Hotspots devices: Buy Portable WiFi Hotspots, IoT & Connected Devices

Mobile Hotspot & Cellular Data Devices

Mobile hotspot devices (aka. MiFi, Jetpack) are consumer level devices that take a cellular signal and convert it to Wi-Fi or Ethernet for getting your devices online. They tend to be carrier specific and battery powered. Similar devices in this category also include Connected Car, USB modems and other single cellular devices that are outliers.

For more advanced options, also consider cellular embedded routers, which can be found in our Mobile Routers Gear Center. 

Guide: Selecting Mobile Hotspots Guide Guide: Smartphones, Hotspots or Routers?

InvisaGig Cellular Adapter

The InvisaGig is a cellular adapter that provides a 5G cellular data connection to almost any Ethernet device.

Released: May 2023



Netgear Nighthawk M6 & M6 Pro 5G Hotspot – AT&T, Dish, Unlocked

The Netgear Nighthawk M6 and M6 Pro are AT&T’s flagship 5G mobile hotspot devices featuring antenna ports, Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6/6E. Unlocked, multi-carrier versions are also available. A variation of the M6 Pro is also the flagship for the Dish Genesis network.

Released: April 2022


Featured, Hands on Reviews, Top Pick

Peplink MAX Adapter

The Peplink MAX Adapter includes a cellular modem & antennas ports for USB tethering to compatible routers and computers.

Released: May 2021


Orbic Speed 5G UW – Verizon

The Orbic Speed 5G UW is a former flagship Verizon 5G mobile hotspot device.

Released: March 2022


Hands on Reviews

GlocalMe Devices & Plans

GlocalMe offers global mobile hotspot devices that can utilize virtual-SIM U.S. or global data plans provided by GlocalMe or that can be used with personal SIMs.

Released: July 2018


Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G Mobile Hotspot – Verizon, T-Mobile

The Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G M3000 series are 5G mobile hotspot devices for Verizon and T-Mobile featuring Ethernet, and Wi-Fi 6.

Released: August 2022


Featured, Hands on Reviews, Top Pick

TCL Linkzone 5G UW Mobile Hotspot – Verizon

A flagship 5G mobile hotspot from TCL for the Verizon network that uses the X62 cellular modem and comes with an Ethernet port.

Released: November 2022


Featured, Hands on Reviews

Inseego MiFi 5G M2000 – T-Mobile

T-Mobile’s first flagship-level mobile hotspot has Sub6 5G, robust 4G/LTE fallback, but lacks support for mmWave 5G.

Released: December 2020


Hands on Reviews

Multi-Carrier Cloud-Based Virtual SIM Plans

These resellers offer plans with coverage on more than one carrier, with the ability to automatically switch using a vSIM (virtual SIM) device. Vendors include TravlFi, Solis, HomeFi, OTR Mobile and more.

Released: May 2021

Featured, Hands on Reviews

Quanta 5G Hotspot – T-Mobile

A 5G mobile hotspot from T-Mobile made by Quanta.

Released: June 2022


Featured, Hands on Reviews

Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 – AT&T

LTE flagship mobile hotspot device for AT&T’s network with Cat 16 modem, 4×4 MIMO, and an ethernet port. Also available carrier unlocked.

Released: October 2017


Featured, Hands on Reviews, Top Pick

Inseego MiFi M2100 5G Ultra Wideband – Verizon

Verizon’s 5G hotspot that lacks support for their mid-band 5G spectrum, so we don’t consider it relevant any longer even though its still offered. It also lacks antenna ports.

Released: September 2020


Hands on Reviews

Solis Data Plans & Devices

Globally and US capable mobile hotspot with a virtual-SIM that allows you to purchase day, monthly and by the GB data plans.

Released: July 2016


Hands on Reviews

8 Best Mobile Wifi Hotspots For Remote Work & Travel (2023)

Isn’t hunting for WiFi, like searching for a hidden treasure, just the worst? We totally get it!

That’s why we’ve whipped up our top 8 picks for the best mobile hotspots for remote work (also known as portable WiFi devices), packed with their key features, pricing, and pros and cons.

So that you can stay online, whether you’re sipping coconut water by the beach or tapping away at your keyboard in a bustling city café.

