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Wireless Reviews

Introduction

Update 12/19/17 - NETGEAR WAC505 added
Update 12/4/17- Corrected DAP-2610 supports MU-MIMO

The objects of our attention

The objects of our attention
Note: This review has been updated to add the NETGEAR WAC505.

It seems like more people are realizing the performance (and cost) advantages that building a Wi-Fi network with Ethernet-connected access points (APs) can provide. If you're fortunate enough to have a large/multi-level home with Ethernet where you need to locate access points, there really is no reason to mess with more expensive mesh Wi-Fi systems, Wi-Fi extenders or even big, expensive conventional routers.

When using multiple APs, 2x2 AC1200 devices are the sweet spot. They are relatively low cost and match the dual-stream capabilities of most devices you're likely to connect to your WLAN. So we rounded up the seven eight products listed below for test, ranging in cost from a low of around $60 to a high of around $160, with plenty of others hovering around the $100 mark.

  • D-Link DAP-2610
  • Edimax CAP1200
  • Linksys LAPAC1200
  • NETGEAR WAC505
  • Open Mesh A40
  • TP-Link EAP225
  • Ubiquiti UAP-AC-Lite
  • Zyxel NWA1123-ACv2

We wanted to include NETGEAR's WAC505 and EnGenius' EAP1300 in this roundup, but neither company provided sufficient review samples. We wanted to include EnGenius' EAP1300 in this roundup, but the company would not provide sufficient review samples.

All products have at least one gigabit Ethernet port and can be powered by 802.3af or 802.3at Power over Ethernet. It's important to pay attention to the difference if you're planning on using PoE. Devices designated 802.3at draw more power than those spec'd 802.3af. So you'll need 802.3at switches to power them.

This review will be in two parts. I'm covering the basic product descriptions, component breakdowns and chamber-based throughput vs. attenuation and peak throughput tests. Jim Salter will be following up with a review of each product's performance in a three-AP home setup.

The review format will have a mini-review with component analysis and key features of each product, followed by group performance analysis. Let's begin.

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