If you are looking for a solid way to increase the efficiency and productivity of your business in terms of Wi-Fi access as well as making your clients happy with the Internet services provided, then a powerful wireless device called an access point should be strongly considered. Because a typical router is not designed to handle the congestion created by many people looking to surf the Web at once you need a different solution. There are also some essential security settings required for keeping your users safe on a public access network.
Getting the right equipment to handle this job is not difficult, besides the router you’ve got at home you need to purchase an access point which will tremendously expand the wireless network from your business to reach more people with ease. That’s the basic idea behind a wireless access point but nowadays, these devices come with many advanced and intuitive functions to make your life easier and the competition is quite strong. Need a wireless adapter or maybe the best cable modem? Read my articles to find the ones that suit your needs best.
The market is flooded with so many different options that it becomes a hassle to sort out through them and find the right unit for you and your business. Thankfully, this article should shine some light on which are the best access points in terms of money spent and the value you get. No matter your budget, these access points are the best at striking the right balance between what they offer and what price they ask for.
Best Wireless Access Point for Home
Ubiquiti Networks is a highly appreciated company in the networking equipment industry destined for business enterprises. One of the reasons why they’ve become so successful is the incredibly competitive prices they offer. A great example is the UniFi UAP-AC-PROAccess Point which offers solid quality and reliable features at a very affordable price.
This access point leans on the higher end of the spectrum of the UniFi lineup from Ubiquiti. It features two radios, a 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz one, for dual band. The device uses the 3×3 MIMO technology that promises some strong capabilities performance-wise.
In terms of looks, the UAP-AC-PRO’s low profile is emphasized by its saucer design that has become the standard for UniFi products. On the top of the small unit, you can find a ring that glows during the operation of the device and it can also serve as a status LED. On the bottom, there’s a removable wall-mount plate for convenient attaching to any location.
The two Gigabit LAN ports can be discovered too at the bottom of the access point. One of them represents the main port for data and power and the second one can act as an unpowered bridge port. A USB port is also integrated at the center of the device for those who want to connect a speaker attachment and have the access point also function as a PA system.
Thanks to the UniFi Controller software that helps with the management of all UniFi devices including this one, administering the UAP-AC-PRO is a breeze. With it, you can use a single system for the managing of all UniFi devices on just a single deployment. The software installs on the system and the data that comes from the devices will be easily logged on it instead of remaining within the devices themselves.
It offers incredible performance for an access point surpassing even some models with 4×4 MU-MIMO. The machine is capable of fully covering an entire house with excellent wireless signal and considering how they’re designed to be deployed in bigger quantities, your business will never experience any issues with coverage.
It is a great access point in terms of pretty much everything. It’s fast and powerful and extremely configurable. The design is also quite fitting in a business environment. Setting up one is not that complicated. Due to its small learning curve, even a typical home user should be able to get the hang of it in some time. Overall, if buying the best access point on the market is in your interest, the UAP-AC-PRO should definitely be considered as a potential solution.
- 3 Dual-Band Antennas
- Maximum Power Consumption: 9W
- Weatherproof design
- 3×3 MIMO technology
- 802.3af PoE/802.3at PoE+ compatibility
A revolutionary WiFi system, the UniFi combines enterprise performance with a central management controller and an unlimited level of scalability. With a refined industrial designed, the UAP-AC-LR by Ubiquiti Networks is part of this lineup of high-performance access points that can be installed quickly and effortlessly with the included mounting hardware.
The unit features the latest cutting edge MIMO technology and is designed to be used indoors. The speeds offered are more than decent, up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and approximately 867 Mbps on the bigger 5 GHz band.
In terms of exterior design, this Ubiquiti access point has the same low profile and immaculate white look that can be found in other products from the UniFi lineup. On the front you have the same glowing LED that aids in seeing the current status of the device. On the bottom, you can find the ceiling mount because the UAP-AC-LR is meant to be mounted to a drywall. Somewhere near the twist locking device used for mounting you can also discover the 10/100/1000 Gbps Ethernet port for routing the cable to the device.
