Wireless access points: What are they and which are the best

Sean Jackson

Jul 14, 2021 — 5 min read

Find out how these access points can help your business or personal internet connections.

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Having an unreliable internet connection can make doing the simplest tasks online a challenge. It is why, in some cases, you need a wireless access point. This guide will define what a wireless access point is, some of the best available ones and other ways to enhance your internet connection. 

What is a wireless access point?

A wireless access point (WAP) is a device that connects to a wired connection (a router, hub or switch) and then transmits a wireless signal. Using the wireless local area network, devices with wireless capabilities (think computers, smartphones, tablets and many gaming consoles) can use the network to access the internet.

Wireless access points are perfect for homes and businesses looking to expand their wireless internet capabilities in larger areas.

What are the benefits of wireless access points?

Wireless access points can handle a higher bandwidth of connected devices. While a Wi-Fi extender can allow access to faster internet speeds, it can handle up to 20 devices or less. Meanwhile, many wireless access point devices can handle more than 60 connected devices using the wireless local area network concurrently. For businesses, it ensures there are no signal interruptions that could hinder productivity.

Moreover, you can install WAPS anywhere there is an Ethernet connection, making setup easier. And with Captive Portal and Access Control List, your network administrator manages all users connected to the network to maintain security. 

How we choose the best wireless access points

To find the best wireless access point, we examined products based on factors like supported speeds, price, features, customer reviews and purposes (best for gaming, budget, etc.)

To find the best wireless access point, we examined products based on factors like supported speeds, price, features, customer reviews and purposes (best for gaming, budget, etc.) To demonstrate, for the best budget wireless access points, we looked at customer reviews, price and speed offered. After all, if the device was cheap, but did not provide fast speeds or earn high marks with customers, it does not offer the value you want.

Furthermore, when determining categories, purpose played a primary role. Some WAPS are better for larger organizations, while others are perfect for home offices and smaller businesses. Choosing the right one helps you receive the performance and value you want.

And we wanted insight from customers who use the product. So, we created a category to help you find the WAPS that offer the highest customer satisfaction.

Using these factors, here are some of the best devices in each category:

 

Learn more about our methodology

Best overall:

  1. Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio Pro Access Point (UAP-AC-PRO-US)
  2. TP-Link Wireless N300 2T2R Access Point
  3. Linksys Business LAPAC2600 Pro Series AC 2600 Dual-Band MU-Mimo Wireless Access Point
  4. Netgear AC1200 Dual Band Wireless Access Point (WAC 104)

Best for businesses:

  1. Linksys Business LAPAC2600 Pro Series AC 2600 Dual-Band MU-Mimo Wireless Access Point
  2. Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio Pro Access Point (UAP-AC-PRO-US)
  3. Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M-Pro-US Unifi Access Point
  4. EnGenius Technologies ENS500-AC

Best value for home use/gaming: 

  1. TP-Link Wireless N300 2T2R Access Point
  2. Netgear AC1200 Dual Band Wireless Access Point
  3. TP-Link EAP225 V 3 Wireless MU-MIMO Gigabit Ceiling Mount Access point
  4. Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio Pro Access Point (UAP-AC-PRO-US)

Best for customer satisfaction:

  1. TP-Link Omada AC1350 Gigabit Wireless Access Point
  2. Ubiquiti Unifi Ap-AC Pro Wireless Access Point
  3. MikroTik cAP ac Dual-Band 802.11ac Wireless Access Point
  4. Linksys LAPAC1200C AC1200 Wireless Access Point for Business

Best overall wireless access point: Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio Pro Access Point

The Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio Pro Access Point is the gold standard for wireless access points for a variety of reasons. Amazon users remark how simple it is to install. And with its scalability, you can add access points within the Ubiquiti UniFi Enterprise Wi-Fi system to accommodate larger spaces. 

The access point is perfect for indoor or outdoor use. The device offers speeds of up to 1,750 Mbps. It is ideal for organizations or larger homes that do file uploading, video conferencing, online streaming and gaming. It also has a range of up to 400 feet. 

Best for businesses: Linksys Business LAPAC2600 Pro Series AC 2600 Dual-Band MU-Mimo Wireless Access Point

The Linksys Business LAPAC2600 Pro Series AC 2600 offers versatility for organizations. You can use the WAP as a standalone connection, add it to an existing wireless distribution system or extend wireless coverage for specific workgroups. Its speed offering of up to 2.53 Gbps makes it uniquely suited for companies who want to upload files to the cloud, video conference or work on programs requiring higher bandwidth.

Moreover, it offers a wealth of tools for network administrators. Captive Portal allows administrators to control Wi-Fi access to maintain network integrity. You can also use Clustering to manage multiple wireless access points in one hub. 

Best value for home use/gaming: TP-Link Wireless N300 2T2R Access Point

If you want a fantastic mix of value and versatility, the TP-Link Wireless N300 2T2R Access Point offers it. With wireless speed up to 300 Mbps, it is perfect for homes that do much video streaming, online gaming, and uploading large files. It achieves optimum performance through two antennas, extending the range to 100 feet. 

Moreover, it is secure with the press of the WPS button, which establishes a secure WPA connection. And with multiple operating nodes, you construct the wireless network to your accommodations, eliminating dead zones in the process.

Best for customer satisfaction: TP-Link Omada AC1350 Gigabit Wireless Access Point

The best Wi-Fi access point for customer satisfaction, the TP-Link Omada AC1350 Gigabit Wireless Access Point delivers high-performance, scalability and value. It reaches speeds of up to 1,350 Mbps, perfect for smaller businesses or larger homes that need more bandwidth. You can also integrate the WAP into Omada’s Software Defined Networking platform to control access points and other devices in one hub. 

Customers rave about the performance of this device. One notes that even in a large house, you will not experience dead zones on other floors. While some note it can be hard to set up if you are not tech-savvy, there are YouTube videos to make the process easier. 

Wireless access point buying tips

When considering the best wireless access point for you, consider these tips:

  • Purpose: How many connected devices do you need? What types of online activities do you plan to do? Answering these questions gives you insight into the speed you need.
  • Security: Does the wireless access point offer a platform or hub to control access? Is the WPA connection available? Keeping your data secure is of paramount importance, so examine devices for vulnerabilities. 
  • Future considerations: If you are looking to scale business operations in the future, choosing a wireless access point that integrates with a larger platform is the right fit.

Need a faster internet plan?

Choosing the right wireless access point will only be as effective as the internet plan you have. Examine your online needs, then find the best speeds and coverage at the best price in your area here

The bottom line

Wireless access points are perfect for larger homes or businesses looking for faster Wi-Fi signals. Keep in mind your device will only work as well as your internet plan allows, so be sure to check out all the internet plans available near you

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Sean Jackson

Written by:

Sean Jackson

Sean Jackson is a contributor to the Allconnect.com team, focusing on broadband topics. He’s also written broadband and entertainment articles for CNET, TV Guide and other news outlets. Sean enjoys improv, playi… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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