Ethernet ports, it includes radio bands that emit wireless data signals using one or more Wi-Fi standards so that clients can capture them.

The access point must have at least one network port to connect to an existing network. Some even have additional options for adding wired clients to the network. Many access points also support Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) technology, which avoids running electrical wires to the access point – the network cable also supplies power to the access point.

Thus, an access point is a necessary hardware component that allows your device to connect to the local network without wires .

Wi-Fi access points and routers : We often encounter Wi-Fi through routers or gateway provided by the ISP.

Wi-Fi router is a standard router with built-in Wi-Fi hotspots. You get multiple features in one piece of hardware.

Therefore, most Wi-Fi routers can also work as standalone access points. Conversely, you can disable their Wi-Fi to make them wired routers.

This post discusses standalone hotspots that can be used to add Wi-Fi to an existing network. This brings us to the first question: when do hotspots make sense?

When to use hotspots

You should only consider using hotspots when your home is connected to a wired network. Or let me put it this way: It never hurts to have a wired in your house so you can use hotspots.

All networks require a router. To use hotspots, you need a router without Wi-Fi – if necessary, you can turn off the Wi-Fi function on most routers.

After that, access points are applicable when:

  • you have a router without Wi-Fi and want to add Wi-Fi . You can always turn off the Wi-Fi feature to have a router without Wi-Fi, if applicable.
  • you have a router with legacy Wi-Fi 9 standards0004 . In this case, you can use the hotspot to update the Wi-Fi network.
  • you want to extend the coverage of Wi-Fi via a network cable to a remote part of the site.
  • you want to build a reliable, enterprise-class Wi-Fi mesh system .

No matter the scenario, access points provide the flexibility of Wi-Fi availability. As a rule, you place it in a place where Wi-Fi is needed.

Choosing the best Wi-Fi hotspots: Generally, all business hotspots are wall/ceiling mounted. However, only a few of them are designed for outdoor use.

And that brings us to the second question: How do I choose the right access point for my needs?

Access Point Selection Tips

Place the access points in the same way as the elements of a mesh system with a wired service network. In such a mesh system, each satellite unit is, in fact, an access point.

There are a few things to consider depending on what kind of coverage you need.

Number of access points

In most homes, you will only need one access point. And it’s easy: choose one of the Wi-Fi classes and features you’d like to have.

Typically, a standalone hotspot requires you to manage it individually, and it’s not that hard with a single device – you only have one Wi-Fi network anyway. In this case, you usually need an access point that can be managed locally (instead of a vendor-supported web portal and a required login account).

On the other hand, if you need multiple devices to cover a large area, it’s best to get those that can work together – essentially a Wi-Fi system – so you have a single Wi-Fi network .

This is because managing multiple individual access points can be a problem. Not to mention that many of them, especially from different vendors, don’t work well together.

Thus, when multiple access points are needed, it is best to obtain access points that belong to a managed ecosystem such as Omada from TP-Link or Insight Managed from Netgear . By the way, this is how an enterprise-class Wi-Fi network is built.

Managed APs from most vendors also have a local web portal so you can manage them individually, again applicable when you only need one device.

Power-over-Ethernet standards

The second thing to look for when getting access points is Power-over-Ethernet . As detailed in this PoE post, this feature allows you to use a network cable for both data transfer and power for a supported access point.

Typical PoE Wi-Fi hotspot installation, note router (black), PoE injector (center), and Wi-Fi hotspot outdoors – in the middle of a large yard – or in the attic.

In this case, you may also need a PoE switch or a separate PoE injector. Make sure they are compliant with the same PoE standard (PoE, PoE+, or PoE++).

All business access points support PoE, but most home access points, which usually also function as “stretchers”, do not and require a separate power adapter.

Optional: Access Points vs. Expanders vs. Mesh Systems

The mesh system consists of multiple broadcast stations that work together and can be controlled from a single location, such as a mobile app or router web user interface.

In a mesh network with a wireless service network, each satellite unit in the system is essentially a centrally controlled Wi-Fi extender.

In a mesh network with a wired service network, each satellite unit of the system is essentially a centrally managed access point.

But using multiple individually controlled extenders or access points on a network does not give you a Wi-Fi system and is not ideal in terms of management . Also, you won’t have a smooth handoff and you’ll have to deal with the inevitable performance degradation in the case of extenders.

If you’re in a hurry, below are the top five hotspots I’ve reviewed.

6 access points for all use cases

These access points are not sorted in any particular order. Numbers are just numbers, not ratings.

