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There may come a time where you wish to extend your Wi-Fi network out to your backyard, so it is critical you have a wireless access point that is suitable for outdoor use. The last thing you want is to set one up that is not weatherproof and ends up getting damaged, especially if you live somewhere where the climate can be particularly harsh.
It can seem difficult shopping for the best wireless access points but it is made easier when you know exactly what you should be looking for. In this extensive buyer’s guide, we’ll take a look at the key features you should be looking for in an in a WAP as well as my recommendations for the best ones to use outdoors.
In a hurry?
If you don’t have much time, my favorite outdoor wireless access point is the Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-PRO for its speed, wide-ranging operating temperature, and the feature-rich UniFi Controller software.
The Comparison Table
|Total Speed||IP Rating||PoE?||Price|
|Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-PRO||2.4 GHz - 450 Mbps|
5 GHz - 1,300 Mbps
|WAVLINK AC1200||2.4 GHz - 300 Mbps|
5 GHz - 867 Mbps
|COMFAST AC1200||2.4 GHz - 300 Mbps|
5 GHz - 867 Mbps
|TP-Link CPE210||2.4 GHz - 300 Mbps||-||Yes||$|
|TP-Link EAP225||2.4 GHz - 450 Mbps|
5 GHz - 867 Mbps
|EnGenius ENS620EXT||2.4 GHz - 400 Mbps|
5 GHz - 867 Mbps
Best Outdoor Wireless Access Points
1. Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-PRO
Ubiquiti is well known for producing some fantastic networking equipment and the UniFi UAP-AC-PRO certainly does not disappoint.
In fact, it is my number one choice when it comes to outdoor wireless access points.
The UAP-AC-PRO features a clean, circular design with the Ubiquiti logo sitting in the middle, surrounded by an activity light. Weighing just 0.77 lbs with dimensions of 7.74 x 7.74 x 1.38 inches makes it perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.
Outdoor use is something this AP is more than capable of handling; it has an operating temperature of between -10 and 70°C and operating humidity of 5 to 95% non condensing.
This access point is quite a lot faster than its competitors’ thanks to it being a dual-band AP, using 3×3 MIMO technology in both bands. It also meets the 802.11AC wireless standard.
In terms of actual performance, you can expect to receive throughput of up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and 1,300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. This will be more than plenty for the vast majority of home networks.
Connectivity-wise, the UAP AC PRO is powered by PoE, has two Ethernet ports and a single USB 2.0 port.
One of the key selling points of this WAP, and every other UniFi product for that matter, is the easy to use, yet feature-rich UniFi controller software. This allows you to install, configure and manage all of your UniFi devices from a user-friendly and intuitive user interface.
Ubiquiti is considered by many to produce the gold standard of networking hardware; it works extraordinarily well and gives you plenty of options when it comes to configuration to suit your exact needs.
The UAP AC PRO is a no-brainer if you are looking for the best of the best outdoor wireless access point.
2. WAVLINK AC1200
If you have a particularly large outdoor space that you need your Wi-Fi network to span, this access point from WAVLINK may be just what you are looking for.
It features an interesting design; the main part of the device is a slim tube shape with two antennas sticking out of the sides and another two sticking out of the top. On the front is the WAVLINK logo along with some status LEDs.
The antennas are both high powered and omnidirectional; two operate on the 2.4 GHz band with the other two working on the 5 GHz band.
Speaking of wireless bands, you can expect to receive speeds of up to 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. Again, this is plenty fast enough for most people.
It also meets the current standard for Wi-Fi technology: IEEE 802.11AC.
One feature I particularly liked about the WAVLINK AC1200 is that it has been rated as IP65 weatherproof. The housing ensures continued operation whatever the weather. It could be freezing cold, unbearably hot, or being hammered with rain and it will continue to function.
WAVLINK says that the AC1200 is able to withstand temperatures between -30 and 70°C, so this WAP could be the one for you if you live in a particularly hot or cold climate.
It is reassuring that it has received an IP65 rating so there is no doubt that it will be able to withstand harsh outdoor conditions.
The AC1200 is powered by PoE with the RJ45 connector being protected by a weatherproof casing. It also uses WPA2 security.
Should you wish to use the AC1200 for something else, you can. You can configure it to be a wireless access point, a wireless router, or a Wi-Fi range extender. This gives you flexibility in being able to create a separate private wireless network or extend the Wi-Fi coverage of an existing network.
This could be useful if you have an outhouse that you want to provide an Internet connection to, but not necessarily access to your home network.
One thing to note is that some people have reported this WAVLINK access point can be a bit tricky to set up if you are looking to make the most of the features, but regardless, it is a fantastic WAP for outdoor use.
