If you want to give your existing network a little help handling all of these devices, adding a WAP can allow you to upgrade your connectivity and overall internet experience without having to call your ISP. Here you’ll find our top picks for the best WAPs or Wireless Access Points alongside our price comparison tool to help you get the best prices.
This month, we made sure to find some of the best options currently available according to a few significant markers.
Investing in a Wireless Access Point or WAP can be a game-changer for your home office or small business, as doing so will ensure you have a robust Wi-Fi connection everywhere you may need.
Even with one of the best wireless routers (opens in new tab) on the market, you may still find internet dead zones around your home or small business, especially if it’s a larger property. At the same time, you may have multiple devices vying for bandwidth to stay connected throughout your home or small business. This is where a Wireless Access Point can come in handy, as adding one such device can provide strong internet access for all your smartphones, tablets, computers, smart home devices, and more.
Netgear has designed the WAX214 (opens in new tab) to be surprisingly simple to set up and install at your office or home. While it may not allow for as many concurrent users as more expensive options, it’s an affordable solution that supports Wi-Fi 6 and works just as well in a large home as in an office. The WAX214 includes mounting brackets on its underside, as it should be placed either high up on a wall or, ideally, on the ceiling. It’s worth noting that this unit doesn’t come with a power adapter as it supports Power over Ethernet (PoE). Using a LAN cable, you’ll need a PoE switch or injector to power the device. The WAX214 is a dual-band WAP with support for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, and Netgear says it can handle up to 128 devices simultaneously.
Read the full review: Netgear WAX214 WiFi 6 PoE+ Access Point (opens in new tab)
The WAX610D (opens in new tab) WAP from Zyxel can be wall or ceiling-mounted to bring WiFi 6 to your home office or business reliably. The device itself is made from quality components. Zyxel has included extras like an anti-noise spreader, surge and ESD protection, and a 4G/5G filter to minimize interference from cellular networks. The WAX610D also packs a powerful quad-core CPU, two Ethernet ports (one at 2.5Gbps), and best-in-class internal antennas. While it may be slightly higher than the competition, the WAX610D can be managed remotely via an app and a free cloud service.
Read the full review: Zyxel WAX610D WiFi 6 PoE Access Point (opens in new tab)
Although Wi-Fi 6 may be the latest and greatest, Wi-Fi 5 still has a lot to offer, and the 240AC (opens in new tab) from Cisco is a well-built and affordable WAP to meet the needs of most users. The 240AC sports a Qualcomm quad-core CPU with 1GB of RAM and 256MB of Flash memory, and Cisco says that up to 400 clients can use this WAP simultaneously. Wall mounting holes can be found at the unit's base, and it also ships with a flat Ethernet cable to power it when connected to a PoE Ethernet switch. This WAP’s range can also be extended further when paired with the company’s 142AC mesh extender.
Read the full review: Cisco 240AC Wi-Fi 5 Access Point (opens in new tab)
With the EAP660HD, TP-Link refreshes its small and home office product line with Wi-Fi 6 technology. The access point featuring remote management and high-gain antennas comes in an imposing plastic case. It feels solid and accommodates eight antennas for the two radio bands the EAP660HD serves. A quad-core Qualcomm CPU and a generous amount of memory guarantee good responsiveness. It supports up to 16 SSIDs and multiple concurrent connections streaming video content with very few packet drops.
But where the EAP660HD shines is with the software and tech support that TP-Link provides. First, it is very easy to access the AP remotely, even across the Internet, thanks to the Omada Cloud application. The AP software is regularly updated when potential vulnerabilities are found, and an easy-to-use mobile application is available both for Android and iPhone. Its main drawback is not using the Wi-Fi 6 to its full potential, as the EAP660HD uses an 80MHz bandwidth for the 5GHz band.
Read the full review: TP-Link EAP660HD Wi-Fi 6 Access Point (opens in new tab)
For a Zyxel access point, the WAX630S isn’t the most expensive it makes, but it’s also not the cheapest either.
The attractive features of this design include support for six simultaneous streams, with four over 5GHz and another two using 2.4GHz, a 2.5GbE PoE LAN connection, and a sophisticated internal antenna array.
When combined with special hardware filters, the antenna design reduces the interference from 5G/4G masts and other wireless transmitters. This unit has also been configured to work equally well if it is wall or ceiling-mounted, enabling more flexibility for deployment.
Part of the range of hardware that works with Zyxel’s cloud-based Nebula management tools, the WAX630S is a sophisticated access point built for city office installation and other challenging wireless environments.
Unfortunately, it's priced accordingly and competes with similar or better specification hardware at a lower price point.
If it were to become cheaper, many IT professionals might find the WAX630S an attractive proposition.
Read the full review: Zyxel WAX630S (opens in new tab)
The EWS850AP (opens in new tab) is a mesh-enabled WAP from EnGenius that is ideal for businesses that operate outdoors, but it can also be used in your home if you want full wireless coverage in your backyard. As the device is powered over Ethernet, a 1Gbit PoE injector is included, so you don’t have to buy your own. As the EWS850AP is intended for outdoor use, EnGenius includes all the hardware needed to mount it directly on a wall or a metal pole. One downside, though is that it only has a 2x2 WiFi configuration which means that it only supports two channels on each frequency with its four antennas. Still, though, for a 2x2 WiFi 6 access point, the EWS850AP has excellent performance, and it can also connect via 2.5GbE, but you will need to purchase a separate PoE injector.
Read the full review: EnGenius EWS850AP Outdoor Access Point (opens in new tab)
The final device on our list is an outlier since it’s technically a powerline adapter (opens in new tab). Still, the Powerline 500 Wi-Fi Access Point (opens in new tab) from Netgear can help extend your network by using the power lines in your home or business to carry the network further before turning it into a wireless signal. While the adapters included in this package are quite small, they can only deliver 100 Mbps per second over Ethernet and 300 Mbps via the access point.
Read the full review: Netgear Powerline 500 Wi-Fi Access Point (opens in new tab)
What is a WAP?
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A Wireless Access Point (WAP) can be an excellent solution if the Wi-Fi signal from your router isn’t covering the entirety of your home or office.
As is often the case, a router’s Wi-Fi signal may not cover your whole property, and you’ll have dead spots as you move farther away from your router. Fortunately, a WAP can address these by boosting a router’s signal further.
At the same time, this connectivity boost can allow you to connect more devices to your Wi-Fi network, which can be especially useful if you have a lot of smart home or connected devices in your house or office.