Hardware Networking

Best Wireless Access Point Devices

An ordinary router cannot handle the congestion created by multiple users trying to access the internet at the same time. They also leave dead spots (areas with zero coverage). If you are running a small business where multiple people need access to the internet or just want better internet coverage around your home, 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 points come in handy. They handle large throughput by sharing the traffic load. In addition, 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

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 but 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 extremely 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
  • 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

The EAP350 has a 2.4GHz Wireless-N access point that packs quite a punch in terms of transmitting power (29dbm to be exact). Due to this reason, the first thing you will notice is the long WiFi range. In fact, its range is twice its competitors. 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 all types of home users. As the WAP has a tendency to crash under excessive load, using it for large organizations may not be suitable.

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
  • Has the tendency to crash under load

3. TP-Link AC1750 WiFi Extender

Featuring a distinctive design that looks like a gadget straight out of a Star Trek movie, this dual-band WiFi extender is the fastest 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. 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 soli proximity throughput, excellent range, and an affordable price.

Pros

  • Offers exceptional throughput
  • Straightforward and easy installation
  • Excellent range performance
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Limited LAN ports
  • No Pass-through out

4. Securifi Almond – (3 Minute Setup) Touchscreen WiFi Wireless Access Point

Almond’s touch screen offers a convenient way to set up and manage the router settings without needing a CD, computer, or MAC. 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. While it’s 802.11n rates may not be the fastest among competitors, this device is suited to users looking for convenience.

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
  • Expensive

5. Netgear WAC104

Netgear’s WAC104 is a winner on three fronts. First, is the ease of configuration when compared with competitors from Dlink, Cisco, and Linksys WAPs in both manual configuration and backup import. Second, is stability under load. In our stress tests under both cold and hot temperature conditions, the device held steady with only two failures between 110 to 115 Fahrenheit temperature. 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.

Pros

  • Relatively small and compact
  • Very easy and straightforward configuration
  • 24/7 stable
  • Very manageable User Interface

Cons

  • Needs proper ventilation to prevent overheating issue

6. TP-Link AC750 WiFi Extender – RE220

The second WAP device from TP-Link on our list of devices is the AC 750 WiFi Extender. It boasts a speed of 750 Mbps while covering an area of 1200 Sq.ft and simultaneously connecting 20 devices. It’s set up is easy: the smart indicator LED helps identify the ideal location. 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, with APS, Dual-band or tri-band range extender can dynamically select the best backhaul connection between 2. 4/5G/5G2 to make sure that the RE to the router has the best connection possible, and in such way maintain a better overall WiFi performance.

Pros

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

Cons

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

7. Linksys LAPAC1200C AC1200

The final WAP device on our list of 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 at the same time, generating real-time stats, thereby reducing the 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.

Pros

  • The cloud manager helps manage multiple accounts
  • Has a combined transfer rate of 1.17 Gaps
  • PoE compatible
  • Advanced security protocols

Cons

  • Expensive
  • This WAP is mainly for internal use

Factors to consider for buying the best wireless access point device 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 then 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, in case 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) if it finds any broken or congested paths.

Final Thoughts

All said and done, the products 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 enjoyed our reviews. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

About the author

Syed Asad

Syed Asad

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