Adding a wireless access point to your computer network allows you to easily connect wireless devices. This is a useful option if your modem or router doesn’t offer a wireless connection.
Wireless access points are commonly used for enterprise solutions. Businesses may need to provide Wi-Fi connectivity to various workstations or mobile devices. Before spending money on a new AP (access point), you should explore all your options.
The first consideration is the Wi-Fi standard used by the AP. Some of the latest access points use 802.11ad, which offers a peak data transfer rate of 7 GB/s. Though, the 802.11n remains commonly used. For top performance, without spending a fortune, you should look at 802.11ac devices. This supports data rates up to 1.3 GB/s.
Finding the Right Computer Networking Wireless Access Point
How do you find the right wireless access point? You need to think about your needs. This may depend on whether you’re purchasing this for home or business use. Also, pay attention to the following features:
- Wireless range
- Mounting options
- Ethernet ports
- LED displays
- Power source
The wireless range is perhaps the most important feature. Typically, these wireless access points are used to expand the wireless coverage in office buildings and other facilities. This is easier when the wireless access point has good range.
If you are using this access point in your business, you may also need to mount the device in a discreet location. Some units are equipped with wall mounts while others are designed to be placed on a desktop.
At least one Ethernet port will be included for connecting the device to your computer network. But, you may want additional Ethernet ports for connecting wired devices as needed.
The power source can also vary. Some units may accept batteries while others include a power cord. You’ll also find that access points are available for indoor or outdoor use. This isn’t a major consideration. But, if you plan on placing your access point outdoors, you should ensure that the AP is meant for outdoor use.
Another detail to consider is the number of wireless stations or devices that will be connecting to the wireless access points. If you anticipate a lot of devices, then you may need additional access points. A typical 5Ghz access point will allow up to 9 channels, while a 2.4GHz will allow 3. Not having enough access points could lead to performance issues.
Finding the right AP will ensure that everyone in your business has access to the wireless network. This could be essential to your business operations.
If your current access points no longer support modern devices or you don’t have enough access points for the number of devices on the premises, then start your search for a new AP.
Best Computer Networking Wireless Access Points in 2017
This list of the top 10 best computer networking wireless access points in 2017 gives you a good selection to choose from.
Table of Contents
- 10. TRENDnet TEW-638APB Wireless N300 Access Point
- 9. ZyXEL Wireless Access Point with AP / Universal Repeater / Client Mode
- 8. EnGenius Technologies 802.11ac 2×2 Dual Band Ceiling-Mount Access Point
- 7. Netis WF2419 Wireless N300 Router, Access Point, and Repeater
- 6. Linksys Business Wireless-N600 Dual Band Access Point with PoE
- 5. D-Link Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Range Extender
- 4. TP-Link TL-WA901ND Wireless N450 3TER Access Point
- 3. Cisco Systems 802.11ac Wireless Access Point (WAP371AK9)
- 2. NETGEAR Dual Band 802.11ac Wireless Access Point (WAC104-100NAS)
- 1. Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio PRO Access Point
10. TRENDnet TEW-638APB Wireless N300 Access Point
The first option works as an access point and a wireless adapter. Other features include:
- 2.4 GHz frequency – 300Mbps data transfer
- 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi standard
- Compact high-performance design
- Two antennas
Why should you consider getting this AP? It is reliable. You can set this access point up in minutes and connect it to your network without issue.
There are several drawbacks. First, this AP is a little outdated. It is still using older Wi-Fi standards. It should still work with all modern devices. But, it does have limited data transfer rates compared to some of the other access points in this list. Another issue is the cost. It is affordable but there are cheaper options with faster transfer rates. Despite these drawbacks, it is still a good option thanks to its reliability.
9. ZyXEL Wireless Access Point with AP / Universal Repeater / Client Mode
Next is a wireless access point with multiple modes. You can switch between AP, universal repeater, or client mode. These modes are easy to setup. Other advantages and features include:
- 802.11n compliant – data transfer up to 300Mbps
- Two 5dBi antennas for improved signal strength
- 4 operating modes
- 2 Ethernet ports
This access point is easy to install and has two powerful antennas for extending your Wi-Fi coverage. It also features other operating modes. This includes client and universal repeater modes.
You won’t find any problems with this device. Though, it does use 802.11n instead of 802.11ac. Again, if speed is crucial, you’ll need to explore other options. But, 300Mbps should be enough for most business environments. The bottom line is that this affordable access point will be a great addition to any office – or home.
8. EnGenius Technologies 802.11ac 2×2 Dual Band Ceiling-Mount Access Point
Up next is a dual-band ceiling-mount access point. Explore the top features, advantages, and disadvantages of this AP:
- Dual band – 2.4GHz and 5GHz
- VLAN support
- Easy to install
- Optimizing WLAN bandwidth
- Supports Power over Ethernet
The first advantage of this AP is the speed. This access point offers fast data transfer rates. You can get speeds up to 867Mbps.
While this access point has great data transfer rates, it is pricey. If you require multiple access points, you may want to consider other options. But, for a single AP, this is one of the better choices. It is reliable, powerful, and offers the best wireless performance.
