Talk:Wireless access point

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Reorganize the entire WLAN lemmata[edit]

As can be read here: Comparison_of_open-source_wireless_drivers#Driver_capabilities the drivers of most WNICs can operate in multiple wireless modes. Thus, a wireless access point (this article here) is any WNIC, whether a stand-alone Wireless Home Router that contains such on the PCB or in the SoC or a PCI-WLAN-Card, that is manually set to work in the AP mode or Master Mode or whatever you wanna call it. Echinacin35 (talk) 19:55, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Significant Revisions Planned Through December of 2008[edit]

Left the page alone for 6 months to allow time for popular edits. I will resume editing this page through the month of December to tighten the flow of information, remove ambiguity and better reference source material for many of the claims made throughout the page (it is sorely lacking, as I'm sure you'll agree). During the course of that editing, some sections will be shuffled to improve the flow of the article. This will appear on the "diff" as a MAJOR overhaul of the page. I assure you I will be leaving the VAST majority of the content alone. These will be structural edits, to benefit the ease and clarity of reading for the audience. Please contact me at mzweil -@- if you have a personal interest in this page, or would like to collaborate on these edits in December. Thanks! Mtzweil (talk) 13:32, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Technical Edits[edit]

Added heading "Common WAP Applications" to help readers differentiate between the Wireless AP as a device, and the multiple applications of such devices that are expounded upon below the introduction. -mtzweil 4 June 2008

Removed the one-sentence discussion of wireless bridging from the end of paragraph 3, as that is not a function of a wireless access point. Rather, wireless bridging is accomplished through the use of two wireless routers that are serving as Layer-2 bridging devices. For more information, please see my discussion under the WAP vs. Bridging section below. If after reading that section you feel that the sentence should be reinstated, here is the erroneous text:

"Another use involves bridging two wired networks in conditions inappropriate for cable: for example, a manufacturer can wirelessly connect a remote warehouse's wired network with a separate (though within line of sight) office's wired network." -mtzweil 4 June 2008

Removed the usage of the word "roam" in the sentence: "allow clients to roam over a large area (like hopping from lily pad to lily pad), staying more or less continuously connected." Rephrased to: allow clients to stay more or less continuously connected to a network (like hopping from lily pad to lilypad), while moving around. -mtzweil 4 June 2008


Several WAPs can link together to form a larger network that allows "roaming"
Isn't "handoff" (or "handover") a more appropriate term for that sentence?

Just look at the Wikipedia definitions of those terms... It looks that what's really happening is a handoff and not an roaming.

For the purposes of WAP discussion, handoff and roaming have become functionally equivalent. To illustrate: "Handoff" is describe under Jwire's glassary of Wireless terminology as:

"handoff: The act of switching coverage responsibility from one base station to another. It usually refers to what happens when a wireless phone user moves from one cell to another." Roaming, is described on the same site as: "roaming: The act of seamlessly moving your wireless connection from one access point to another as you walk around. To enable roaming between access points, connect them to the same wired Ethernet network, give them the same network name, and set them to use different, non-overlapping channels (1, 6, and 11)." See: for more information. -mtzweil 4 June 2008

--Dhcpy (talk) 03:22, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Merge with Wireless LAN[edit]

Some of the information in this article needs to be merged or removed, as it is redundant to the information found in "Wireless LAN". Greenlead 06:24, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Dhcpy, I am working on removing the unnecessary redundancy now, though some of it will need to be kept in order to allow this page to serve as a standalone reference regarding Wireless APs. Mtzweil (talk) 19:50, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

== WAP vs. Wireless Bridge ==

"Bridging" by definition is the transparent Layer-2 switching of frames. In the modern context, most bridging involves switching Ethernet encapsulated data frames (IEEE 802.3), or L2 PDUs through a wired network. This definition of bridging holds true for WiFi network connections, with the exception that the data encapsulation (which includes, headers, trailers, frame-check sequences, etc) is defined by a different IEEE standard (IEEE 802.11[x]). Every wireless AP serves as a bridge between access-layer devices (such as end-user computers, printers, etc) and a LAN router, though in many cases the LAN router is part of the same hardware device as the WAP. In many SOHO (small-office, home-office) applications the wireless AP is part of a multi-function Wireless Router serving as the gateway router for that LAN, the Layer-2 Ethernet switch, as well as a wireless Layer-2 bridge. As of this writing, the article does not recognize the distinction between a Wireless Access Point and a Wireless Router. -mtzweil 4 June 2008

