Best Outdoor Access Point in 2021

Outdoor Access Points are a great way to extend your wireless network into your garden. When installed you can work outside using your notebook, or even watch Netflix without any interruption.

Without an outdoor wifi access point, you have probably noticed that your wifi signal is too weak. Exterior walls and glass are great at blocking wifi signals, so to solve this you really have to place an access point outside.

An outdoor ap can also be used to extend your wireless network into your garage or outbuilding that you might have. They can be used to create a wireless bridge between two buildings.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the different outdoor wireless access points that are available and I will give you some tips when it comes to installing your access point outside.

What makes a good Outdoor Access Point?

Before we are going to compare the different outdoor access points, let’s determine what we really need.

  • Outdoor protection – Rated IP55 or higher. This means that it’s fully protected against dust and protected against water.
  • Temperature – Not all devices can handle temperatures below zero very well. So make sure it can handle the winters in your region.
  • Power over Ethernet – With PoE you only need one ethernet cable to connect and power the access point. Really convenient for outdoor installations. Most devices these days support it.

When you install an access point outside, there is always a chance that it is caught by lightning. Especially when you place the ap high on a pole or on top of the roof. In those cases make sure you use lightning protection to protect your network equipment.

Wireless network in the garden

When you just want to have a good wireless network outdoors, close (within 100meters of your home), then a single outdoor access point with an Omni antenna can be sufficient. Omni antennas have a low gain (there are less powerful) but can cover a large area around the access point.

This is perfect for most outdoor situations. You can place the access point against the house, preferably as high as possible, to cover your whole garden.

If you have a porch, then you can also use a normal access point with an IP54 rating. This means that the device is protected against dust and water splashes.

Wireless network bridge

If you have a garage or outbuilding in your garden and want to create a network inside it, then you can use a point-to-point (building-to-building) wireless network. This can be really useful if you don’t have the option to pull a cable from your house to the building, or need to cover more than 100 meters (328 feet), which is the limit of ethernet cables.

When you are planning to install a point-to-point wireless network you will need to keep the Fresnel zone in mind. The Fresnel zone is the ellipsoidal region that you need to keep free between the sender and receiver.

outdoor ap fresnel zone

You can use the link planner from Ubiquiti to get an idea about how much space you need to keep free. One downside is that it only uses the terrain height, but you can use the built-in scale to get a good idea.

Outdoor access point fresnell zone

Outdoor Access Points

There are a lot of different outdoor access point available on the market. Keep in mind that 2.4 GHz signal is better in going through objects/trees. And 5 GHz will give you a higher througput, but only with a clear line of sight.

All the access points below are fully weather proof and can be powered with Power over Ethernet.

Unifi Mesh Access Point

The Unifi Mesh access point is at the moment the most popular access point from Ubiquiti to use outdoors. It comes with two adjustable Omni antennas that can be angled 45 degrees to cover the area beneath the access point better. The antennas are removable, allowing you to replace them with spot-beam antenna for example.

The mesh access point also supports multi-hop mesh, with means that you can use multiple access points and connect them wirelessly to cover a large area.

Ubiquiti doesn’t have a true WiFi 6 access point at the moment that can be used outdoors. But the 6 mesh is in early access right now, which can be used outdoors and support WiFi 6.

Ubiquiti Networks Networks UAP-AC-M-US UniFi AC Mesh Wide-Area In/Out Dual-Band Access Point (US Version)
332 Reviews
Ubiquiti Networks Networks UAP-AC-M-US UniFi AC Mesh Wide-Area In/Out Dual-Band Access Point (US Version)
  • Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-M 802.11AC Indoor/Outdoor Wi-Fi Access Point with Plug & Play Mesh Technology
  • With mesh multi-hop, you can can cover a large outdoor area with minimal infrastructure, with just a few mesh access points
  • hese APs include adjustable dual-band omnidirectional antennas, but can be used with any 5 GHz omni antenna for spot-beam coverage in high-density locations with numerous APs and clients.
  • Multiple Power Options: Compatible with 802.3af PoE Alternative A and 24V passive PoE. You can power it with an 802.3af Alternative switch, EdgePoint EP-R6, UniFi PoE Switch, or the included Gigabit PoE adapter.
  • Networking Interface: (1) 10/100/1000 Ethernet Port Power Method:

Design and management

The Unifi Mesh Access Point is around 35 cm long including the antennas and can be mounted on a wall using the wall mount bracket or on a pole. It comes with screws and tie-wraps that you can use to mount the access point.

