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WAP devices have become necessary for many businesses, institutions, or home users. Major issues like poor Wi-Fi coverage, slow connectivity, dead zones, weak signal, etc., are growing concerns, and these problems are eliminated by implementing WAP.
What is a WAP (Wireless Access Point)?
A wireless access point (WAP), also called an access point (AP), is a compact electronic device that allows other Wi-Fi devices to connect to a wired or wireless network.
WAP devices create a Wi-Fi network within an existing wired or wireless network to accommodate more wireless devices. They extend the range of a Wi-Fi router to provide broad wireless coverage and overcome dead spots, especially in larger homes, outdoor areas, apartments, offices, and buildings.
It’s easy to set up a WAP and allow any Wi-Fi-enabled computer or device to be part of a Wi-Fi network without using wires and cables.
The physical connectivity of a WAP, router, and Wi-Fi device is shown below. A WAP or AP is connected to the router via a wired medium.
What are the benefits of using a wireless access point (WAP)?
WAP devices have become a necessity for many businesses, institutions, or home users due to the following benefits.
- Strong signal coverage throughout the building (inside/outside)
- Easily extend the range of the Wi-Fi router
- Increase the number of potential users
- Large transmission range
- Useful for extending the wireless range of an existing network
- Flexible installation
In the following section, we will look at the best-selling WAP devices and their various models and features.
Ubiquiti is known for robust and versatile wireless solutions delivery. There are many access point (AP) models that meet the needs of small homes to large businesses.
Its Wi-Fi Base Station XG model supports 1,500 users, adequate for a stadium or large hall. Its point-to-point bridge solution supports multi-gigabit wireless connection between two locations up to 500 meters apart, for example, office buildings or IT parks.
Each model has been carefully designed to meet the exact needs of wireless and enhanced performance based on specific connectivity environments.
One of its uniqueness is that all wireless devices can be managed and controlled centrally from its UniFi controller software, running in NOC (Network Operations Center) or the cloud.
UniFi offers access point solutions for any network size to enhance the wireless experience, remote connectivity and simplify traffic management.
The latest models, U6 Lite and U6 Long-Range WAP devices are based on Wi-Fi 6 technology, which supports 300 simultaneous Wi-Fi devices, and OFDMA (Multiple Access with Orthogonal Frequency Split) technologies. They ensure the transmission and reception of large amounts of data across multiple devices to increase upload and download speed.
It supports two frequency bands, 2.4 and 5 GHz, and 3×3 MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) technology. These features are used to support critical system applications and high-density networks.
It provides five times faster connectivity and is designed to work efficiently in indoor and outdoor environments.
The UAP AC Pro offers Wi-Fi connectivity up to 122 meters and can also be connected to a third-party network switch for enterprise-grade access.
- Weather-resistant and versatile design
- Restrict airtime access to increase the capacity and efficiency of Wi-Fi devices.
- Automatically optimizes the connection speed by band steering technology
- Easy to manage with UniFi Network web app or mobile app.
This Gigabit AP is an enterprise-grade device and is scalable enough to provide high availability and low latency. You can control the UniFi controller remotely while on the field.
This UniFi UAP-AC-LR-US Long Range access point device is used indoor. It supports distances up to 183 meters (600 feet) and connection speed up to 1317 Mbps. It works simultaneously in two bands, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, with speeds up to 450 Mbit/s and 867 Mbit/s, respectively.
Its unique antenna design ensures symmetrical signal reception and transmission between antenna and Wi-Fi devices.
- Innovative antenna design to support high power and long-distance devices
- Firmware can be updated remotely
- Can be monitored and controlled via UniFi Network Controller
This WAP device is built on the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology and is designed to bridge long distances.
It has a compact nano-sized design and is built to work on 802.11ac Wave 2 dual-band.
It supports over 200 concurrent users with a speed of over 2 Gbps. It can easily integrate and accommodate your home/office décor as it comes with optional skins with four different designs.
The device is POE (Power over Internet) compatible that allows to install it without an electrical power outlet, and works only on LAN cable.
Its 4×4 Multi-User MIMO feature on 5GHz frequency ensures that devices simultaneously communicate with four Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The device provides a speed of 1.733 Gbps on 5 GHz and 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz.
It easily accommodates with UniFi Network Controller, which helps administrators manage and control it from a single centralized console.
The following video will provide an overview of Ubiquiti access points.
NETGEAR is a multinational company headquartered in California, US, that manufactures networking equipment for retailers and businesses. The product range includes WLAN devices, NAS, routers, storage devices, and more.
NETGEAR WAP devices deliver superior Wi-Fi performance with the highest bandwidth. Other key features of WAP include flexible deployment, excellent performance in high-density environments, and all devices are equipped with NETGEAR Insight software.
The NETGEAR Insight software is used for easy device installation, easy user monitoring, and remote control of WAP and other wireless devices in multiple places.
Here are some of the best-selling NETGEAR WAP devices.
It is one of NETGEAR’s best-selling desktop access points. The WAC104 is a Wi-Fi 5 device that supports dual bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) and speeds up to 1.2 Gbps. This device provides a Wi-Fi signal for 64 Wi-Fi devices and covers an area of up to 1000 sq. ft.
The device is equipped with 4 Ethernet ports with a speed of 1 Gbit/s to provide gaming devices, printers, computers, storage devices, and more with high-speed direct Internet.
