Hardware

Best Wireless Access Point Devices | Buyer’s Guide

An ordinary router cannot handle the congestion created by multiple users trying to access the internet simultaneously. They also leave dead spots (areas with zero coverage). Suppose you are running a small business where multiple people need access to the internet or just want better internet coverage around your home. In that case, you require a specially designed and powerful wireless device that can help share the load and provide coverage over a large area. That is where the best wireless access point devices come in handy. They handle large throughput by sharing the traffic load. Besides, they come with essential security settings to keep every user safe. Below is our breakdown of the top 7 WAP devices that can be used with Linux.

1. Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-PRO – Overall Best Wireless Access Point

While Ubiquiti Networks UniFi UAP-AC-PRO may not be the latest model on our list, it is undoubtedly the highest-rated. By porting enterprise-type features to a tiny device, the US manufacturer has eliminated the need to purchase high-end expensive WAP devices. This minimalist round device may have a slightly larger footprint. Still, it can be easily attached to walls or ceilings for maximum coverage area. Supporting 802.11ac wireless standard, Dual-Radio 3 x 3 11AC MIMO, and speeds up to 1300 Mbps in 5 GHz radio band & 450 Mbps in 2.4GHz radio band, Ubiquiti offers multiple advanced features like user accounts, guest portal/hotspot support, and remote firmware upgradeability. It is powerful, fast, and highly configurable. Setup is not complicated, but the UniFi controller may test your tech knowledge. The web interface is really friendly, and the software is available for Linux. Overall, it offers excellent value for the price. Highly recommended.

Pros

  • Multiple advanced features to keep every tech junkie happy
  • It can be configured with the cloud
  • Excellent wireless performance
  • Supports uplink including multi Hop

Cons

  • Gets hot under stress
  • The UniFi controller may test your tech knowledge.

2. EnGenius EAP350 N300 – Best for Small Business Users

The EAP350 has a 2.4GHz Wireless-N access point that packs quite a punch in transmitting power (29dbm to be exact). Due to this reason, the first thing you will notice is the long WiFi range. Its range is twice its competitors. We used it in a 3600 sqft commercial building with concrete walls and a metal roof to test it out, with no issues. We could even connect at the edges of the parking lot. The operating modes include WDS Bridge, Access Point, WDS Access point, and Universal Repeater. As an access point, it is compliant with the latest WiFi standards offering MIMO capabilities. Its maximum throughput is 300 Mbps, more than enough to stream HD tv shows and movies. The included Gigabit Ethernet port allows 10x faster data transfer rates when compared with a fast Ethernet port. EZ controller, the software used for monitoring, is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac.

What’s more, the EAP350 also supports PoE, which comes quite handy for areas where there’s a lack of power outlets. Lastly, the tiny smoke detector design of the device allows for discreet placement. Overall, we recommend this product for small businesses and home users. As the WAP tends to crash under excessive load, it may not be suitable for large organizations.

Pros

  • Its range is almost twice the competitors.
  • Offers WDS Bridge, Access Point, WDS Access point, and a Universal Repeater
  • Has MIMO capabilities
  • Supports up to 300 Mbps speeds
  • Allows PoE

Cons

  • The tech support isn’t reliable
  • Tends to crash under load

3. TP-Link AC1750 WiFi Extender Best for Home Users With Lots of Devices

Featuring a distinctive design that looks like a gadget straight out of a Star Trek movie, this dual-band WiFi extender is one of the fastest, best wireless access point devices we have come across. It plugs into any outlet and delivers exceptional throughput of 1,300 Mbps on the 5GHz and 450 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. Installation is super easy, especially if your router offers WPS. It can connect to 32 devices at the same time while boosting internet coverage up to 2000 Sq.ft. Another cool feature is that when using its smartphone app, you can easily block unwanted connections. No more nosy neighbors! The only limitation of this model is that there is no pass-through outlet, and the LAN ports are also inadequate. That said, TP-Link AC1750 WiFi Extender is an excellent choice just because of its solid proximity throughput, excellent range, and affordable price. Pro tip: Don’t do it when the extender asks you to give it a new SSID. Give it the same name as your primary router. This way, your device will be able to connect to the strongest signal without switching between the two automatically.

Pros

  • Offers exceptional throughput
  • Very easy to set up
  • Is Dual Voltage: 110v and 220V
  • gStraightforward and easy installation
  • Excellent range performance
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Limited LAN ports
  • No Pass-through out
  • Bulky

4. Securifi Almond – Touchscreen WiFi Wireless Access Point – Best Long Range WiFi for Outdoors

Securifi Almond’s touch screen offers a convenient way to set up and manage the router settings without needing a CD, computer, or MAC. Hook it up to a wall and be done with the on-screen wizard setup within 3 minutes. Easy peasy! Moreover, it’s a multi-purpose device. Use it as your primary WiFi router or a WiFi extender to extend the range of your existing WiFi, Wireless bridge, or a simple Access Point. It works like a charm every time. In addition, the universal extender mode makes it compatible with most common router brands like Belkin, Netgear, and Linksys. When working as a full fledge WAP, it features speeds up to 300 Mbps within a range of up to 200 sqft. While its 802.11n rates may not be the fastest among competitors, this device is suited to users looking for the convenience of connecting devices to their WiFi from a long-range.