Ready to explore the magical world of on-the-go connectivity? Let’s make your remote working life an absolute breeze.

Best Mobile WiFi Hotspots For Remote Work & Travel

1. Simo Solis Lite – The Globe-Trotter’s Companion
2. Netgear Nighthawk M1 – Powerhouse for Remote Teams
3. TP-Link M7350 – The Budget-Conscious Nomad’s Choice
4. Nighthawk M6 Pro 5G Wi-Fi 6E – The Cutting-Edge Device for the Tech-Savvy Digital Nomad
5. Sapphire 3 by TravelWiFi – The Digital Nomad’s Sleek Powerhouse
6. GlocalMe G4 Pro – No SIM Card, No Problem
7. Inseego MiFi M2000 Hotspot – The 5G Speedster
8. Keepgo – The Pay-As-You-Go Option

What is A Mobile WiFi Hotspot?

A mobile hotspot, also known as a portable hotspot, is a versatile and convenient device that lets you access the internet on the go.

Unlike traditional Wi-Fi hotspots fixed to a specific location, a mobile hotspot allows you to create a Wi-Fi network using your smartphone’s data connection, enabling devices like laptops, tablets, and other smartphones to connect to the internet wherever you are.

It is like having your very own pocket-sized Wi-Fi buddy that you can take anywhere. And it’s a lifesaver for digital nomads, remote workers, travelers, or just about anyone who needs to stay connected while out and about.

The 3 Types of Mobile WiFi Hotspots For Remote Work and International Travel

Before we get started, let’s quickly go over the three types of portable WiFi devices you might encounter as a digital nomad and remote worker:

Mobile Wifi Hotspots

These pocket-sized gadgets automatically connect you to a cellular network and create a WiFi network for your devices. They’re handy, easy to use, and often work with multiple cell phone carriers.

Portable WiFi Routers

Like mobile hotspots, portable WiFi routers offer extra perks like Ethernet ports and external antenna support. However, keep in mind they might need a separate USB port, modem, or SIM card.

USB Modems

These little devices plug directly into your laptop or computer, giving you a personal internet connection. But unfortunately, they’re usually tied to wifi connection from a specific carrier and require a separate data plan.

The 8 Best Portable WiFi Hotspots For Remote Work and International Travel


Simo Solis Lite: The Globe-Trotter’s Companion

The Simo Solis Lite is a compact device with an eye-catching bright orange cover. It’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and light enough to carry around in your pocket or bag. With its 4G LTE connectivity, built-in power bank, remote camera, and intelligent assistant, the Solis Lite is an all-in-one solution for digital nomads on the go. In addition, the device allows you to purchase daily or monthly WiFi packages, which work in over 135 countries. The Solis Lite is not particularly cheap, but its versatility and features make it a popular choice for many digital nomads and remote workers.

Key features:
  • Coverage in over 135+ countries
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • Built-in 4700 mAh Power Bank
  • Remote camera and smart assistant
Pros and cons:
Pros Cons
No need for a SIM card Data cap might slow you down if you’re a heavy user
Doubles as a power bank
Cool extras like a remote camera and smart assistant
Price: $139.99

Buy Simo Solis Lite

2. Netgear Nighthawk M1: Powerhouse for Remote Teams

The Netgear Nighthawk M1 is a sleek, modern-looking device with a robust build. It’s larger than other options on our list, but its impressive 4G LTE connectivity, long-lasting battery life, and Ethernet port make it well worth the extra size. With the ability to connect up to 20 devices, the Nighthawk M1 is perfect for remote teams working in diverse locations. Although it has a higher upfront cost and limited carrier compatibility, the Nighthawk M1’s powerful performance makes it a top contender for digital nomads who demand the best.

Key features:
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • Connect up to 20 devices
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Ethernet port for wired connections
Pros and cons:
Pros Cons
Super-fast internet It supports lots of devices
It might not work with all carriers Higher upfront cost
Durable design
Price: $306.


