Learn four critical differences between wireless access points and repeaters
Wireless technology has significantly improved in the past few years. Nonetheless, no one wireless solution fits all people, especially in regards to business. While large offices have heavy traffic and often use a wireless access point, small businesses that have limited users may prefer using wireless extenders or repeaters.
What is a Wireless Access Point and Wireless Repeater?
Wireless access point
A wireless access point refers to a wireless hardware device which forms a local area network where other wireless devices can connect to. It serves as a centralized center where information is received and transmitted through the local area network.
A wireless repeater, often known as an extender, is a wireless networking gadget that extends the coverage of a wireless network. It forwards the wireless signals coming from a router to serve a larger area, for instance, multiple floors in a building.
Why choose a wireless access point for business?
Despite extenders being suitable for home networks, they are not sufficient for large modern businesses. First, extenders are not able to support multiple devices simultaneously. Second, extenders can only increase the network coverage, not the bandwidth. Thus, they may end up slowing down your connection.
Difference between Wireless Access Point and Wireless Repeater
An access point is a networking device that enables wireless networks and devices to connect to it. At the same time, an extender is a networking device that extends the coverage area of your wireless network.
The wireless access point offers 100% efficiency. However, wireless extenders are less useful since they are half-duplex. Meaning they can support two-way communication, though not simultaneously. Therefore, reducing data throughput by half.
An access device is a hardware that works similarly to a centralized hub, allowing different wireless devices to connect to it. On the other hand, a wireless repeater works by boosting the coverage of wireless transmissions coming from the main router.
If you opt to use an extender, it will enhance network coverage by 50% as opposed to the 100% increase you would get if you opted for an access point. An extender is a suitable option for home networks, while a wireless access point is ideal for businesses.
Choosing Between a Wireless Access Point and Wireless Repeater
When it comes to extending your Wi-Fi network's range and improving coverage, you have two popular options: Wireless Access Points (WAPs) and Wireless Repeaters. To make an informed decision, you should consider several factors that align with your specific needs and circumstances. Let's explore the key considerations for choosing between these two devices.
A. Assessing Your Network Needs
- Coverage Area: Begin by assessing the size of the area you want to cover. If you have a large office with multiple floors and rooms, a Wireless Access Point might be the better choice. It provides a more stable and high-performance solution for expansive areas. On the other hand, if you need to fill in small dead zones or extend your signal in a moderately sized space, a Wireless Repeater can be sufficient.
- Network Speed: Think about the bandwidth and speed requirements of your network. If you need to maintain high-speed connections for activities like online gaming, 4K streaming, or large file downloads, a Wireless Access Point is often the superior option. It can provide faster and more reliable connections compared to a Wireless Repeater, which may introduce some latency.
B. Evaluating Your Budget
- Cost Considerations: Your budget will play a significant role in your decision-making process. Wireless Access Points are generally more expensive than Wireless Repeaters. They often offer advanced features and better performance, but they come at a higher price point. If budget constraints are a concern, a Wireless Repeater may be a more cost-effective solution for extending your network.
- Future Scalability: Consider your long-term network expansion plans. If you anticipate the need to extend your network further in the future, investing in Wireless Access Points now might be a wise decision. These devices are typically more scalable, allowing you to add more access points as needed to create a seamless and robust network.
C. Considering Your Office Layout
- Physical Layout: Take into account the physical layout of your space. Wireless Access Points require Ethernet cables to connect to your existing router, which can be challenging if you don't have access to wired connections throughout your office. In contrast, Wireless Repeaters can be placed strategically to bridge the gap between dead zones without the need for wired connections.
- Placement Flexibility: If you have the flexibility to install Ethernet cables or have existing Ethernet ports in key locations, Wireless Access Points offer more flexibility in placement. You can position them strategically to ensure optimal coverage. However, Wireless Repeaters can be placed in electrical outlets, making them easier to position in certain situations.
D. Making an Informed Decision
Ultimately, the choice between a Wireless Access Point and a Wireless Repeater depends on your unique requirements. Consider the size of the area you need to cover, your network speed demands, budget constraints, and the layout of your office.
For optimal results, some users even choose to combine both devices in their network setup. You can use a Wireless Access Point as the primary extension in large, high-demand areas and employ Wireless Repeaters to address smaller dead zones or hard-to-reach spots.
Remember that the goal is to improve your Wi-Fi experience, and the right choice will depend on what works best for your specific situation. By carefully evaluating your network needs and budget, you can make an informed decision that ensures strong and reliable wireless connectivity throughout your space.
Now you can differentiate a wireless access point from a wireless repeater. If you have been using a wireless repeater for your large business, then this may be the reason why the network may be slow.
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