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What is the difference between an Access Point and a Wireless Router ?

An Access Point is a radio transmitter/receiver that is most widely used to bridge wireless and a wired (ethernet) network. An access point only provides an interface/portal for wireless clients to connect to your existing LAN. It does not route traffic between different networks, rather provides wireless access to an already existing local wired network.

A Router has additional functions: It allows multiple clients to connect to the Internet by serving internal IP addresses, has NAT (Network Address Translation) capabilities, often a built-in switch as well. It 'routes' traffic between two different networks, usually the Internet on the WAN side, and your local area network on the LAN side.

The most common purpose of a NAT router is to connect multiple computers to the internet (using a single external IP address provided by your ISP). It routes data to/from the multiple clients on the LAN side, appearing as a single device on the WAN/internet side. An added feature to this NAT setup is that client PCs on the LAN side are not direcly accessible from outside your network, unless you open ports in the router to forward them to specific clients.

A Wireless router has both the functionalities of a router and an access point in a single unit.

  User Reviews/Comments:
by AnnaJar - 2012-08-13 20:58
Hopefully, this will come as a new question and someone will have an answer to share.
I have a BEC router/modem which was provided by my internet provider (my phone company). I want to make my home wireless and someone told me that I don't want a wireless router as it will "fight" with the BEC but that I should get a Wireless Access Point instead. They said it was important to make sure that the Wireless Access Point can have range extenders added to it as one computer is on the second floor (with the router/modem) while the other is in the basement on the other side of the ranch style house (single floor except for the room with the computer which is over the garage.
At this point I'm not sure what to do. I have a Netgear wireless dual band USB adapter which I thought I needed to buy first but not sure what to about the wireless router vs access point. I read the article here that explains the difference but that didn't really help me decide what I need.
Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
by OSHOKE - 2013-01-09 06:58
Assuming you BEC is NOT wireless

1) Disconnect the BEC from your laptop
2) reconnect the BEC to Wireless router via LAN cable(CAT5/CAT6:RJ 45)
3) Transfer all the BEC settings From you laptop to The New WIRELESS ROUTER
4) now you should be able to connect wirelessly to the NETWORK
5) if the range of the router cant get to your second computer then
6) add an ACCESS POINT to the network
7) include the MAC address of you WIRELESS ROUTER above to your ACCESS POINT
8) select the REPEATER OPTION on the access point Finalize config
9) place the ACCESS POINT a distance inbetween the WIRELESS ROUTER and the second computer
10) then you are good to go
by A..dam - 2013-04-05 16:10
Have a desktop computer connected via cable modem.
Want to add the wireless network via DAP-1350 in addition to the above computer.
How to hook up the devices?
by nony mouse - 2015-02-13 11:12
Does this explanation imply that an access point can only connect one person? i'm confused. How can an access point handle multiple devices if it doesn't do dhcp or routing?

by Philip - 2015-02-14 13:59
Generally, wireless APs just provide a wireless entry point for many clients onto a wired network, they simply relay/forward DHCP requests, etc. They do not provide any NAT translation.

There may be some exceptions out there, as manufacturers are blurring the lines between the different types of devices, or make one device that can have multiple functions (i.e. rouetr, access point, bridge/repeater).

Note that a DHCP server by itself simply leases dynamic IPs, they can still be on the same subnet, so there is no NAT translation necessary.
by praj - 2016-02-24 21:33
my modem is installed on pppoe and access point doesn't work with pppoe but works good with DHCP. now i get access to internet but mobile apps like play store,myntra etc ,are not working. should i set modem to DHCP? how it exactly works? need help
by Philip - 2016-02-25 07:50
Generally, your ISP determines the proper client mode for your gateway/modem/router, whether it should be PPPoE, DHCP, or static to properly communicate with their end of the connection. You can't simply change the role of your gateway device to be an access point and expect to retain internet connectivity.

Please use our forums with specific questions and for additional help.
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