I found the performance of this access point to be slightly weaker than expected but even if it isn’t the fastest out there, it’s still a highly resilient and configurable device. In the end, it depends on the kind of qualities you seek though reliability is usually more prized than super speeds in an enterprise environment.
From the convenience of your own desk and available through any standard web browser, the UniFi Controller software used by the UAP-AC-LR is ideal for handling high-density client deployments which demand high performance and low latency. Configuring and administering a large enterprise network can be done effortlessly with the help of a powerful software engine such as this one. There’s no special training required.
The Unifi wireless access point by Ubiquiti does a good job though it does require some more advanced knowledge to get it running optimally in your desired configuration. The degree of complexity is matched by its excellent flexibility and considering its relatively low price, this access point offers some serious value that’s probably too good to pass up.
- Innovative antenna design
- Scalable enterprise Wi-Fi management
- Form Factor: external for indoors
- Wireless Compatibility: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Does not require a controller
- Easy to setup and use
- Small and sleek design
Best Cheap/Affordable Wireless Access Point
There are lots of reliable wireless access points on the market but few can match the value for the money of the TP-Link EAP225. It’s designed by one of the most trusted companies in the networking industry and the superior level of quality is immediately apparent. This model offers MU-MIMO support for excellent Wi-Fi speeds even if you have connected lots of devices simultaneously.
The wireless access point is equipped with a powerful control platform for intuitive management. It also provides convenient cloud-based controller functionality for quick remote deployment of different networks. This unit incorporates mesh technology and its automatic switching ability ensures that you will always enjoy the best connection performance at all times. Issues in your network can be quickly detected and data rerouted to other devices to remain online no matter what.
If you’re looking for a high-performance wireless access point, the NETGEAR WAX610 brings a premium selection of features for the money. This unit is intended for more flexible applications as it supports the connection of up to 200 client devices in a fairly large area that can reach 2,500 square feet. The dedicated app lets you manage the network remotely but you will need to get a subscription after the first year.
When it comes to performance, the streaming speed of this model can go up to around 1.8 Gbps. There’s support for a maximum of 8 SSIDs so you can simplify the access of certain groups. The device itself features a low-profile and minimalist design that won’t stand out too much. It’s recommended for both wall or ceiling mounting while the deployment is simplified through PoE+. Keep in mind that if you want a power adapter, it needs to be purchased separately.
A highly reliable wireless access point comes from NETGEAR. The WAC104 model boasts IPV6 support, high speeds of 1.2 Gbps, and flexible wireless management. Thanks to its strong external antennas, this device guarantees great Wi-Fi coverage of up to 1,000 square feet. It supports a maximum of 64 client devices and features four Ethernet ports for additional devices. The package contains all the accessories needed to set up this wireless access point.
Considering the strength of this wireless access point, it’s best used for small business applications such as offices and hotels. The device allows easy configuration while the WPS button lets you instantly make the connection secure. It’s safe to say that you won’t be getting too many advanced features with this model but the affordable cost and overall construction quality are sure to gain many fans.
Best Wireless Access Point for Business
Boasting a rich feature set and efficiently combining speedy throughput with easy-to-configure clustering, the Linksys LAPAC 2600 is built for extreme performance in any professional environment. For those with bigger budgets looking for the ideal addition to a growing network, this access point seems to be a solid option.
LAPAC 2600 has two gigabit LAN connections, one that supports PoE and they can be used to easily connect to your small business router. Due to the PoE capability, you can get rid of the need to have the device mounted close to a power outlet. Keep in mind that you are required to have enough space to run some Ethernet cable, a dropped ceiling for example.
The top of the device has one LED that accomplishes multiple purposes as it indicates the current status of the unit through color and blink rate. On the bottom, you can find a reset button strategically placed to be a bit harder to access.