There was an erroneous discussion of wireless bridging in this article. I have removed it. In that discuss, the editor claimed that wireless access points could be used to connect two physically discontiguous wired LANs. To understand the distinction here, consider that in the editor's context a wireless access point was a modal application of a Wireless Router used to create or extend a WLAN (wireless LAN). However, as discussed above, not all WAPs are routers. Additionally, in the case of WAPs, the device is "bridging" frames only to end-user or access-layer devices (hence the "access" in access point). Wireless APs cannot serve the same function of a Wireless Routers with respect to the entirely different modal role of a Wireless Bridge. In the case of a Wireless Bridge two Wireless Routers are set in the transparent Layer-2 "bridging" mode and are in communication only with eachother. In that case, the Wireless Router is serving the modal application of a transparent Layer-2 bridge and does not provide connectivity to end-user or access-layer devices. As such, in those case, the Wireless Router is _not_ an "access" point. -mtzweil 4 June 2008

I need help understanding the difference between a Wireless Access Point and a Wireless Bridge. Both seem designed to connect wireless devices to an Ethernet network. Or are manufacturers abusing the term "bridge?" ---Ransom

A bridge can connect to wired network. For example if you have two buildings, and in each building you have a switch that connects all your network devices, you can interconnect the two switches using two wireless bridges. However if you use a basic access point you can only connect hosts to the switch. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Maalaoui (talkcontribs) 17:19, 31 January 2007 (UTC).

A WAP can be used to communicate to multiple subscriber units/CPE's in a network, most commonly point-to-multipoint. A wireless bridge refers to a "point-to-point" communication between 2 wireless devices. Use this as an example: If you install an access point in your home to provide wireless coverage to multiple computers in your home, the specific wireless connection between your AP and your laptop is a wireless bridge. So, an access point can be part of a wireless bridge, but they aren't the same thing by definition.

== Hotspot == It appears that the general consensus below is that this article should not be merged with the "Hotspot" article, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that there still needs to be a definitive discussion of Wireless APs, which make up some of the devices used to create Hotspots in the first place. Mtzweil (talk) 19:50, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

I propose that the article at Hotspot (Wi-Fi) be merged into this one. Much of the information is duplicated. "Hotspot" is just a registered trademark of Deutsche Telekom to refer to the generic technology of a Wireless access point. --DDG 21:16, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

"Hotspot (Wi-Fi)" is used to describe an area where public or semi-public wireless access is available, while an "access point" is a piece of equipment that can be used for hotspots as well as other uses. They are not the same thing (not even close), and the articles should not be merged. The currently low quality of hotspot article does not justify such a merger. 18:47, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
The above comment is mine; sometimes IE signs me out and I don't notice. Jrkarp 18:48, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

A hotspot is a very specific form of wireless access point, different enough to deserve its own entry. theprez98 18:25, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

An access point seems to have a number attached. That number is not the key, nor the frequency. It might be the IP associated with a wireless access point, but then why isn't it called an IP. I susspect that the wifi article should be general (with the history) and Access Point a technical description (explaining how it relates to 802.11) that explains how it is sometimes used to mean wifi hot spot.

I think that Hotspot should be merged with WAP, as a seperate section. They are different, but a hot spot is still technically a WAP, just used differently (publicly). --Matt0401 21:11, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
I think it should not be merged. Access point is the technology, "Hot Spot" is a specific usage of the techonology. Other examples of usage of the technology are Wireless community network, Lily-pad network and a corporate Wireless LAN. tobixen 10:05, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
WAP and Hotspot should definitely NOT be merged. An access point is the hardware used in a hotspot, which is an application.

Question re home networking: the article states that "Most leave their encryption settings at default, hence neighbors cannot use them." I suspect this was inadvertently inverted - "most leave their encryption settings at default, hence neighbors >>CAN<< use them." If I am incorrect, the statement requres some justification. FredBaker 16:24, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Personal experience, I must admit. In the past year I've taken six or seven brand new consumer wireless routers (the majority with DSL integrated) out of the carton and every one was configured with a default WEP key, hence the user had difficulty using it on a laptop and the neighbors wouldn't be able unless they were equipped to break the code. Usually the default WEP is printed on a sticker on the case.
Where the user had any trouble, instead of configuring all present laptops with the correct WEP code and assuming some future nerd would correctly configure any future ones, I merely disabled WEP, leaving the router as an Open Access Point. This was in every case the right thing for a router that had no other purpose than to share Internet access, which is the only purpose for most consumers. Obviously there are a few networks, even at home, that have file servers, print servers, shared files, or other reasons for leaving encyrption turned on, but most do not. Does anyone have contrary information or experience, with consumer wireless access boxes manufactured in a recent year? Jim.henderson 05:39, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Reorganization suggestions[edit]

The security concerns are highlighted both in this article and in the Wireless LAN article. I suggest moving it out to a separate article. tobixen 03:25, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Actually, there is plenty of overlapping between the Wireless LAN article and this one. If there are any mergings to be done, I think the WLAN page is much more appropriate than the hotspot page. Eventually, all three can survive, but should be cleaned up a bit and organized better. User:Tobixen 2006-02-07

So, if nobody protests and when/if I get the time, I will reorganize those pages a bit, keeping all access-point-specific information here (including the difference between routers and hubs, etc), separating out security issues into an article of it's own, and merge other information over to the Wireless LAN pages. tobixen 00:50, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm ok with you, why not merging those section together in a main Wireless LAN section, but please keep the "hotspot" keyword because much people will search Hotspot instead of Wireless access point or anything else. Keep in mind that a Hotspot is tipically a public WAP, and WAP are not always public. Thank you very much for this good work.

