Wireless access points, commonly called wireless AP, are important devices for any wireless network that frequently experiences a large amount of traffic. A wireless access point (or a bunch of them) can streamline the connectivity to your network across your home, office, or large-scaled business.
Regular routers are ideal for small apartments, but they can’t quite handle the pressure of high traffic easily, so investing in a wireless AP is a wise decision if you have lots of individuals accessing your network.
Best Wireless Access Points Reviewed
Searching for the right wireless access point for your needs can be quite a challenge. Not everyone is well-versed in the technical jargon of the networking world, and very few know of the market until they actually need wireless access points.
Whether it’s for large-scaled businesses, small offices, or homes, we’ve covered the 5 best wireless access points available right now. To help you with your purchase and highlight the essential factors to consider when buying a wireless AP, there’s also a buyer’s guide with FAQs after the reviews.
Our Top Pick
Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-PRO
Best Wireless AP Out There
The UniFi UAP-AC Pro is a professional grade wireless AP with 3 dual-band antennas for high speeds and maximum coverage. It has easy maintenance and access through the mobile app and also features PoE among other high-end networking features.
Performance, quality, and reliability are what you get with Ubiquiti’s UniFi UAP-AC Pro. It’s one of the best enterprises and business routers out there, and it functions equally well for home and small office use.
Big Thing in a Small Package
The compact TP-Link N300 is a versatile device that can behave as an extender, bridge, and a wireless AP. It is a 2.4GHz wireless access point with various neat features such as Clear Channel Assessment and Quality of Service.
Anyone looking for a set of small yet reliable 2.4GHz wireless access points should stop their search with the TP-Link N300. It’s a small, reliable wireless AP that is feature rich despite its size.
Ubiquiti has gained a lot of popularity since its conception with its wireless products. Their UniFi UAP AC Pro wireless access point is our favorite wireless access point for several reasons.
It comes with 3 dual-band antennas to allow the antennas to operate at two different frequencies at the same time. The UniFi UAP AC Pro has an advanced statistics and analytics program for easy troubleshooting and monitors the users. It also features a captive portal for added security. You also have a Power over Ethernet injector in this wireless AP.
The range of this wireless AP is 400 feet in radius around the access point. The speed depends on the frequency. At 2.4GHz, it can run at 450Mbps. At 5GHz, you can bump the speed all the way to a whopping 1300Mbps.
- Stable and reliable performance
- Usable both indoors and outdoors
- No controller required
- Difficult to set up
Don’t let the size fool you. This tiny product from TP-Link can pack quite a punch. It’s a wireless access point that will cost you less than many professional-grade ones and offers similar performance.
This compact and lightweight wireless AP has neat features like Clear Channel Assessment to avoid channel conflicts and Quality of Service (QoS) for ultimate bandwidth control across your wireless network.
Additionally, the TP-Link N300 WiFI access point features pre-encryption function with initial SSID and password protection. Home users all have the option to enable parental control on this device. The range of the TP-Link N300 is about 1500 square feet, which is decent given the price it demands.
You can also use this wireless device as a range extender or bridge, giving the user plenty of portability. It can easily be powered with USB thanks to its micro-USB port.
- Great value
- Versatile functionality
- Plenty of security features
- Only operates at 2.4GHz, thus limiting speed
Okay, this Linksys wireless access point won’t come cheap, but it’s insanely fast and offers a huge array of advanced functions to control your wireless network. Linksys was originally owned by Cisco until they were sold to Belkin, who has a reputation in networking technology.
This is a rather large product, but it’s largely because it’s packed to the brim with features. For its size, it’s also quite light, and that is a deliberate design choice as this wireless AP is meant to be hung on the wall or ceiling.
4×4 dual-band AC means you can enjoy speeds up to a whopping 2.53GHz, making it an ideal product for large business owners with high-speed internet and wireless networking requirements. MU-MIMO technology is also integrated into this monstrous wireless AP.
Three range modes allow the user to use this device as a traditional access point, a larger wireless distribution system, and a wireless bridge. The overall effective range of this device is an impressive 4000 square feet. You can also utilize PoE (Power over Ethernet) on this device, making it ideal for ceiling or wall mounting.
- Insanely fast
- Packed to the brim with networking features
- Enterprise-level performance
- Huge range
- No handoff function
- Very expensive
The Securifi Almond is a neat little wireless access point with a built-in display. This wireless AP has an incredibly easy setup thanks to the touchscreen functionality directly on the display. You can set it up within as little as three minutes.