Buy Netgear Nighthawk M1

3. TP-Link M7350: The Budget-Conscious Nomad’s Choice

The TP-Link M7350 is a simple yet functional device with a compact design that’s easy to carry around. The black exterior and small TFT screen give it a minimalist look, while the 4G LTE connectivity and support for up to 8 devices make it a solid choice for budget-conscious nomads. Unfortunately, it’s not the fastest device on our list. Still, its affordability and straightforward setup make it an attractive option for those looking for a reliable portable WiFi hotspot without breaking the bank.

Key features:
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • Connect up to 10 devices
  • 2550mAh battery for up to 10 hours of working
  • TFT screen for easy management
Pros and cons:
Pros Cons
Wallet-friendly Internet speeds might not be the fastest compared to other devices on our list
It supports a decent number of devices connected Battery life could be better
Simple setup and management
Price: $85.


Buy TP-Link M7350

4. Nighthawk M6 Pro 5G Wi-Fi 6E Mobile Hotspot: Cutting-Edge Device for the Tech-Savvy Digital Nomad

The Nighthawk M6 Pro 5G Wi-Fi 6E Mobile Hotspot is a cutting-edge device with a sleek black exterior and a user-friendly touchscreen. This powerful device offers ultra-fast internet speeds and the latest WiFi technology, making it an excellent choice for digital nomads who need a high-performance portable WiFi solution. With support for up to 32 devices and impressive battery life, the Nighthawk M6 Pro portable WiFi mobile hotspot is perfect for those who demand the best connectivity. However, it comes with carrier compatibility limitations and a higher upfront cost.

Key features:
  • 5G connectivity
  • WiFi 6E technology
  • Connect up to 32 devices
  • 5200 mAh battery
Pros and cons:
Pros Cons
Ultra-fast internet speed Carrier compatibility limitations
Latest WiFi technology Higher upfront cost
Impressive battery life
Price: $853.


Buy Nighthawk M6 Pro

5. Sapphire 3 by TravelWiFi: The Digital Nomad’s Sleek Powerhouse

The Sapphire 3 portable hotspot sports a slim, lightweight design, perfect for travelers, digital nomads, and remote workers always on the move. Its minimalist exterior houses an array of features, making it a top choice for those seeking a reliable, hassle-free WiFi hotspot. With coverage in over 130 countries and the ability to connect up to 10 devices, this portable hotspot is a dream come true for remote workers and travelers alike.

Key features:
  • Coverage in over 130 countries
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • Connect up to 10 devices
  • 4GB of free global data
  • 12-hour battery life
  • Optional SIM card slot
Pros and cons:
Pros Cons
Ultra-slim and lightweight design, perfect for travel Actual connection speed might vary depending on location and network conditions
Flexible data options to suit different usage habits You may need to purchase additional data for heavy users
Reliable and stable connection for uninterrupted work
Price: $149.


Buy Sapphire 3

6. GlocalMe G4 Pro: No SIM Card, No Problem

The GlocalMe G4 Pro is a sleek, futuristic device with a shiny black exterior and a high-resolution touchscreen. It’s slim and lightweight, making it an ideal travel companion. Thanks to its integrated Cloud SIM technology, the G4 Pro offers 4G LTE connectivity in over 140 countries without needing a local SIM or card. With the ability to connect up to 10 devices and a built-in power bank, the G4 Pro is perfect for digital nomads prioritizing convenience and versatility in their portable WiFi devices.

Key features:
  • Coverage in over 140 countries
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • Supports up to 10 devices
  • Data by gb, day, or year, pay as you go.
  • Built-in power bank
  • No contract, no fees
Pros and cons:
Pros Cons
No SIM card needed Daily hotspot data caps may limit speeds for heavy users
Doubles as a power bank
Sleek design
Price: $169.


Buy TP-Link M7350

7. Inseego MiFi M2000 Hotspot: The 5G Speedster

The Inseego MiFi M2000 Hotspot is a futuristic-looking device with a glossy black exterior and a high-resolution touchscreen display. Its slim design and lightweight build make it easy to carry around during your nomad travels. An Inseego 5g MiFi m2000 addition, the device stands out with its blazing-fast 5G connectivity, support for up to 30 devices, and long battery life. Although it may have limited carrier compatibility and a higher upfront cost, the Inseego MiFi M2000 Hotspot is a top choice for digital nomads prioritizing speed and performance in their portable WiFi devices.