Pros

  • Intuitive touchscreen
  • Convenient setup
  • Speeds up to 300 Mbps MIMO
  • Can pair with Alexa so that you can control home devices remotely

Cons

  • The screen fades away after a couple of years

5. Netgear WAC104 – Best Netgear WAP Device

Netgear’s WAC104 is a winner on four fronts. First is the ease of configuration compared with competitors from Dlink, Cisco, and Linksys WAPs in manual configuration and backup import. The second is stability under load. The device held steady with only two failures between 110 to 115 Fahrenheit in our stress tests under both cold and hot temperature conditions. We simply restarted the device to give circuits a few seconds to lower the temperature, and the device started working fine like before. So as long as it has proper ventilation, stability is never an issue with WAC104. Third, the cost of this mean device is very economical. It is cheap enough to be disposable and is always available in the market. Lastly, it features not 1, 2, or 3, but 4 Ethernet ports. So, you can connect your wired devices to get the most out of your investment. Netgear quality at its finest! Just be mindful of the proper ventilation, though.

Pros

  • Relatively small and compact
  • 4 Ethernet Ports
  • Straightforward configuration
  • 24/7 stable
  • Very manageable User Interface

Cons

  • Needs proper ventilation to prevent overheating issue

6. TP-Link AC750 WiFi Extender – RE220 – Best WAP device for Apartments

The second WAP device from TP-Link on our Wireless Access Point devices list is the AC 750 WiFi Extender. It boasts a speed of 750 Mbps while covering an area of 1200 Sq.ft and simultaneously connecting with up to 20 devices. Its setup is easy: the smart indicator LED helps identify the ideal location. And then the hardest thing you have to do is plug it in. The rest of the installation process takes barely 5 minutes. Just follow the instructions. Moreover, it’s OneMesh technology that lets you create a mesh network for seamless roaming. What’s more, APS, Dual-band, or tri-band range extender can dynamically select the best backhaul connection between 2. 4/5G/5G2 to ensure that the RE to the router has the best connection possible, and in such a way, maintain a better overall WiFi performance.

Pros

  • Super easy to install
  • Very helpful instructions manual
  • Universal Compatibility
  • separate 2.4 and 5.0 indicator LED lights

Cons

  • As it utilizes half-duplex communication, the throughput is reduced.

7. Linksys LAPAC1200C AC1200 – Best for Small to Medium Business Users

The final WAP device on our list of best wireless access point device reviews is Linksys LAPAC1200C AC1200 WAP for business. Offering cloud management and POE, this particular device makes various WAPs easily manageable. The remote access makes it easy for you to monitor the cloud network from anywhere at any time. Additionally, you can manage multiple accounts simultaneously, generating real-time stats, thereby reducing transactional costs. With its captive portal, you can customize and control guest WiFi access. Lastly, the advanced LAPAC1200C AC Access Point features, WPA, and WPA 2 help protect your data from external intruders. PS: Its discrete fire alarm style design is sure to add to your office aesthetics.

Pros

  • The cloud manager helps manage multiple accounts
  • Has a combined transfer rate of 1.17 Gaps
  • PoE compatible
  • Advanced security protocols
  • Can create up to 8 SSIDs on this device

Cons

  • Expensive
  • This WAP is mainly for internal use

Factors to consider for buying the best wireless access point for Linux

All potential buyers need to watch out for certain vital aspects of WAP devices. These are:

Reach
Reach determines how much you can enjoy uninterrupted WiFi, whether at home or the office. You should identify the areas that need to be covered and select a product that covers them effectively. An ideal WAP should be able to function optimally within many meters radius.

Speed

Speed is sometimes as important as the reach of your device, but not always. It’s not important if you won’t be doing much online streaming. Otherwise, if there are streaming and other online functions involved, you should consider shelling out some extra bucks to invest in a speedy device. Therefore you should check out the frequency and speed of WAP before purchasing.

PoE
PoE allows your device to receive power through a twisted pair cable. So that you can get data as well as electrical power through a single cord; additionally, it is effortless to install and protects your device against electricity fluctuations. Always look for a device that has a PoE injector included in the package. If not, you should buy it separately.

Load balancing
Loadbalancing ensures a stable network. Typically, it is used with multiple access points to diminish network congestion by spreading the current sessions among the existing points. This way, all APs share the client load. So if you will be setting up a large number of APs, consider load balancing to avoid network interruptions and have more available bandwidth.

Mesh Networking
Mesh networking support allows you to add multiple APs to create a network where all nodes cooperate for a distributed load. Mesh networks allow data to be transmitted along a set path from one node to the other. This way, the network can reconfigure itself (by utilizing self-healing algorithms) to find any broken or congested paths.

Wireless Access Point Vs. Router

Wondering the main difference between the two and whether you should get one or the other for your home/office use? Don’t worry; we have the answer! Read on!

The primary difference between the two is that a router is a network element. It deciphers where your data needs to go. In contrast, a WAP is merely an alternative to wires. It allows you merely connect your devices wirelessly to the router or extend range, etc., giving you more mobility.

Furthermore, routers are utilized in homes and offices to interface between the internet and your private network. Thus, many computers can use the internet at the same time. A WAP needs a router to do this. Besides connectivity, a router also provides advanced security features with a firewall, antivirus, and NAT to protect internal networks.

So, if your router already has wireless functionality and you don’t want to extend speed or connect any more devices than you already can, then you don’t need a WAP device at all.

Final Thoughts

All said and done, the best wireless access point devices mentioned above are carefully picked to satisfy your requirements. Regardless of the cost, all of them offer excellent value for the price and come with more than enough reach, coverage, and speed that will leave you satisfied when putting to use. That is all for now. We hope you can make a more informed decision about which WAP device will be suitable for your use. Good luck, and thank you for reading.

About the author

Syed Asad

Asad is passionate about all things tech. He brings you reviews of the latest gadgets, devices, and computers