What is the difference between an access point and a router?

Are access points and routers the same? Not really, in this article we will discuss the differences between access points and routers.

Setting up your home or business Wi-Fi network is easy, but it can be a little confusing. There are many different terms and devices involved in the process and each Wi-Fi situation is unique. Large businesses with many devices connected to a network over a large area will need very different things with multiple devices.

Understanding the different terms related to Wi-Fi helps you know exactly what your home or business needs in order to have a reliable and fast network. Two terms you often come across include “router” and “access point”, but what do they mean and what is the difference between an access point and a router? Let’s go everywhere.

Read also: Is this the difference between a modem and a router?

What are routers?

What is a router

To understand what a router is, you must first understand what a modem is. You can think of the modem as the main gateway to the internet. Without a modem, we will not be able to access the Internet at home or at business. Modems are usually provided by your internet service provider (ISP).

The router connects to the modem directly via an Ethernet cable to provide you with more direct Ethernet ports, as well as wireless connectivity to other devices in your home, such as smartphones, tablets, or computers.

The network that your router creates is called a local area network (LAN). A LAN consists of each device currently connected to the router via a direct or wireless Ethernet connection. The LAN is then connected to a larger Wide Area Network (WAN) through your modem.

In short, your router acts as an intermediate device between your modem and all the devices in your home or business. Although there are routers that only offer wired Ethernet connections, most Wi-Fi routers today offer wireless connectivity with an internal access point. So why are wireless hotspots sold separately? See.

Read also: How do routers work? Here’s the explanation

What are access points?

What is an access point

A wireless access point is a network device that acts as an access point for devices that connect to a LAN, but must be connected to a router via an Ethernet cable. With the Ethernet cable, the wired signal is converted to a wireless signal.

So if you need a router, whether you have a standalone wireless access point or one built into your router, then what is the purpose of a standalone access point?

Well, wireless hotspots are often used to extend the range of the wireless LAN. This is useful for large Wi-Fi hotspots or large companies that want to cover more area in order to use WiFi. In addition, the use of a wireless access point increases the number of users who can connect to the network, which is also useful for multi-employee businesses.

The difference between an access point and a router

Simply put, a wireless router can function as a wireless access point, but an access point cannot act as a router.

You don’t even have to worry about choosing a wireless router or access point. As mentioned above, modern wireless routers usually come with everything you need for a reliable wireless network for your home or small business, such as a direct Ethernet port, wireless connection through a built-in access point and a basic firewall.

You’ll usually only add an access point to your system if you need to extend coverage to a larger area or Wi-Fi hotspots, or if you need extra network space to keep your devices connected. But you need a router to manage your LAN and communicate with your WAN.


So that’s the difference between an access point and a router. The bottom line is that a wireless router with an internal access point will be the best solution for most homes and small businesses.

If you have a business or home that is large or even multi-storey in a building, you may need a multi-point access point to ensure that all areas are connected. so that everyone can connect without problems.

And if you’re home or even a small business, you really don’t need to buy a wireless access point to help areas with poor connections or dead spots in your home. Instead, make sure you test your Wi-Fi speed first. Often there may be a problem with the ISP’s coverage or something is wrong with your modem or router. So before you spend more money, make sure everything you have is working properly.

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