Key features:
  • 5G connectivity
  • WiFi 6 technology (connect up to 30 devices)
  • 5040 mAh battery
  • Touchscreen display for device management
Pros and cons:
Pros Cons
Blazing-fast 5G internet Limited to specific carrier compatibility
Supports a large number of devices Higher upfront cost
Long battery life
Price: $109.


Buy Inseego MiFi M2000

8. Keepgo: The Pay-As-You-Go Option

Keepgo is a pocket-sized device with a clean and minimalistic design, featuring a smooth white exterior and a small LED display. It’s straightforward to set up and use, making it an excellent option for digital nomads who prefer a pay-as-you-go plan. The device offers 4G LTE connectivity in over 100 countries and supports up to 15 devices. Although the data speed may be limited after reaching the daily cap, the convenience of having a data plan with no expiration date makes Keepgo an attractive choice for digital nomads who value flexibility.

Key features:
  • Coverage in over 100 countries
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • Connect up to 5 devices
  • Pay-as-you-go data plans
Pros and cons:
Pros Cons
Easy setup and use Data speed is limited after reaching the daily limit
Data plans with no expiration date It might be costly for heavy data users
Compact and portable
Price: $129.


Buy KeepGo

How To Pick The Best Mobile Hotspot for Digital Nomads and Remote Workers

So, now you have a pretty good idea of the best mobile hotspots for working remotely out there. But before you commit to a portable WiFi hotspot device, you should consider a few factors to ensure you’re making the best choice for your needs. Let’s see which ones.

Data Plans and Cost

So, you’re comparing WiFi devices, huh? First, take a good look at their data plans, and weigh up the cost, any limitations, and how flexible they are. You’ll find some offer pay-as-you-go, while others want you to commit to a monthly subscription or even a contract. To get the best bang for your buck, think about your usage habits and find a plan that fits like a glove without emptying your wallet. Plus, check if the device lets you switch plans easily, just in case your data needs to change from month to month.

Coverage and Compatibility

Secondly, you should ensure it buddies with your favorite carriers and can tag along to the countries on your travel list. Different gadgets support various networks and frequencies, so do some detective work on coverage areas to ensure you stay connected no matter where you roam. And if you’re a real globe-trotter, go for a device that plays well with multiple regions.

Battery Life

As a digital nomad, you also need a WiFi device with a battery that won’t quit. Look for one with enough juice to keep you connected during your epic adventures without constantly hunting for a power outlet. If you can find a replaceable or external battery device, even better! But remember, battery life can vary depending on things like signal strength and how many devices are connected.

You may also be interested in:

Best Travel Laptops For Digital Nomads in 2023

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Speed and Connectivity

We know that fast and reliable internet is like the Holy Grail for digital nomads. So, when checking out portable WiFi devices, pay attention to their max speeds and how many devices they can handle at once. If you’re part of a team or have a bunch of gadgets to connect, make sure the device can cope without turning into a digital snail. Just keep in mind that actual speeds can change depending on network traffic and coverage where you’re at.

Security Features

You’ve gotta keep your connection safe and secure while working remotely. So, pick a portable WiFi device that’s got your back with solid security features like password protection, VPN compatibility, and automatic updates. With these defenses, you can work and travel with peace of mind, knowing you’re protected from cyber baddies.

Size and Portability

Last but not least, size matters when you’re a digital nomad, and packing light is absolutely necessary. Go for a compact, lightweight WiFi device that’s easy to slip into your bag or pocket without weighing you down. Find a tough yet user-friendly design to enjoy stress-free connectivity wherever you travel.

Alternatives to Portable Mobile Hotspots for Remote Workers and International Travelevers

While a mobile hotspot can be a great solution, other options are available. Below are some alternative connectivity options to consider.

International SIM Cards

An international SIM card can be used in multiple countries, preventing you from buying a new SIM card when you cross a border. In addition to international roaming plans, many companies offer affordable data plans that can be activated for a certain amount of time or data usage. This option can be helpful for digital nomads who stay in one location for an extended period or prefer to use their cell phones only as a hotspot. Some companies that offer internal SIM cards are OneSimCard, TravelSim or GigSky.


