Wireless Access Point (WAP) Overview
A WAP or wireless access point is a configured node or hardware device on a LAN (local area network) that connects wireless capable devices and wired networks using a wireless standard such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. WAPs have antennae or radio transmitters that make it easier for devices to connect to a network or the Internet.
WAP is also labeled as a hotspot. While there are alternative wireless technologies, the phrases Wi-Fi hotspot and WAP are used interchangeably most of the time.
To eliminate "dead spots" and ensure total wireless coverage, businesses can also utilize a WAP and enhance the power and signal range of their existing wireless network. This particular technology is especially beneficial for bigger office buildings. One of the greatest benefits of WAP is its mobility, as the WAPs' settings can all be controlled from a single device.
What Is the Access Point in Wireless LAN
An Access Point (AP) is a piece of networking equipment. An access point in wireless LAN (WLAN) helps to connect wireless-capable devices to a wired network. Installing APs helps connect all the devices and computers within a particular network, and this task of connecting multiple devices is easier and simpler using AP, as compared to using cables and wires.
Why You Need Wireless Access Points for Your Business
Nearly all businesses need reliable internet access so that their staff can complete their work conveniently and quickly. In this digital age, businesses cannot afford to operate without a reliable wireless network. This is where WAPs come to their rescue.
A wireless access point is a must-have if your business has multiple employees working simultaneously. WAPs are used in office environments to provide superior network connectivity, allowing employees to operate from anywhere within the workplace by connecting their respective devices to the available network.
WAPs could be the ideal solution for businesses because of the following reasons:
- Wide transmission range
- Increased user access
- Stronger signal sending and receiving capabilities
- Enhanced security
Advantages of Wireless Access Point in Networking
Any business organization looking forward to accommodating a large number of wireless Internet users requires a wireless access point. The WAP comes with numerous notable advantages as compared to a regular wireless router. Here are the most important advantages of WAP:
Access to more number of users: While a regular wireless router can only serve 10-20 people, a WAP can support more than 50, sometimes even hundreds of users simultaneously. Additionally, WAP also has much better and stronger signal receiving and sending capabilities.
Broader transmission range: A wireless router's signal transmission range is usually only a few meters, and the signal gets lost beyond a few dozen meters. However, a wireless access point has the capacity to cover greater distances, which can be as much as 100-300 meters. Additionally, increasing the number of wireless access points would proportionally enhance signal coverage, allowing users to wander freely within the network and still stay connected to it.
Flexible networking: A wireless router's networking mode is limited in terms of flexibility and scope. However, that’s not the case with a wireless access point. To encourage usage flexibility, a wireless access point includes a variety of modes that you can choose from. Here are some of the standard modes available with WAP: Simplex AP, Wireless Bridge, Wireless Client, Multi-point Bridge, etc.
Interconnection of Multiple Access Points: Business houses frequently use multi-access point applications. As it stands, a single AP's coverage may prove to be insufficient for a large organization. In such a scenario, a multi-AP interconnection can be used to extend wireless network coverage. The multi-AP interconnection facility gives network users the freedom to roam freely within the network coverage area, without compromising on connectivity strength.
Wireless Access Point Vs Router: Difference Between Access Point and Router
To understand the difference between a router and an access point, we first must figure out their functions. A router is a piece of network equipment that typically performs two functions. First, it connects several devices (computers, tablets, phones, etc) to establish a managed LAN. Second, it provides all connected devices access to the Internet. You need to simply deploy a router and link one or more devices to it in order to create a LAN.
On the other hand, an AP is a wireless network device that operates as a portal that helps connect computing devices to a local area network. Access points are typically deployed to expand an existing network's wireless coverage and increase the number of users who can connect to it.
Simply put, a router serves as a hub, establishing a local area network and overseeing all of its devices and their communications. In contrast, an access point is technically a sub-device deployed within a particular LAN that offers another point of connection that allows for more devices to be connected to the network.
The following table reveals the key differences between an AP and a router:
Allows devices to connect to a LAN
Forwards packets of data among various computer networks and points traffic on the Internet
Extends the coverage range of a wireless network to accommodate more users
Establishes LAN and forms connection between devices and the Internet
Suitable for large enterprises and massive workspaces
Suitable for small businesses and households
Different types of access points include: standalone AP, controller AP, single frequency AP, dual-band AP, in-wall AP, ceiling AP, commercial AP, enterprise-level AP, and multifunction AP
Types of routers include the following: Wired routers, Wireless routers, Edge routers, Virtual routers, and core routers
Wireless Access Point Vs Extender: Difference Between Access Point and Extender
As we already know, an access point happens to be a wireless networking device that connects wireless devices and networks to a wired network via wireless technologies like Wi-Fi. On the other hand, an extender, also known as a repeater, is a networking device that extends the coverage area of an existing wireless network.
The access point acts as a centralized hub on an existing wireless LAN. It is either connected to a router via Ethernet cable or is a part of a router. A wireless extender, on the other hand, extends the range of a router's wireless signal by forming a second network, gradually enhancing the main router's coverage.
The following table shows the key differences between an access point and an extender.
Acts similar to a base station that enables multiple devices to connect to the same local area network.
Boosts an existing connection to expand its network coverage area.
AP creates its own network
An extender merely mimics an existing network
It is useful for business networks
Suitable for home networks
Never compromises with network quality
Might deteriorate network quality by up to 50%