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-   -   Difference between access point and wireless router? (

Vincent_Vega 07-11-2004 08:33 PM

Difference between access point and wireless router?
This is a simple question I'm sure but I just don't have a solid answer for it. I know that an AP is just what it says it is; and a wireless router also connects wireless devices to a wired LAN. So what's the difference? What benefit(s) does an AP provide over a wireless router? They're more expensive, I know that. Would you use a router and an AP together?
I appreciate everyone's help!

cck23 07-12-2004 09:08 AM

Put simply I think that an AP will only help you onto the network but in order to use anything outside of your subnet, eg. you want to use internet or simply jump on to another subnet then you will need a router on the network. If your AP is also a router then one less thing to worry about.

2Gnu 07-12-2004 09:37 AM

An AP can provide a little flexibility and some insurance against technology changes - you can upgrade from 802.11B to G by swapping out the AP, for example.

On the whole, APs tend to have advanced features not found in routers. RADIUS server support for one. Not always true, though. You really have to compare specific models to say what's different.

Vincent_Vega 07-12-2004 09:49 AM

A router cannot become part of an existing wireless network can it? But an AP can? I'm still a little confused I think but I appreciate the help and any more information is also appreciated.

glider123 07-19-2004 01:04 PM

The way I understand it, all an AP does is sits on an existing subnet and allows wireless hosts to be part of that subnet (as if they were wired).

A wireless router does this, but does other stuff too. Mine provides a DHCP service for the subnet, serves as an uplink so the hosts "behind" it can access the internet, and will do network address translation for those connections.

I don't know what the advantage of an AP over a router is, though, since most routers have an access point only mode that disables the routing features. Maybe they have better range/reception?

Vincent_Vega 07-20-2004 03:25 PM

I guess so. Just the fact that an AP doesn't connect two separate networks is the only difference, or so it seems.
Thanks for the response.

Rob Roye 07-21-2004 01:58 PM

A router will handle all traffic on the network. It directs traffic internally and between the internal and external networks. The router is actually a separate component from the access point. They work together but are not the same even though they are in the same box.

An access point is basically just that. It translates from wired to wireless and that's about it. The more advanced ones have management features but they are very simple devices. Think of an access point as a wireless switch.

Does that help?

JazzMastaJim 07-21-2004 02:27 PM

So, which one (if either) would you use in order to share a dial-up Internet connection?

Rob Roye 07-21-2004 02:43 PM

Sharing a dial-up doesn't work well no matter how you do it, but you would be able to do it several ways. If you have a router that you can hook an external modem to then you can use that for the sharing. US Robotics has one that is fairly nice. If you use ICS on a Windows box then that box becomes the router. If you share the conection from a Linux box then that box becomes the router as well. I would recommend using a wireless router that you can hook an external modem to. This seems to work best and eliminates the need for a separate access point.

JazzMastaJim 07-21-2004 05:57 PM

Thanks for the response., Rob Roye.

Heck, dial-up itself doesn't work well out here in the sticks, but it's what I can afford. :) It's not my intention to have more than one computer at a time using the Internet connection. But it would be nice to be able to surf wirelessly while sitting outside in the summer weather, rather than being tethered to my desktop PC.

Vincent_Vega 07-22-2004 10:33 AM

Yes, all of this is getting clearer now but one thing that is confusing is the cost. APs seem to be more expensive than a router, even some routers that include an AP. I guess I should check the details of what each AP/router offers to see if that makes sense. I just assumed that the AP should be a cheaper device but that's not necessarily so.

Jazz - south jersey! Born and raised in Gloucester, probably a little north of you. Have a cheesesteak for me!

Rob Roye 07-22-2004 06:59 PM

To tell the truth, I don't understand why they cost more myself. I use both and the router does everything the AP does and more. Who knows.

JazzMastaJim 07-22-2004 07:42 PM


Originally posted by Vincent_Vega
Jazz - south jersey! Born and raised in Gloucester, probably a little north of you. Have a cheesesteak for me!
Yep -- I'm in Quinton Twp., Salem County. I grew up in Pedricktown, about 1/4 mile from the Gloucester Co. border, and my parents grew up in Swedesboro, so I'm very familiar with Gloucester. :)

marcin82 04-26-2010 08:24 AM

Router and AP(Access Point)
Router is hardware network device and software.It works in LAN networks(wire,fiber).Fixed connection.

Access Point- hardware network device and software.It works in WLAN networks(IEEE 802.11)Wireless,Mobile connection. SWS(simply wireless switch)

There's now on the market Router and AP in one box.

pixellany 04-26-2010 08:34 AM

Why are we exhuming a thread that is almost 6 years old?

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