I’ll explain each one and when you should use it. One may be more applicable to a particular situation than others. And by that I mean a home or a small office.

  1. Ubiquiti U6 Enterprise is a great upgrade to Wi-Fi 6E

    Aside from a minor heating issue and no built-in web UI, the Ubiquiti U6 Enterprise is a great Wi-Fi 6E hotspot. Whether you need to upgrade your Wi-Fi network to 6E or expand your coverage, this is a great buy whether you’ll be using it at home or at the office.

    What we liked :

    • Top-tier WiFi 6E support, excellent performance; part of a robust UniFi family with many features when placed on a
    • controller

    • 2.5Gbps PoE network port
    • Easy setup and control via the helpful UniFi mobile app, lots of features

    Disappointing :

    • PoE injector not included; no power adapter option
    • No local management or web user interface; The UniFi app requires vendor login; limited features and settings as standalone hotspot
    • Heats up

    U6 Enterprise is the first UniFi access point with Wi-Fi 6E, competing with the Netgear WAX630E below. As with TP-Link Omada, UniFi is a family of equipment that can be controlled by a central controller.

    In the case of a UniFi controller, there can also be a router such as a UDR, and the system can do much more than just place Wi-Fi hotspots. But there’s also the option to turn any computer into a controller using the desktop app.

    As a standalone hotspot, the U6 Enterprise (like any other UniFi hotspot) is easy to set up and provides exactly what you need at home in Wi-Fi coverage. It can also work with any existing router.

    If you want to use Ubiquiti to the fullest – if you already have a Multi-Gig UniFi controller – this access point is a must for creating a reliable enterprise-grade Wi-Fi 6E network.

  2. TP-Link EAP670 – great access point for home or business

    The

    TP-Link EAP670 is similar to its big brother EAP660 HD because it has an almost identical body and doesn’t differ much in features. TP-Link has slightly extended the 5 GHz radio band on the EAP670 and also added support for 160 MHz channel bandwidth.

    What we liked :

    • Great performance and Wi-Fi 6 coverage
    • Lots of settings and features, including Wi-Fi enabled portals and mesh function
    • Power adapter included
    • Easy to mount with included accessories

    What disappointed us :

    • The EAP670 is bulky and the EAP610 does not have a multi-gigabit port; both options may be more convenient for home users
    • Controller required for network related functions
    • No Smart Connect; PoE injector not included

    The EAP670 is one of the latest access points in TP-Link’s Omada family. This is one of my favorites due to its great value, performance and feature combination.

    Each Omada AP can be managed locally as a single device, or you can get multiple devices – the same model or combined – to create a secure mesh system with a controller.

    As a system, Omda offers both on-premises management and a cloud-based portal without incurring additional costs in either case.

    So as a standalone access point, the EAP670 is a safe, high-end choice, but you can choose any Omada access point, including the entry-level EAP610, that suits your needs and budget.

  3. Netgear WAX630E Giant Wi-Fi 6E Hotspot

    One of the first Wi-Fi 6E hotspots, the

    WAX630E is the perfect device to buy if you need a single access point that provides all the Wi-Fi capabilities.

    What we like :

    • Wi-Fi 6E support, reliable performance with excellent coverage
    • 2.5 Gbps PoE network port, optional Gigabit port
    • Great local web interface, lots of Wi-Fi settings and lots of hotspot related features

    What disappointed us :

    • Bulky design, no power adapter or PoE injector included
    • Sustained throughput could be better
    • No support for multiple devices via local management, no free cloud management tier

    As part of the Netgear Insight Managed family of devices, the WAX630E can work with other devices as well as multiple devices, providing a reliable network system. However, in this case you have to pay a subscription fee per unit – there are no free options.

    For this reason, from a financial standpoint, for a home or small office, you should only consider the WAX630E or any Netgear Business Access Point when you only need one device.

  4. EnGenius EWS850AP is a great outdoor access point

    The

    EWS850AP is another high quality 802.11AX mesh access point from EnGenius using Power-Over-Ethernet technology. While the PoE injector isn’t perfect and the Wi-Fi 6 specs are modest, it’s still great equipment.

    What we liked :

    • Reliable performance, great coverage
    • Full web interface, responsive and comprehensive
    • Includes all parts and accessories for the job right out of the box
    • Weather protection
    • Convenient mobile app
    • 2.5Gbps PoE network port
    • WPA3

    What disappointed us :

    • No support for 160 MHz channel width
    • Unable to log in to the web portal for guest Wi-Fi
    • Bulky, no separate power port
    • Only one Ethernet port
    • Since the maximum theoretical data transfer rate is 1201 Mbps in the 5 GHz band, the 2. 5 Gbps port is a nice, but not required addition

    The

    EnGenius obviously listens to feedback and customers and has added many important components to make this device work right out of the box, such as the PoE injector.

