What to look for in a (Dumb) Access Point?

Hey there,
I'm looking for a (dumb) access point, what are hardware recommendations? Assume:

  • The router's CPU is plenty powerful (APU2).
  • I have multiple vlans (family, guest, iot), on different wireless networks.
  • I might want fast transitioning so the hardware should support 802.11r.
  • Alternatively there are some places I can't hard wire so the hardware should support 802.11s.
  • Finally the hardware should support any useful AP features that I forgot to mention.

I'd like to make this post relevant to someone reading it 2 or 3 years from now. So instead of answering with specific models could we keep the answers generic? For example, "RAM isn't that important for an access point." or "An access point should have at least 128mb of RAM."

  1. what you need
  2. general reports of good provision of the above

i need to stream 1080p and light browsing to most household clients... there are hundreds of AP's that are capable of doing this, i need OpenWrt support, so I choose ipq806x, but that was 2 years ago, based on positive reports of provision of the above

  • multi ssid was a factor
  • going with a vendor that 'does the right thing' was a factor
  • usb3 was a factor (admittedly not for many, this was the days of 'downrole' a fully capable router to 'ap'... that is less feasable these days)

For 2022, buy one with 802.11ax support. Also buy one with a lots of OpenWRT users/track record of working. There are a small number of devices that have 802.11ax right now.

More specific
Right now, the RT3200 is a good choice for an AP if the area you need to service isn't massive or obstructed by tons of walls. I feel that the internal antennas give it less reach than some other options. On the plus side, It is an 802.11ax device so you're at least not buying an already deprecated standard in a new purchase. Its underlying driver is also open source and I understand it to be co-developed by some OpenWRT developers which is also a major benefit. Finally, there is a growing user base/active development.

Best access points are enterprise ones which run off PoE. Cisco Meraki MR33, MR42 or MR52. Them Ubiquities are also not too bad and there is even a Wi-Fi 6 one supported.