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If you have a large home, you may find that the Wi-Fi signal from your router is not strong enough to reach every room. This is where a wireless access point can be used to improve the overall coverage of the signal.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll discuss exactly what you should be looking for when purchasing a wireless access point as well as my recommendations for the best wireless access points for large homes.
In a hurry?
If you don’t have much time, my favorite wireless access point for large homes is the Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-PRO for its speed, coverage and feature-rich UniFi Controller software.
The Comparison Table
|Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-PRO||2.4 GHz - 450 Mbps|
5 GHz - 1,300 Mbps
|Yes||Yes - 3x3||$$$$|
|NETGEAR WAC540||2.4 GHz - 400 Mbps|
5 GHz (High band) - 867 Mbps
5 GHz (Low band) - 1,733 Mbps
|Yes||Yes - 4x4||$$$$$|
|WAVLINK AC1200||2.4 GHz - 300 Mbps|
5 GHz - 867 Mbps
|EnGenius EAP1300||2.4 GHz - 400 Mbps|
5 GHz - 867 Mbps
|Yes||Yes - 2x2||$$$|
|COMFAST AC1200||2.4 GHz - 300 Mbps|
5 GHz - 867 Mbps
|TP-Link CPE210||2.4 GHz - 300 Mbps||Yes||Yes - 2x2||$|
Best Wireless Access Points for Large Home
1. Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-PRO
Ubiquiti are well known for producing some fantastic networking equipment and the UniFi UAP-AC-PRO certainly does not disappoint.
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 definitely one of the best wireless access points you can buy.
2. NETGEAR WAC540
The NETGEAR WAC540 provides superior Wi-Fi coverage thanks to it being a tri-band wireless access point with 3 separate radios that provide a maximum possible speed of up to 3,000 Mbps.
Design-wise, the WAC540 features a square design with rounded corners. The NETGEAR logo is printed in the center of the unit with the status lights sitting just below. It is certainly low-profile so won’t stick out too much if you choose to mount it on the ceiling or a wall.
Although this WAP appears to be branded more towards business, there is absolutely no reason why this couldn’t be used at home, especially when you consider that it isn’t too expensive for the performance and features you get.
The WAC540 strikes a great balance between Wi-Fi performance and coverage. The three separate radios (2.4 GHz, low band 5 GHz and high band 5 GHz) allow for a wide-ranging distribution of a Wi-Fi signal whilst not compromising on performance.
Speaking of performance, the WAC540 features 4×4 MU-MIMO technology to better support the areas of your home where there may be multiple devices looking to use the Wi-Fi at the same time. You no longer have to worry about your connection being affected when other devices are also using the Internet.
This WAP does feature a PoE port that supports the 802.3af standard; a single cable can be used for both data and power. If you would rather not use PoE, you do have the option of purchasing the WAC540 with a separate power supply.
The NETGEAR Insight app makes it easy for you to centrally manage this access point and other compatible devices wherever you are in the world. The app is available on both iOS and Android devices.
The WAC540 is a bit more expensive compared with the other wireless access points on this list, but I feel the price is justified given that it is tri-band and delivers very good performance as well as coverage. Some people have reported that it can be a bit tricky to get set up initially, but once it is set up, it works incredibly well.
3. WAVLINK AC1200
If you have a particularly large area 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 should you choose to place it outdoors. It could be freezing cold, unbearably hot, or being hammered with rain and it will continue to function.
The AC1200 is powered by PoE with the RJ45 connector being protected by a weatherproof casing that has received an IP65 rating. 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.
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 large homes.
4. EnGenius EAP1300
This wireless access point from a manufacturer you may not be familiar with, EnGenius, features a round design with the company logo and model number printed in the center and the status LED lights positioned towards the bottom.
It is quite a bit thicker than some of the other similarly shaped WAPs featured on this list and so will protrude out a bit more if it is ceiling or wall-mounted. It is still relatively low profile though and certainly won’t get in the way.
The EAP1300 uses a powerful quad-core Qualcomm 717 MHz processor to improve wireless performance and efficiency. EnGenius claim that this helps boost speeds by up to 30% compared with rival WAPs.
Whilst on the subject of speed, this access point meets the IEEE 802.11ac wireless standard and can provide speeds of up to 400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz frequency and 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band.
It also uses embedded high-gain omni-directional antennas to deliver a stable and robust wireless connection across your home. In addition, it uses MU-MIMO technology to provide multiple devices with a Wi-Fi connection at the same time.
EnGenius’ ezMaster network management software can be used to monitor and manage your access point as well as allowing you to set up your own customized alerts. The tool is free and easy to use, yet still sophisticated.
Real-time monitoring, in-depth reporting, and analytics can all be found within ezMaster.
Some people have found that the EAP1300 does work best when paired with an EnGenius switch. Despite it being possible to set up and use without an EnGenius switch, it isn’t made easy as the documentation leaves a lot to be desired.
If you do decide to purchase the EAP1300 and don’t have an EnGenius switch, the trick is to load the latest firmware. Some units are shipped with an older firmware that will not work.
5. 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, too; 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.
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, 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 wireless access point that is ideal if you are on more of a budget.
6. TP-Link CPE210
Another budget-friendly outdoor wireless access point for large homes 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 extended wireless coverage. It is intended for long-distance wireless data transmission over 5km, but will still be well placed for use at home.
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, despite providing excellent coverage, produce speeds well below the 300 Mbps advertised.
Again, this could be a limitation of their own home networks. It is rare for many people to receive download speeds of anywhere near 300 Mbps anyway.
If you have a particularly large home 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.
Wireless Access Point Buyer’s Guide
Should you want to place a wireless access point outside, it is critical that it is weatherproof.
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. If at all possible, look for once that has received an official IP rating as this shows it has passed tests under rigorous conditions.
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 just your home and perhaps your backyard, 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 WAP through the use of a single Ethernet cable.
These will often come with a higher price tag, so if you are looking to save a bit of cash, you can instead find one that uses a PoE injector instead.
All of the wireless access points featured on this list are thankfully powered by PoE as I know how challenging it can be to find available power outlets especially when you have a lot of tech.
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 wireless access points for large homes I have found that deliver speeds suitable for most people and provide great coverage.
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.
Ubiquiti has nailed it on the head with this access point. It provides excellent speeds as well as extended coverage, and the UniFi Controller software makes managing your home network an absolute breeze.