Recommendations for AP devices

Looking for recommendations for AP devices.
And actually, not so much on specific models (unless someone knows a good one), but more along the lines of details to look for or avoid in the table of hardware.
What I mean by that is, it seems that "mwlwifi" is not playing well with newer user devices, and some chipsets just do not work well for WLAN, etc.
Since my primary purpose is WLAN, I cannot continue to rely on my good ol Linksys WRT1900 series anymore (or the WRT3200 / 32X).

I do not need much routing, I have beefy x86 hardware doing all the firewalling, routing, DNS, VPN, etc. for the entire network.
However, I think I need more than just a dumb AP.
I need good WLAN performance, and decent wired performance.
I will have multiple devices, to spread out the coverage, to accommodate distance, interference, and user count. (also separate locations).
I will have multiple SSIDs running on each device.
-Some of those SSIDs will be direct bridges to the LAN.
-Some of those SSIDs will be running NAT (with isolation from each other). This will use DHCP for the NAT and all DNS will be forwarded upstream.
The firewall on the device will mostly be used for its own security and NAT isolation.
The wired ports will be bridged directly to the LAN, so no real processing on those.
I do not want old hardware whose chipsets will stop being supported in a few years.
I am not afraid to spend a couple hundred dollars per device to get good hardware that will last quite a while.
I would prefer that the OWrt install not be a total PITA, but if that is what it takes, then so be it.
I would ultimately like to manage the fleet with something like OpenWISP, but I don't think that is as hardware dependent as much as software.
With my planned spread of devices, I expect the concurrent user count to be less than 20 per device.
Being able to adjust RSSI to improve hand-off between devices would be awesome. Or I may have to run them in a Mesh configuration even though each device will have a wired uplink.

My search so far has turned up these two possible contenders, however, I have zero experience with these brands, and I do not know much about their chipsets, so would appreciate any input on these.

GL.iNet GL-AP1300
TP-Link EAP615-Wall

I know this is a lot of information, I am trying to answer possible questions ahead of time.
Looking forward to any assistance or directions to look.
Thank you in advance for your time.

EAP615 gets my vote :slightly_smiling_face:.

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I would highly recommend against getting MIPS based hardware, you're basically getting a dead platform which most likely will cause headaches further down the road.
Anything using ath10k/-ct and/or mt76 that's 11ac will work fine in most scenarios.

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Why not go for AX devices?

Any openwrt based router can act as an AP.

Because good and 11ax doesn't go very well with each other (yet?) and we're probably like 1-2y away before it is?

EAP615-Wall is fully 802.11ax.

For an access point only device that doesn't do routing that shouldn't matter.

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Lol, read AP as AC in OPs post :slight_smile:

I suck.


You forget that far from all traffic processing is offloaded when using wifi, ~500mbit (WPA3) pegs one core on my MT7622 box using iperf3.

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if you want just dedicated APs... Ubiquiti is worth a look. You can install OpenWrt on them but i'm just using a stable firmware branch and dont let it auto upgrade. They really need some better testing and QA with their firmware but once you get a good stable version? stick with it. Some swear by the older v4.3.28 firmware. I have upgraded to their newer stable 6.2.15 branch and its ok.

They do have in wall versions but i believe have recently stopped selling the older ones. They have just released a wifi 6 wall version.

this is a FAR more easy set of tables to compare what you want from them.

You can install OpenWrt and use them that way but I run a controller docker container that runs ubiquitis software and manage it from that. You can also manage them from a phone app.

I'm using an older AC-Lite but it works fine even in my place with concrete walls. I'm still debating getting a 2nd or just upgrading it to wifi6 but honestly i dont really need the speed from it. Its hardwired back to a router and switch with a POE injector for power. However if you were doing similar seeing as you need several points i'd suggest a POE switch to power your APs.

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