The process of setting up Wi-Fi in your home or business can be confusing and complicated. Different terms and devices are involved in the process, and every Wi-Fi situation is different. Business needs differ from those of home users.
When you understand the various terms related to Wi-Fi, you can get a better understanding of what your home or business needs in order to have a reliable and fast network. “Router” and “wireless access point” are two terms you’ll often hear, but what does each mean, and how are they different?
How do routers work?
The first step in understanding a router is understanding a modem. In essence, you can think of your modem as your Internet gateway. In your home or business, you cannot access the Internet without a modem. In most cases, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) provides your modem.
An Ethernet networking cable connects the router directly to the modem, giving you wireless access to other devices in your house as well as more wired connections.
An LAN is a network set up by your router. Your LAN consists of all devices connected to your router, either directly via Ethernet or wirelessly. Using your modem, your LAN is connected to a wide area network (WAN).
Essentially, your router acts as an intermediary between your modem and all the devices in your home or office. Nowadays, most routers provide a wireless connection with a built-in access point, although there are still some routers that only provide wired connections. Is there a reason why wireless access points are sold separately? Take a look at this.
How does a wireless access point work?
An access point is a device that connects to a LAN wirelessly, but it must be connected to a router via Ethernet cable to function as an access point. Wireless signals are converted from wired signals through cables.
As a result, what is the point of standalone access points if you need a router regardless of whether you have a standalone wireless access point or one built into the router?
You can extend the wireless coverage of your local area network by using wireless access points. Thousands of square metres of uncovered area in large homes or large businesses can benefit from this. Additionally, wireless access points allow users to connect to the network more easily, which is also advantageous for companies with many employees.
What’s the difference between a router and an access point?
Routers can act as wireless access points, but access points cannot act as routers.
Most people won’t even have to worry about choosing between a wireless router and adding wireless access points. Generally, modern wireless routers come with all the features you need to set up a reliable wireless home or small business, including direct Ethernet ports, wireless connections via a built-in access point, and basic firewalls.
It may be a good idea to add a wireless hotspot if you want to extend your coverage over a larger area or if you want to connect more devices to your network. Nevertheless, you need a router to manage the local network and connect to the extended network.
Which option is best for you?
For most homes and small businesses, a wireless router with an access point would be the best solution. It is probably best to invest in a few wireless access points if you have a large business or home with a large footprint or even multiple floors in a building to ensure that there are enough hotspots and space on the network for everyone to communicate.
If you live in a home or even a small business, don’t immediately buy a wireless access point to help with weak connection areas or dead spots. Test your Wi-Fi speed first. There may be a problem with your ISP’s coverage or with your modem or router. Don’t spend more money until you are well off