Tips & Guides

Access Point vs. Repeater

Access Point vs. Repeater

WiFi technology has dramatically improved over recent times. However, there is still no standard solution to everyone’s specific WiFi setup. To find the ideal setup, you need to base the solution on your individual needs and requirements. There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to figuring out which setup is ideal for any given situation. Below, we will be going over what an access point is, what a repeater is, and which option is better.

What Is An Access Point?

An access point is a wireless device that creates a new wireless local area network which broadcasts itself. Typically, you will find access points scattered throughout an office building. An access point works by connecting directly to a wired router and/or switch through an Ethernet connection. It then projects its own wireless signal to a specific area. Thus, if you have an office building and you are unable to reach the specified area with your main router alone, you need to install access points or an access point by running an Ethernet cable through the walls which effectively allows you to broadcast signal where you need it.

What Is A Repeater?

A repeater is typically going to be used in a home environment. Because it degrades the network speed, it is generally not a good option for an office environment. Along with this, they are generally not going to be reliable enough to use for a significant amount of devices at once. While you can effectively extend the range of your router through these repeaters, they are not going to boost its available bandwidth which means that you are likely going to end up slowing down your overall connection by using them. Whereas, access points will be able to handle many more connections at the same time and will not bog down your network.

Benefits Of Access Points

  1. Better Speeds – As noted above, you are going to be able to get the same kind of network extension without bogging down your network speeds. Because you can even install business grade access points throughout your home and/or office, it is going to allow you to effectively boost the signal that you are able to achieve just about anywhere as long as you are able to connect your access points with your main router and/or with a switch that is connected to your main router.
  2. Versatility – Some of the newer access points that you are going to find on the market can even be powered over Ethernet which means that you will not necessarily have to worry about having your access points located next to an outlet to supply it with power.
  3. Own SSID – With access points, you are going to be able to separate the network as you wish. You can either set it up so that every access point uses the same SSID or you can make it so that each one has its own unique SSID that users can log into.

Benefits Of Repeaters

  1. Wireless – A repeater is a wireless network device that effectively repeats a wireless signal in order to extend the range of the device. Thus, it is a device that does not need to be connected at all. This means that it is going to be a preferred option to those that have no way of physically connecting a device to their main router. This is going to be the preferred option for a lot of homeowners that might be looking to repeat their wireless signal in an area of their home where it is not conducive to physically run Ethernet wiring or cabling to a specific area of their home.
  2. Cost – You are generally not going to have to pay as much when you purchase a repeater because the technology is not as costly. Also, you can even use a lot of older routers as its own wireless repeater. This means that you will be able to use some of the wireless routers that might be sitting in your home to achieve this type of network setup. Thus, requiring you to spend less on your entire setup.

Overall, there are a lot of different things that you are going to want to be aware of when you are trying to figure out which setup to go with. If you are looking to gain the best wireless speeds, there is no question that access points are going to provide you with the best solution. However, if your wireless environment is not set up in a way that allows you to physically connect your access points to your router solution, you are not going to be able to use it as a solution for your specific network. Instead, you are going to have to opt for a wireless repeater solution.