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Best WAP of 2019: Wireless Access Points for small businesses and home office

(Image credit: Buro Millennial/Pexels)

There are several reasons for wanting a Wireless Access Point (WAP) for your small business or home office. Your router’s Wi-Fi signal might not cover your whole property, for a start, leaving deadspots that need to be catered for.

And in scenarios where less capable routers are ill-equipped to handle large amounts of throughout from an increasing number of smart devices entering homes and businesses, a WAP can help share the load.

Whatever reason you have for checking out the best WAP of 2019, we’ve listed our picks of the best models available to save you time and money.

  • Want your company or services to be added to this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to desire.athow@futurenet.com with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line. 

(Image credit: Ubiquiti Networks)

1. Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio PRO Access Point (UAP-AC-PRO-US)

Nifty access points take no time to set up

Connectivity: 802.11ac | Features: Single Control Plane management, Remote firmware upgrade, user and guest login support, guest portal/hotspot functionality

AC Wi-Fi speeds
Clever management software
Compact design
Case gets hot

These clever disk-shaped wireless access points have three dual-bad antennas inside and can be fixed to ceilings or placed anywhere else around a property. After setting them up through the cloud or locally, you can manage all of them at once from an intuitive network view that also lets you further configure and control them while monitoring their data throughput. Ubiquiti Networks' WAP features guest portal/hotspot support, user accounts, and remote firmware upgrade capability. Better yet, the access points take just minutes to set up – power them up, log on, pop in the SSID and you’re away.

(Image credit: Linksys)

2. Linksys Business LAPAC2600 Pro Series AC2600 Dual-Band MU-MIMO Wireless Access Point

A unique design with fast 5GHz speeds

Connectivity: 802.11ac | Features: Mu-MIMO Tech, 4x4 dual-band (2.5+Ghz AC), seamless roaming, single point control clustering, captive portal for customized Wi-Fi hotspot

Fast 5GHz data rates
Expansive feature set
Lacks external antennas
Average 2.4Ghz performance

Linksys has a winner in the LAPAC2600, which can give routers a welcome boost when used over the 5Ghz band. This results in a connection that feels like you’re connect using an ethernet cable, it’s that solid. It can be configured in Linksys’ busy, but not complex captive portal which be configured for guest use. This lets an organisation’s workers access certain basic network services while keeping vital operations behind lock and key.

(Image credit: TP-Link)

Can be powered using just an Ethernet cable

Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n | Features: 300Mbps wireless transmission rate, WPA security, two non-removable antennas, up to 30 metre power over ethernet capability

Very affordable
Supports passive PoE
Not the fastest Wi-Fi standard

TP-Link's N300 could be mistaken for a Wi-FI router with its two large antennas sticking out of the top. It’s a fast performer, offering 300Mbps wireless transmission rates over 802.11n, which isn’t market-leading but that is reflected in the access point’s low price. It supports multiple operating modes – including being used as an access point, a client, a WDS repeater or a wireless bridge. It also offers Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability up to 100 feet for more flexible positioning.

(Image credit: Netgear)

4. NETGEAR AC1200 Dual Band Wireless Access Point (WAC104)

An affordable option that brings the speed

Connectivity: 802.11ac | Features: Factory tuned antennas for maximum signal, Advanced security and flexible configuration, IPV6 support, WiFi Protected System (WPS), 4 x built-in Ethernet ports

Great performance
Affordable
Useful configuration interface
No MU-MIMO tech

This affordable WAP from Netgear beings the speed with dual-band 802.11ac tech, and it even features a USB port for charging a device. Sadly, there’s no MU-MIMO streaming tech onboard. It does sport an easy to use Advanced Home interface that lets you view network settings for both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands, and there you can also configure port forwarding (and triggering) settings, set up a VPN, control access control scheduling, block websites and set up email alerts when somebody tries to access a website you’ve banned. 

(Image credit: Securifi)

5. Securifi Almond Touchscreen Wireless Router/Range Extender

Features a color touchscreen for simple setup

Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n | Features: 300Mbps MIMO, 2 antennas, 2 LAN + 1 WAN ports, Port forwarding, Firewall, DMZ, UPnP

Innovative touchscreen
Smart design
Only 802.11b/g/n
Requires users to register an account

Now for something a bit different. This touch-screen equipped wireless router also acts as a range extender. Thanks to that innovative screen, the Securify Almond takes just minutes to setup - with no PC or Mac required. Thanks to a universal range extender mode it’s compatible with most router brands – from Netgear and Linksys to Belkin. Its 802.11n speeds aren’t the fastest on offer, but this is a WAP that’s more suited to those looking for convenience than the fastest Wi-Fi tech that money can buy.

