Which wireless access point is best? 

Wi-Fi has become an essential aspect of everyday life around the globe. Whether it’s doing our jobs or connecting with family and friends, it’s the backbone of everything we do. More than ever before, our lives are taking place online, meaning we all need a dependable and stable Wi-Fi setup. 

Your wireless access point works as a secondary broadcast location that allows you to get more of the network for your devices so that you’re able to stay online. Adding a wireless access point can boost your Wi-Fi signal and make working from home considerably easier. 

What to know before buying a wireless access point

Wireless access points (known as WAPs) work with your wireless router, extending its reach and speed. It connects to a wireless network through a wired Ethernet connection or a wireless setup. These systems are ideal for buildings where you need to improve your Wi-Fi coverage to multiple areas. You can scale the speech and reach of your Wi-Fi network by adding additional WAPs to your setup. If you have a Wi-Fi ‘dead spotin your home or building, a WAP could be an ideal solution.

It’s all about location

One thing you want to consider before purchasing a wireless access point is the location in which you want to set it up. Most WAPs are designed to be placed in one of three locations in your building. 

Ceilings and wall-mounted WAPs are usually the size of a smoke detector and can provide coverage for an entire room. You’ll need to be able to provide the WAP with both power and a wired internet connection.

You can set a standalone WAP on any surface, making it look like your average wireless router. This setup gives you more flexibility and allows you to move the WAP around as needed.

Outdoor WAPs are designed to withstand changing weather conditions and are ideal for when you need to provide Wi-Fi outside your building, for example, in a patio or garden area.

Features to look for in a wireless access point

Range

You want to consider the range that you need for your WAP. If you have a small dead space in your home, you likely won’t need to worry about the range. If you’re looking for a WAP for a commercial property, you will want to make sure you choose a WAP that covers the range you need. Your average WAP can provide coverage between 5,000-10,000 square feet.

WAP capacity

Every WAP will have an optimal number of users on the system at any one time. Just like the range, this will be more of a concern for commercial properties or office buildings. It’s worth double-checking the listing to make sure the WAP capacity matches your needs.

Wireless protocol standards

Before you purchase your WAP, you’ll want to double-check that the wireless protocol standards are up to date. Some WAPs only support outdated protocol standards. You want to ensure that your WAP supports the 802.11ac wireless protocol, the current fastest standard.

How much does a wireless access point cost?

There are two main price points for a wireless access point. You can expect to pay $50-$100 for a WAP for a smaller apartment or if you only need it for one room. If you’re looking for additional features like wall-mounting kits, you can expect to pay $100-$200. These models are ideal for high-traffic areas and shared office spaces.

Wireless access point FAQ

Can I use my WAP with a rented wireless router?

A. This setup will depend on the specific model of wireless router that your ISP provides. Most of them will support third-party WAPs, but it is a good idea to double-check this before purchasing a WAP. 

How complicated is it to set up a WAP?

A. If you have already set up your Wi-Fi network, setting up your WAP won’t be too difficult for you. The set-up will involve connecting your WAP to the network and configuring the software. A mesh networking set-up may be easier if you’re not as tech-savvy, or a friend may be able to help you.

What is the best wireless access point to buy?

Top wireless access point

Netgear Wireless Access Point

Netgear Wireless Access Point

What you need to know: This WAP has an easy setup process, making it ideal for those who aren’t tech-savvy.

What you’ll love: This Ethernet-based WAP is a reliable source for any residential building. It includes an Ethernet cable and can be easily set up through the Netgear app.

What you should consider: You’ll need to set up the Netgear app, including making an account, to establish your WAP.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top wireless access point for the money

TP-Link WiFi Access Point

TP-Link WiFi Access Point

What you need to know: This affordable WAP is flexible and ideal for use in small residential buildings.

What you’ll love: You can utilize this system as a range extender or WAP, giving you more flexibility for expanding Wi-Fi coverage across your home. It has an impressive speed for its affordable price point.

What you should consider: The ethernet port is limited to 100 Mbps, which may not be enough for your daily browsing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

TP-Link 5GHz N300 Long Range

TP-Link 5GHz N300 Long Range

What you need to know: This compact WAP is small but mighty, offering strong coverage for commercial areas, including hotels and shared office spaces.

What you’ll love: The beamforming tech directs your bandwidth to where you need it most. It’s easy to install with high-speed dual-band Wi-Fi. This WAP comes with a free cloud management app.

What you should consider: It may be tricky to set up if you’re not familiar with using this style of tech.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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David Heiling writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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