3. COMFAST AC1200
This COMFAST access point is considerably cheaper than the Ubiquiti UniFi and WAVLINK WAPs at almost half the price, but don’t let this be a reason to not consider it as the AC1200 delivers fantastic value for money.
It doesn’t feature a particularly interesting design; the main part of the device is a white rectangular-shaped unit with the COMFAST logo printed on the front and the status lights on the left-hand edge. Two rather tall, non-adjustable antennas sit on top.
This access point, like the others already mentioned, operates on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band and supports the latest IEEE 802.11AC Wi-Fi standard.
In terms of speed, the 2.4 GHz band can deliver up to 300 Mbps and the 5 GHz band up to 867 Mbps.
The two antennas are high-gain, omnidirectional antennas to provide a signal to larger areas. It does make sense that the antennas are not adjustable when they are able to provide 360° coverage.
There is a caveat with high-gain antennas though; although they can cover a greater area, the signal strength is typically not as good as low-gain antennas, but these can’t reach as far compared with high-gain.
The COMFAST AC1200 has certainly been designed with outdoor use in mind; it is IP66 rated weatherproof.
Its durable housing can withstand the harshest of weather conditions. In addition to the usual temperature and moisture, it also provides protection against lightning and dust.
It is interesting that at half the price, the COMFAST provides greater protection from the weather compared to the WAVLINK. The difference is minor, but there is a difference nonetheless.
If you aren’t too familiar with IP ratings, IP65 proves protection against low-pressure jets of directed water from any angle, whereas IP66 provides protection against high-pressure jets.
The COMFAST AC1200 is powered by PoE and the simple mounting design makes for an easy and convenient installation. COMFAST does offer technical support if you need any guidance on setting up or installing your device.
Many people have found the COMFAST AC1200 to be an excellent wireless access point to use outdoors, but some have found the speeds received are nowhere near what has been advertised. This could be a limitation of their network though; you can’t assume the AC1200 is directly to blame.
Others have also found the instructions to be printed so small that they are difficult to read, and even when they have been able to read them, they haven’t really made much sense. A bit of prior knowledge will probably go a long way when it comes to setting up this access point.
That being said, the COMFAST AC1200 is a very affordable, weatherproof access point that will perform well regardless of the climate.
4. TP-Link CPE210
One of the more budget-friendly outdoor wireless access points is the CPE210 by TP-Link. Don’t let the price fool you, though; this WAP has received raving reviews.
The CPE210 features a tall, obelisk-like design with the TP-Link printed on the print. On the left-hand side are the LED status lights, to the rear is the mounting bracket and on the bottom is the Ethernet port and a reset button.
Unlike the WAPs previously featured, this one is a single band access point, only operating on the 2.4 GHz frequency. You can expect to receive speeds of up to 300 Mbps. There is still a built-in 2×2 dual-polarized directional MIMO antenna, though, to provide excellent coverage.
Speaking of coverage, the CPE210 has been designed to be a cost-effective solution for outdoor wireless coverage. It is intended for long-distance wireless data transmission over 5km, but will still be well placed for use at home.
Although not having an official IP rating, the casing is of high quality and is exceptionally durable. As the CPE210 has been designed specifically for outdoor use, TP-Link says that it will operate flawlessly in almost any climate and can withstand temperatures ranging from -40°C to 70°C.
Similar to Ubiquiti, TP-Link provides an all-in-one solution for managing the CPE210. The Pharos Control application is a piece of centralized management software that helps you easily manage all of the devices on your network. Some functions include device discovery, status monitoring, updating of firmware and network maintenance.
All of this being possible from a single device.
Passive PoE powers the CPE210. It will support up to 60 meters (200 ft) Power over Ethernet and allows the device to be reset remotely if required.
Some people have reported that the CPE210 doesn’t work particularly well in heavy rain or show, at times losing connection to the router. Also, despite it providing excellent coverage, others have reported receiving speeds well below the 300 Mbps advertised.
If you have a particularly large area to cover and don’t mind decreased performance when compared to some of the other access points featured on this list, all whilst saving a bit of cash, the TP-Link CPE210 is definitely one to consider.
5. TP-Link EAP225
Another outdoor wireless access point featured is the EAP225 by TP-Link.
The main unit is slim, yet not overly tall as you would expect. On the front is the printed TP-Link logo and on the back is the low profile mounting bracket. At the bottom, you will find the Ethernet port and a reset button.
Attach the omnidirectional antennas on top of the device and you’ll find it almost doubles in height. I don’t really see this as an issue though given it will be placed outside where the sky is literally the limit.
Performance-wise, as this is a dual-band WAP, you can expect speeds of up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz frequency and 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz frequency.
What I did find quite interesting is that the different bands provide stable wireless coverage at different ranges; the signal can reach up to 200m when on the 2.4 GHz frequency but extend to 300m on the 5 GHz frequency.
