This article answers 11 most significant frequently asked questions on wireless access point vs routers. Detailed explanation is provided for each question.
What is the basic difference between Wifi router and access point
The main functionality of a Wif-router is to allow communication between networks. A Wifi-router provides wireless and wired connection and also has routing features. A Wifi-router has an inbuilt switch which is used for providing wired connection.
An access point is used for providing wireless connectivity to users on a network. The access point cannot be used as a router as it does not have routing features
Why do you need access point
An access point is required to extend Wifi connectivity to users on a network. Assume that in a small office network there is no Wifi connection in a specific area of the office. There is a combination of wired and wireless users on the network. To extend Wifi connectivity, an access point has to be integrated on the network and setup where wireless access is required.
Can Wifi router be used as access point
Yes. A wifi router can be used as an access point. In this setup, the Wifi router would not be configured for internet connection. The router would be configured with a SSID name to which the users would connect.
Can a router and access point be used together
Yes. A router and an access point can be used simultaneously.
Can access point connect directly to internet
No. access points cannot connect to internet. They do not have features like NAT, support for WAN protocols like a wireless router.
How is an access point connected to an existing network
There are two ways by which an access point can be connected to a network. The first method is to connect the inbuilt network card on the access point to a port on switch on the existing wired network . The network card on the access point is connected to the port on the switch using network cable.
The second method is to connect the access point using the wireless network to the router. In this case, the access point should support repeater mode.
Can access point support dual radios like wifi routers
Yes. Access points support dual radios. There are access points which supports both 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz simultaneously.
What are the different access point modes
The two different modes on access points are infrastructure mode and repeater mode. In infrastructure mode, the access point connects to the network using the wired connection. The network card on the access point is used in this mode.
In repeater mode, the access point is used to amplify the wireless signals on the network. In this case, the wireless radio on the access point is used for connection.
Can a practical example be explained where Wifi router and access point is used together on a network
Assume that there is an office with two floors. The Wifi connectivity on the 1st floor is provided using the Wifi router, which also is used for internet access. There is no WiFi connectivity on the second floor. An access point can be used on this floor. A cable can be pulled from the 1st floor which can then be used for connectivity to the access point. One end of the cable would connect to the access point and the other end connects to the inbuilt switch port on the wireless router.
Is it better to use a mesh router instead of an access point to extend the network at home
A mesh router is always preferred instead of using a Wifi access point. Mesh routers solve the problem of manageability. The performance would be much better when a mesh system is used instead of access points.
Does access points need IP address
Yes. Access points need IP address for communication since every device on a network requires IP address for communication.