This WAP device has one of the highest WAP2 wireless security protocols to safeguard all connected Wi-Fi devices.
- Two external antennas for a stronger signal and greater range
- Support Internet Protocol 6 version to improve performance
- It has 128 MB of NAND flash memory and 128 MB of DDR3 RAM
- Support wireless distribution system to connect with other AP
It is a highly functional and affordable device recommended for homes and offices to extend Wi-Fi coverage and provide a secure wireless network.
The WAX214 is a Wi-Fi 6 device that supports speeds up to 1.8 Gbps for faster data downloads, video streaming, live conferencing, and other bandwidth-intensive requirements.
It is very easy to install without any special knowledge and has a simple user interface to manage the device. The device is available in a small size that can be easily attached to a ceiling or wall without a power outlet as it is POE compatible.
- 4 SSIDs (Service Set Identifier) to create a separate and secure Wi-Fi network
- Flexible installation options for maximum Wi-Fi coverage
- WAP3 security protocol
- Supports MU-MIMO technology
It is an affordable WAP device for small offices, retail stores, conference rooms, etc. This device supports the highest level of authentication protocol that ensures secure wireless access for Wi-Fi devices.
TP-LINK access points are designed to create scalable high-speed wireless networks and connect multiple Wi-Fi-enabled devices simultaneously.
The TP-LINK AP is packed with powerful features that make the wireless experience more productive. Users can have a better experience downloading, playing online games, live streaming, etc.
Some of the best TP-LINK access point models are discussed below.
The EAP225 Omada AC1200 Wireless Gigabit Outdoor Access Point is one of the newest and most advanced versions of the access point. It is designed for indoor and outdoor use. It works with Wi-Fi 802.11ac Wave 2 and communicates with multiple devices at 1200 Mbit/s simultaneously.
To protect against external weather influences, the device is housed in a weatherproof housing. At 2.4 GHz, it transmits a Wi-Fi signal up to 200m, and at 5 GHz, the signal reaches 300m.
It is equipped with the latest Wi-Fi technology, including band steering, airtime fairness, and beamforming.
The device is protected by 6kv lightning, dust protection, and a waterproof enclosure.
- Omada SDN (Software Defined Network) Compatibility
- Supports 802.3af / on PoE and passive PoE power
- It can be managed from a central cloud system
- Self-recovery technology to route data in case of lost connection
The EAP225 WAP is a business-class device suitable for high-density environments as it is equipped with MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple-input, multi-output). The MU-MIMO technology makes it communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. Since the device can be installed outdoors, it is protected from extreme weather conditions.
The TP-Link CPE210 is specially developed for long-range outdoor use. It is equipped with a Qualcomm Atheros chipset and a high gain antenna and is housed in a special housing that can withstand temperatures from -40 degrees to 70 degrees Celsius.
This device transmits Wi-Fi signal up to 5km range with the help of a built-in high gain dual-polarized antenna.
It is equipped with TP-Link’s proprietary MAXtream TDMA Technology, which offers collision-free signal transmission and enhanced signal output.
It is compatible with a pharos centralized control system used for end-to-end device control, including device discovery, status monitoring, firmware upgrades, and more.
- Easy-to-use web-based management system for more specific device configuration
- Adjustable antenna transmission power
- Strong external protection – 6KV lightning and 15KV protection against electrostatic discharge
- Built-in 9dBi 2×2 dual-polarized MIMO directional antenna
The TP-Link CPE210 is an inexpensive external wireless solution. It offers professional performance, has the latest design, and is ideal for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint applications.
How to pick the right WAP for your personal or professional needs?
The WAP devices discussed above are the best-selling models of world-famous companies. Now the question arises – which one is better for your needs? Choosing the right WAP is not as difficult as choosing an electronic device or other information technology device.
Consider the following parameters while choosing your WAP.
Coverage: Zone coverage is one of the most critical parameters to consider when purchasing a WAP. If you at least have a rough idea of how much area a Wi-Fi signal should cover, it will help you choose the right WAP. WAPs with greater long-distance coverage are preferred as they reduce the need to add additional access points.
Speed: In fact, speed is the most important thing for all users. Typically, the speed of a WAP device is measured in megabits or gigabits per second. The Wi-Fi protocol supported by the WAP device determines the speed of the Wi-Fi connectivity. The following table shows the supported Wi-Fi protocols and speeds.
Capacity: The number of Wi-Fi devices supported by a WAP device determines its capacity without affecting performance. The more devices supported, the higher the price of the device. So check out how many devices need to be connected to WAP and accordingly pick your device.
Key features to watch: Dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), coverage, indoor and outdoor coverage based on your needs, Power over Ethernet (PoE) – reduces installation costs and offers the possibility of installing devices anywhere, MU-MIMO technology, etc.
Remote Management: If you want to install multiple WAP devices to cover a wider area, you can manage and control the devices more easily if you have WAP management software.
Security function: Safe and secure internet access is not an optional feature these days, but actually, it is an essential function that every device should have. Factors like content filtering, guest access, anti-spam, role-based access, malicious threat blocking, and more.
If you want a stable and uninterrupted wireless connection at home, in the office, or outdoors, you will need to install a wireless access point (WAP). When purchasing your WAP, consider several factors as described above.
We hope this post will help you choose the right and best WAP.
You may also be interested in the best Wi-Fi mesh systems.