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Wireless Router/Wireless Access Point--What's the difference?

Discussion in 'Networking' started by Alex Ethridge, Aug 20, 2004.

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  1. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    I encountered my first Wireless access point today. I walked away scratching my head as to exactly what the differences are in the way they are set up and the way they work. I have to go back there Monday and make another attempt.

    Is there a reference on the web that explains the differences between these things and the similarities?

    I asked a friend who does use one (access point) and does understand how they work (I guess) if he would explain it to me. Well, when he got done explaining, I wanted to say, "Well, I'm still waiting on the explanation of how they are different and how they are alike.".

    I guess I'm just dense on this. What would be nice is one of those comparison tables; but, I can't find one. When I search at Google, I get all sorts of information about both but no comparison.
     
  2. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    Can't find any info on how many wireless workststions an AP will support.

    Anyone know how to tell?
     
  3. physician

    physician

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    An access point is used to extend the distance a wireless router can go or it can be added to a nonwireless router to give it wireless functionality. I tried some WAP's before getting my D Link wireless router. The WAP's would not penetrate to the second floor of my home. The wireless router works fine upstairs...doc
     
  4. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Router - A device that determines the next network point to which a data packet should be forwarded enroute toward its destination. The router is connected to at least two networks and determines which way to send each data packet based on its current understanding of the state of the networks it is connected to. Routers create or maintain a table of the available routes and use this information to determine the best route for a given data packet.

    A router allows a one-to-many connection of compters to a single public IP address.

    A WAP does not offer NAT translation, and will not serve the function of a router.
     
  5. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    Okay, I found a document on the 'net that said I souldn't exceed ten computers accessing one WAP.

    Next question is can I share printers files and the internet all simultaneously with a WAP?
     
  6. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    If you have 10 computers all accessing a WAP or a wireless router, things will be REALLY slow for all of them! Considering 802.11g, you get maybe 20-25 mbit maximum throughput. With ten users, you are sharing the bandwidth with all of them. Add to that the fact that the link is half-duplex, and you have a recipe for really slow access. :) I've had three wireless machines all connected to my 802.11g router to test the throughput. I could already see the slowdown for file sharing, it was about 1/6th of the transfer speed of only one connected.

    IMO, wireless is OK for one or two machine to have access to the Internet and occasional file sharing, but for the use you seem to envision, I wouldn't use wireless on a bet!
     
  7. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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  8. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    I suspect that the suggestion for 10 connections assumes casual browsing, not any high throughput activity. :)
     
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