WiFi 6 Access Points For Small Enterprises Comparison Chart

Last updated on July 23rd, 2021

WiFi 6 AP For SMB, small enterprises, smaller branch offices, retail units, small and medium coffee shops and other such spaces without mission critical requirements are compared against 17 parameters in this article.

What is WiFi 6 / 802.11ax ?

802.11ax is the latest iteration of IEEE WiFi standard. It has been released with the core ideal of making WiFi more efficient, than making it more faster. 802.11ax is a standard that works with both the existing 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz unlicensed bands. Moreover 802.11ax will be compatible with the upcoming 6 GHz band that is getting unlicensed across major markets around the world.

Wi-Fi 6 is the marketing name given to those products and networks that support 802.11ax standard by Wi-Fi Alliance, a body which certifies WiFi products and devices. Similarly, Wi-Fi Alliance has renamed 802.11ac as Wi-Fi 5 and 802.1n as Wi-Fi 4 for easy reference.

WiFi 6 top features
WiFi 6 Top Features (Image Courtesy: Wi-Fi Alliance)

If you are on the verge of deciding access points for your Enterprise WLAN that has a hardware refresh cycle of 4-5 years or longer, it would be very reasonable to consider WiFi 6 right now. WiFi 6 clients are already flooding the market and by the end of 2021, a good chunk of WLAN users can be expected to have WiFi 6 compatible devices. WiFi 6 can be expected to give great relief to users in offices operating in dense corporate buildings facing heavy interference.

WiFi 5 Vs WiFi 6 Comparison

PropertyWiFi 5 Wave 2WiFi 6 Wave 1
OFDMANot AvailableYes (Uplink and Downlink)
MU-MIMOOptional FeatureYes (Downlink)
Target Wakeup Time (TWT)Not AvailableYes
Modulation256 QAM1024 QAM
Transmit BeamformingOptionalYes (4 SS and above)

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Entry-level budget WiFi 6 AP for SMB

We have earlier made a performance based mega comparison of top WiFi 6 indoor access points from 16 vendors in another post. Here we are diving deep into the Entry-level performance segment.

We have considered the following starter WiFi 6 (Certified and Non-certified) dual band Enterprise access points from leading Enterprise WLAN vendors for comparison.

These access points are meant for smaller installations with lighter usage needs. They expectedly contain 2×2:2 radios. Hence these access points should not be considered for mission critical operations requiring heavy-duty performance under demanding conditions.

More WiFi certified products from leading vendors will be added to the below table as they become available.
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Entry-level WiFi 6 Enterprise AP Comparison

