What's the difference between a range extender and a access point?

Discussion in 'Networking' started by Doomer, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. Doomer

    Doomer Diamond Member

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    I've got a situation where the wireless router doesn't reach far enough and to to extend it's reach to cover the entire building. Do I need a range extender or an access point?

    Thanks
     
  2. mzkhadir

    mzkhadir Diamond Member

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    A wireless range extender increases the distance over which a WLAN signal can spread, overcoming obstacles and enhancing overall network signal quality. Several different forms of wireless range extenders are available. These products are sometimes called "range expanders" or "signal boosters." The Linksys WRE54G (compare prices) 802.11g Wireless Range Expander is shown above.

    A wireless range extender works as a relay or network repeater, picking up and reflecting WiFi signals from a network's base router or access point. The network performance of devices connected through a range extender will generally be lower than if they were connected directly to the primary base station.

    A wireless range extender connects wirelessly to a WiFi router or access point. However, due to the nature of this technology, most wireless range extenders work only with a limited set of other equipment. Check the manufacturer's specifications carefully for compatiblity information.

    about.com

    A wireless access point (sometimes called an "AP" or "WAP") serves to join or "bridge" wireless clients to a wired Ethernet network. Access points centralize all WiFi clients on a local network in so-called "infrastructure" mode. An access point in turn may connect to another access point, or to a wired Ethernet router.

    Wireless access points are commonly used in large office buildings to create one wireless local area network (WLAN) that spans a large area. Each access point typically supports up to 255 client computers. By connecting access points to each other, local networks having thousands of access points can be created. Client computers may move or "roam" between each of these access points as needed.

    In home networking, wireless access points can be used to extend an existing home network based on a wired broadband router. The access point connects to the broadband router, allowing wireless clients to join the home network without needing to rewire or re-configure the Ethernet connections.

    As illustrated by the Linksys WAP54G (compare prices) shown above, wireless access points appear physically similar to wireless routers. Wireless routers actually contain a wireless access point as part of their overall package. Like wireless routers, access points are available with support for 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g or combinations.

    about.com
     
  3. JackMDS

    JackMDS Super Moderator<BR>Elite Member
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    Stand-alone Access Point are usually the best Wireless devices, they are very flexible and can be set to few Modes of operation.

    One of the Modes is called Repeater (WDS). The Access Point in this mode is placed away at a functional distance from the main Wireless Cable/DSL Router, it Flip-flops between Receiving from the main Wireless source, and Transmitting further the signal.

    Extender is a device that was invented to make life easy, and squeeze few $$ more, from End-Users. Technically, it is a ?castrated? Access Point that is fixed on Repeater Mode and thus does not need extensive configuration.

    Wireless modes here, http://www.ezlan.net/Wireless_Modes.html

    Currently the best deal is to buy a Buffalo Wireless Cable/DSL Router for $39.99 at Circuit City and configure it as an Extender (WDS).

    http://www.ezlan.net/buffalo.html

    http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm...m/ccd/productDetail.do

     
  4. Doomer

    Doomer Diamond Member

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    Thanks.

    So I could just plug a AP into the network and it would allow a wireless nic to connect if in range of the AP? I really don't want to connect wireless to wireless. I'd rather just connect a box to the network that will create a wireless zone around it. Hope this makes sense.
     
  5. JackMDS

    JackMDS Super Moderator<BR>Elite Member
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    There are few methods to increase range it is up to yopur needs and the make of the envioroment to decide on the best.

    Extending Distance - http://www.ezlan.net/Distance.htm
    l
    Wireless Router as an AP - http://www.ezlan.net/router_AP.html

    Wireless Bridging - http://www.ezlan.net/bridging

    Hi Gain Antenna - http://www.ezlan.net/antennae.html

    The nice thing about a Wireless Router like the above Buffalo, is that you can try any of these methods with the same unit and see which one works best for you.
     
  6. Doomer

    Doomer Diamond Member

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    Thanks for the link jack. I just got an old Linksys wireless router to act as an access point buy following the directions. It worked like a charm so it looks like I'm in business.

    Assign the router an IP address within the range used by your main DHCP server.

    Turn off DHCP in the router acting as an AC.

    Walla, an access point is born.