Either way, coverage of just 200m will be more than plenty for the majority of people.
The EAP225 adheres to the IEEE 802.11AC wireless standard and uses MU-MIMO technology to provide a better signal to multiple devices simultaneously, making it ideal if you have several people looking to use the Wi-Fi at the same time.
The weatherproof enclosure provides protection from the elements including rain, dust and even lightning. It has received 6KB lightning protection and 15KB ESD protection – protection against electrostatic discharge.
Surprisingly, TP-Link provides a different tool for managing your network with the EAP225. Unlike the CPE210 which uses Pharos Control, the EAP225 is managed by Omada.
This is a free, cloud-based management platform to centrally manage your network from a single interface. Set up of your device is made incredibly easy thanks to the Omada app which also allows you to configure settings, monitor your network and manage your devices all from a portable smartphone or tablet.
Unlike some of its competitors that can function as different devices like a wireless router or a Wi-Fi extender, the CPE210 can only be used as an access point. This may not be a problem for some people, but it is worth keeping in mind.
Some people have reported, like with some other access points, that they could not receive close to the speeds advertised, but again, this could have been a limitation of their network. Also, despite having a centralized management platform, the features and options within it are lacking when compared with the likes of the UniFi controller software offered by Ubiquiti.
Still, for the price which is quite reasonable, the TP-Link CPE210 is still one to consider if you are looking for a relatively small and compact WAP for use outdoors.
6. EnGenius ENS620EXT
A wireless access point from a manufacturer you may not have heard of is the ENS620EXT by EnGenius.
The ENS620EXT is an incredibly small unit measuring just 4.49 x 7.54 x 1.88 inches, around the size of a modern-day smartphone. On the front is the EnGenius printed logo and on the rear is an aluminum heat sink along with the mounting bracket.
The bottom has a removable cover providing protection for the Ethernet port and the LED status lights can be found on the left-hand side.
This access point is dual-band, supports IEEE 802.11AC and can provide speeds of up to 400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz frequency and 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz frequency.
It also has four detachable high-gain antennas that operate around 360° so it will provide you with great coverage regardless of where you are in your backyard.
The ENS620EXT has received an official IP55 rating, too, giving you confidence that the weatherproof casing has been designed to withstand harsh climates. The IP55 rating means this WAP will provide protection from limited dust ingress and from low-pressure water jets from any direction.
Whether the ENS620EXT to prolonged exposure to sunlight, extreme cold, frost, snow, heat, rain, hail or humidity, you’ll know it will continue to function well.
Like the others featured on this list, the ENS620EXT is powered by PoE and includes a PoE injector in the box.
This WAP is managed by the ezMaster network management software which can be deployed locally, remotely or accessed via a cloud-based service. It can be used with or without an on-site controller and doesn’t require any subscription fees to use.
It may not be as feature-rich as the UniFi Controller by Ubiquiti, but it’s nice to have some included management tools.
Some things to note with this particular access point are that a few people have reported particularly limited range when on the 5 GHz band and that the documentation and customer support leaves a lot to be desired.
The ENS620EXT is on par with the UniFi UAP-AC-PRO in regards to price, but won’t offer as good performance and as many features. You may want to choose this WAP over the UniFi if you are particularly looking for a device that has been IP rated, though.
Outdoor Wireless Access Point Buyer’s Guide
This should be obvious, but it is critical for a WAP to be weatherproof should you wish to place it outdoors where it is exposed to the elements.
It should be able to handle extreme temperatures, particularly the cold where a lot of other devices can fail, high humidity, heavy rainfall, and storms.
Most manufacturers will claim their devices to be weatherproof, not waterproof, so don’t go submerging your device. The WAP should be able to cope with splashes of water, though.
When shopping for an outdoor WAP, make sure there are no exposed orifices and that the connectors and ports are both covered and protected from any water. The last thing you want is rain being able to find its way inside.
Also, make sure that the casing is rugged; you want it to be able to hold up should you receive a hailstorm.
Typically, the higher the signal gain the better, but there are some that will argue that choosing a WAP with a lower signal gain is better.
The higher the signal gain, the further away the signal can be sent, but it will cover less total area. You will get a shorter distance with a lower signal gain, but it will provide a better signal over a broader area.
Some WAPs will utilize omnidirectional antennas whilst others will use directional antennas.
Omnidirectional antennas will have a lower signal gain, whereas directional antennas will have a higher gain.
Assuming you would be using your WAP to provide a Wi-Fi signal to your garden and the surrounding area, you may be better off with one that has a lower signal gain given the signal won’t need to span massive distances.
Coverage ties in closely with signal gain as it will depend on the antenna type used.