PropertyAruba AP 505Cisco 9105 AXIExtreme AP 305CMeraki AP MR36Ruckus AP R550
AP ImageAruba AP 505Cisco AP 9105 AXIExtreme AP 305CMeraki AP MR 36Ruckus AP R 550
Radio Hardware2.4 GHz Radio: (2x2:2)
5 GHz Radio: (2x2:2)
BLE 5/Zigbee Radio
2.4 GHz Radio: (2x2:2)
5 GHz Radio: (2x2:2)
BLE 5 Radio
2.4 GHz Radio: (2x2:2)
5 GHz Radio: (2x2:2)
2.4 GHz: (2x2:2); 5 GHz: (2x2:2) ; Dedicated 2.4/5 GHz WIDS/WIPS Spectrum/Location Analytics Radio; BLE Radio2.4 GHz Radio: (2x2:2)
5 GHz Radio: (2x2:2)
BLE 5/Zigbee Radio
Wireless FeatureConcurrent Dual Band (2.4 GHz/5 Ghz)Concurrent Dual Band (2.4 GHz/5 Ghz)Concurrent Dual Band (2.4 GHz/5 Ghz), Dual 5 GHzConcurrent Dual Band (2.4 GHz/5 Ghz)Concurrent Dual Band (2.4 GHz/5 Ghz)
IoT SupportBLE 5.0, 802.15.4(Zigbee)Bluetooth BLE 5.0, Container support for IoT applicationsBLE 5.0BLE 5.0BLE 5.0, 802.15.4(Zigbee)
Data SpeedUpto 1.774 Gbps (5 GHz:1.2 Gbps, 2.4 GHz:574 Mbps)Upto 1.488 Gbps (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz combined)Upto 1.774 Gbps (5 GHz:1.2 Gbps, 2.4 GHz:574 Mbps)Upto 1.773 Gbps (5 GHz:1.2 Gbps, 2.4 GHz:573 Mbps)Upto 1.774 Gbps (5 GHz:1.2 Gbps, 2.4 GHz:574 Mbps)
Resource UtilizationOFDMA, MU-MIMO (Downlink), Aruba Air Slice™OFDMA, MU-MIMO (Downlink), BSS ColoringOFDMA, MU-MIMO (Downlink)OFDMA, MU-MIMO (Uplink/Downlink), BSS Coloring,OFDMA, MU-MIMO (Downlink), SmartMesh, Adaptive Band Balancing
User ExperienceClientMatch, Passpoint®, Wi-Fi Agile Multiband™, WMM®,iOS Fast Lane, Wi-Fi Agile Multiband™, WMM®Wi-Fi Agile Multiband™, WMM®Wi-Fi Agile Multiband™, WMM®, L7 Packet inspection for QoSPasspoint®, Wi-Fi Agile Multiband™, WMM®, ChannelFly, Wi-Fi Vantage™, Airtime Fairness, SmartRoam
Interference HandlingTransmit Beamforming, Aruba Advanced Cellular Co-existenceTransmit BeamformingTransmit Beamforming, Cellular Coexistence Filter (CCF)Transmit Beamforming, Auto RF Optimization using dedicated radioTransmit Beamforming, Beamflex +, Spectrum Analyzer
SecurityWPA3, WPA2 (MPSK), Trusted Platform Module, IPsec VPN Tunnel, Wi-Fi Enhanced Open™WPA3, WPA2, Wi-Fi Enhanced Open™, OEAP (OfficeExtend Access Point)WPA3, WPA2, Trusted Platform Module Chip,L2-L7 DPI firewallIntegrated Layer 7 firewall, WIDS/WIPS, WPA3WPA3, WPA2, Wi-Fi Enhanced Open™, WIPS/WIDS
AP Operating ModesInsta AP, Controller BasedEmbedded Wireless Controller (EWC) , Virtual Wireless Controller, Hardware controllersExtremeCloud™ IQ managedMeraki cloud controllerUnleashed (Controller-less) and controller based
Ethernet Ports1x1Gbps Ethernet Ports,1x1G Uplink Ethernet Port (PoE)1x1Gbps Ethernet Ports,1x1Gbps Ethernet Ports2 x 1Gbps Ethernet ports ( 1 PoE, 1 non-PoE)
Other Ports1 USB 2.0 port Type A; 1 serial console port1xRJ45 Console Port1 USB 2.0 port Type A, Micro USB console port-1 USB 2.0 port Type A
AntennaInternal(AP-505) ;
External(AP-504): Two female RP-SMA connectors provisioned
InternalInternal(AP-305C): 3 No's of dual band & 1 No. of 5 Ghz antenna
External(AP-305 CX): 4 male RP-SMA connectors provisioned
Power-up OptionsPoE 802.3af/at, 12 V DC802.3af (PoE)PoE 802.3af/atPoE 37-57 Volt (802.3af), 12 V DC inputPoE 802.3af/at, 12 V DC
Max Power ConsumptionWithout/With USB :11.0W / 16.5W.11W (802.3af)11.28 W (w/o USB), 15.78W with USB 5V/0.9A load15W max (802.3af)18.71W PoE+ (with USB & full functionality)
Green Features (Energy Saving)Green AP, Target Wake Time, WMM®-Power SaveTarget Wake Time (TWT), WMM® - Power SaveWMM®-Power Save, Light/Power sensorTWT, Unscheduled Automatic Power Save Delivery (U-APSD)Target Wake Time (TWT)
Certified Wi-Fi StandardsWi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ a/b/g/n/ac,Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ a/b/g/n/ ( (As on 28th Oct 2020, Wi-Fi Alliance Website)Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ a/b/g/n/acWi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ a/b/g/n/acWi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ a/b/g/n/ac,
Safety ComplianceUL2043 Plenum rated,
FCC/ISED, CE, 2014/53/EU, 2014/30/EU, 2014/35/EU, UL/IEC/EN 60950, EN 60601-1-1, 60601-1-2
UL 2043, UL/EN/IEC 60950-1, UL/CUL/EN/IEC 62368-1UL2043 Plenum rated,
USA/IEC/EN/AS/NZS 62368/60950-1, IEC/EN 60601-1-2
UL 2043, CSA/CB 60950 & 62368UL2043 Plenum rated,
EN 62311, EN 60950-1, 60601-1-2
Manufacturer Quote“Cost-effective Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) for medium-density indoor environments”"Perfect for networks of all sizes, the Catalyst 9105 Access Points scale to meet the growing demands of IoT while fully supporting the latest innovations""Priced for the mass-market, this enterprise-grade access point is ideal for
budget-conscious enterprises who do not want to sacrifice performance"
“Dual-band, 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 access point delivering high efficiency wireless for future-proof deployments”“ideal combination of increased capacity, improved coverage and affordability in dense environments”

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Note: All product/company/standards names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.The product features mentioned in this article are not exhaustive. For the full list of features and capabilities, kindly contact the manufacturer or its local representative in your region.