If you don’t want the hassle of changing SIM cards every time you switch networks or travel to another country, then eSIMs couple be a great alternative. With an eSIM, you can easily activate a new plan through your phone data settings without the hassle of visiting a local store or waiting in line at the airport to buy physical SIM cards. eSIMs can be a game-changer for digital nomads who value convenience and flexibility. Nowadays, many great providers offer reliable eSIMs worldwide, such as Airalo.

Local Prepaid Data Plans

Another option is to purchase a local sim card or prepaid data plan in the country you’re visiting. This option can be more affordable than using an international SIM card or a portable WiFi hotspot device, and you can take advantage of local discounts or promotions. However, this option can be more time-consuming and require research to find the best plan for your needs.

CoWorking Spaces and Cafes with WiFi

If you’re looking for a temporary solution, you can always rely on co-working spaces or cafes with WiFi. Many cafes offer free WiFi, and co-working spaces offer a dedicated workspace with fast internet speeds. These options can be ideal for digital nomads who only need to work a few hours or want a change of scenery. However, keep in mind that not all cafes or co-working spaces offer reliable internet access, so it’s best to research beforehand.

So, What’s The Best Mobile Hotspot For Remote Work and International Travel?

Alright, let’s cut to the chase! Which mobile hotspot should digital nomads and remote workers pick?

After checking out tons of hotspots, we’ve realized there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for every digital nomad. Each gadget has unique perks and quirks, catering to various needs and wallets.

If you’re a globetrotter who wants it all, Simo Solis Lite has got your back with its excellent features. For remote teams needing a powerful connection, look no further than the Netgear Nighthawk M1, which can connect up to 20 devices.
If you’re watching your budget, the TP-Link M7350 has you covered, while the GlocalMe G4 Pro is perfect for those who love the convenience and want to avoid bothering with SIM cards.

The sleek Sapphire 3 by TravelWiFi keeps things simple and hassle-free, while the pay-as-you-go Keepgo hotspot is perfect for flexibility. For speed demons, both the Inseego MiFi M2000 and Nighthawk M6 Pro 5G Wi-Fi 6E are top choices, thanks to their next-level tech.

So, what’s the bottom line? The best mobile hotspot for digital nomads comes down to your preferences, travel plans, and connectivity needs. Weigh the pros and cons of each device, and you’ll find the perfect sidekick for your nomadic adventures!

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We’ve rounded up the best hotspots for the ultimate shopping experience. All-weather, internal, external, powerful, subscriber and other types.

Access points – equipment that is ubiquitous today. Most often, this name means exactly wireless equipment that retransmits data received via cable and distributes them to subscribers.
In turn, wireless access points are divided into several different classes. They include models designed for the following tasks:

  • • Creation of indoor WiFi hotspot.
  • • Creation of a WiFi hotspot on the street.
  • • Deployment of carrier ptp networks.
  • • Deploying PTP links (bridge).

Each class has a specific form factor.

Outdoor Access Points

Outdoor Access Points are assembled in weatherproof, rugged housings that provide tightness and reliable protection against a wide range of adverse environmental factors. The materials of manufacture of such devices usually include metal, as well as all-weather, impact-resistant ABS plastic (or other impact-resistant types)

The electronics of the external models have a number of differences. They use high quality electronic components that can operate over a wide temperature range without failure.

Antennas for such devices can be either integrated inside the housing or external. Outdoor options for signal emitters at access points of this class will be preferable, since they make it possible to change the radio characteristics of the set, increasing the range by increasing the gain when using directional antennas, or increasing the coverage area when using omnidirectional antennas with a circular radiation pattern.

Outdoor models can be of three types and are intended for:

  • • Deployment of a custom WiFi network

Outdoor WiFi hotspot models are usually quite compact and small in size, although some have the option of using external antennas. A typical example is UniFi Mech

  • • Carrier wireless network deployments

Models of this type are usually more massive, have a powerful radio part and almost always require the use of external antennas, the type of which can vary greatly. Often, these access points work with proprietary data transfer protocols such as Ubiquiti AirMax. A typical example is the Ubiquiti Rocket.

