Understanding Wireless Access Points

Wireless access points (APs or WAPs) are network devices that allow Wi-Fi devices to connect to a wired network. They form wireless local area networks (WLANs). An access point acts as a central transmitter and receiver of wireless radio signals.

General-purpose wireless APs are Wi-Fi compatible and are used more frequently in homes, public Internet access points, and corporate networks to accommodate the proliferation of wireless mobile devices used in the Internet. present. The access point can be built into the wired router or standalone.

If you or a coworker uses a tablet or laptop to connect, you’re going through an access point, either hardware or built-in, to access the Internet without connecting to it with a cable.

Wi-Fi access point hardware

Standalone access points are small physical devices that closely resemble home broadband routers. Wireless routers used for home networks have access points built into the hardware, and can work with stand-alone AP units.

Several major vendors of consumer Wi-Fi products make access points, which allow businesses to provide wireless connectivity anywhere they can run an Ethernet cable from the access point to a wired router. AP hardware consists of radio transceivers, antennas, and device firmware.

Wi-Fi access points typically deploy one or more wireless APs to support a Wi-Fi coverage area. Enterprise networks also often install APs throughout their office areas. While most homes require only one wireless router with a built-in access point to cover the physical space, businesses often use many. Determining optimal locations for access point installations can be a difficult task even for network professionals due to the need to evenly cover spaces with a reliable signal.

Using Wi-Fi hotspots

If the existing router does not accommodate wireless devices, which is rare, the homeowner may choose to expand networks by adding a wireless AP device to the network rather than adding a second router, while businesses may install a suite of AP to cover an office building. Access points allow networking in Wi-Fi infrastructure mode.

Although Wi-Fi connections do not technically require the use of APs, they allow Wi-Fi networks to scale to greater distances and numbers of clients. Modern access points support up to 255 clients, while older access points only support about 20. APs also provide a bridging capability that allows a local Wi-Fi network to connect to other wired networks.

Access Point History

The first wireless access points predate Wi-Fi. Proxim Corporation (a distant relative of Proxim Wireless today) produced the first such devices, branded RangeLAN2, beginning in 1994. Access points achieved widespread adoption soon after the first commercial Wi-Fi products appeared. Fi in the late 1990s.

Although they were called “WAP devices” in earlier years, the industry gradually began to use the term “AP” instead of “WAP” to refer to them (in part to avoid confusion with the wireless application protocol), although some APs They are wired devices.

In recent years, the use of virtual assistants in smart homes has become widespread. These include products like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, which fit into a wireless network like computers, mobile devices, printers and other peripherals – through a wireless connection to an access point. They enable voice-activated interaction with the Internet and can control a growing list of home-related devices, including lighting, thermostats, appliances, televisions, and more, all over the Wi-Fi network that the hotspot enables.