    While we can’t completely forgive them for combining a 1Gb PoE injector with a 2.5GbE access point, it’s still an improvement over some other products that came with without the injector at all.

    We even found out why the injector was not what we expected. The EPA5006GR has a special feature that allows you to send a reset signal to an access point. Due to waterproofing, there is no reset button on the unit, so this is a must if you ever want to return the router to factory settings (like forgot the password).

    The documentation states that only the EPA5006GR should be used to power the device, so until EnGenius offers a resettable 2.5GbE version, this product cannot be used in network mode at maximum performance.

    In addition, the EnGenius EWS850AP is a relatively easy-to-deploy and manage solution that delivers good performance with excellent range.

    The

    However, given its price, it has a modest channel selection, and the lack of a 160Hz return channel is a little discouraging. With four antennas, we expected reception on all four, not just two.

    Using Wi-Fi 6 technology, which limits the total bandwidth to 1750 Mbps, and reduces this value to 1157 Mbps on WiFi 5 and 4 networks.

    How much of a problem this is for the customer will depend on how many external connections they expect to support at the same time, and how much bandwidth each user needs.

    If those who connect are just browsing and collecting email, then this is acceptable with 20 or more users, but once they start streaming 4K video, this number may drop to less than 10.

    Keep in mind that if they are all pulling data from the Internet, the bottleneck is likely to be the broadband connection, not the EWS850AP.

  5. TRENDnet TEW-921DAP No-frills Compact PoE Access Point

    The

    TRENDnet TEW-921DAP is a no-frills entry-level access point that you can safely use at home – only if you need a separate module as it has no network connectivity.

    What we liked :

    • Robust Wi-Fi with up to 16 separate SSIDs and built-in portal support
    • Compact design, easily accessible web user interface
    • No login account required, multiple Wi-Fi settings, responsive web user interface
    • Wall/ceiling mounting accessories included

    What disappointed us :

    • Relatively expensive
    • No 160MHz bandwidth or multi-gigabit port, modest Wi-Fi specs and performance
    • No performance related Wi-Fi settings, no power adapter or PoE injector included

    TRENDnet TEW-921DAP AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 PoE Dual Band Access Point is not the most expensive among peers, but not as affordable as the similar WAX214. But it has more to offer.

    If you’re looking for an entry-level Wi-Fi 6 single hotspot, Netgear is your best bet. However, if you want to be able to expand your network or have more flexibility in choosing Wi-Fi options and settings, TRENDnet is the best choice.

    In any case, this access point is only suitable for those with a wired output and a sub-gigabit broadband connection. For higher performing APs, check out other higher end options.

  6. Asus RP-AX56 Non-PoE Consumer Access Point

    The Asus RP-AX56 AX1800 Dual Band Wi-Fi 6 Repeater

    is a safe buy for anyone with a wired or home who wants to expand their Asus AiMesh enabled wireless network to provide a modest broadband connection.

    What we liked :

    • Affordable prices
    • Reliable and relatively fast Wi-Fi with good coverage
    • Can act as an access point, media bridge, extender or AiMesh node (via wireless or wired transmission)
    • User-friendly design, great web interface

    What disappointed us :

    • No 160 MHz bandwidth, modest performance
    • The initial firmware is a little buggy (at startup)
    • Bulky

    I have made it clear for years that is not a fan of Wi-Fi 9 repeaters0767, especially the dual band ones. But, the RP-AX56 is much more than just a range extender.

    It works much better as an AiMesh node, especially if you can use it through a wired backhaul. Or, if you don’t have an AiMesh-enabled router, you can use it as a wireless access point (WAP).

    If you are an Asus AiMesh fan, this is the cheapest way to effectively expand your network. And if you’ve connected your home, this modest piece of equipment will also provide Wi-Fi speeds that I’d call excellent considering how little you pay for it.

    As a standalone Asus RP-AX56 expander will work, but it’s better to lower your expectations a lot.

Closing Thoughts

Individual Wi-Fi hotspots are a great way to build a Wi-Fi network because they all use network cables. When properly deployed, they can work together as a reliable mesh system .

You need a router before you can take advantage of hotspots. It defines all the functions of your network – access points usually handle only part of the Wi-Fi.