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Old 07-21-2012, 11:32 PM   #1
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access point

what is the difference between access point and a wireless router?
Old 07-22-2012, 12:44 AM   #2
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To be very technical, an access point only allows layer 2 bridging between wired and wireless segments of a layer 3 subnet, while a router allows full layer 3 (IP, usually) communication between different subnets. All wireless routers are access points (or, to be more correct) have access points built into them), but the reverse is not true. Look up information on the TCP/IP or OSI networking models in Google to learn more about terms like layer 2, layer 3, etc.
Old 07-22-2012, 10:15 PM   #3
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To be less technical, a wireless router provides both router services (setting up a subnet) and wireless services (enabling wireless connectivity).

An access point provides only wireless services. The subnet is still managed by the router.

Before I moved, I used to have an access point, because I already had a perfectly good wired router when I got it.

The router address was, establishing a subnet of 192.168.1.x with a gateway address of

I gave the access point an address of (easy to remember), within the existing subnet. The gateway address for the subnet was still, because the router still managed the subnet and the DHCP; all the access point managed was wireless connections, making them possible and forwarding them via wire to the router, then routing incoming traffic for wireless connections to the wireless devices.

Here's a link to the best tutorial on subnetting I have found. It's in HTML 3.x format, but don't be misled by the lack of HTML 4.x/web 2.0 bells and whistles. It's well-designed, clearly written, and easy to understand. It used to exist on a dot-edu site; my guess is that the author retired and moved it to a personal website:
Old 07-24-2012, 01:04 AM   #4
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Thank you. The explanation is very clear and comprehensive. .


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