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Wireless Access Point (WAP)

Wireless access points, referred to as either WAPs or wireless APs, are a transmitter and receiver (transceiver) device used for wireless LAN (WLAN) radio signals. A WAP is typically a separate network device with a built-in antenna, transmitter, and adapter. WAPs use the wireless infrastructure network mode to provide a connection point between WLANs and a wired Ethernet LAN. WAPs also typically have several ports allowing a way to expand the network to support additional clients.

Depending on the size of the network, one or more WAPs may be required. Additional WAPs are used to allow access to more wireless clients and to expand the range of the wireless network. Each WAP is limited by a transmissions range, the distance a client can be from a WAP and still get a useable signal. The actual distance depends on the wireless standard being used and the obstructions and environmental conditions between the client and the WAP.

An infrastructure wireless network uses a WAP

An infrastructure wireless network uses a WAP




 
An AP is used to extend a wired LAN to wireless clients doesn’t give you the complete picture. A wireless AP today can provide different services in addition to just an access point. Today, the APs might provide many ports that can be used to easily increase the size of the network. Systems can be added and removed from the network with no affect on other systems on the network. Also, many APs provide firewall capabilities and DHCP service. When they are hooked up, they will provide client systems with a private IP address and then prevent Internet traffic from accessing client systems. So in effect, the AP is a switch, a DHCP Server, router, and a firewall.





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