In addition to the integrated display, you also get a dedicated mobile app for Securifi Almond wireless AP to see who is accessing your network. This app can also be used to set scheduled for connected devices on the network and block unwanted ones.
The Securifi Almond wireless AP can also be used as a range extender, a wireless router, or wireless bridge. All that is possible thanks to its compatibility with various routers that you may already have. Versatility and ease of setup/maintenance are what makes this an extremely appealing device for home or small office use. The Securifi Almond is also compatible with various Smart Home devices.
- Very easy to set up
- Extremely versatile
- Great app to control with
- Limited range
Netgear’s Insight WAC510 utilizes Multi-user dual-band MIMO to achieve incredibly high speeds up to 1.2Gbps and boasts many other advanced features. This is an enterprise level wireless AP that is fairly expensive given its performance and considerably easy to set up.
In addition to MIMO, the wireless access point has rogue AP detection for added security. The range of the Insight is 1500 square feet. Speeds vary from 300Mbps at 2.4GHz to up to 1.2Gbps at 5GHz.
To manage the wireless AP, a free mobile app is available to give the user centralized management without any intrusive hardware. You also get PoE (Power over Ethernet) to power this router with your LAN connection instead of a power socket, ideal for placing in areas where there is no pocket socket nearby. This makes the WAC510 very effective when used outdoors.
- Multi-user MIMO
- Power over Ethernet capability
- Easy installation and maintenance
- Deceptive advertising for multiple APs
The range of a wireless AP is important as it determines the reach and the number of wireless access points you may require for maximum signal coverage. Small homes and offices can be acquired entirely by a single high-rang wireless AP, but many larger firms will require a purchase of multiple access points to cover the entire vicinity.
Wireless access point range can be anywhere between 400 square feet to 4000+ square feet. The average house today is 2000 square feet, so a single 2000+ square feet wireless access point will suffice.
It is good practice to use the same wireless AP model across your area for synergy and easy maintenance if you plan to utilize multiple APs.
The speed of the wireless access point is determined by the signal frequency or “band” of the device. Modern wireless access points use 802.11ac WiFi which offers the fastest type of signal. The frequency of a wireless AP can be either 2.4GHz or 5GHz.
At 2.4GHz, a wireless access point’s speed is limited to 350-400 Mbps. At 5GHz, the speed can go up to 1300 Mbps. Some wireless APs utilize multiple antennas and bands to boost their speed further to 2.53GHz.
You should also consider whether you require advanced speed control features such as Quality of Service, which allow you to limit the data being sent to specific devices connected to the network.
The installation and setup of a wireless access point can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with networking know-how. Larger networks of wireless APs, in particular, can prove to be quite a challenge. You should purchase a wireless access point that best suits your level of networking knowledge and/or the IT resources available to you.
Most businesses have no problem purchasing advanced wireless APs as they have a separate IT department in charge of installation, setup, and monitoring. However, smaller office and home owners are best served by purchasing more intuitive and user-friendly wireless access points that have easy installation and setup.
Whether you’re purchasing a wireless AP for home or office use, the ease of use, once it is installed, is an essential consideration. It’s true that you won’t be maintaining and accessing the settings of the AP frequently, but when you need to, it should be intuitive and simple.
Many devices come with mobile apps with simple interfaces for easy management and use. Additionally, all wireless APs provide the option of accessing them through the web. Pre-configured wireless access points are the choice for many business and home owners as they require little to no setup. However, some of the best wireless APs are a little difficult to manage as they are designed to be used by IT professionals.
A wireless access point is different from a wireless router due to its application. Wireless routers are essentially a small router that has a single access point. A wireless AP device, on the other hand, connects a group of wireless stations to an adjacent wired LAN. A wireless router can be configured to behave like a wireless AP, but a wireless AP cannot behave as a wireless router.
Do I need a wireless AP?
Wireless routers are more commonly used in homes and small offices. Wireless APs are utilized in larger homes or businesses where many access points are required for people to connect to. Many people opt to use multiple wireless access points feeding into a single, separate router. This helps maintain connectivity across the entire area without a drop in connection.
How important is the installation process of a wireless access point?
The installation process of a wireless access point is extremely important. A poor installation and setup can render a high-quality wireless AP completely useless or leave it marred with problems.
Should I directly wire my wireless AP with an ethernet port?
For the best results, you should absolutely direct wire your wireless access points. This may require long-running ethernet cables, but the results are well worth it. As a wireless repeater, there are high chances of poor connections, connection drops, and difficulty in accessing the wireless AP in case of IP conflicts.