  • • PTP Link Deployments

Such models in the vast majority of cases have a parabolic antenna, and, accordingly, rather large dimensions dictated by the use of a “dish”. Models are characterized by a narrow radiation pattern, and require precise alignment of the connection. However, compact devices with an integrated panel antenna can be used for short distances. The data transfer protocol can be both proprietary developments (Ubiquiti AirMax) and WiFi. Typical examples are PowerBeam; NanoBeam.

  • • Deployment of carrier communication channels

These devices are in many ways similar to access points for PTP links, but they are heavier, faster, and the vast majority do not use WiFi. Some models have the ability to work using frequency duplex, and have separate antennas for receiving and transmitting data. A typical example is Ubiquiti AirFiber.

Internal access points

These models are designed to distribute the Internet to subscribers and work with mobile gadgets, computers, laptops. At the same time, the devices have both a different design, with mounting to the ceiling, walls, or the possibility of desktop placement, as well as significant differences in the technical characteristics of the radio part, which are:

  • • Supported WiFi versions (802.11 n\ac\ax-6).
  • • Radio powers.
  • • Frequency bands.
  • • Number of radios.
  • • MIMO antenna scheme.

Typical representatives of this type are UniFi WiFi access points. An important feature of operator access points is the ability to combine them into a cheap replica breitling single operator network, which allows you to centrally manage the connection of subscribers, equipment settings, and also provides “roaming” functionality with quick authorization of subscribers when moving between devices.

Wireless network between WiFi access points. Part 1. Local Management / Sudo Null IT News Even the name “access point” suggests that these devices operate at the access layer for connecting clients, and the aggregation/distribution layer already requires a wired network. It would be more correct to call such an architecture hybrid: wired + wireless.

However, progress does not stand still, and with the development of wireless data transmission, the presence of wires has ceased to be an indispensable condition for building a network.

Not only smartphones, tablets and laptops, but also some network-attached storage (NAS), network printers, MFPs and other equipment already have a wireless interface “on board” and are ready to connect to a WiFi network.

But is it possible to do without wires? Or at least do without the cable system as much as possible? Read about it in our new series of articles.

A bit of theory

There are two options for combining local networks: “point-to-point” and “star”. The point-to-point topology (IEEE 802.11 Ad-hoc mode) is actually a radio bridge between two remote network segments. This is a fairly simple solution, for the implementation of which two access points are enough. When you need to connect two remote network segments “over the air” – the point-to-point solution is quite suitable. Sometimes these points are equipped with amplifying narrowly directed antennas in order to transmit the signal over a greater distance.

In a star topology, one of the points is central (root) and interacts with other remote points. To make such a “star” really look like a star, the central point has an omnidirectional broadcast pattern, and this limits the communication range to ~ 7 km. The role of the amplifying antenna in this case is slightly different – not to “shoot” the signal as far as possible, but to provide stable uniform coverage over the required area.

Note . When you need to connect segments of a local network that are more than 7 km apart from each other, you again have to return to the point-to-point option.

From theory to practice

The main task when building a network is not to click in the “Next-Next-Finish” mode, but to correctly plan the interaction of devices, even for a very modest project.
Therefore, it is best to start with a paper sketch and the formation of goals and requirements for a new section of the network.

Note . The networking methods and settings discussed in this article are also suitable for other access points, not only those described below.

Consider the following example.

One company has an office and a small branch in different buildings, as well as an adjacent landscaped area: benches for rest, a smoking area, etc.
Employees can be at their workplaces in the central or remote office or just walk around the territory, while it is important that they have access to the local network and the Internet.

The minimum option for such a task is three access points: in the central office, in a remote office and in an open area (see Figure 1), connected by a “chain”.

Figure 1. Wireless network diagram.

If the intermediate (outdoor) access point fails, the remote office will still maintain a connection to the central network, since the access points automatically select the device with the strongest signal. However, due to the greater distance, the connection will be worse (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Operation of the wireless network when the intermediate Repeater fails.

Access point selection

We have a different environment for access points, so you need to choose different access points.

At the central office, we are planning an access point for closed rooms, strong enough to ensure that the signal is available throughout the area of ​​the room. The Zyxel WAC6303D-S model is a good fit here – quite productive, easy to use, with a modern design.

Figure 3 Zyxel WAC6303D-S Access Point.

