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Difference Between WAP and Router

Difference Between WAP and Router

Some people have difficulty in choosing whether to get a WAP (Wireless Access Point) or a router for their home or office. There is a major difference between the functions of the two. A router is a network element that deciphers where data packets need to go. In comparison, a WAP is just an alternative to wires that allow computers to connect wirelessly and provides a degree of mobility to the user.

The biggest use of routers in homes and even in businesses is to act as an interface between the internet and the private network; thereby allowing multiple computers to access the internet simultaneously. A WAP only device cannot act in the same capacity and still needs a router for that purpose. Aside from internet connectivity, a router also provides advanced features that deal with security. Routers typically have a firewall and can perform NAT to protect the internal network from external attacks. WAPs do not have this capability.

For SOHO routers, there are two major types; wired and wireless. A wired router relies solely on wired Ethernet connections for interconnecting computers to form a network. On the other hand, a wireless router still has ports for Ethernet cables but adds a WAP to the mix to allow wireless connections. Because the WAP has been integrated to the router, it is common for the terms WAP and wireless router to be used interchangeably in referring to the device.

Although being integrated into a router is the most common way of using a WAP, there are also WAP devices that are not necessarily integrated into routers. Devices like wireless extenders and wireless bridges have an access point but do not perform in routing function. It simply relays the data packets received to another WAP with routing functions. These devices simply extend the range of the wireless network and are fairly useful in overcoming obstacles that block the signal from the wireless router.

Choosing between a router and a wireless access point isn’t such a major issue as the two terms probably mean the same thing, if the router has wireless capabilities.


1.A WAP is device that allows clients to connect wirelessly while a router is network device that directs the traffic from one network element to another
2.A WAP cannot provide internet access while a router can
3.A router has advanced features missing in WAP
4.Routers may or may not have WAP in them
5.There are WAPs that are not integrated into routers

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1 Comment

  1. If you remove a WAP from the network, will the hosts continue to communicate to each other through the router? Is it true that only wireless devices will be disconnected from the network?

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