The performance in terms of speed seems very promising, the unit theoretically offering a combined rate of 2.53 Gbps considering both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz radio. Taking this into account, it is quite well-suited to handle high-bandwidth activities like video conferencing and cloud storage.
Configuring the access point is rather straightforward though some more advanced knowledge is required. The user interface is simple to navigate through and a Quick Start wizard will help you initially to get the hang of the basic setup options.
One interesting feature of this access point is called packet capture which can come very handy in tracking down troublesome traffic. Finding what’s causing speed issues on the network is facilitated significantly this way. Security-wise, the LAPAC 2600 is configurable in multiple ways because it provides support for lots of security standards including WEP and WPA/WPA2. Network administrators can enable Quality of Service on those traffic times they consider more important.
Captive Portal is another great ability of this access point as it can route guests of your network to a special web page where they will be required to authenticate before connecting to the Internet. Clustering is also present in this access point, helpful for managing more devices like this one from a single point of control. For the money spent on this, you can get a solid access point for comfortably enhancing your business network and that’s why the Linksys LAPAC 2600 is a strongly recommended option.
- MU-MIMO technology
- Combined speeds of up to 2.53 Gbps
- 802.11r support
- PoE+ technology
- Single point control: clustering
- Enterprise-grade security features
Finding the right solution for expanding your existing network it’s not always easy but a powerful access point like the EnGenius ECB350 is highly capable of providing that extra bandwidth required to support more users. A very feature-rich option for the money, this device scores high on reliability and overall quality.
Promising speeds of up to 300 Mbps and an increased wireless range thanks to its 29 dBm RF Tx external antenna, the ECB350 delivers superior throughput and performance. In fact, it can offer up to six times faster speeds and seven times more coverage when compared to lower-power, legacy 802.11g access points. To meet the continuous demands of evolving business, this model has eight different operation modes. Thanks to MIMO and the enhanced receive sensitivity, many client devices can benefit from extended connectivity even in more challenging areas.
As the antenna array significantly increases the wireless range, this means that the number of access points needed for deployment can be reduced over large properties. Another positive effect is how roaming clients no longer need to constantly re-associate to other access points found on the property or in the building. The Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) capability of the ECB350 ensures easier deployments near a ceiling or in spaces where access to power outlets is not easily available. A PoE injector is required and has to be purchased separately.
In terms of security, this access point features all the standard encryption settings such as WEP and WPA/WPA2 which will protect your network from any unauthorized access. There’s also support for EEE 802.1x Supplicant function to authenticate users to a RADIUS server when in Client Bridge operating mode. Another interesting aspect is the MAC address filtering which only allows MAC address-recognized client devices to connect to the network and thus isolates all the other unauthorized devices.
Managing the EnGenius ECB350 can be done using the included EnGenius Zone Controller software which makes use of a diverse suite of powerful tools in the hands of IT managers and network administrators. Access Points and Client Bridges are configurable and monitored from a single central point.
A fine device from any conceivable point of view, the EnGenius ECB350 will be a great companion for taking your Wi-Fi network to the next level. At this price level, your business has a lot to gain from this power-packed access point with a large penetrating wireless-n speed and therefore this access point is a strong recommendation.
- Up to 29 dBm RF Tx (transmit) power.
- Wireless Speed up to 300 Mbps
- SSID-to-VLAN Tagging
- Multiple operation modes
- Gigabit Ethernet Port / IEEE 8023af PoE Compliant
- Multiple BSSID support
One of the best ways to make your clients more comfortable nowadays is by providing quality Wi-Fi. With the right hardware, this job can be efficiently achieved. An access point like the Netgear WAC510 seems to be well suited for most kinds of businesses as it delivers decent performance at a reasonable price.
The design of this access point is nothing that really stands out but that’s a good thing as you can place wherever it offers the best wireless signal and it can blend easily with most surroundings. One of the many advantages of the WAC510 is the installing of the device which can be done without too much hassle. Setting up the access point through the web interface is pretty straightforward but there’s also another way – through Netgear’s Insight App.