For an open space, accordingly, we select an “outdoor” model, for example, Zyxel NWA55AXE. The point has two external antennas, due to this, good coverage is provided, it is resistant to external influences, for example, temperature fluctuations. Of the design features – there is no LED indication on the case.

Figure 4 Zyxel NWA55AXE access point.

For a branch where there is a limited number of employees, we choose an economical and compact access point, but with all the necessary functions. For example, Zyxel WAX610D.

Figure 5. Zyxel WAX610D access point.

All three points are powered by PoE (Power over Ethernet). This is a technology for transmitting power to network devices over a network cable. Additional wires to the power supply are not required.

Important! There may be cable-only devices in the office. To communicate with them, you need to have a reliable gigabit switch, and to power the points, it is highly desirable that it has ports with PoE.

In this case, the network is small, so we choose a Zyxel GS1200-5HP switch to power and connect access points with local network segments. The switch is needed to connect the access point and, possibly, other PoE-powered equipment, and such a “kid” will do the job well.

Figure 6 Zyxel GS1200-5HP switch.

Communication between offices and with an outdoor access point will be exclusively via a wireless channel. The Zyxel NWA55AXE outdoor point will be powered by a PoE injector.

Root, repeater or just a point – which mode should I assign?

When access points are connected to a public network by wire, they perform one function – connecting clients. This is the traditional role of an AP.

If data is exchanged wirelessly between points, then, to paraphrase George Orwell, the principle works: “all access points are equal, but some is equal to others.” In general, we have two types of devices according to their role in the network: root access point (Root AP) and signal repeater (Repeater)

By analogy with switches: Repeater works at the access level, and Root AP at the aggregation / distribution level.
At the same time, points in both modes: Root AP and Repeater can work with client connections.

In our scheme, the access point in the central office is the root one, and the other two, NWA55AXE and WAX610D, operate in Repeater mode.

Selecting a range for connecting points to each other

Our access points support both ranges: 2.4Gz and 5Gz. Accordingly, each of these ranges has its own built-in signal transmission system.

In this example, we will assign the role of providing communication with the root access point to 2.4Gz, leaving the entire 5Gz range for communication with users. This option is well suited when the signal encounters an obstacle in its path (for example, a brick wall), and users have relatively new devices that support WiFi in the 5Gz range.

In other conditions, the opposite option will do. If the access points are in the line-of-sight zone, and users have enough old devices on their hands, for example, laptops that operate only in the 2. 4Gz band, in this case it would be more reasonable to use the 5Gz range for connecting access points, and leave 2.4Gz entirely for connecting clients .

Other conditions should be taken into account, for example, working access points in neighboring ranges or other devices that affect the operation of the WiFi network, the presence of free channels, obstacles to signal transmission (walls, mirror coatings, etc.)

An important point – will the clients actively interact with each other and with devices on the local network? If intensive data exchange is expected, as well as access to a file server, a DBMS server in the same segment of the same local network, it makes sense to allocate the entire “high-speed” 5Gz range.

Managed locally or through a single remote center?

All selected devices support two management methods: locally or through the Zyxel Nebula centralized network management system. Each method has its own advantages and limitations.

Setting up via Nebula is easier, although you first need to register access points on the cloud platform. In addition, Nebula includes many features, such as authentication, AP controller functions, and so on.

Important! Without a controller or Nebula system, roaming between WiFi points will also work, but without 802.11r support. However, for a regular network with a “WiFi password” this is not very critical.

There are some situations where remote centralized management is not possible or effective. For example, if the internal network has limited Internet access. Another example is when the device is the only point of entry to the network. In this case, you may encounter a situation where, in order to connect to the “cloud”, you need to configure the equipment, and to configure the equipment, you need access to the “cloud”. For such situations, Zyxel provides local management.

To complete the picture, in this article we will talk about setting up local control, and in the next publication we will dwell on Nebula in more detail.

Configuring access points


For local configuration, we need a personal computer or laptop, user rights to configure network settings, primarily IP addresses and subnet masks.

The first step requires a wired network connection. Access points will be located in hard-to-reach places; after installation, access to a street point is expected exclusively via WiFi. Therefore, it is better to configure everything to the maximum before physical placement.