My recommendation would be to use a WAP that has omnidirectional antennas that will cover a broad area but not send the signal too far, and try and keep the coverage area within 400 feet.
Any further than this and you may find that certain devices like smartphones and tablets are able to receive data, but not send it back.
If you have different requirements and need a point-to-point setup, opt for directional antennas so the devices can send and receive data over distances that can span miles.
Power over Ethernet
Ideally, you would be able to provide both power and data to your outdoor WAP through the use of a single Ethernet cable.
These will come with a price tag that will be deemed unreasonable for most people, so it is more than likely you will have to connect a power adapter left indoors to a PoE injector.
All of the wireless access points featured on this list are thankfully powered by PoE as trying to find a suitable power outlet outdoors can be quite the challenge.
As networking hardware becomes more accessible and affordable, we are now in the fortunate position of receiving the newest technologies whilst the cost to buy the products remains quite reasonable.
You will find that regardless of the manufacturer, the latest technologies will have been implemented into modern WAPs. This includes the ability to enhance the signal between devices from the same “family” of products, MU-MIMO, mesh capabilities, and more.
Ubiquiti is a prime example of this.
Some wireless access points will be easier to set up than others, but that is the case with any device.
WAPs from the likes of Ubiquiti and TP-Link are relatively easy to set up and configure when compared to brands such as Cisco and EnGenius, which make it a bit more difficult.
In some cases, you will need to configure your device as either an access point, a client router, a bridge or SOHO router. This will require some prior knowledge to set it up exactly as you want it, but you will undoubtedly get a ton of features with your device.
That being said, there are access points that are both easy to set up and feature-rich, like those offered by Ubiquiti.
Watchdog Hardware Timer
Having a WAP that has a WDT feature (Watchdog Hardware Timer) allows it to periodically check in with the network’s gateway, which is usually the router, and automatically reboot if needed.
This saves you from having to do it manually.
Not an absolute must-have feature, but a useful one nonetheless.
The IEEE standard is important to consider as it specifies the capacity of the wireless access point.
IEEE standards are expressed as 802.11X with the X being replaced by b, g, n, or AC.
These letters refer to the wireless standard that is used by the access point; most modern WAPs will adhere to the 802.11AC standard, but there are some that will still use 802.11b.
Remember to check which IEEE standard the WAP you are looking to purchase meets as it will limit how much bandwidth it can handle.
A WAP meeting the 802.11b standard will only be able to handle 11 Mbps across the entire network, which may be too slow for some people.
The 802.11g standard is faster, providing speeds of up to 54 Mbps. 802.11n is the next fastest which has a limit of 300 Mbps throughout the network.
The latest standard is 802.11AC which can give speeds of up to 5,200 Mbps.
A WAP using the 802.11AC standard will provide the best possible data transfer speeds and certainly future proof yourself, but remember you are ultimately limited by the download and upload speeds of your home network.
It’s not the end of the world if your access point only meets the 802.11n standard as this will still be plenty fast enough for the majority of people, but aim for 802.11AC if possible.
It is key that your wireless access point is able to maintain a stable network connection, and thus the antenna on the device plays an important role to be considered.
You have a few different choices when it comes to the antenna; some will be internal whereas others are external and can be adjusted or even removed.
One thing to check is that the antenna is attached properly and whether it can be tampered with.
Remember that the antenna is what is responsible for providing a stronger signal, so it would be worth checking what technology is used in the manufacturing of the antennas themselves as well as the WAP as a whole.
Controller-Based vs. Standalone
Standalone wireless access points can operate without any dependency on a controller and can provide wireless network coverage to any area, whereas controller-based WAPs require communication with the controller to function.
For those that need a WAP to cover a smaller area and fewer devices, a standalone WAP will do the job nicely, but as your coverage, user and device demands increase, you may want to look at one that is controller-based.
This will allow you to install multiple access points that can all be managed through a single controller.
There may come a time where you need to contact the manufacturer for support, be it your WAP is not working as it should or even has failed completely and you need to organize a replacement under warranty.
It may be worth checking out the reviews of the support offered by different manufacturers as unfortunately, some are definitely not as good as you and I would expect, especially as a paying customer.
This may need to be more of a consideration for those of you that aren’t overly familiar with networking hardware and may need more help.
These are the best outdoor wireless access points I have found that deliver speeds suitable for most people, are weatherproof and support PoE for easier connectivity.
When choosing a wireless access point, remember to consider whether the antennas are high-gain or low-gain, how wide an area you can expect it to cover, which IEEE wireless standard they meet, and how easy they are to set up and configure.
If I were to recommend one of the wireless access points featured on this list, it would have to be the Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-PRO.
Despite not receiving an official IP rating, it has been designed with outdoor use in mind and offers great speeds and plenty of configuration and management options through its UniFi Controller software.