Wireless networks are standard in just about every home or corporate building. Because Wi-Fi access is so ubiquitous with the Internet experience, just about everyone knows what a router is because they have them in their homes. Wireless access points, however, are a term not everyone is familiar with and it’s important to understand the difference between the two. In some instances, you may need wireless access points to satisfy your networking needs, or a router, or both, so let’s take a look at what the differences are.
What Are Routers?
Just about anyone who has used Wi-Fi has interacted with a router, whether they realized it or not. Essentially, they’re used to route packets between multiple networks. Consumer routers usually have two network interfaces: LAN and WAN. LAN (local area network) connects to the WAN (wide area network) and essentially distributes the service you’re receiving. Routers are fantastic for homes or small businesses, where you need to give Wi-Fi signal to a number of computers and devices simultaneously.
What Are Wireless Access Points?
Wireless access points provide devices with connectivity to a router, which is then able to access a local network or the Internet. This is a practical solution in instances where connection via physical cables may be difficult or impractical. Think of it this way: letters aren’t delivered directly from a postman to the addressee—instead, the parcel is delivered to a postal service, which then routes it to the appropriate portion of the postal system that is capable of delivery. Wireless access points often used to extend Wi-Fi range within larger buildings that can’t otherwise feasibly have their network in all of those hard to reach areas where power may be unavailable or the construction of the building may cause difficulties. Access points can also be powered via ethernet cables, allowing for installation in remote spots that are difficult to supply Internet access to.
Which is Right For You?
Either way, you’re going to be connecting to a router—it’s just a question or whether you’re doing it physically, with a cable, or wirelessly, with an access point. This is all situational, but wireless access systems are typically deployed in widespread facilities, when several buildings need access, college campuses where you have disparate users who may need Internet access outside or in cafeterias, or even just offices where wireless connectivity makes it easy for guests to get online during meetings.
Get in Touch with FiberPlus
FiberPlus has been providing data communication solutions for over 25 years in the Mid Atlantic Region for a number of different markets. What began as a cable installation company for Local Area Networks has grown into a leading provider of innovative technology solutions improving the way our customers communicate and keeping them secure. Our solutions now include:
- Structured Cabling (Fiberoptic, Copper and Coax for inside and outside plant networks)
- Electronic Security Systems (Access Control & CCTV Solutions)
- Wireless Access Point installations
- Public Safety DAS – Emergency Call Stations
- Audio/Video Services (Intercoms and Display Monitors)
- Support Services
- Specialty Systems
- Design/Build Services
FiberPlus promises the communities in which we serve that we will continue to expand and evolve as new technology is introduced within the telecommunications industry.
Have any questions? Interested in one of our services? Call FiberPlus today 800-394-3301, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our contact page. Our offices are located in the Washington, DC metro area, Richmond, VA, and Columbus, OH. In Pennsylvania, please call Pennsylvania Networks, Inc. at 814-259-3999.