Access Point vs Router

Deciding Between Access Point and Wireless Router

Access point vs router:

Many people are confused trying to understand the differences between wireless router vs access point, so we'll give it to you straight.

We'll be covering both wireless router and access point and explaining each of their roles and advanced features.

Then you will know, and can decide which is best suited for your wireless home network.

Most people arrive at the access point vs router question, because they are looking for an affordable solution to expand their wireless network.

access point vs router

WHNME wants to make sure you end up with the right Wireless Network Devices, and equipment thats going to work properly.

Understanding the Different Roles between
Wireless Router and Access Point

Wireless Access Point:

With the exception of some access points having wireless repeater mode functionality, a WAP must be connected to a router by Ethernet cable.

Its main purpose was intended to give wireless capability to routers that are not wirelessly enabled. However, due to packet signal attenuation wireless access points can be located up to 328ft or 100meters away from the router they are connected to by Ethernet cable.

Keep in mind that each manufacture sometimes adds extra functionality to some of its networking products.


Where wireless routers excel in giving your entire home network new added functionality so can wireless access points by showing their creative talents in the way they communicate with other access points, and altering their behavior by switching modes of operation from access point, wireless repeater and even network bridge.

Wireless Router:

Plays a host role on a wireless home network, has the ability to assign IP addresses for those who need to join the network with its built-in DHCP server service.

The wireless router can only be connected wirelessly to a wireless repeater or wireless bridge. Wireless access points can only connect to a wireless router through an Ethernet cable (unless it has a built-in wireless repeating mode feature.)

Wireless routers have many high end features which can change the dynamics of your entire wireless home network, such as FTP, Media Server, and NAS for network attached storage ability.

tech tip

TIP: If you're looking to expand your home wireless network for the purpose of high bandwidth intensive applications or online gaming, you will definitely want to connect your network equipment via Ethernet cable, because wireless signal repeating suffers in its performance.

Wireless router vs access point:

More people are putting their older wireless routers to use, because they still work and can enhance the wireless coverage of their wireless home network.

Routers can be used to perform as wireless access points, if the router has been configured to do so by turning off some of its hosting responsibilities, cascading it to another router and taking advantage of its wireless capabilities.

Wireless access points can be more expensive then wireless routers, because they have some special features built in for connecting with other types of access points that most wireless routers do not.

On the other hand, when using a wireless router as an access point it must be connected by an Ethernet cable. If having the two wireless routers connected by a cable is workable for you, then it would be the more affordable option.

With newer and more innovative wireless enabled network products being produced every day, many wireless networking equipment share common features as the world demands more from what they get.

Whichever product type you decide between wireless router vs access point, make sure you research compatibility between models before making your purchase, and always feel free to "Ask Us A Question!"

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