Access Point vs Mesh: Difference and Comparison

For installing a wireless fidelity network in the entire building (houses, workplaces, restaurants), certain network technologies could be embedded along with the wife router.

Access Points and Mesh are the networking technique to provide a high-speed network in each nook and corner of the entire building without installing additional routers. It is a very effective technology for internet users.

Key Takeaways

  1. Access points extend a wired network by creating a single wireless connection point, while mesh networks consist of multiple interconnected nodes that provide seamless wireless coverage.
  2. Mesh networks offer better coverage and scalability than access points, as they can expand to cover larger areas without sacrificing signal strength.
  3. Access points are more cost-effective for smaller networks, whereas mesh networks suit larger areas with numerous devices requiring consistent connectivity.

Access Point vs Mesh

Access points provide Wi-Fi coverage in a single area, while mesh networks are designed to provide coverage over a larger area. Access points are used in smaller environments, while mesh networks are ideal for larger environments where range may be more challenging.

Access Point vs Mesh
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The access point is installed within the existing Wi-Fi router of the building. So, that Wi-Fi range could reach everywhere in one building without any extra router or network extenders.

We only need a technician at the time of installing this hardware. After that, if a problem arises in the network, users can manage each access point separately without any technical aid.

Mesh can be installed in any building size (smaller, medium, and more enormous). The purpose is the same as that of access points.

Mesh network works on the principle of the WLAN (wireless local area network). Under mesh networking, all the network nodes are connected to a single service set network (network ID).

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAccess PointMesh
Invented InThe first access point device was developed by Proxim Cooperation.The mesh technology was invented in the 1980s.
Invented byAccess points are expensive due to the requirement for external help.Arris, a telecommunications corporation, created the first mesh network device.
PerformanceAccess points provide a high-speed wireless network in the entire building.Mesh provides comparatively low speed in some regions of the buildings.
PriceMesh technology is cheaper while installation and maintenance.Mesh technology is cheaper while installing and maintenance.
Number of DevicesThe single access point supports about 60 devices simultaneously.The single mesh networking connection supports about 35 devices.

What is Access Point?

Access Point can also be called a wireless access point (WAP). Users can connect their electronic devices, such as cell phones, laptops, and PCs, to the wired network, which includes servers, routers, and access points.

The network formed with access points is wireless LAN because access points act as an intermediator between a wired network and the WLAN formed by connecting our gadgets.

In other words, we can understand the access point as the central point that receives the network from the wired setup and transmits it to connected devices.

As a result, the access points operate at the open system interconnection model’s second layer (OSI).

The access point is a hardware device that can be physically felt and installed accordingly as the component of the router for the distribution of the network everywhere in a single building.

So, access points are widely used in the corporate sector by linking them with the wired network (LAN) to provide access to the grid in every corner for the continuity of digital work.

Furthermore, a single LAN may connect nearly 60 devices.

People can connect to a high-speed network while moving around their offices, which is an advantage of installing an access point.

However, access points need investment in the cost of a hardware device, installation, and technician fee.

access points

What is Mesh?

Mesh is a networking technology installed for the high network range in each part of the houses, offices, or any restaurant.

Mesh technology does not work similarly to access points, where access points are the network’s centre system of receiving and transferring.

Mesh technology is distinct in that internet connections are transferred from electronic devices to other electronic devices connected to a shared network.

Each device (laptop, smartphone, or computer) is a node.

Data will move from node to node until it reaches the final gadget under the network.

These nodes in a single network must not only be able to receive and send data but also know how to do so in the most effective way possible to build a mesh network.

Many algorithms, such as optical level switching (OLS), Better Approach to Mobile Ad-hoc Networking (BATMAN), and others, are used to form mesh networks for connection.

Apart from providing a network connection in the entire building, the mesh network is also used to connect multiple devices without requiring an ample internet connection.

The mesh network can still be accessed if one node dies or loses connection.

Moreover, this network is self-discovering and configuring. So, when the new device (node) joins the mesh, the routing algorithms will automatically integrate it into a network.

It is a relatively cheap and affordable technology to access and enjoy internet services in remote regions.

Main Differences Between Access Point and Mesh

  1. An access point is an intermediate between the wired network and electronic devices. On the other hand, the node system is followed in mesh networking.
  2. An access point is a hardware installed in routers. However, the mesh is a network topology for forming the connection.
  3. An access point is an expensive choice to provide network range. On the other side, a mesh is cheaper technology.
  4. An access point is appropriate for large buildings (corporate sector). However, mesh technology is a great choice for small and medium buildings.
  5. An access point was invented in 1994. However, mesh technology was invented in the 1980s.
  6. An access point got popular earlier than mesh technology which gained popularity in 2015s.
References
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4519963/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1630648/

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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