You can manage a single access point with the Unifi app, allowing you to quickly deploy and install the access point. If you have multiple Unifi Access Points then you can use the Unifi Controller, which can be installed on any platform. Another option is to use a CloudKey Gen2 to manage your access points.

Specifications

  • 2.4 GHz Speed – 300 Mbps
  • 5 GHz Speed – 876 Mbps
  • MIMO – 2×2
  • Antenna Gain 2.4 GHz – 3 dBi
  • Antenna Gain 5Ghz – 4 dBi
  • IP Rating – none (but can be used outdoors)
  • Environment temperature – -30°C – 70℃

TP-Link Omada AC1200 – EAP225

The TP-Link EAP225 outdoor access point has a similar design as the Unifi Mesh. With a price around the $ 70 is it the most afforadable outdoor ap in this list. On the EAP225 you can also replace the 2 Omni antennas for a spot beam or other antenna, which you will need to buy separately.

The biggest difference between the TP-Link and the Unifi Mesh is that the first doesn’t support mesh technology. This means that you can’t use mulitple EAP225’s and link them wirelessly together to cover a large area.

Sale
TP-Link EAP225-Outdoor | Omada AC1200 Wireless Gigabit Outdoor Access Point | Business WiFi Solution w/ Mesh Support, Seamless Roaming & MU-MIMO | PoE Powered | SDN Integrated | Cloud Access & App
4,262 Reviews
TP-Link EAP225-Outdoor | Omada AC1200 Wireless Gigabit Outdoor Access Point | Business WiFi Solution w/ Mesh Support, Seamless Roaming & MU-MIMO | PoE Powered | SDN Integrated | Cloud Access & App
  • Superior Speeds with MU-MIMO — Equipped with the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 MU-MIMO technology, the EAP225-Outdoor easily delivers dual-band Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1200 Mbps to multiple devices at the same time.
  • Indoor/Outdoor Use — The durable, weatherproof enclosure protects the access point against harsh outdoor conditions and provides stable wireless coverage up to 200m+ range at 2.4GHz and 300m+ at 5GHz in outdoor settings. Discreet appearance can also fit with any indoor scenarios.
  • Integrated into Omada SDN — Omada's Software Defined Networking (SDN) platform integrates network devices including access points, switches & gateways with multiple control options offered - Omada Hardware controller, Omada Software Controller or Omada cloud-based controller*(Contact TP-Link for Cloud-Based Controller Plan Details). Standalone mode also applies.
  • Cloud Access — Remote Cloud access and Omada app brings centralized cloud management of the whole network at different sites—all controlled from a single interface anywhere, anytime.
  • SDN Compatibility — For SDN usage, make sure your devices/controllers are either equipped with or can be upgraded to SDN version. SDN controllers work only with SDN Access Points, Switches & Gateways. Non-SDN controllers work only with non-SDN APs. For devices that are compatible with SDN firmware, please visit 'From the manufacturer - Q&A' section or TP-Link website.

Design and Management

With antennas is the TP-Link a little bit taller than the Unifi Mesh. The total height of the access point is 40 cm. It also comes with a wall-mount and tie-wraps to mount it on a pole.

You can use the Omada App or the software controller to install and manage the access point.

Specifications

  • 2.4 GHz Speed – 300 Mbps
  • 5 GHz Speed – 876 Mbps
  • MIMO – 2×2
  • Antenna Gain 2.4 GHz – 3 dBi
  • Antenna Gain 5Ghz – 4 dBi
  • IP Rating – IP65
  • Environment temperature – -30°C – 70℃

Netgear Wireless Outdoor Access Point – WAX610Y

Netgear is making networking products for more than 25 years now, and the WAX610Y is their first WiFi 6 outdoor access point.

