When it comes to wifi, we often lump together a wireless router and a wireless access point, but in reality, they are not the same thing. They do share similarities, however. Let’s break down what they are and how they are different.
Nearly everyone who has home or business internet will have a router. A router is the device that connects the network to the building, supplying both wireless and wired internet service. A router often acts as an access point, but an access point is not a router itself.
A router will give many devices around a home or business access to the internet simultaneously. This means various phones, printers, and computers can all get their wireless internet from a single router. The router is the means of getting the internet itself, which comes with a built-in wireless capability.
Wireless access points or Aps have been a constantly changing piece of home and business internet. Routers have not always come with a standard built-in wifi. In these cases, an AP was added to the network in order to have wifi. So where many of us out there now have smartphones, we could not connect to the internet without having an AP set-up.
With modern technology, APs are not the same as they used to be. Since routers usually come with built-in wifi, the router will act as the AP, making the need for a dedicated AP obsolete.
APs are still around, however, since wifi is not perfect. There are still many dead spots out there or wifi with short-range, making Aps necessary to fill in the gaps from the internet. Instead of being the sole part to provide wifi to a building, APs now expand the wifi to include areas that may not have had it otherwise.
It may seem futile to purchase a wireless access point if you have already installed your router, since the router does act as an AP. But even routers have their limits. If you are not receiving strong or reliable wifi at your home or business, an AP can be added in to provide secure and reliable internet coverage. This is especially important in a business that relies upon the internet for daily tasks. If there are dead spots in a place of business, the results could be loss of funds or customers.
Additionally, homes or businesses that are computer-based and run services may want the additional support and power that is supplied by having a dedicated AP. It acts as a back-up system to keep everything running smoothly, supplying an added piece of mind.
Most homes will not require a wireless access point separate from the router since it is built-in to the routers themselves. If you have reliable home internet and have been satisfied with your internet, most likely you will not need an additional AP.