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Best WAP of 2021: Wireless Access Points for home office and small business

(Image credit: Shutterstock)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

On the hunt for the best WAP (Wireless Access Point) devices? Then you're in the right place. The devices on this page allow you to connect your devices to a Wi-Fi network quickly and easily.

Buying the best WAP for your business or home office allows you to extend the reach of your Wi-Fi network. If you have a wireless router that struggles to reach every part of the building, or handle the demands of your growing business as you add ever more wireless devices, then our best WAP picks can help you out.

After all, the number of wireless devices in an office or home is continually growing. Laptops and tablets have to jostle for the Wi-Fi alongside smartphones, printers, projectors and more. The best WAP devices can help take the load of your router, allowing for much better wireless network performance.

Whatever reason you have for checking out the best WAP, we’ve listed our picks of the top models available below.

  • 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

Specifications
Connectivity: 802.11ac
Features: Single Control Plane management, Remote firmware upgrade, user and guest login support, guest portal/hotspot functionality
Reasons to buy
+AC Wi-Fi speeds+Clever management software+Compact design
Reasons to avoid
-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

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Fast 5GHz data rates+Expansive feature set
Reasons to avoid
-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

Specifications
Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n
Features: 300Mbps wireless transmission rate, WPA security, two non-removable antennas, up to 30 metre power over ethernet capability
Reasons to buy
+Very affordable+Supports passive PoE
Reasons to avoid
-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

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Great performance+Affordable+Useful configuration interface
Reasons to avoid
-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: Ubiquiti)

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

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

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Can be configured locally or using the cloud+Solid wireless performance+Extensive feature set
Reasons to avoid
-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

Specifications
Connectivity: 802.2af PoE 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
Features: Band steering, compatible with 802.3af, MU-MIMO, Support management VLAN for enhanced network management
Reasons to buy
+MU-MIMO onboard+Impressive feature set
Reasons to avoid
-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)

7. EnGenius Technologies ENS500-AC

WAP goes the distance – and then some

Specifications
Connectivity: 802.11ac
Features: 717 MHz quad-core CPU boosts wireless performance, 11ac Wave 2 tech, weatherproof IP55-rated housing, ezMaster Network Management Software
Reasons to buy
+Extends bandwidth over long distances+Can detach antennas+Weather-proof
Reasons to avoid
-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.

What is a WAP?

A Wireless Access Point (WAP) can be ideal if you're finding that the Wi-Fi signal emitted by your basic router isn't covering everywhere in your home or office.

Often a router’s Wi-Fi signal might not cover your whole property, leaving deadspots that need to be catered for - but a WAP can address that by boosting amplifying the signal further.

This boost can also allow more devices to connect to your Wi-Fi network, which can be useful if you have a lot of smart home or connected devices in your house, or multiple computing items in an office.