The first thing to do is get an IP address to connect to the device.

This can be done in several ways:

  • Reset the access point to factory settings and connect to the IP address specified in the instructions.
  • If the point received a DHCP IP address, it can be found on the DHCP server.
  • You can get by in a simpler way – use the ZON utility (Zyxel One Network utility), which allows you to find Zyxel network equipment on the local network. This method is especially good if the point has already been used and you need to look at the previous settings, but the IP address is not known for some reason.

Configuring the WAC6303D-S root access point

After entering the username and password, the window of the initial access point setup wizard appears in front of us.

The process itself is quite simple and allows you to perform a maximum of general settings “in one go”.

Figure 7. Setting the password and network settings.

At the end of the work, a final window will be presented with the possibility of verification.

Figure 8. The final window of the wizard.

After completing the wizard, we get to the main screen of the Dashboard web interface with the main parameters.

Figure 9 WAC6303D-S Web Interface Dashboard.

Now we need to change the default communication settings to the ones we need. Go to the Configuration – Wireless – AP Management section and set the Radio 1 OP Mode parameter to Root AP

for the frequency range 2.4 Gz (Radio 1 Setting) Figure 10. Root AP mode

Next, you need to install the WDS profile. First you need to know the default profile name.

Note . (WDS) Wireless Distribution System is a technology for connecting access points to one network using a wireless connection between them. A wired connection is not required.

To do this, go to the Configuration – Object WDS Profile section. The default profile for WDS is called “default” (see Figure 7).

Figure 11. WDS Profile.

We return back to the Configuration – Wireless – AP Management section and set the “default” profile in the 2.4Gz band settings.

Figure 12. Setting the WDS profile in the 2.4Gz channel settings.

After that, you need to set the network SSID and access credentials according to your network requirements.

Also, do not forget about setting up client access, for which you may have to configure settings.

Figure 13. SSID and other settings.

For industrial system installations, it is recommended to use WPA Enterprise with an appropriate authentication system, eg via a RADIUS server. You can read more about this in the article Setting up WPA2 Enterprise with RADIUS

Repeater settings

Setting up points with the Repeater role is even easier.

Set up outdoor point NWA55AXE

IP address lookup methods and initial settings are almost identical to WAC6303D-S.

First, we go through the setup wizard and set the general parameters, including setting the time, time zone, IP address, and so on.

After that, just go to the wireless settings section and set the Repeater mode and the default WDS profile.

Figure 14. Configuring the wireless settings of the NWA55AXE.

Next, set the network SSID and access settings identically as for the root access point (see Figures 10-13 above)

Set up the WAX610D access point in the same way.

Figure 15. Configuring the WAX610D’s wireless settings.

Note . Additionally, in the access point settings, you can activate the Wireless bridge (wireless bridge), which allows you to use the Ethernet port to connect another local network for Wi-Fi communication.

Final check

We disable the connection of the street (NWA55AXE) and remote (WAX610D) access points via a wired network (do not forget about power from PoE) and perform a second search with the ZON utility. They must be available wirelessly. On the ZON screen, we can see all three points.

Figure 16. The ZON utility sees all three points, including wirelessly.

Also, extreme points should be displayed as Neighbors in the Dashboard of the NWA55AXE intermediate access point through which data is exchanged between them. We see WAX610D as the “neighbor on the right” and WAC6303D-S as the “neighbor on the left”.

Figure 17. Neighbors (Ethernet Neighbor) in the Dashboard interface of the intermediate access point NWA55AXE (Repeater) .

Let’s summarize the interim results

A WiFi network in which access points are connected exclusively via a wireless channel is quite simple to implement.

The most important thing is to plan the location, allocate ranges and channels for connecting points and client connections.

It is more preferable to use a single control system, for example, Nebula, we will talk about it in the next article.

At the same time, local management allows you to create a working environment for data exchange.

Useful links

  1. Telegram chat Zyxel
  2. Zyxel
  3. Hardware Forum

  4. Lots of useful videos on Youtube channel
  5. Improving Wi-Fi performance. General principles and useful things
  6. Improving Wi-Fi performance. Part 2. Equipment Features
  7. Improving Wi-Fi performance.