(Image credit: Cisco)

6. Cisco (WAP561-A-K9) Wireless-N Dual Radio Selectable-Band Access Point with Single Point Setup

Lets you securely manage guest access

Connectivity: 802.11n | Features: 10/100/1000BASE-T autosensing, 3 x 3 MIMO, 16 SSIDs, Gigabit Ethernet LAN interface with PoE

MIMO capability
Secure guest access
Only 802.11n
A little pricey

This WAP from Cisco is a Wireless-N model with dual radios. It’s larger than your average access point, and suitable for small businesses looking to use it in conjunction with other access points over a LAN. The Cisco features a built-in antenna that optimises its radio configuration when fixed to a wall or ceiling. It comes with a captive portal built-in, which provides a facility for registered (using a password) or guest users to access the local network.

(Image credit: D-Link)

A fast and smartly designed range extender

Connectivity: 802.11ac | Features: Simultaneous dual band Wi-Fi, multiple antenna technology, x 4 Gigabit LAN ports, Wi-Fi Protected Setup, Backwards compatible with wireless 802.11/n/g/b/a, WPA or WPA2 security

Especially good performance over 5Ghz band
Four LAN ports
USB port is 2.0

D-Link’s vertically-standing AC1200 remains worth a look in on the strength of its design, impressive speeds (especially so over the 5Ghz band), simple operation and four rear LAN ports. The WAP features dual-band Wi-Fi over four non-removable antennas that operate over the 2.4Ghz and aforementioned 5Ghz spectrum bands. It’s straightforward to install and setup and features an easy-to-use web configuration-based interface for assigning network priority to clients, tweaking IPv4 and IPv6 Firewall settings, and adjusting port forwarding and website filter settings. That its sole USB port is 2.0 rather than 3.0 is a minor flaw.

(Image credit: Ubiquiti)

8. Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M-PRO-US Unifi Access Point

An enterprise-style AP solution that won’t break the bank

Connectivity: 802.11ac 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz | Features: 3 x 3 MIMO, remote firmware upgrade, user and guest support, single control pane, guest portal/hotspot support

Can be configured locally or using the cloud
Solid wireless performance
Extensive feature set
UniFi setup requires concentration

This Ubiquiti model introduces enterprise-grade features at an affordable price. It’s a little more complex to set up than your average AP, requiring connection to a computer, powersource and finally a UniFi controller. The latter is a mechanism to control multiple UniFi access points, which is a bonus if your organisation want to deploy and manage multiple UAP-AC-Pro units. This WAP can be configured locally or via the cloud and offers solid wireless performance.

(Image credit: TP-Link)

A MU-MIMO equipped option that’s easy to operate

Connectivity: 802.2af PoE 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz | Features: Band steering, compatible with 802.3af, MU-MIMO, Support management VLAN for enhanced network management

MU-MIMO onboard
Impressive feature set
Setup may be complex for some
No USB ports

TP-Link’s model comes with some nifty features including MU-MIMO for simultaneous data transfer with multiple devices, band steering (which speeds up devices by moving then to the 5Ghz band) and PoE (power-over-ethernet) for added convenience. It’s a great value option for home offices and small businesses alike, offering fast Wi-Fi speeds, simple web-based configuration and easy-to-setup security that does more of the legwork for you. 

(Image credit: EnGenius)

10. EnGenius Technologies ENS500-AC

WAP goes the distance – and then some

Connectivity: 802.11ac | Features: 717 MHz quad-core CPU boosts wireless performance, 11ac Wave 2 tech, weatherproof IP55-rated housing, ezMaster Network Management Software

Extends bandwidth over long distances
Can detach antennas
Weather-proof
Documentation isn’t great

Operating over the speedy 802.11ac spectrum band, this WAP from EnGenius Technologies features optimal bandwidth support. Designed to be used as an outdoor bridge in locations where cabling isn’t possible or practical, secondary IP device can be connected to allow for high bandwidth coverage over long distances. Because of this, it has IP55-rated housing and comes with integrated or detachable antenna options.