This fully weatherproof outdoor ap comes with a 2.5G ethernet port with PoE and can reach 1200 Mbps over 5 GHz. You can not only use it as an outdoor access point but also to create a point-to-point wireless network or point-to-multi-point network. With the latter, you have one base station and multiple receivers.

NETGEAR Wireless Outdoor Access Point (WAX610Y) - WiFi 6 Dual-Band AX1800 Speed | Up to 250 Devices | 1x2.5G Ethernet Port | IP55 Weatherproof | 802.11ax | Insight Remote Management | PoE+ Powered
302 Reviews
NETGEAR Wireless Outdoor Access Point (WAX610Y) - WiFi 6 Dual-Band AX1800 Speed | Up to 250 Devices | 1x2.5G Ethernet Port | IP55 Weatherproof | 802.11ax | Insight Remote Management | PoE+ Powered
  • WiFi 6 Dual-Band AX1800 speed, coupled with MU-MIMO technology, supports up to 200 client devices and 2,500 sq. ft. of coverage.
  • Connect up to a 2.5G Ethernet switch for maximum speed.
  • Simplified deployment with PoE+.
  • Includes 1 year FREE Insight subscription for remote management from anywhere, and no additional hardware or cloud key required. Setup, configure, and manage with the Insight app.
  • Easy to securely install on the wall or a pole with included hardware. IP55 rated provides weatherproof protection to rely on.

Design and Management

The design of the NetGear WAX610Y is a lot cleaner compared to the first two access points. Its casing is made of white plastic and measures 30 x 13 cm. Just like the other access points can you mount the NetGear on a pole or wall with the help of the included mounting kits.

It doesn’t have a IP65 rating, but only IP55. The reason for this is the simple plastic cover that goes over the ethernet cable. It doesn’t create a watertight seal, but as long as you mount the access point straight up I don’t see any problems with rain that can come in.

You can manage the WAX610Y with the app or with their controller in the cloud, Insight. The only downside to the cloud controller is that it’s licensed. You get a subscription for one year for free, after which you will need to pay.

  • 2.4 GHz Speed – 600 Mbps
  • 5 GHz Speed – 1200 Mbps
  • MIMO – 2×2
  • Antenna Gain 2.4 GHz – 3.6 dBi
  • Antenna Gain 5Ghz – 4.4 dBi
  • IP Rating – IP55
  • Environment temperature – -10°C – 50℃

Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M-Pro

The Unifi Mesh Pro is designed to provide wireless outdoor coverage on a large venue or campus park for example. It is the more powerful version of the Unifi Mesh, capable of speeds up to 1300Mbps over 5Ghz and 450 Mbps over 2.4 GHz. Its 3 built-in antennas are capable of delivering 8 dBi even though it has a flat design and it only measures 35 x 18 cm.

The official range of the access point is the same as the normal Unifi Mesh, 183 m (600 ft), but you should be able to get higher speeds with this model.

Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-M-PRO US UniFi AC Mesh Wide-Area Outdoor Dual-Band Access Point
346 Reviews
Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-M-PRO US UniFi AC Mesh Wide-Area Outdoor Dual-Band Access Point
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi Standards
  • Range of up to 600
  • (2) 10/100/1000 Ethernet Ports
  • Integrated Omni Antennas
  • Passive Power over Ethernet

Design and management

The Unifi Mesh Pro Access Point can be mounted on a wall or pole with the help of the included mounting kit. You can’t attach an external antenna to the pro version, but the internal Omni antenna is powerful enough for most use cases.

You can manage a single access point with the Unifi app, allowing you to quickly deploy and install the access point. If you have multiple Unifi Access Points then you can use the Unifi Controller, which can be installed on any platform. Another option is to use a CloudKey Gen2 to manage your access points.

