Difference Between Access Point and Wi-Fi Extender

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 12, 2022

       

Difference Between Access Point and Wi-Fi Extender Difference Between Access Point and Wi-Fi Extender

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Introduction

Over the course of the last several years, there has been an extraordinary increase in the number of people using the internet. This, in turn, has facilitated the growing popularity of the use of wireless networking devices, especially at places that allow people to work from remote areas that is, not being present at the office location. This is especially true in workplaces which enable workers to collaborate with coworkers located in other locations. Access Points and Extenders are two prominent examples of the kinds of networking devices that fall under this category.

Businesses have been presented with a wide variety of opportunities and challenges as a result of the widespread adoption of mobile wireless devices and the expansion of the Internet. The most likely of these challenges is figuring out how to make the most effective use of emerging mobile wireless technologies.

Because of the development of WLAN technology and wireless devices, everything has become mobile, and now it is possible to work remotely from any point inside a network without even being physically present at the location, whether you are at home or at the workplace. Because of this, wireless networking equipment like extenders and access points ultimately came into existence as a result. You are able to move about freely while still being connected to your network thanks to wireless access points, sometimes known as APs for short.

Access Point vs Wi-Fi Extender

The main difference between an Access Point and an Extender is that the former functions as a central hub to which a number of wireless networks and devices are connected. On the other hand, the latter acts as a connection booster to get rid of any network hiccups.

The technical word for a centralized Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) hub is an access point. It provides a Wi-fi signal to a certain region and allows numerous networks and wireless devices to join to the same local area network using an Ethernet cable. An access point, often known as a wireless access point or simply a "access point," is a wireless networking device that enables wireless networks and devices to connect to wired networks using wireless technologies like Wi-Fi.

The access point serves as a central node that connects users to the network by receiving and transmitting data through a local area network. A wireless access point is either a standalone router or is connected to a router via an Ethernet connection. It is a crucial part of a wireless local area network architecture that provides access to any network resources that a variety of wireless devices may be authorized to utilize. It has standalone functionality and can be set up separately to provide wireless device connections. Small offices or big organizations often employ independent APs to increase the reach of an existing wired network.

On the other hand, an extender is used to increase a wireless network's coverage area. The extender creates a second network to serve this function by duplicating WiFi router signals. As a result, it supports current WiFi networks by acting as a booster. A wireless repeater, often known as a "extender," is a wireless networking device used to increase your wireless network's coverage area. You sometimes encounter unsatisfactory network performance or are unable to access the network in certain places.

This can be as a result of a weak Wi-Fi signal in one particular area of your house. There are various ways to strengthen a wireless signal so that your home's network runs more efficiently. Investing in a wireless extender is among the most effective methods to do that. By building a second network using the wireless signal from your router, a wireless extender, also known as a range extender, may increase the coverage of the primary router.

Difference Between Access Point and Wi-Fi Extender in Tabular Form

Table: Access Point vs Wi-Fi Extender
Parameter of Comparison
Access Point
Wi-Fi Extender
Definition
 It functions similarly to a base station and enables several wireless devices to join the same local area network (LAN).
 It is a wireless networking device that acts as a booster for an already established connection, allowing for the coverage area of the connection to be enhanced.
Network type
 It does it by establishing its network.
 It is a copy of an already existing network.
Useful for
 Large corporations as well as household network providers.
Home Networks.
Network quality
 Does not make any sacrifices to the network's quality.
 The quality of the network has dropped by fifty percent.
Feasibility
 Adding more access points may be a time-consuming and financially burdensome process.
 Utilizing many extenders at once is not only more convenient but also more cost-effective.

What is Access Point?

It is a hardware device for wireless networking that lets other WiFi networks and devices to join to the wireless local area network (WLAN) that is generated by it. WLAN stands for "wireless local area network." An access point only connects to a router, modem, or switch by means of an Ethernet wire in order to send and receive signals by use of radios that are incorporated directly into the access point itself. However, it is also possible to use it by itself as a standalone device.

It functions similarly to a hotspot in that it supplies and maintains a network for a variety of wireless devices, such as laptops, cellphones, tablets, and so on. On the other hand, they are not the same as hotspots since the latter refers to a specific site at which a WiFi connection may be found.

Although range extenders work well for Wi-Fi networks in private homes, they are not practical for use in contemporary commercial settings. This is due to the fact that they can only handle a certain number of devices at the same time, which is often no more than 20. Although range extenders make a Wi-Fi router's coverage area much larger, they do not make the router's bandwidth any more abundant. It is possible that a range extender can slow down your connection, but this will be directly proportional to the number of devices that are connected at the same time.

