Differences between wireless router and access point(AP)

What is a Router?
A router is a network device that serves two primary functions: (1) it connects multiple computers, phones, tablets, or other devices to form a managed local area network, and (2) it provides Internet access to all of the compatible devices that are connected to the router.
A local area network (LAN) can be set up by simply deploying a router and connecting one or several devices to it. Modern routers allow users to connect devices both via Ethernet cables or wirelessly (using Wi-Fi).
However, in order for the router to distribute and deliver data to the devices within the local area network, it must be connected to an Internet service provider’s customer premises equipment (CPE) via an Ethernet cable.

What is an Access Point?
An access point is a wireless network device that acts as a portal for devices to connect to a local area network. Access points are used for extending the wireless coverage of an existing network and for increasing the number of users that can connect to it.
A high-speed Ethernet cable runs from a router to an access point, which transforms the wired signal into a wireless one. Wireless connectivity is typically the only available option for access points, establishing links with end-devices using Wi-Fi.

Main Differences....
The router acts as a hub that sets up a local area network and manages all of the devices and communication in it. An access point, on the other hand, is a sub-device within the local area network that provides another location for devices to connect from and enables more devices to be on the network.
Wireless routers can function as access points, but not all access points can work as routers. While routers manage local area networks, communicate with outside network systems, acquire, distribute, and dispatch data in multiple directions, establish a point of connectivity, and ensure security, access points typically only provide access to the router’s established network.

Which is Better?
The answer to the question which one is better? is that it depends on the needs. For homes and small business, routers may be the optimum (if not the best) solution, while medium to large enterprises and organizations will certainly require a network of access points and switches.


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  • There are significant differences between a wireless access point vs. wireless router. A wireless access point, or AP, adds Wi-Fi capability to a wired network by bridging traffic from workstations onto an Ethernet LAN. A wireless router combines broadband router capabilities -- such as acting as the gateway between the internet and a local area network -- as well as wireless AP features, inside a single device. In simple terms, a wireless router can be a wireless AP, but a wireless AP can't be a wireless router.
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