Access Point Buying Guide for 2020

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By Wiredgraft Editor
Last updated: May 27, 2020

 

You want a fast and reliable Wi-Fi network throughout the house so that smartphones, tablets and notebooks get a smooth Internet connection? An access point fulfils these requirements. An access point ensures Wi-Fi reception everywhere, where no one exists yet. This may be the case due to the absence of a WLAN network, but also due to lack of range and stability of the existing signal.

 

Purchase advice: How to find the right access point in 2020

1: An access point opens its own Wi-Fi network. This is especially useful in large buildings with many walls and walls and the associated poor reception of the existing signal.

 

2: The function of the WLAN access point is similar to that of a WLAN repeater. The difference is that the access point sends its own WLAN signal and not only amplified. An access point is connected via LAN cable to the router (alternatively hubs or switches).

 

3: Many access points do not require a power outlet. Thanks to their low energy requirements, they draw power via the LAN connection (Power over Ethernet, PoE for short). In this case, it is an access point with PoE.

 

Lately, you are dissatisfied with your internet connection? This does not always have to be the provider, but can also be signs of an outdated router. Complete your router with access points so that you have received throughout the house

 

 Use the table above and purchase advice for our 2018 Access Point Comparison to find the perfect wireless access point for your purpose. Say goodbye to the bad Wi-Fi reception and stream your favourite films in the garden in the best quality and without jerking.

 

1. This can be an access point

There is hardly a household without its own Wi-Fi network today. PCs and notebooks, smartphones and tablets, printers and many more devices – all connect wirelessly to the Internet and are online everywhere in the house.

 

Prerequisite is a flawless Wi-Fi reception in the whole building. This is where the sticking point often lies, as a recent survey by Statista shows. The signal of the router is usually not enough in the farthest corner of the house or in the garden.

 

This problem is solved by an access point (AP for short). It is connected directly to the router (or a hub or switch) via LAN cable and then sends out its own WLAN network after the one-time setup. So he creates AP remedy for no or a weak Wi-Fi signal and thus poor wireless Internet reception. It achieves a more stable and faster connection than a repeater.

 

1.1. Compact: Advantages and Disadvantages of an Access Point

 

ADVANTAGES

Sends its own Wi-Fi network.

More stable connection because connected to the router via network cable.

often higher range and speeds.

 

DISADVANTAGE

Network connection via cable to the router required.

Elaborate in the installation.

Most expensive than WiFi repeater

 

2. Private and in the company in the use

Access points are used both in private homes and in companies. Below, we compare the purpose, where, and what are the different requirements for the devices. In addition, we also offer an explanation of why access points are used and how to connect your router to access points. 

 

2.1. Access point for private households

Do not have a Wi-Fi network in your home yet? Or you can not reach every room of the house with the existing signal? With an access point, you supplement your existing WLAN network or open your first, if so far none exists (eg due to an old telephone system).

 

An AP is especially useful if you have network cabling throughout the house. This is often the case with new buildings. In this case, you can simply plug the AP into the wall socket on the wall in any room. Already enjoy in its surroundings impeccable Wi-Fi. Or you provide your AP with your garden with impeccable Wi-Fi coverage.

 

2.2. Access point for companies

Access points also play a major role in companies. Often, the workstations are interconnected by network (Ethernet). In order for smartphones, tablets and notebooks to gain access to the Internet, WLAN is also required.

 

This is provided by an AP or provide several APs (depending on the size of the building or the company premises). This means that even non-wired devices are integrated into the company network and have access to data, infrastructure and the Internet.

 

2.3. Different access point types compared

What distinguishes the APs for home and open-plan office, explains the following comparison.

Type

characteristics

For home

  1. designed for fewer users
  2. lower speeds
  3. stripped-down features and functions
  4. better

For companies

  1. designed for many simultaneous users
  2. higher theoretical maximum speeds
  3. more functions (MIMO streams, distribution of network resources, etc.)
  4. expensive

 

 

A distinction is also made between an outdoor access point and indoor devices. We will take a closer look at this in our purchase advice. Other differences are mounting, whereby an access point is usually suitable for wall and ceiling mounting.

 

3. Own WLAN distinguishes an access point from the WLAN repeater

Access point and WLAN repeaters are often confused with each other. They differ, however, in some key points.

 

The AP sends out its own WLAN. To do this, it is connected to a router via network cable. In this way, you can also provide places for a Wi-Fi where previously none was available, eg. Because the nearest wireless router or repeater is too far away. In addition, an AP allows the extension of a LAN network to wireless connections (WLAN), which z. B. is interesting for companies.

 

The WLAN repeater, on the other hand, does not create its own WLAN network. Instead, it captures and amplifies the existing signal from a router, repeater, or AP. It does not require a direct connection by cable. The signal is not that reliable.

 

3.1. The access point or repeater? Depending on these factors

Whether a WLAN access point or repeater is the better choice depends on various factors. If there is no WLAN, the access-point router is definitely the right choice. A repeater can only amplify an existing signal and not build its own WLAN network.

