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WiFi Access Point Recommendations

I've been working on upgrading my home network. Finally built a proper router box and acquired a managed gig switch from a coworker, now I want to replace my all-in-one WiFi AP/router with something more basic (with hopefully a lower power consumption).

Want:
* Dual-band
* Wireless g & n at minimum, ac support would be nice for future-proofing
* External antennas would be nice... but not required if an internal antenna model still provides solid signal strength.
* Decent management interface (be it CLI or web based)
* Inexpensive. Under $70 would be preferred, though I'd really like something under 50 if possible.

Do not want:
* any routing/switching functionality, just a dumb access point
* PoE. If it's optional, no big deal, but it's highly unlikely I'll use it and would prefer an external power adapter

Suggestions appreciated (looking at you @AlexDeGruven‌). If anyone has second-hand hardware that meets these requirements, I'd be interested in it.

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Comments

  • drasnordrasnor Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    Consider adding a WAP-grade wireless network interface to your router box and bridging it onto your LAN/setting up a VLAN.

  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian

    Look at Ubiquiti Networks. They have a great dual band AP with great range. We use them at the office and they work flawlessly in our factory. which is packed to the gills with RF-interfering metal and machinery.

  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian

    Asus RT N16U? Maybe the n66u has dropped to your budget now.

  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian
    edited Oct 2014

    @Thrax said:
    Asus RT N16U? Maybe the n66u has dropped to your budget now.

    These are both all-in-one units. I want just an access point.

    @Kwitko said:
    Look at Ubiquiti Networks. They have a great dual band AP with great range. We use them at the office and they work flawlessly in our factory. which is packed to the gills with RF-interfering metal and machinery.

    I have been eyeballing them, but it seems like most of their stuff are PoE only units... at least the ones in my price range.

    @drasnor said:
    Consider adding a WAP-grade wireless network interface to your router box and bridging it onto your LAN/setting up a VLAN.

    Already planning to give the wireless it's own VLAN. I want a separate WAP so that I can locate at a more central location in my house, instead of in my makeshift wiring closet. EDIT: Also, I couldn't fit a WAP-grade wireless nic in my router box. I built it on a booksize barebones system that doesn't have any expansion slots.

  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian

    @ardichoke‌, the UniFi AP is $69. It comes with the power injector.

    http://dl.ubnt.com/guides/UniFi/UniFi_AP_QSG.pdf

  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian

    @Kwitko said:
    ardichoke‌, the UniFi AP is $69. It comes with the power injector.

    http://dl.ubnt.com/guides/UniFi/UniFi_AP_QSG.pdf

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like that is 2.4GHz only.

    It also only has a 10/100 ethernet port (which is the max for a passive PoE device, iirc). Wouldn't a 10/100 port render 300Mbit WiFi throughput moot, with the exception of WiFi <-> WiFi transfers?

  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian

    10/100??? That's weaksauce. Sorry, I should have paid closer attention to your specs. :(

  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian

    It's okay, after also doing some additional searching on my own, it seems there's nothing meeting my specs in the price range I gave. Looks like the least expensive dual-band WAPs are around $86 and they're DLink which isn't a brand that fills me with confidence. I really want to go dual band though since the 2.4GHz spectrum around here is stuffed full, but I still have some devices that don't have 5GHz radios in them... I guess I'm going to have to up my price range to get what I want.

  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian

    Holding off for a bit so I can buy a $200 enterprise grade WAP for my house isn't crazy, right?

    http://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0089QB1SC

  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian

    Gotta be a place to buy it cheaper.

  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian

    @ardichoke said:
    Holding off for a bit so I can buy a $200 enterprise grade WAP for my house isn't crazy, right?

    Sounds perfectly reasonable.

  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian

    Well... it's only 14 months later, but I think I finally found the droid WAP I'm looking for.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1184038-REG/ubiquiti_networks_uap_ac_lite_unifi_ap_ac.html

    Dual band, AC, $150 which isn't too bad of a price and decent management software. Not to mention a boatload of fun features to play with. Now I just need the dang things to get back in stock...

  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian

    Showing 99.99 for me at your link or is that because it is defaulting to the "lite" version?

  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian
    edited Dec 2015

    @Ryder said:
    Showing 99.99 for me at your link or is that because it is defaulting to the "lite" version?

    It's because I looked at it on both BH and Amazon and for some reason my brain spat out the Amazon price when I was typing the post... and then I linked to BH because my brain correctly remembered that they had the lower price between the two. I don't know what goes on in my head sometimes.

  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian

    Confirming Ubiquiti is one of the best ways to go.