This app represents a solid advantage for this access point over its competitors. Through it you are able to know precisely how many users are online, the total amount of data being used and other useful info. There’s also the ability to see if you have users who returned, you can spot the new users and highlight those devices that are consuming considerably larger amounts of data than others.
The WAC510 has the captive portal feature, a great tool for managing newcomers to your network. When the users connect initially, they will be greeted by a screen where they are made aware of certain rules and conditions which you might impose. For preventing users from abusing the network’s bandwidth there is also an option to set some device specific limits to it. Usage can be tracked individually (and anonymously) for more control over the implementation of your rules.
Performance-wise, the WAC510 won’t disappoint as it uses the latest standard available of the second generation of 802.11ac Wi-Fi. With an aggregate throughput of approximately 1.2 Gbps, all your speed issues will disappear. The MU-MIMO technology contributes to decongesting the network and guaranteeing the highest performance in moments of intense usage from lots of clients such as public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Making a complicated system simpler looks like one of the primary jobs of the Netgear WAC510. An ideal network solution for the money, the final verdict for this device is definitely a positive one. It is especially recommended for handling a large public network with ease.
- App managed – NETGEAR Insight
- Superior Wave 2 802.11ac performance and range
- Speeds: 300/867Mbps (2.4/5GHz)
- Two Ethernet ports
- Easy to setup
Great for business wireless deployments, the Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-PRO can be considered a more reliable option compared to typical cheap units out there. This wireless access point offers lots of configuration options for improved flexibility. It’s even practical for more advanced home setups while the supplied documentation is comprehensive yet easy to follow to create your ideal network. The main highlight of this model is the 3×3 MIMO technology that works in dual-band configuration.
With the help of the performant UniFi controller, you shouldn’t have issues managing your network. There are various options that can be activated for a more efficient wireless connection. You can minimize channel interference and toggle band steering features or limit airtime access. In terms of physical construction, the wireless access point shows off great qualities to work indoors or outdoors. It’s weather-resistant and very sleek-looking.
Another Linksys access point that seems extremely promising is the LAPAC 1200. It’s a dual band model intended for making a significant upgrade to the Wi-Fi network in your place of business. It comes with a pretty large list of features and it definitely looks like a solid investment for an access point. It may not be as advanced as the LAPAC 2600 but it can still pack a punch.
Suited for smaller to medium-sized offices, this access point should meet your expectations in terms of speed thanks to its Wireless-AC technology which is considerably faster than a basic Wireless-N connection. Lag times are tremendously reduced for some of the more demanding activities in terms of bandwidth such as video conferences for example.
The LAPAC 1200 features two wireless bands, a 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz one which together can reach data transfer rates of 1.2 Gbps. Certain enhancements like the wider 80 MHz channels will allow for greater data bandwidth during operations in the 5 GHz band which is usually not as crowded.
One of the most interesting aspects of this wireless access point lies in its ability to manage multiple devices like this one conveniently from just a single point of control. This is called Clustering and it will potentially reduce costs while at the same time simplify the constant management process of the access points. Additionally, Linksys made some solid improvements to the web administrative interface giving it a more intuitive feel so the installation process is very straightforward.
Another strong capability of this access point is the PoE+ technology that can let both electrical power and data pass through a single Ethernet cable en route to the device. Worth mentioning is also the Captive Portal feature for enabling better guest control and customized access Wi-Fi hotspots. The access point value bundle is rounded up by the most advanced security protocols for helping administrators keep the network safe.
An extremely balanced choice, the Linksys LAPAC 1200 is proving to be a valuable addition to any business office or any other kind of building where a Wi-Fi network can become easily congested. In this price bracket, you can’t really find a better-suited option to effectively handle your demanding high-speed and high-coverage Internet needs.
- Next Generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac
- Dual Band (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz) support
- Integrated Power over Ethernet Plus
- Robust and Comprehensive Security
- IPv6 Support
- High Power PA for better Wi-Fi coverage