Specifications

  • 2.4 GHz Speed – 450 Mbps
  • 5 GHz Speed – 1300 Mbps
  • MIMO – 3×3
  • Antenna Gain 2.4 GHz – 8 dBi
  • Antenna Gain 5Ghz – 8 dBi
  • IP Rating – none (but fully weatherproof)
  • Environment temperature – -10°C – 50℃

EnGenius ENS202EXT

This outdoor access point is quite popular on Amazon, and I don’t really get way. So that is the reason I added it to this list with AP’s. The specifications are not really great, only 2.4Ghz, but the antenna is pretty powerful with 8 dBi. 2.4 GHz is the band that most suitable if you want to cover a large distance. So for outdoor usage having only 2.4 GHz is not really a big deal.

But what I absolutely dislike is that you will need to run 2 ethernet cables to this access point. One for the ethernet connection and another ethernet cable for the PoE. The whole point of Power over Ethernet is that you only need to run one cable.

EnGenius Technologies ENS202EXT N300 2.4GHz Wireless Outdoor Access Point/Bridge Features Detachable 5 dBi Antennas for Long Range, 26 dBm, IP55 Rated, 24V PoE Included (Mounting Kit Included), white
292 Reviews
EnGenius Technologies ENS202EXT N300 2.4GHz Wireless Outdoor Access Point/Bridge Features Detachable 5 dBi Antennas for Long Range, 26 dBm, IP55 Rated, 24V PoE Included (Mounting Kit Included), white
  • 802.11n Speeds up to 300Mbps on 2.4 GHz
  • Weatherproof IP55-Rated Housing Resists Harsh Climates
  • Robust 26dBm Transmit Power Supports Wireless to Yards & Patios
  • 2 Detachable 5dBi, MIMO Antennas Maximize 360 Degree Coverage
  • PoE Extends Power to Unwired Areas; Connect Remote IP Cameras or APs via 2nd Port

EnGenius does make a couple of other outdoor access points, but pretty much all the models have 4 or more antennas sticking out, which for home use doesn’t really look nice and is not needed either.

Specifications

  • 2.4 GHz Speed – 300 Mbps
  • 5 GHz Speed
  • MIMO – 2×2 Dual Band
  • Antenna Gain 2.4 GHz – 8 dBi
  • Antenna Gain 5Ghz
  • IP Rating – IP55
  • Environment temperature – -20°C – 60℃

Wireless Outdoor Bridge Access Points

When it comes to creating a wireless bridge between buildings you will need a different type of outdoor access point. The antenna design is different, it’s more a beam pattern instead of Omni, which allows it to cover a greater distance between the two access points.

Ubiquiti Unifi Building-to-Building Bridge

We are going to start with the most expensive solution, but also a really nice one. The Unifi Building-to-Building bridge. This outdoor bridge access point exists of two disk-shaped access points that can establish a link over a distance up-to 500 meters. It can transmit over 1.7 Gbps bi-directional using the 60 Ghz band.

When you are creating a wireless bridge the alignment of the access points is really important. The spot-beam antennas need to be almost perfectly aligned for the best performance. These access points really help you with this, the build-in led ring glows red on the side that is out-of-line, making it really easy to perfectly align them.

The low-interference 60 GHz radio band allows for really high transfer rates, but a downside is that rain or snow can really drop the signal strength. To maintain connectivity, the Unifi building-to-building can fail over to 5 GHz. 5 GHz does have a lower throughput, but is more stable, compared to 60 GHz.

Ubiquiti UBB-US UniFi Building-to-Building Bridge
7 Reviews
Ubiquiti UBB-US UniFi Building-to-Building Bridge
  • UniFi Building-to-Building Bridge (x2) Ball joint mount (x2) Lock ring (x2) Metal strap (x2) Gigabit PoE (48V, 0.32A) with mounting bracket (x2) Power cord (x2)

Design and Management

The disks are really small, only 15 cm in diameter and 9 cm thick. They can easily be mounted on a pole, or on a wall with the help of an additional wall-mount kit. It pivots on a ball joint, for easy aiming.