 

But even with existing Wi-Fi, there are differences. If there is a network connection in the vicinity of the planned location, then an AP is also recommended. He usually offers a more stable connection. If no direct cabling is possible, the repeater is the simplest solution to implement. In this case, we recommend our WLAN Repeater test.

 

4. Purchase advice: That should provide an access point

Are you looking for a new AP? Our Access Point Purchasing Advice informs you which criteria you should pay particular attention to, so that the device perfectly suits your requirements. If you are aware, then find the best access point for your needs at the top of this page in the large access point test or comparison.

 

4.1. The application area and the expectations

One of the key criteria, which model from our access point comparison is the right one, depends on the purpose. Depending on the application, different requirements arise.

 

While in the open-plan office, especially the access for many participants at consistently high speeds are required, usually a simple model for private use with not too high requirements, so you can buy your new access point low. In general, all APs can be used for private use, while for companies usually only the more powerful models come into question. A comparison of both variants can be found at the top of this page.

 

Another criterion is the location. Access points are typically used in buildings. But there are also devices for outdoor use. If an Access Point Outdoor is to be used, make sure that it is suitable for this purpose. Outdoor access points are weatherproofed according to IP certification. They are ideal for B. also in the garden or on a large company premises Wi-Fi reception to ensure.

 

4.2. Frequency Band: Better two than one

There are generally two types of frequency bands on which access points can spark:

Single-band (2.4 GHz)

Dual Band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz)

 

Both frequency bands have different characteristics and advantages. The 2.4 GHz frequency is robust and achieves a high access point range. However, maximum speeds of about 450 Mbit / s are possible. The dual-band (5 GHz) is much faster and achieves speeds of up to 1,300 MBit / s. But it is less robust and therefore more susceptible to interference.

 

Highly recommended is an access point with dual-band. Then you benefit from both frequency bands and can change them as needed.

 

4.3. WLAN standard: AC recommended

Theoretical max. Speed ??of different WLAN standards at one transmitter or receiver per device:

802.11b: max. 11 Mbps

802.11g: max. 54 Mbps

802.11g ++: max. 125 Mbps

802.11n: max. 300 Mbps

802.11ac: max. 867 Mbps

 

The second criterion that you should pay attention to is the protocol or the WLAN standard. At least the 802.11n should be supported. Even faster and better is 802.11ac. Then one speaks of an access point with WLAN AC.

 

4.4. MIMO: for more users

It makes sense, in any case, if your new access point has MIMO on board. This abbreviation stands for Multiple In Multiple Out. It indicates the number of transmitters and receivers communicating simultaneously and independently of each other.

 

An AP with 2 x 2 MIMO has z. B. two receiving and transmitting units. Thus, data can be exchanged on twice as many communication channels.

 

The higher the MIMO value, the better and faster the data exchange takes place (eg for streams). For many users MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple In Multiple Out) is ideal. In this case, the access point can communicate with several clients at the same time (ie user terminals). This provides speed advantages when multiple users access the AP at the same time.

 

4.5. PoE for more freedom

You should also think about the site before you buy. As a rule, an access point is intended for wall and ceiling mounting. It makes sense to use an access point with PoE, ie with a power supply via the network connection. So you do not have to worry about having a free outlet nearby.

 

Minimum requirements compact

When you buy a new access point, our experience suggests that the device should meet at least the following requirements:

Dual-Band

802.11n, better 802.11ac (access point AC)

MIMO, better MU-MIMO

Advantageous: PoE support

 

5. Set up access point: That’s how it works

Set up your new access point with these 5 simple steps:

Find a location from where you want to send the wireless signal. Make sure there is an Ethernet connection nearby.

Connect the access point via LAN cable to the router, hub or switch. This can be done either directly on the device with a built-in adapter or via a network cabling.

Refer to the instructions of the WLAN access point for the IP address and the access data. Invoke the IP address in the browser and log in to configure the device.

Set up a new Wi-Fi network. Assign this a separate network name (SSID) in order to be able to differentiate it from any existing networks.

Set encryption (WPA2 recommended) and choose a secure password for the new network of the AP.

 

Tip: Set your own IP address for the AP, which you can remember well. This facilitates the call of the configuration mask at a later time. You do not have to scramble the instructions again.

 

6. Frequently Asked Questions

Below we answer a few more frequently asked questions about access points.

 

6.1. How do I configure an access point?

We have devoted a separate section to this question in our access point comparison. You will find this under ” Setting up the Access Point: how it works “. For individual questions regarding the specific device please refer to the enclosed instructions or directly to the manufacturer.

 

6.2. Which manufacturers offer wireless access points?

Most manufacturers that make wireless routers and the like also have APs in the program. These include well-known brands such as AVM (Fritzbox)Netgear, access points  TP-LinkUbiquiti and EdimaxDevolo and Asus. In the business sector, Cisco is often used.

 

Particularly recommended manufacturers and their best access points can be found in the table above in the large access point test or comparison on this page.

 

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