Guide: Choose the right access points

Why more isn’t always better

When it comes to technical specs, we tend to think that more is better. The more antennas and specifications, the faster the connection, right?

 

  

 

It is true, in many cases, that more antennas and newer technologies provide higher speeds. The problem arises when your customers are being misled, and they end up paying for specifications they don't need. This is often the case when purchasing access points.

 

”The problem arises when your customers are being misled, and they end up paying for specifications they don't need.”

 

A lot of customers end up buying access points with 4x4 antennas but 2x2 are significantly cheaper and cover most needs. When it comes to WiFi 6 access points, most manufacturers only supply 4x4 antenna access points – and therefore they can increase the price accordingly.

11ax vs. 11ac

Firstly, let us look at choosing the WiFi standard. Access points with 11ax (WiFi 6), the latest standard, provide approx. 40% higher transfer rate compared to 11ac (WiFi 5).

 

“Access points with 11ax (WiFi 6), the latest standard, provide approx. 40% higher transfer rate compared to 11ac (WiFi 5).”

 

I tabellen nedenfor kan du se overførselshastigheden for access points i forhold til WiFi standard og antal antenner.

 

Transfer rate

 

2x2 antennas

4x4 antennas

WiFi 5 11ac

867 Mbps

1.733 Mbps

WiFi 6 11ax

1.200 Mbps

2.400 Mbps

 

2x2 vs. 4x4 antennas

We have made calculations based on estimates that each user needs access to 10 Mbps, which allows the users to browse and stream high resolution. The table shows how many users the different access points can support simultaneously from a mathematical perspective.

Consumption capacity per user of 10 Mbps (mathematical estimate)

 

2x2 antennas

4x4 antennas

WiFi 5 11ac

87 users

173 users

WiFi 6 11ax

120 users

240 users

 

2x2 antenna 11ax access points support 120 users with a stable connection. This will easily cover a small or medium-sized office, café, hotel and alike. 4x4 antenna 11ax access points are ideal for larger constellations of more than 120 users and when the connected devices also have 4x4 antennas. Our guidance is solely based on mathematical estimates.

 

” 2x2 antenna 11ax access points support 120 users with a stable connection. This will easily cover a small or medium sized office, café, hotel and alike.”

 

The calculations show, mathematically, how many users you can supply with different setups. Other factors must also be considered, and we always refer to the manufacturer’s product specifications, where the number of users is often stated.

 

Price vs. specifications

As with everything else, the choice of access points is a consideration of costs versus benefits. Choosing 4x4 antennas will often give you more capacity than is needed at a higher cost.

 

We have assembled a price list showcasing EnGenius and Cisco prices. Both manufacturers produce access points with both 2x2 and 4x4 antennas. The prices are extracted from EnGenius' recommended retail prices and prices found via itprice.com.

 

EnGenius prices

 

2x2 antennas

4x4 antennas

WiFi 5 11ac

EWS330AP     

233 USD

EWS370AP      

756 USD

WiFi 6 11ax

EWS357AP     

333 USD

EWS377AP      

533 USD

 

Cisco Meraki prices

 

2x2 antennas

4x4 antennas

WiFi 5 11ac

 MR32

799 USD

MR52

1.399 USD

WiFi 6 11ax

MR36

849 USD

MR55

1.849 USD

 

Based on our analysis, 11ax access points with 2x2 antennas is one of the best choices in terms of performance and price. 11ax 2x2 is available at $ 333. Based on a mathematical estimate, access points with 2x2 antennas 11ax provide optimal coverage of offices, hotels, cafes, and the like with up to 120 users. However, we recommend that you always use the estimate provided by the manufacturer in the product specifications.

 

”Based on our analysis, 11ax access points with 2x2 antennas is one of the best choices in terms of performance and price.”

 

If you have questions or doubts about the type of access points you or your customers should choose, you are always welcome to contact us.

 

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