What is a router?

Question

What is the difference between a wireless access point and a wireless router. I already have a wired router installed and I am curious if this makes a difference on what I should buy to hook to it.

Mike

Answer

This question was answered on January 26, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

There are two ways for you to differentiate between a wireless access point and a wireless router: One way is by the different networking functions that they perform A wireless access point acts as a bridge between networks, connecting multiple users on a wireless network to each other and a wired one

In a wireless local area network or LAN, clients communicate with the AP using wireless network adapters similar to traditional Ethernet adapters The main difference is that, unlike a router, an access point can connect only multiple users, and not other networks Products like Cisco's Aironet 1200 and D-Link's DWL-900AP fall into this category

A wireless router works in the same principle as an access point but features additional hardware that allows it to link networks as well as users Wireless DSL and cable modem routers typically combine the functions of a router with those of a wireless access point Routers configure network settings such as DNS names, IP addresses and subnet masks automatically, so all that's needed is a speedy broadband Internet service (like cable/DSL) to link up several PCs to the Internet

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Author

Posted by Student of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on January 26, 2004