A router is made to receive and transfer internet from your Internet Service Provider(ISP) to nearby devices wirelessly. On the other hand an access point is connected to the router through cables and enhances the signal to areas that may not receive a stronger signal. From here they wirelessly connect devices to the internet.
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An access point is a device that allows wireless-enabled devices to easily connect to the internet by serving as a receiver and transmitter of radio signals. This is made possible by creating a wireless local area network (WLAN) through which devices in the surrounding area can connect to the internet. To do this, the device is made up of a CPU, software, tranceivers and antenaes. Often they are plugged into the router, network switch/hub and then amplify the signal within that area.
Access points are majorly used in office buildings to provide a larger internet coverage to those within that area. Due to them providing wireless connection, they help reduce the need to cable management within an office or home. Also they can be installed in large numbers to widen the area of coverage and provide connection to more devices than those in the office.
Types of network access points
Access points are categorized in accordance to the type of configuration that is used to make the connection possible. Below are some of the configurations used :
- Standalone Access Points
This configuration works the same way that a network switch or hub does except that it is wireless. While a switch requires an ethernet connection these standalone access points provide internet through both wired and wireless means. Devices that only work with wired connections, i.e Ethernet connection, can not recognize wireless connections which limits the range of connection. Since access points use radio signals to connect to different devices they provide mre flexibility and due to the presence of authorization they provide great security for the provider based on their configuration.
2. Multifuntional Access Points
This configuration is named due to the need for merging one or more devices for it to function. A router is the best example of a multifunctional access point. The devices involved include the wireless access point, an ethernet switch and the router itself. The router provides the internet from your ISP, after which the ethernet switch is used to connect to the necessary devices while the access point helps to enhance the signal in areas where it is not at optimal operation.
3.Controlled Access Point
As the name suggests a controlled access point does not just forward the incoming signal, instead once the signal is received it translates it and decides whether it should be forwarded or discarded. This decision is made by a Wirelss LAN Controller which carries the security settings used to make the decision. This setup is most common in a large office setting, schools, and organisations as it only requires one WLC to control the data transmitted.
What to consider for your access point
There are a number of factors you have to consider before installing an access point. These help to ensure that you get the most from your devices without spending too much money or acquiring less than capable equipment. These factors include;
- Service range ; Access Points are meant to boost the signal received from your internet provider over a defined area. You are more likely to find that having a large number of them will make the range too wide and hence slow the internet speeds. Some of the access points may even end up obsolete due to lack of use.
- Number of access points ; As mentioned above, too many access points will lead to slower speeds and unused devices. Always take into consideration where they are placed and how they are used to avoid loss and misuse of resources.
- Security features ; Most internet connected devices are liable to attacks from outside or even accessing harmful pages. To avoid this it is paramount that you get access points with authorization features to allow you to limit access to only the necessary devices in your organization or home area. You can also have custom encryption features installed.
- Interference by other access points ; For office and organization setups you are likely to experience disturbance due to the presence of other access points in the same area. This can be hindered by conducting a quick survey prior to installation and limiting your range to match your needs.
- Frequencies; You have an option of either having a 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz or both. The 2.4GHz access point is compatible with most if not all devices from the year 2001 that has a USB connection. However due to its compatibility and popularity it may be too crowded. As for the 5 GHz it does not support all devices and is less crowded. Having a mix of both is known as a Dualband Access Point which is best for those looking to have growth of their network.
Benefits of a network access point
There are alot of reasons for you to upgrade from a simple router to an access point or multiple access points. They include:Cost efficiency as they take out the need to have multiple ethernet cables connecting your computers and office appliances to the internet.
- Ease of access. The use of Point Over Ethernet cables to provide wireless connection users can easily be added and removed from the framework.
- Secure connectivity. With most having a secure connection made possible by need for authorization and encryption, your network is less likey to suffer from external and malicious attacks.
- The use of Point Over Ethernet cables reduces the need for an additional power cable for some versions of access points which leads to better usage of space and easier cable management.
- Advanced access points have a clustering feature which allows IT personell to view, input, deploy and configure commands from a single point to all devices instead of handling security settings each device on its own.
In conclusion having an access point in an office helps alot in improving the productivity of your workers as they are able to easily access the internet from anywhere in the office without the use of cables. For small to medium sized businesses it helps save on costs through reducing the need to install multiple ethernet cables. At the same time having an authorized dealer supply your device can help you reduce on costs as they will keep you informed on what you need to ensure you get the most out of them. Dukatech provides access point devices as well as installation at affordable costs. We also make deliveries chap chap wherever you are in Nairobi so make your purchase today!