LinuxQuestions.org
Download your favorite Linux distribution at LQ ISO.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Networking
User Name
Password
Linux - Networking This forum is for any issue related to networks or networking.
Routing, network cards, OSI, etc. Anything is fair game.

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 01-13-2014, 04:26 PM   #1
xeon123
Member
 
Registered: Sep 2006
Posts: 364

Rep: Reputation: 16
what is the difference between range extender, router, and access point?


Hi,
1 - Nowadays exist Wireless range extender, router, and access point. I know what is a router, but the features of the router mingles with the range extender and the access point. Can someone tell me what is the difference between the 3 devices? You don't need to be exhaustive.

2 - In my home I have a wireless modem/router, but the range do not get some rooms. I want to extend the range. I read that range extender are a trick to get more $$, and an access point it is much better and it is cheaper. What should I choose, a wireless range extender, a router or an access point?

3 - a wireless router can connect to the wireless modem/router?

thanks,

Last edited by xeon123; 01-13-2014 at 04:45 PM.
 
Old 01-13-2014, 05:07 PM   #2
mostlyharmless
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jan 2008
Distribution: Slackware -current (multilib) with kernel 3.16.2
Posts: 1,565
Blog Entries: 13

Rep: Reputation: 178Reputation: 178
Router: cable/satellite to wired&wireless signal, some routers only provide a wired aka ethernet jack, those that provide wireless too are called wireless
Range Extender: wireless to more wireless; because of the extra relay, some speed is sacrificed. Make sure range is actually the problem. In my experience these are hit or miss.
Access point: wired connection to wireless signal.

You're best off wiring the house, if at all possible, or even using a MOCA or powerline ethernet device.

Last edited by mostlyharmless; 01-13-2014 at 05:09 PM.
 
Old 01-13-2014, 05:32 PM   #3
metaschima
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2013
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,488

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
A router is almost always a modem-router. It has a modem integrated into it to communicate to the ISP using either a telephone line for DSL or copper/fiber-optic cable or satellite in some cases. It also has a router to provide NAT and route/filter packets to connected local machines. Basically, a router creates a local network, and allows users to connect to the ISP and internet through the router (also known as the gateway).

A range extender just extends an existing connection. It is NOT a router, and NOT a modem. It does increase latency, but usually not connection speed, unless you exceed the capabilities of the connection technology (like using low-speed wifi signal for high speed land-line connection).

A (wireless) access point is just a device that broadcasts a wireless signal that you can connect to. Both of the above can be wireless access points.

Last edited by metaschima; 01-17-2014 at 06:35 PM. Reason: fixed error
 
Old 01-13-2014, 06:39 PM   #4
michaelk
Moderator
 
Registered: Aug 2002
Posts: 12,049

Rep: Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758
A wireless router is a wireless access point (WAP) but not all WAPs are routers. Typically WAPs connect to the LAN via an ethernet cable.

Wireless range extenders or boosters basically are wireless access points that rebroadcast a wireless signal from another device. It has its own SSID and looks like another WAP. Some routers can be configured as extenders but extenders are not routers.

Basically a router forwards data between networks and most home routers these days have wireless capability. They also have firewalls built in as well as other features like DHCP server, blocking websites etc. These features not not available in a standalone WAP or extender.

My dad uses an extender and for his house and it works surprisingly well. However, there are many factors and without know the specifics of your house it is difficult to say what will work best.

I have not used power line adapters in a long time so I can not say how well they work.
 
Old 01-13-2014, 06:40 PM   #5
Shadow_7
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: debian
Posts: 1,554

Rep: Reputation: 239Reputation: 239Reputation: 239
A lot of routers have modes these days. I use an asus rt-n12 with router, access point, and repeater modes via a hardware switch on the back. In repeater mode it functions much like a wireless card would. Basically ethernet to the router in repeater mode, and the router out to the wireless network. Your range is extended by however long your ethernet cable is going this route. Plus they tend to have greater range than a usb dongle. And no linux wireless driver issues or quirky-ness.
 
Old 01-13-2014, 07:27 PM   #6
metaschima
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2013
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,488

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelk View Post
Wireless range extenders or boosters basically are wireless access points that rebroadcast a wireless signal from another device. It has its own SSID and looks like another WAP. Some routers can be configured as extenders but extenders are not routers.
Are you sure ?