When properly mounted it can withstand 200 km/h (125 mph) wind speeds, which is more then enough in most situations.

Installing can be done with the Unifi App, it uses Bluetooth for the initial setup. So you can stand on the roof and easily set up the access point.

Management can be done with the Unifi Controller, this can be installed on any platform or you can use a Cloudkey.

Specifications

  • 5 GHz Speed
  • 60 GHz Speed – 1.7 Gbps
  • Antenna Gain 2.4 GHz – 2 dBi
  • Antenna Gain 5Ghz – 10 dBi
  • Antenna Gain 60Ghz – 17.2 dBi
  • Range – 500 m
  • GPS – Yes
  • IP Rating – none
  • Environment temperature – -40°C – 60℃

TP-Link N300 Long Range Outdoor – CPE510

The TP-Link outdoor access point is really an affordable option when you want to create a wireless outdoor bridge. There are two models available, one that uses that 5 GHz band, and the CPE210 that uses the 2.4 GHz band.

Both are capable of transmitting up to 300Mbps, the difference though is the range of access points. The CPE510, which uses the 5Ghz band, can cover a distance of 15km. The CPE210, using 2.4Ghz, can cover “only” 5km.

If you have a clear line of sight without any trees or branches between it, then you can use the 5Ghz model. But when you need to go through trees, bushes, etc, then pick the 2.4Ghz model. The lower the frequency the better the signal is in going through objects.

TP-Link 5GHz N300 Long Range Outdoor CPE for PtP and PtMP Transmission | Point to Point Wireless Bridge | 13dBi, 15km+ | Passive PoE Powered w/ Free PoE Injector | Pharos Control (CPE510) White
3,338 Reviews
TP-Link 5GHz N300 Long Range Outdoor CPE for PtP and PtMP Transmission | Point to Point Wireless Bridge | 13dBi, 15km+ | Passive PoE Powered w/ Free PoE Injector | Pharos Control (CPE510) White
  • Built-in 13dBi 2x2 dual-polarized directional MIMO antenna
  • Adjustable transmission power from 0 to 27dBm/500mW
  • System level optimizations for more than 15km long-range wireless transmission (only for paired Point-to-Point or Point-to-MultiPoint transmission)
  • TP-Link Pharos maxtream tdma (Time-Division-Multiple-Access) technology improves product performance in throughput, capacity and latency performance, ideal for ptmp applications
  • Centralized management system - Pharos control

Design and Management

The access point is only 22cm tall and 7 cm width, which really isn’t much. You can mount the access point on a pole or wall.

To manage the TP-Link CPE access point you can use the Pharos Control management software. You can install the software on your computer, allowing you to monitor the devices, update firmware and set up the link between the devices.

Specifications

  • 5 GHz Speed – 300 Mbps
  • Antenna Gain 5Ghz – 13 dBi
  • Range – 15km
  • GPS – No
  • IP Rating – IPX5
  • Environment temperature – -30°C – 70℃

EnGenius ENH500V3

The EnGenius ENH500 has a similar design as the TP-Link, but has a slightly bigger range on 5Ghz compared to TP-Link. You buy the Engenius in a two pack, so the device are already paired making the installation really plug-and-play.

The range of 7km (5miles) is slightly more then TP-link, but the price is also a lot higher. So what do you get extra for that? Is it worth the extra cost? The advantage of the EnGenius is that is has a higher throughput, with 867 Mbps on 5Ghz, which is almost 3x faster then TP-Link.

As mentioned with the TP-Link, 5 GHz allows for a higher transfer rate (or a greater distance) but only if the line-of-sight is clear.

