Wireless Access Points (AP) may seem dated since most routers have built-in wireless, but an AP can be useful in many WiFi scenarios.
For example, they can be used in a backyard with a weak wireless signal or a detached garage.
WiFi Access points are mainly used in large homes or businesses that need lots of WiFi coverage than a router can give, but they can also be used in any environment a WiFi signal needs a boost.
They can add wireless to any network by converting a wired Ethernet signal to wireless.
Early APs were used to add wireless to a network; this made them an invaluable tool in the early days of WiFi.
Almost all routers today will already have wireless built-in; for this reason, an AP today is multipurpose and can also be used to extend, boost, or bridge WiFi communication.
There are many good units available with some of our favorite picks below.
As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon, forums, or elsewhere to be sure a unit is a good fit for you.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Our Picks for Best Wireless Access Points 2021
- EnGenius EWS357AP Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
- Netgear EX6120
- TP-Link RE450
- TP-Link N300
- Ubiquiti Networks Enterprise AP
- NETGEAR AC1200
- Dodocool N300
The EnGenius EWS357AP is a WiFi-6 (802.11ax) wireless access point with the newest WiFi technology.
WiFi-6, also called 802.11ax, is a big improvement over older wireless standards both-in speed and security.
Keep in mind many devices do not have built in WiFi-6 and will default to an older standard.
All wireless protocol are backward compatible so any older devices will automatically use the fastest protocol they have built-in.
For example, an Xbox One has 802.11ac WiFi-5 technology which it will default to if using a WiFi-6 access point.
The Netgear EX6120 is a 802.11ac range extender/access point that works in both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequencies.
802.11ac is a fast WiFi protocol and is backward compatible with all previous standards.
This means it is compatible with most any network along with fast transfer speeds.
Like most access points it also can be used as a range extender.
The basic setup for AP mode is to run an Ethernet cable to it from a router and setup the SSID and password for wireless devices to connect to it.
The TP-Link RE450 is also a 802.11ac device that has multiple modes including acting as an access point.
It plugs directly into an outlet and can extend an existing signal or be its own access point.
It also has three antennas that stick out the top to get better wireless reception.
TP-Link is a very popular company that makes many good WiFi products from routers to WiFi adapters.
The RE450 unit is a good in a variety of wireless scenarios including access point.
This unit made by TP-LINK is also a booster, extender, or access point.
It is Wireless-N and can transfer data up-to 300Mbps.
Wireless-N is not the fastest speeds but the older standard works in the 2.4GHz range which can travel farther compared to new standards in the 5GHz range.
Like other units is can be used as a wireless access point by converting a wired connection to a wireless signal.
It also plugs into a wall socket for power. This is a good option for those looking for a low-cost budget solution.
Ubiquiti Networks created this enterprise solution that can start small and grow as needed.
The small round access point can be used single or in series with multiple units talking to each other.
This gives them great expand-ability if needed. For example, 2-3 can be started with and if more coverage is needed more simply bought.
Units can expand an existing WiFi signal or convert a wired signal.
Homeowners can benefit by using 1 to 3 units, while a business can benefit by using many more. Ubiquiti Networks Enterprise AP are often used in hotels and motels for an easy budget solution to enterprise WiFi.
For those who need the fast and reliable wireless signal the NETGEAR 802.11ac Access Point is worth a look.
It has transfer speeds of 300Mbps in the 2.4GHz range and 867Mbps in 5GHz range along with being backward compatible with older devices.
It is a good unit that would a good fit in a large home or a small office.
It plugs into a wall outlet and can boost, extend an existing wireless signal or can convert a wired connection into a WiFi access point.
While it does use the older 802.11n protocol it would be compatible with most any device and has a very easy WPS button setup.
Best Wireless Access Points 2021 Comparison Chart
|Ubiquiti Networks Enterprise AP||802.11N||2.4GHz|
Wireless access points have evolved over the years to help manage a wireless environment in the easiest way possible.
The wide range in which they can fit into a network make them an invaluable tool for a homeowner or business owner.
Routers can do a great job when all the devices are close and little barriers in the way, but once any distance is introduced they will need help to get a good signal.
Most access point devices today are multi purpose and can be configured to help a router in a number of ways, from simply boosting a wireless signal to converting a wired connection to wireless.
Most homes will be fine with a low-cost unit while a larger home or small business will likely want the speed of a WiF-5 802.11ac or WiF-6 802.11ax unit.