  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian

    What will your client side hardware be? Have you considered upgrades to 802.11 AC for devices that do not already support it?

    I have a good deal of experience working with Cisco enterprise grade WAP's. Honestly outside of some security and enterprise features I suspect the one you are looking at will perform similar in terms of range. What I have found the client side quality is everything. It makes a tremendous difference and not all 802.11 AC adapters and bridges are made equal.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian

    @ardichoke Did you end up buying this and did it come with the PoE injector for the model you decided on?

  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian

    @Sonorous said:
    @ardichoke Did you end up buying this and did it come with the PoE injector for the model you decided on?

    Haven't had the money to buy it yet. Having two mortgages sucks.

  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian
    edited Apr 2016

    @Sonorous said:
    @ardichoke Did you end up buying this and did it come with the PoE injector for the model you decided on?

    Finally got around to ordering it. It took a month to get it, because these things are in such high demand they're backordered (or overpriced) pretty much everywhere. Just got it today.

    Yes, it comes with a PoE injector. Also the mounting bracket and a backing plate in case you want to mount it on a ceiling tile. Right now, it's just sitting on top of an HVAC duct in my basement (right under the floor in the center of my house essentially). I've only played with it for a little bit, but it is awesome so far. I can actually max out my Comcast connection over WiFi now. Previous speed tests (through my Netgear wireless N running DD-WRT) maxed out around 20 Mbit/s wireless. This thing pumps out the full ~90 Mbit/s without breaking a sweat. ^_^ Now I just need to find a more permanent home for the control interface.... which means I should really build a home server.

    EDIT: Plus... it only cost me about $80. Worth every penny (and the month wait)

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian

    Is this the model that does zero handoff? I have been looking around trying to find an answer to that question but I have not really had the time. Even if it doesn't, this may still be the solution to my WiFi woes.

  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian

    I know the AP Pro has zero handoff. Not sure about the other models.

  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian
    edited Apr 2016

    Ubiquiti makes it sound like all their UniFi APs do Zero Handoff... it seems to be a feature in the software, not the hardware.

    https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/articles/205144590-UniFi-What-is-Zero-Handoff-

    Hence, it should do Zero Handoff. I can't attest to it personally though, as I only have (and only need) one AP for my house.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian

    So I got two of the AP Pros. Holy shit balls these are awesome. I was worried they were going to be a pain to setup and configure, but no. What a breeze. I haven't found a zero handoff setting or anything yet, but I haven't really had time to dig into them.

  • d3k0yd3k0y Loveland, OH Icrontian

    IT director at work suggested those to me after I asked about a mesh network.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian

    I haven't had any handoff issues and have not enabled zero handoff. I have seen mixed reports all over the Internet about whether or not the AP Pro actually has zero handoff anyway. If they continue to operate as they are now, I probably won't bother. I probably could have even gotten away with the non pro version and been fine, but whatever.

    Threadjack over.

  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI Icrontian

    So these things say 400 foot range - would that be accurate inside a house, for example? Right now I'm having to use an extender because the current router doesn't penetrate as well as I'd like; how are these acting through structures, for you guys that have them?

  • _k_k P-Town, Texas Icrontian

    The IT guy at work just bought one and loves it. A strong solid connection throughout his entire house with the AP in a central location. We are looking at deploying them at work.

  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian

    @Snarkasm said:
    So these things say 400 foot range - would that be accurate inside a house, for example? Right now I'm having to use an extender because the current router doesn't penetrate as well as I'd like; how are these acting through structures, for you guys that have them?

    I'm sure that's an ideal range in an open space. That said, I do get a WiFi connection all the way at the end of my driveway. I don't think that's 400' from where my WAP is in my house, but it is pretty damn far for WiFi to reach.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian

    I can't speak to exact range, but in my case signal strength throughout the house has increased noticeably. I wouldn't say that at the price point the Pro version reaches, range is worth the added cost, but you get so much more than just increased range. Even at N speeds I am able to max out my ISP download and upload limits. On my old gear 40mpbs was the max at N speeds. I haven't done a WiFi to WiFi transfer or anything yet but these new APs are making me rethink my entire network topology.

    ardichoke
  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian

    @Sonorous said:
    Even at N speeds I am able to max out my ISP download and upload limits. On my old gear 40mpbs was the max at N speeds.

    This was the biggest (and most pleasant) surprise I got from this AP. I figured I'd get a better signal, more range, probably a marginal speed increase. I did not expect to be able to max out my connection over wifi even using wireless N.

    MFW:

    Sonorous_k
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