Access points, on the other hand, have the capacity to manage more than sixty connections at the same time. Users are free to move around the workplace as they choose without the network connection being disrupted thanks to access points that have been strategically placed throughout the building. They won't even be aware that they are jumping between networks since their gadgets make the transition so smoothly from one access point to the next that they don't lose their connection as they walk across the building.

Access Points are often mistaken with Ad Hoc Networks (also known as "Hot Spots"). Note, however, that the latter links two or more devices immediately when they are within range without the need for an accent point. This is a key distinction to make. Additionally, in sharp contrast to access points, ad hoc networks are only successful with a limited number of connected devices, and even then, only when those devices are in close proximity to one another.

The range of an existing WiFi network may be expanded with the help of standalone access points, which are often deployed in large corporations or smaller workplaces. while in residential settings, the most common application is for wireless systems that integrate with an existing router.

What is Wi-Fi Extender?

It is similar to a wireless repeater in function. A current wireless connection may have its range increased with the use of this device, as the name indicates. It does this by producing a copy of the currently active WiFi network, which acts as an extra support and, as a result, contributes to increasing the WiFi coverage provided by the primary router. As a consequence of this, they are positioned between an access point and the client that is the farthest away from the access point in an existing connection.

It is pretty clear that the Extender is also capable of performing the functions of a WiFi booster; nevertheless, these two devices are not the same. The primary distinction between a WiFi Extender and a WiFi Booster is that the former may be put to use in circumstances and locations where the latter is insufficient to meet the user's needs. To put it another way, compared to a WiFi booster, a WiFi Extender offers superior performance and reliability.

Between a base router or wireless local area network (LAN) access point and a client computer or device that is beyond the signal range or obstructed by a signal barrier is a device known as a Wi-Fi range extender. This device may also be referred to as an access point extender. The extender performs the functions of a wireless relay or repeater by receiving signals from an access point and then sending those signals on to the client.

Most of the time, extenders are used so that a network may achieve a marginal improvement in its existing range. When the client does not need a strong connection to function, or when they are not utilising time-sensitive apps such as those used for streaming or gaming, they are best able to suit the client's needs with these solutions. That is to say, Extenders do not contribute much to the usefulness of high-performance networks.

In addition, Extenders may show to be helpful only in domestic settings, where the objective is to connect just a small number of devices and not to provide network access to people who are located outside the home. They assist in the transmission of the signal to areas of the home where there is either no internet connection at all or a connection that is very poor by collecting and rebroadcasting the network from an existing router.

Main Differences Between Access Point and Wi-Fi Extender in Points

  • Both phrases refer to wireless networking in some capacity. On the other hand, an Access Point serves as the network's centralized hub, whilst an Extender serves as a booster for already established networks.
  • A wireless local area network may be produced by an Access Point on its own. While an Extender just makes a copy of the network that is already in place.
  • Access Points are helpful additions to any setting, from large to tiny companies to residential neighborhoods. Although Extenders are beneficial for usage in home networks, they are not nearly as effective in big workplaces.
  • The usage of several extenders might bring about a decrease in the performance and speed of the current network, despite the fact that the coverage area of an existing connection is increased by doing so. When additional access points are added to an existing network, not only does it allow for the expansion of that network's coverage area, but it also guarantees that the existing connection's quality is maintained.
  • Utilizing a number of different extenders, as opposed to creating additional access points, is both simpler and less expensive.
  • The addition of range extenders to your network will expand its coverage by around fifty percent, which is much less than the one hundred percent boost offered by access points. In addition, rather than building up additional access points, it is almost usually far simpler and more cost-effective to add an extension or two to the network. This is due to the fact that in order to establish a network connection to the repeater, you will either need to put up power-line devices or run cables throughout your house. However, extenders function well for local area networks found in homes, but they are not nearly as effective in big commercial settings.
  • Although the words "access point" and "extender" are sometimes mistaken with one another, the two networking components are really very distinct from one another and have distinct functions in the industry. An access point is a kind of wireless networking equipment that, when combined with a wired network, enables wireless devices and networks to communicate with one another via the use of wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi. On the other hand, an extender is a networking device that is used to increase the amount of space that is covered by your wireless network. It is also frequently referred to as a repeater.

Conclusion

The terms "access point" and "extender" are often used incorrectly. These misunderstandings are brought on by the fact that certain wireless networking equipment serves as both a central network hub and a WiFi network booster.

But they are totally distinct from one another, both in terms of what they imply and how they relate to networking.

References

  1. https://www2.seas.gwu.edu/~cheng/Publications/Conferences/RogueAP-INFOCOM2008.pdf
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7054728/


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