EnGenius Technologies ENH500v3 Wi-Fi 5 Wave 2 Outdoor AC867 5GHz Plug-n-Play Wireless Bridge, PTP/PTMP, IP55, 27dBm, 16 dBi High-Gain Antenna, Long Range up to 5 Miles, Gigabit Port [2-Pack]
479 Reviews
EnGenius Technologies ENH500v3 Wi-Fi 5 Wave 2 Outdoor AC867 5GHz Plug-n-Play Wireless Bridge, PTP/PTMP, IP55, 27dBm, 16 dBi High-Gain Antenna, Long Range up to 5 Miles, Gigabit Port [2-Pack]
  • [Wi-Fi 5 Device] Capable of speeds up to 867 Mbps on 5 GHz, 3x faster than N300 bridges
  • [No Trenching] Simulate ethernet connections without the need of excessive cabling
  • [PoE Enabled] Allows for easy & hassle-free deployment
  • [High Powered] 27 dBm high transmit power extends Wi-Fi building-to-building
  • [Integrated Antennas] High Gain 16 dBi Integrated Directional Antennas built into the device extends networks up to 5 miles

Design and Management

With a length of 30 cm and a width of 12 cm is it a little bit bigger then the TP-Link. You can mount it on a wall or pole, like the most outdoor access points.

If we look at the management and set up of the access points, then there is some room for improvement. You will need to preconfigure both access points first individually before you can mount them. If you are not a tech-savvy person then the manual can be a bit hard to follow.

You can manage the device with the build-in website of the device or with the EnWifi app (but the latter requires that you configure the device first using the browser)

Specifications

  • 5 GHz Speed – 867Mbps
  • Antenna Gain 5Ghz – 16 dBi
  • Range – 7km
  • GPS – No
  • IP Rating – IP55
  • Environment temperature – -20°C – 60℃

Installing an Outdoor Access Point

Installing an outdoor access point isn’t really hard, but there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind to get the best signal and protect your devices.

Surge Protector

When installing electrical equipment outside there is always a chance that a lightning strike may hit it. Especially when you place it high on a pole. So to protect your devices you will need to install a surge protector.

The protector protects your internal network from taking damage after a lightning strike in your outdoor access point. It deflects the electrical energy through the grounding wire away from your network.

Ethernet Surge Protector PoE+ Gigabit - Gas Discharge Tube for Full Protection - Mounting Flange - RJ45 Lightning Suppressor - LAN Network CAT5/CAT6 Thunder Arrestor - GbE 1000 Mbps - Tupavco TP302
344 Reviews
Ethernet Surge Protector PoE+ Gigabit - Gas Discharge Tube for Full Protection - Mounting Flange - RJ45 Lightning Suppressor - LAN Network CAT5/CAT6 Thunder Arrestor - GbE 1000 Mbps - Tupavco TP302
  • Ethernet Surge Protector for Gigabit GbE PoE/High PoE+ (HPoE) 1000 Mbps LAN Ethernet Network
  • Gas Discharge Tubes for Full Protection GDT - Lightning Suppressor RJ45 Cable Protection CAT6/CAT5
  • Aluminum Case,Ground Wire 12AWG,Line-Line Line-Ground Protection,Bidirectional Clamping,5KA 8/20μs
  • Thunder Arrestor Protects Computer Networking Equipment Devices like Router,Modem,Camera,Switch etc
  • Mounting Flanges provide option for screw mount to the Wall, Electric Panel or Network Rack Cabinet

Outdoor Ethernet Cable

When installing network equipment outside, make sure you use outdoor ethernet cables. These cables are waterproof, shielded, and UV resistant.

Make sure you create a slight dip in the cable before you connect it to the access point. The dip will make sure that water doesn’t come into the ethernetport.

Placement

The placement of the access point really determines the quality of the signal. Large metal object near the access point can effect the signal strenght, just like any object between the outdoor ap and the client.

Wrapping Up

With an outdoor access point you can easily extend your wireless network outside. I really recommend not to buy access points that only cost $20 or $30. The specifications of those devices my look good, but most of the time they can delivery the performance they say. Also the managed and installation of those devices are terrible.

I hope you found this article useful and helped you with selecting the right outdoor access point for your situation. If you have any questions or suggestions, just drop a comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Best Outdoor Access Point in 2021”

  1. Hi Ruud,
    I have the TP-Link CPE510, it’s repeating my network, and my phone can connect, though the Nest Cam outdoor doesn’t see the new network. Any advice?

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