The Netgear WAX214 AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 Access Point (WAP) was available simultaneously with the oddball WAX204, but I decided not to review it until now due to some firmware issues. Indeed, with the latest firmware release, version 184.108.40.206, this (still) new access point proved in my testing to be reliable.
As an entry-level business AP, though, the WAX214 doesn't have much to brag about. And the fact it includes no power supply, be it a traditional adapter or a PoE injector, means you might have a hard time with it at first.
But if you have wired your home (or office) and want a straightforward device to extend your network, at the current sub-$100 cost, the WAX214 is worth the consideration. Just make sure you already have a PoE switch (or a standard injector) and don't need top Wi-Fi 6 speeds.
If you're looking to expand Wi-Fi outdoors, however, check out the EnGenius EWS850AP instead.
Netgear WAX214: A straightforward indoor entry-level Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster
The Netgear WAX214 has a couple of surprises. For one, it's quite compact, significantly smaller than the EnGenious ECW230. And secondly, it doesn't come with a power supply.
The new access point supports Power over Ethernet (PoE) and does have a standard power port. However, out of the box, it comes with neither the power adapter nor a PoE injector -- it's rather useless.
So, unless you already have a standard PoE switch, you'll have to spend another $30 or so for a way to deliver juice to it.
As a business AP, though, this no-power-adapter approach is quite normal. You can think of this as a way to cut costs since many businesses (and homes) already switch with multiple PoE ports.
I myself tested it with a PoE switch. If you have one or a standard injector, you'll find setting it up a walk in the park. But first, let's check out the WAX214's hardware specs and photos.
Netgear WAX214: Hardware specifications
The Netgear WAX214 is a dual-band dual-stream (2x2) Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster that doesn't support the 160MHz channel width.
The lack of support for the high bandwidth means it'll cap at 1200Mbps of negotiated speed at best. But that also means it's stable, being free from the DFS issues and all.
|Name||Netgear WAX214 AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 Access Point|
|2.4GHz Band||2x2 AX: Up to 600Mbps |
|5GHz Band||2x4 AX: Up to 1200Mbps|
|Max Clients (Active)||128 (40)|
|Ethernet Port||1x Gigabit (PoE)|
|Power Supply||IEEE 802.11af/at PoE or|
Neither PoE injector nor power adapter included)
|Dimensions||6.33 x 6.33 × 1.31 in |
(160.9 × 160.9 x 33.28 mm)
|Weight||0.84 lb (0.38kg)|
|Operation Modes||Access Point|
The access point comes with a total of four virtual SSIDs (Wi-Fi network names). You can use each as a Dual-band or turn off one of the two bands. You can also make each as a Guest network or customize it with lots of options.
On top of it, there's a fifth SSID (2.4GHz) used for the setup process. You can turn it off once you've gotten things up and running.
Netgear WAX214: Detail photos
Netgear WAX214: Simple setup process, scant feature setup
The access point comes with a mall setup booklet and a self-explanatory introduction printed on its underside.
A typical PoE AP setup
First, you need to mount where you want to deliver the best coverage. Then connect a network cable to its only LAN port. Now connect the other end of the cable to a PoE port of a switch (or an injector), and you're all done with the hardware setup.
Now it's time to access its local web interface. (The AP doesn't have a mobile app, which is great.)
For this, you either use instructions printed on the WAX214's underside or open a browser of a network computer and navigate to its IP address given out by your router. I did the latter, and the rest was self-explanatory.
As shown in the screenshot above, the first time I accessed the WAX214's web user interface, I was asked to create a login account and the SSID and password for the access point.
And that's it! Mission accomplished.
In most cases, you can stop there and move on to other things.
Lots of Wi-Fi settings, no features
And there aren't many reasons to do anything more. That's because if you go back to the interface, you'll note that there are not many features with this access point.
Indeed, it has way less to offer than the EnGenius EWS850AP, which was already scant in features.
The WAX214 can only work as an access point. It won't work as a mesh point or any other role, such as a media bridge. It doesn't have a built-in captive portal, either, where you can make the client agree to certain terms before getting connected.
(I tested a single unit, but if you use more than one and set their SSIDs and passwords to be the same, chances are you'll get somewhat of a mesh system with seamless hand-off. This is the case with most business APs.)
In fact, the only thing the WAX214 has is the ability to customize its Wi-Fi bands to the max. As mentioned above, you can have up to four SSIDs to segment your network and manage devices connected to each separately.
It's important to note, though, that the SSIDs are virtual -- using more than one doesn't increase the bandwidth of the AP, and per Netgear, each WAX214 can handle up to 40 active devices simultaneously. That's more than enough for most homes.
Netgear WAX214: Modest but reliable performance
I didn't expect much from the WAX214 regarding speeds, and the AP proved to deliver exactly what its specs suggested. It had decent Wi-Fi speeds in my testing, as shown in the Wi-Fi AP performance chart below.
The Netgear WAX214's coverage proved impressive, exceeding what Netgear claims, 1500 ft2 (139 m2).
In my testing, the AP could cover some 2000 ft2 (186 m2)of a house with relatively open spaces when mounted on the ceiling. Your milages will vary, however.
With the latest firmware, I used the Netgear WAX214 for more than a week with no issues. The AP was reliable the entire time.
Netgear WAX214 Access Point's Rating
Reliable Wi-Fi at relatively affordable pricing
Compact and simple to set up
Lots of Wi-Fi settings, responsive web user interface
No login account required
No 160MHz bandwidth or Multi-Gig port, modest speeds
No power adapter or PoE injector included
Limited feature set
The Netgear WAX214 AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 Access Point is not a must-have, nor is it a novelty. It's just a simple, reliable to add-on Wi-Fi broadcaster for an existing network. And that's a good thing.
For the current cost of around $100, this AP is definitely worth the investment if you're into cable wiring and Power-over-Ethernet networking. Just make sure you only need a sub-Gigabit Wi-Fi network.