Networking behemoth Netgear is increasing its portfolio of WiFi 6 products with a new and affordable wireless access point aimed at smaller businesses who want to run a wireless network. The WAX204 is priced within reach of smaller businesses who operate from a single location.

Unlike enterprise WiFi 6 products from Netgear, the new WAX204 is for businesses that don’t require fancy features like remote management. Instead, this access point offers a simple and intuitive interface that can easily be managed locally by the person who looks after tech and IT for the business,

As part of Netgear’s new Business Essentials range, the WAX204 is pitched at home office workers, micro-businesses and small shops or any other business that needs a cost-effective wireless network. The WAX204 uses the very latest WiFi 6 standard and provides the kind of performance, coverage and security that can keep a home office, small business, employees, guests, and customers connected. The device can deliver more coverage than previous generations of the WiFi access points which should mean fewer dead zones.

When everyone in a building is logged on to the same wireless network, each device connected has to fight for the available amount of wireless bandwidth. With the capability to establish up to three separate wireless networks, each with separate dedicated channels (SSID), the WAX204 can provide every client device on the network with improved performance. In practical terms, this means home workers can have a wireless network for home use as well as one for business with priority for streaming, ensuring there are no dropped video calls or fast transfer of large data files.

These days, so many tech devices require their Internet connection, often resulting in high-traffic congestion. Laptops, phones, tablets, security cameras, lights, TVs, media players – and even the refrigerator and printer – are all vying for access to the network. The Netgear WAX204 uses WiFi 6 enabling more devices to connect to a network at the same time. 

With a WiFi 6 network, devices can operate at optimum speed thanks to 1.8Gbps of available bandwidth, resulting in speeds that can be up to 40% faster than the legacy WiFi 5 (802.11ac) standard. Lots of new devices, like smartphones and computers, are now WiFi 6 compatible and the WAX204 is also working with older devices, and even they will experience an increase in networking performance. According to Netgear, the WAX204 is very easy to set up. There’s a built-in web-based interface that provides a step-by-step installation so the network can be up and running in no time at all.

Security is a critical aspect of wireless networking, whether in a home office or a guest scenario like a coffee shop. Keeping users and devices safe is important and up to three separate SSIDs can be set up so that devices connected on one of the SSIDs can be protected from devices logged on to another. This means you can have one SSID set up for the business and another dedicated for guests or customers and the two networks will be completely secure from each other. The WAX204 uses WPA3 authentication for the higher levels of security plus there’s a DHCP NAT server for improved firewall security.

Wireless networks are incredibly convenient but there’s still a role for wired connections via a local Ethernet network. Wired connections can be faster and physically secure. The WAX204 has four Ethernet LAN ports for wired devices like printers, gaming consoles, workstations, TVs or even a laptop. The WAX204 can also work as a router as well as an access point enabling it to be hooked up to a cable modem and handle all the networking needs of a business. 

Netgear is providing the WAX204 with a three-year hardware warranty plus 90 days of phone and chat support.

Pricing and availability: The Netgear WAX204 WiFi 6 Access Point is available and shipping now in the USA at $129.99. The WAX204-100EUS (Europe and UK) will be available in the coming month for €129.99 / £$119.99.

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