Quote:
A wireless repeater (also called wireless range extender) takes an existing signal from a wireless router or access point and rebroadcasts it to create a second network. When two or more hosts have to be connected with one another over the IEEE 802.11 protocol and the distance is too long for a direct connection to be established, a wireless repeater is used to bridge the gap. It can be a specialized stand alone computer networking device. Also, some WNICs optionally support operating in such a mode. Those outside of the primary network will be able to connect through the new "repeated" network. However, as far as the original router or access point is concerned only the repeater MAC is connected. So safety features must be enabled on the wireless repeater as well. Wireless repeaters are commonly used to improve signal range and strength within homes and small offices.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_repeater

From this description I get that it has to at least do some NAT. I mean, if you connect a wireless range extender/repeater to a router and the router only sees the repeater, then all the machines connected to the repeater must be routed through the repeater, and thus it must be a router.

If I'm wrong, please provide an explanation for this, because this is what I see when I use a repeater as well.
 
Old 01-13-2014, 08:45 PM   #7
michaelk
Moderator
 
Registered: Aug 2002
Posts: 12,049

Rep: Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758
A repeater rebroadcasts signals from an existing wireless router or access point. Says nothing about NAT or being a router.
 
Old 01-13-2014, 09:18 PM   #8
metaschima
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2013
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,488

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
If it creates a new network, then it has to do NAT, right ? Otherwise, is it magic ? I don't understand.

It's true that repeaters don't have the same features as a router, so in that sense they are not routers.

Last edited by metaschima; 01-13-2014 at 09:19 PM.
 
Old 01-13-2014, 10:27 PM   #9
michaelk
Moderator
 
Registered: Aug 2002
Posts: 12,049

Rep: Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758Reputation: 758
It isn't really a new network. Think of it as a bridge.
 
Old 01-13-2014, 10:40 PM   #10
metaschima
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2013
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,488

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
So then it uses bridging ?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridging_%28networking%29

If it does then I guess it is not a router.
 
Old 01-17-2014, 06:33 PM   #11
metaschima
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2013
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,488

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Ok, I found out some more details about these.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osi_model
http://compnetworking.about.com/od/b...ics_osimod.htm

According to the OSI model, repeaters (wireless range extenders) are layer 1 (physical layer) devices. This means they are very basic low-level devices that just repeat the signal that they receive. They don't do anything more complex than that. Repeaters are a good name for them.
Quote:
The Physical layer is responsible for the ultimate transmission of data over network communications media. It operates with data in the form of bits that are sent from the Physical layer of the sending (source) device and received at the Physical layer of the destination device. Ethernet cabling, Token Ring network technology and SCSI all function at the Physical layer of the OSI model. Hubs and other repeaters are standard network devices that function at the Physical layer. Cables and connectors also are a part of the Physical layer.
Routers, on the other hand are layer 3 (network layer) devices. This means they operate on packets, they can route and filter (firewall) packets.
Quote:
The Network layer adds the concept of routing above the Data Link layer. As illustrated above, when data arrives at the Network layer, the source and destination addresses contained inside each frame are examine to determine if the data has reached its final destination. If the data has reached the final destination, the Network layer formats the data into packets delivered to the Transport layer. Otherwise, the Network layer updates the destination address and pushes the frame back down to the lower layers.
As a side note, switches and bridges are layer 2 (data link layer).
Quote:
When obtaining data from the Physical layer, the Data Link layer checks for physical transmission errors and packages bits into frames. The Data Link layer also manages physical addressing schemes such as MAC addresses for Ethernet networks, controlling access of any various network devices to the physical medium.
As for a wireless access point:
Quote:
In computer networking, a wireless access point (WAP) is a device that allows wireless devices to connect to a wired network using Wi-Fi, or related standards. The AP usually connects to a router (via a wired network) as a standalone device, but it can also be an integral component of the router itself.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_access_point
Basically, a repeater extends a WAP, and a router can be a WAP if the feature is enabled.

A wireless access point is a level 2 device, a wireless to ethernet bridge:
http://networkengineering.stackexcha...nts-operate-on

Last edited by metaschima; 01-17-2014 at 07:41 PM.
 
Old 01-17-2014, 07:06 PM   #12
suicidaleggroll
Senior Member
 
Registered: Nov 2010
Location: Colorado
Distribution: OpenSUSE, CentOS
Posts: 3,140

Rep: Reputation: 1103Reputation: 1103Reputation: 1103Reputation: 1103Reputation: 1103Reputation: 1103Reputation: 1103Reputation: 1103Reputation: 1103
A lot of people have answered #1, but it doesn't seem like anybody has approached #2.

