The 10 Best Outdoor Access Points
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in July of 2015. Looking for a router with the power to give your employees or customers Wi-Fi access throughout your building and even outside? Our selection of outdoor access points has something for every application and budget. We've found models affordable enough for home use, so you can surf the Web at the end of the garden, and powerful enough to cover a small community or office complex. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 07, 2020:
Due to the increasing popularity of outdoor access points and Wi-Fi routers, we were able to add three new manufacturers to our existing list. The Hawking Technology AC1750 is pricy compared to other options, but it is an impressive unit in terms of construction and range, and it offers AC wireless speeds of up to 1750 Mbps. It can be ethernet-powered and is probably meant for business rather than home applications, unless you live in a mansion.
The Engenius Technologies ENS500 offers excellent value for the features it has. It was added for its ability to reach speeds of up to 867 Mbps, as well as being able to operate in high radio-frequency environments such as marinas. It also has a high weatherproof rating and a powerful Qualcomm processor. While not as powerful as the Engenius, the Wavlink AC1200 was an easy addition to our list, as it has four omnidirectional antennas, with two operating on the 2.4 GHz band and two working on the 5 GHz band. It offers the flexibility of being able to create a separate private wireless network or extend the Wi-Fi coverage of an existing network.
November 29, 2019:
There are a couple different types of outdoor wireless access points. The more common is the weatherproof Wi-Fi extender, which can serve to deliver a strong Internet connection to the farthest reaches of your yard or garage. The Ubiquiti UniFi AC Mesh Pro is one of the best and probably the most popular for this purpose, though the TP-Link Omada EAP225 performs nearly as well and costs considerably less. The Ubiquiti NanoStation Loco M5 offers similar functionality and doesn't have any bulky antennas, and for that reason it's commonly installed on the outside of RVs and motor homes to increase access to public Wi-Fi networks when traveling.
There are also some excellent options for sending and/or receiving a signal over an incredibly long distance. The single-point TP-Link CPE210 is among the most affordable and easiest to configure, though its 2-mile range is not the best. For extremely long-range transmission, the Tycon EZ-Bridge LT+ and Tycon EZ-Bridge Ultra2-LR are hard to top, with maximum distances of a few and several miles, although they don't offer a ton of bandwidth. The QWnet CPE5450, meanwhile, is useful for more complex setups that require a mesh of long-range transmitters and receivers, as you can purchase additional slave units for placement all over your property.
On the other hand, if you're just looking for slightly increased Wi-Fi range and don't need to ship it across a long distance in any single direction, consider upgrading your home with a Wi-Fi mesh system or investing in a powerline extender or other Wi-Fi booster.
Cisco Systems Professional network engineers tend to agree that Cisco provides some of the best communications solutions in the commercial space. They have a range of options, so you'll probably want to contact them or a systems analyst to plan your setup, but you can be certain that once you've made the investment you'll be satisfied with the results. cisco.com
The Advantages Of An Outdoor Access Point For Your Home
With a strategically placed outdoor access point, your entire home can be connected to uncrowded, lightning fast service through the 4.9GHz band.
For most people experiencing slow Wi-Fi speeds in their homes, an outdoor access point can be the answer to all of their woes. Unless you have an outdated router, you're probably experiencing slow connectivity issues because of the frequency you are using to transmit your Wi-Fi signal. The majority of routers transmit on the 2.4GHz band wave, and it is a very crowded frequency.
Consider this: every house in your neighborhood probably connects to the internet via a wireless router. Then consider that likely every one of these routers is using the 2.4GHz band. Many other wireless devices also use the same frequency such as garage door openers, baby monitors, hand radios, R.C. cars, wireless phones and many more. What you're left with is a congested frequency that offers slow speeds and low data transfer rates.
The 4.9GHz band doesn't have this problem. There is less traffic on this frequency, and the connection speeds are much faster. Unlike the average home router, all outdoor access points make use of the 4.9GHz frequency by default.
In addition to faster speeds, outdoor access points have a wider range than indoor routers. People try a variety of techniques to increase their home's Wi-Fi range from purchasing range extenders to buying two separate routers in the hopes of getting a strong Wi-Fi signal in every nook and cranny of their home. Unfortunately, these techniques are often more of a headache than a solution. With a strategically placed outdoor access point, your entire home can be connected to uncrowded, lightning fast service through the 4.9GHz band.
The Advantages Of An Outdoor Access Point For Your Business
The world of business offers its own unique connectivity issues. Luckily, an outdoor access point is the solution to many of them.
A simple example of this is the need for a business to offer public Wi-Fi. People love to stay connected to their network, and you can always count on the consumer to remember which businesses offer free Wi-Fi. The need for a strong Wi-Fi signal doesn't stop there. An outdoor access point also allows employees and business partners to stay connected outside of the office. As long as they are within the large range of the access point, they are covered. This can be a great advantage, especially for data-dependent employees who are working around your property.
Even some of the best indoor routers have trouble providing consistent service over multiple floors.
Another benefit of using an outdoor access point for your business can be realized when setting up a video surveillance system. Connecting IP cameras to your network allows for remote viewing, as they connect over your Wi-Fi network. If your network is weak, you may have trouble accessing your surveillance system and you may even experience poor quality recordings. A strong signal equates to better video quality and the ability to manage your surveillance cameras from virtually anywhere.
Outdoor access points also offer better connectivity to you and your employees throughout the bulding. Believe it or not, a booming business that has to expand to different floors or offices is sometimes a problem. This is especially true when you are talking about connectivity. Even some of the best indoor routers have trouble providing consistent service over multiple floors. Offices that are tucked away in a corner of the building are often prone to drops in connection. This is unacceptable in the world of cloud computing. If you need multiple employees to be able to access the information on your cloud throughout the day, these drops in connection mean drops in productivity. An outdoor access point can easily ensure your entire building stays connected.
Things To Consider Before Buying an Outdoor Access Point
Location is an important factor to consider before buying an outdoor access point. Where will you be setting it up? In areas of extreme sunlight such as an exposed roof, the plastic housings of some models may wear down over time. If this is the case, consider a more durable housing option like metal. This won't be a problem if your outdoor access point will be relatively unexposed, such as on the shady side of a building. Interference may be another contributing factor here. If you are in a busy office complex, the chances of disruptions in connection are higher, as other machines on the same frequency can disrupt your signal.
Always choose an outdoor access point optimized for your needs.
Another factor is the range of service you are looking for. Are you looking to simply provide signal to the average home, or would you like a signal provided to your whole apartment building or business? Different operating signal strengths will influence your purchase in this case.
How much experience do you have in computer technology? You may need to put it to good use. Knowing how to set up an ISP may be needed with some models. Opt for a more user-friendly access point if this is not in your repertoire.
Also consider what types of devices will be connecting to your outdoor access point. Some access points are only optimized for personal computers, while others are more optimized to support gaming consoles and mobile devices. Always choose an outdoor access point optimized for your needs.