7. Netis WF2419 Wireless N300 Router, Access Point, and Repeater
The 7th best access point also works as a repeater. Other features include multi-wireless modes, and easy wireless security encryption, along with these details:
- Comes with a setup CD
- 25db high-gain antennas for improved signal coverage
- 2.4GHz band connection
One of the top reasons to consider this AP is the price. It costs less than rating30. But, it does have its limitations.
The limitations include the data transfer speeds. It uses 802.11n Wi-Fi and has transfer speeds up to 300Mbps. This is balanced out by the fast setup and easy configuration. It also has great signal strength. You can easily extend coverage up to 150 feet away with the help of this powerful little access point.
6. Linksys Business Wireless-N600 Dual Band Access Point with PoE
Here is a dual-band AP with multiple mounting options and Power over Ethernet. It has a sleek design and can be mounted on your ceiling or wall. Here are some of the other details and benefits:
- IPv6 support
- Dual band – 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz capability with speeds up to 600Mbps
- WDS and Workgroup bridge mode for range extension
- Industrial-strength Wi-Fi protected access
This little AP has great coverage. It is very easy to setup and will quickly connect using the provided web-based application. If you’re using a Power over Ethernet switch, then your staff should have no issues connecting with fast data transfer rates. With a gigabit switch, they should enjoy reliable data speeds, even with multiple devices connected.
One issue with this AP is the cost. You can get it on sale for about rating100, which is more than some of the other access points. You’ll need to decide if this cost is worth the added security and solid performance.
5. D-Link Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Range Extender
This next access point has a unique design. It is shaped like a cylinder and offers high-speed wireless connectivity to devices. Some of the main features include:
- 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Backward compatible with any wireless router brand
- Secure wireless encryption
- Dual band connectivity – for greater flexibility
This is a great product and can help provide full Wi-Fi coverage wherever it is needed. Installation is easy and the unique design means that you don’t need to hide this in the corner of your office. When using the 5Ghz band, you should get at least 128Mbps on multiple devices.
There are no drawbacks – unless you’re looking for an AP that you can install on the ceiling or wall. This is meant to be placed on a desk or flat surface. So, the only thing keeping this from being a top choice for everyone is the mounting options. But, it is a dependable AP with solid transfer rates and performance.
4. TP-Link TL-WA901ND Wireless N450 3TER Access Point
This AP uses 802.11n wireless and can work as an access point, client, bridge, or repeater. Easily extend your range, thanks to these features:
- 450Mbps wireless transmission rate
- Supports multiple operating modes
- Up to 30 meters of Power over Ethernet capability
For this price point, it’s surprising to find an AP with this many configuration and mounting options. This makes the AP versatile and suitable for multiple purposes. There are zero complaints about the signal strength or connectivity. In fact, it provides flawless 802.11n connectivity with data transfer speeds up to 450Mbps.
It should be mentioned that this is still slower than some of the other access points. If speed is essential, you should consider getting an AP with 802.11ac connectivity. In the end, this AP should meet your needs, if you’re on a budget and need to extend your signal range. Though, it also serves other purposes and provides multiple operating modes.
3. Cisco Systems 802.11ac Wireless Access Point (WAP371AK9)
Here is a quality access point made by a company that you can rely on. This AP features 802.11ac wireless connectivity – offering 3 times the speed of 802.11n devices. It also offers the following features:
- Works right out of the box
- Simple web-based configuration
- Single point set up – doesn’t require a controller
- Allows for highly secure guest access
This easy-to-use AP works fine. It offers fast data transfer and easy installation. You can deploy several of these access points in an hour or two. Configuration is handled through a web-based application.
If you’re searching for a disadvantage, it’s that the AP is expensive. This device costs about rating200, depending on the latest sale price. This is several times the cost of most of the access points discussed. But, if you want the best quality, this is your best option. If you prefer value over quality, then there is still one more option to consider.
2. NETGEAR Dual Band 802.11ac Wireless Access Point (WAC104-100NAS)
Up next is a dual-band AP that uses the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. It offers data transfer speeds of 1.2 GB/s. It is also backward compatible with 11n devices. Here are some more reasons to consider this AP:
- Easy to setup and configure
- 3-year warranty
- Factory-tuned external antennas for better signal strength
This AP has great range and it’s easy to setup. It also includes 4 Ethernet ports for connecting devices.
There are no disadvantages. You should no problem using this to extend the range of your Wi-Fi network. It’s perfect for both home use and business use. Overall, this is one of the top choices due to its affordable price and superior signal strength.
1. Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio PRO Access Point
Here is the top computer networking wireless access point. It has a streamlined design, which can be mounted discreetly on a wall or ceiling. This disc-like design helps the AP remain out of view. Other features include:
- 3 dual-band antennas
- 9W max power consumption
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard
- 2 Ethernet ports
This is the best-selling AP. It is very easy to setup and use. It comes with everything that you need to mount it and does not require a controller. The small, sleek design is also an advantage. Other benefits include the easy-to-use software and the ability to use this AP outdoors – weatherproof design. There are more advantages but the list could go on for quite a while.
There are plenty of pros and no cons. This is the best AP for your money. And, you can save money by purchasing them in bulk. If you’re searching for a reliable, easy-to-use AP that uses the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, this is your best choice – unless you require a special feature not included on this device. But, for the majority, this will suit your needs.