Basically, both will work, but with different "gotchas".

Repeaters must be located within the original wireless range, preferably well within so they have a good signal. This means that while they can re-broadcast the signal to extend the range, they really can't extend it that far since they have to be located inside a [preferably strong] signal location anyway. If you have a long way to go, you'll need multiple repeaters "daisy-chaining" the signal as you go. Kind of a messy solution, but you can do it anywhere. Wifi in the house, repeater in the tool shed, another repeater in the barn, and you have wifi out in the pasture! Can't do that with wireless access points, at least not without a really long ethernet cable.

Wireless access points act as a bridge between a wired network and a wireless network. The advantage/disadvantage here is that you "can take advantage of"/need an existing wired network throughout the house in order for them to be useful. Now assuming that you DO have an existing wired network throughout the house, a wireless access point is ideal. Need wifi in the den, put an AP there. Need wifi in the attic, put an AP there. There doesn't need to be any overlap of the wifi signals, but there can be, you can even configure multiple APs with the same SSID on different channels so your devices can move seamlessly between them. They're not doing any NAT or routing, so any device on any of these wireless AP networks is on the same main network as the wired one. You don't need to hop through NATs to go from device to device like you would if you had routers setting up each of the wifi networks (and maybe wireless repeaters? I don't have a lot of experience with them).

So the question comes down to your existing wired network. If it exists in all of the locations you need wireless, use wireless access points. If it doesn't, use a wireless repeater to daisy chain your wireless signal to where you need it.

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 01-17-2014 at 07:08 PM.
 
Old 01-17-2014, 07:07 PM   #13
273
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64, Raspbian Wheezy, various VMs
Posts: 3,508

Rep: Reputation: 800Reputation: 800Reputation: 800Reputation: 800Reputation: 800Reputation: 800Reputation: 800
I took it a WAP is a bridge but if it's built into a router it's a brouter?
A bridge being a layer 2 [I think] connector and a router being [again, I think] layer 3?
 
Old 01-17-2014, 07:39 PM   #14
metaschima
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2013
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,488

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
I took it a WAP is a bridge but if it's built into a router it's a brouter?
A bridge being a layer 2 [I think] connector and a router being [again, I think] layer 3?
Good question, the wireless access point seems to be a level 2 device, a wireless to ethernet bridge:
http://networkengineering.stackexcha...nts-operate-on

As for the other questions, some solutions might be:
1) Get a large antenna for your wifi router and/or for your wifi card. I've done this and it does make a difference.
2) You could buy a wireless range extender. Some are quite cheap and seem to work well from my experience.
I do have a wireless access point, but it only works with my wireless cable box. The signal is good, so I guess it works ok.

Last edited by metaschima; 01-17-2014 at 07:44 PM.
 
Old 01-25-2014, 04:23 PM   #15
Chuck E
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jan 2014
Location: Van Down by the River
Distribution: Knoppix 6.7
Posts: 4

Rep: Reputation: 0
I hope this doesn't make this more confusing but my network starts with a DSL from the phone company into a router provided by them. One Ethernet jack is connected to a PC and one to a LinkSys wireless access point. I'm using Win XP on this machine I'm typing on but have Knoppix 6.7 on another laptop and the main PC. I have a Vizio "smart" tv which accesses the wireless no problem. I have a LinkSys wireless G range extender behind the TV which was set up to get on the network with the installation CD it came with. My thought was that it would help get the signal from the next room where the wireless access point is to the TV but I can't tell if it makes any difference. I have a program called Wireless Network Watcher that shows all of the devices connected to the network along with the IP address, MAC Address and device name. The range extender doesn't show up on this list and it should. The range extender was once used on another network and it did help get a better signal to a laptop in the attic of a house when the access point was on the first floor.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Specific DHCPD address range offered to wifi access point? abisko00 Linux - Networking 7 06-15-2012 03:55 PM
Difference between access point and wireless router? Vincent_Vega Linux - Wireless Networking 14 04-26-2010 09:34 AM
DD-WRT with WRE54G range extender on slackware 12.2 chickenlinux Linux - Hardware 2 05-16-2009 10:03 AM
Wireless no longer uses range extender. Ikebo Linux - Wireless Networking 4 06-09-2006 08:24 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:39 AM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration