Wireless Access Point vs Router – What’s the Difference ? (Explained)

Wireless Access Point vs Router – What’s the Difference ? (Explained). One of the most common solutions nowadays is undoubtedly WIFI, in this blog we will deal with a Wireless Access Point (WAP). Also it is a network device that allows you to connect to a wired network. On the other hand, we have a Router. 

It connects at least two networks with packet switching. Its main most important functions are it manages traffic between networks and allows multiple devices to use the same internet connection.

So, in this article, we will learn about two network devices. Starting with their main performance, we’ll move on to how they work later. I will also mention their features, benefits, pluses and minuses. The final point of reference will be to put them in front of you to compare and explain what the basic differences between them are.

Shall we start with Wireless Access Point vs Router – What’s the Difference ? (Explained).

What is Wireless Access Point?

Firstly, a wireless access point, is an excellent way to connect devices to a wired network. Basically, a Wireless Access Point, allows you to create a WLAN network. Very often used in large offices, companies, buildings, where companies have many connections in place. Moreover, installing WAP to connect all computers or devices on the network is simpler and easier than using wires and cables.

In nutshell, WAP allows wireless devices and wired networks to connect through a wireless standard, such as WiFi and Bluetooth.

In summary, wireless access points connect wired networks to wireless clients. Truly, WAP or also known a hotspot, facilitates network access for mobile users, increases productivity and lowers infrastructure costs.

Why Access Points are better for businesses?

Surely, we are aware that range extenders are great for home WIFI networks. Unfortunately, they’re not efficient in modern businesses. Why? This is because they are able to support only a limited number of data devices at a time, usually no more than 20. Although there are range extenders for a Wifi router, but there is no way to increase the bandwidth. 

As a matter of fact, depending on the number of devices connected at the same time, the range extender may put a strain on your connection.

We can look at it from the other side. Basically, access points can support more than 60 simultaneous connections each. So, by installing access points throughout the office, people can easily move around the office without any network interruption. 

As they move around the building, their devices seamlessly switch from one access point to another without any of the shortcomings of disconnection.

How does a Wireless Access Point work?

As an illustration, access points work in a simple and complex way. How? They connect directly to a broadband router or network adapter via an Ethernet or data cable. Therefore, it provides the access point with the necessary Internet connection and bandwidth. After that, it then sends and receives signals wirelessly in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency band.

Certainly, wireless access points are ideal for devices where there is no way to connect a physical cable. However, they are ideal for providing an internet connection to tablets, laptops, televisions, etc. A lot is heard now about working on “wires for things that don’t move”. 

So we are talking about the best, fastest connection, where the Ethernet cable will be the best way to connect to the computer. All in all, a good wireless connection would be the next best option.

Features of Wireless Access Point

  • Ability to communicate with both 2.4 GHz devices and 5 GHz devices.
  • Mobile device management.
  • Proper security means using the right firewall.
  • 802.11ac access points.
  • Indoor as well as outdoor coverage options.
  • The ability to measure performance.

Pros and cons of WAP


  • Broader range of transmission.
  • Multi AP interconnection.
  • Flexible networking.
  • More users access.


  • Poor stability.
  • Less secure.
  • Overlapping channels problems.
  • High cost.

What is a Router?

Obviously the other network device I want to introduce is a router. In particular, it is a physical or virtual network device used to receive, analyse and transmit data packets between computers. Actually, it also examines the destination IP address of a given packet and analyses the use of addresses. As noted,  also forwards tables to identify the most sensitive forwarding packets.

Consequently, it is also worth adding, that companies that develop routers, are for example Nortel, HP or Cisco. 

Why Routers?

A decisive advantage of a Router is its capabilities compared to other network devices.  These are: hubs, switches. Because of their weakness is performing basic network functions. For example, a hub is an ordinary basic network device that is mainly used to transfer data between devices that are connected. Unfortunately, it cannot change anything in the transmitted data. 

On the other hand, a router has more of these possibilities. Primarily it allows itself to modify and analyse data ,whilst it is being transferred over the network. Moreover, routers allow you to share one network connection between several devices.

How does a Router work?

Evidently router, works by analysing the destination IP address of a given packet header. After, it compares it to the routing table in order to determine the route for the next packet. In addition, the routing list contains instructions for transferring data to a specified destination network. Finally, They have a set of so called rules that calculate the best path to deliver data to a given IP address.

Also worth noting, that routers use a modem, which is the same as a cable, fiber, or DSL modem. By all means, this is done to allow communication between other devices and the Internet. Forthwith, most routers have multiple ports to connect different devices to the Internet at the same time.

Features of Router

  • In order to prepare or refresh the routing table, routers share information among each other.
  • Routers are more expensive than other networking devices like hubs, bridges and switches.
  • Transfers data in the form of IP packets. Generally, in order to transmit data, it uses IP address mentioned in the destination field of the IP packet.
  • Routers have a routing table, that is refreshed periodically according to the changes in the network. Hence, to transmit data packets, it consults the table and uses a routing protocol.
  • Connects different networks together and sends data packets from one network to another.
  • A router is a layer 3 or network layer device.

Pros and cons of a Router


  • Dynamic routing.
  • Reduces network traffic by creating collision domains and broadcast domains.
  • Allows achieving loop so that redundant paths are available.
  • They are configurable, which allows the network manager to make policy based on routing decisions.
  • Provides sophisticated routing, flow control, and traffic isolation.
  • NAT usage.
  • Integrations.
  • Reduces network traffic by creating collision domains.


  • The router is slower than bridge or repeaters because they must analyse data transmission from the physical to the network layer.
  • They are expensive compare to other network devices.
  • Dynamic router communications can cause additional network overhead. This results in less bandwidth for user data.
  • Requires a considerable amount of initial configuration.
  • Relatively complex device.

Wireless Access Point vs Router -What is the Difference?

The rapid development of computer technology has brought humans a large number of devices, devices and gadgets. In fact, there are so many types and classes of computing devices that the average consumer can easily become confused by the complexity of each device or tool. 

One of the most frequently asked questions is the difference between an access point and a router? hence, the basic difference between the two devices is pretty simple, but there are other subtle but still significant differences.

I will now present the main differences:

Parameters of comparison WAP vs Router

Parameters of Comparison Wireless Access Points Router
The access point connects directly to the main network adapter or a router using a data cable or Ethernet. By doing so it provides the access point with the necessary bandwidth and Internet connection. Upon completion, it will send and receive wireless signals in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. The router can be used as an access point, but the access point cannot be used as a router.
Routers assist you in connecting smart devices to your local network by sending data packets between the two. This is done by assigning a local IP address to each device on the network. Wireless routers can come with or without repeaters, and can also be used as repeaters.
Here, the wireless access points provide the possibility that multiple users have access. Comparing to routers that only have a chance to handle connection records of about 10-20 devices at the same time. Interestingly, access points allow you to connect to more than 50 devices at the same time, which is a significant plus. Additionally, they transmit and receive Wi-Fi signals.
A technically advanced router is usually efficient due to its various features such as transmission speed, frequency band and range. If not, there are alternatives such as combining with the use of extenders, repeaters and wireless access points.
Provides another central hub behind the router where multiple devices connect to the existing LAN.
A centre, that creates a local network and controls all devices and their connections to the router.

Wireless Access Point vs Router- Further Comparison


On one side The access point supports a range of up to 2000 square meters, or approximately 185,806 square feet metre.

Here, the router supports a range of up to 150 feet (46 meters) indoors and 300 feet (92 meters) outdoors.


An access point is a network device that allows your device to connect to a wired network.

The router acts as a transmitter, receiver and analyser between the data and the computer network connected to it.

Use cases

Well, the Access point it is mainly used for large companies with offices and large buildings.

Bu the Router is mainly used in homes, SOHO work environments and organizations.


While the switch monitors the local network, the wireless router communicates with external network frames according to the speed of the access point. Moreover it obtains, broadcasts and sends information in different headers, organizes the accessible location and keeps it secure, usually local network only. 

Router, provides access to the switch configuration network. In the wireless router and tp link access point, the wireless router can work as a wireless access point. But the wireless router still cannot work as a switch.

How they work?

The router acts as a hub that creates a local network and manages all the devices and connections within it. An access point, on the other hand, is a subunit of a local area network that provides another location. Where devices can communicate and allows more devices to enter the network.


You don’t need to worry about a wireless router or adding access points to too many people. Access points and range extenders, and today’s wireless access ports usually have everything you need. For those more trusted or independent remote organizations, we are talking about routers with Ethernet ports. 

In nutshell, they have standard wireless routers, access points and gateways. What’s more, wireless products and latent products, firewalls and basic defence.

Thank you for reading Wireless Access Point vs Router – What’s the Difference ? (Explained). We shall conclude. 

Wireless Access Point vs Router – What’s the Difference ? Conclusion

Summing up, for a small local area network, a router may work well. It can effectively provides its users with the necessary network connection. However, it has connectivity limitations. Additionally several devices have this ability to connect directly to it. So when multiple devices want to join the same router network, access points come in handy.

So, if you are wondering, which network device is better and which one you should get.  The answer is that it is vital to understand that they both work effectively.

In fact, the right choice will depend only on your individual needs or your company. For home use or predisposition to small businesses, routers will hit the spot. But if you have a larger company with more staff, getting access points is the decisive step.

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Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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