Wireless LAN (WLAN) and Wireless access point (WAP) are completely different. A WLAN is a group of one or more wireless devices (WAPs, wireless bridges, repeaters, wireless appliances, wireless connectors, etc.). A WAP is a single device that one can use to connect to a WLAN. hightechgeek 02:00, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree to the latter, and also to the point recently raised at Talk:Wireless LAN that the Wireless LAN article is missing a section describing the different parts of a typical WLAN setup. However, I'm not up for doing the work right at the moment :-) tobixen 23:21, 2 May 2006 (UTC)


I agree. Most of the Wireless Access point article really covers how a wireless LAN works, and should be in the Wireless LAN section. To me it seems that a lot of the Wireless LAN section contains information not on LOCAL area networks, but rather wider area networks. I think it more correct to rename the "Wireless LAN" section "Wireless network". It seems a good idea breaking up the wiki articles a bit; if all the details from all the WLAN articles are merged the page would become very lengthy.


Costs Section Is Poor[edit]

  • The costs section needs some serious clean-up. If there are no takers, I'll do this. MichaelAhlers 16:51, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I agree, it's poor. Hotspots should anyway not be discussed without referring to the hotspot as the main article. Open-access networks are better discussed at the wlan or security article, I think - or maybe it deserves an independent article? I deliberately removed all links for finding open access networks or hotspots from this article, as I think it belongs to the hotspot article. tobixen
  • I think the only thing that is relevant on a cost section is how much a typical WAP costs today. Maybe 50-100. Anyway, I rather deleted the section. Thewireless community network-reference got moved up to contrast the lily-pad configuration. Privately owned independent open access nodes is also more a part of a lily-pad network rather than a wireless community network. The claim that "wireless internet access costs some dollars per hour" I find completely unreferenced, and is quite contrary to my personal experiences. tobixen 00:48, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I agree entirely with this rationale! --MichaelAhlers 03:01, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

AP vs. Wireless Router[edit]


I suggest a topic discussing the differences between: Access Point vs.Wireless Routers (this is very popular on domestic homes).

Matieral:,295199,sid63_gci976369,00.html —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:48, 13 December 2006 (UTC).

A wireless router is NOT a wireless access point. There are many types of access points that are not routers. I am going to move the redirect to DSL router and then add a wireless section there. This article should talk about access points that are bridges etc and not routers. It should have a Futher Reading section.--akc9000 (talk contribs count) 17:59, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Technological convergence has been very much at work at home. In the past few years most but not all new WAPs are routers, and something like half of routers are WAP. Take a look at the shelves or check-out counter at your local computer store. Of course the old separate boxes still sell, especially in the big-business market, but that's a small fraction of the modern market.
Come to think of it, redirecting Wireless router to DSL router is even more incorrect than redirecting it to WAP, since all wireless routers are WAP though, as you point out, not viceversa. Many wireless routers are also not DSL routers, nor viceversa. Seems to me the way to take care of all these converged home routers is to make a converged article for them all, with appropriate links to their various converged parts including DSL modem, WAP, router, cable modem etc. Jim.henderson 17:53, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

I see that the picture captiojed "wireless access point" is actually a Linksys wiresless router. This seems an unfortunate choice. Can't someone find a picture of something that is purely an access point? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:20, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

what are the benefits of WiFi access points ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:40, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Most wireless access point are wireless routers. I believe this article is abusing the term AP. An AP is only one of the mode that can be operated by a 802.11 wifi card. In this mode, client communicate with an AP opposed to adhoc mode where every device may communicate with every other. An AP is not a device, but a wireless router may operate an AP. YayaY (talk) 20:40, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree further clarification will be helpful. For example, I redirected AP mode here, but the article doesn't make clear that many wireless NICs can function as access points with the right software and drivers. Nil Einne (talk) 04:30, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

So what is WAP?[edit]

Article has an introduction, which is a bit of poor quality and then jumps into WAP applications and network issues and limitations and costs etc. Obviously contributed by many who are experts but also oblivious to the fact that WAP was never defined and described here. Keeping in mind these pages are for general public, can someone brifly but explicitly describe what a WAP actually is? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:16, 31 May 2012 (UTC)