Router vs Access Points: Difference and Comparison

Nowadays, knowledge has become data, and this point can not get stretched enough, but in our lifestyle, we are always required to stay virtually connected.

And this uninterrupted connectivity with the internet is made successful by two devices, a router and an access point. They become useful for different situations and enable people to connect with a network wirelessly.

Key Takeaways

  1. Routers manage and direct network traffic between different networks, such as connecting a local network to the Internet.
  2. Access points extend the wireless coverage of a network, allowing devices to connect to the network wirelessly.
  3. Both routers and access points play essential roles in creating a functional and efficient network, but they serve different purposes.

Router vs Access Points

A router is a device that connects multiple devices to a network and allows them to communicate with each other and with devices on other networks, such as the Internet. An access point is a device that provides wireless connectivity to devices on a network. It extends the range of a network.

Router vs Access Points

A router is known to be a networking device. It gets used in forwarding data packets between different computer networks. Data packets can be anything sent on the internet.

It is a set of data. The router is responsible for transmitting this data from one network to its destination.

The access point is a hardware device that gets used in computer networking. To fulfil its functions, it gets connected to a router through the use of a wire.

A strong Ethernet connection helps to transmit the data. With one wired connection, an access point can supply data to multiple devices without any wired connectivity.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRouterAccess Points
Obtaining wireless hardware A router does not have any such hardware. Access points have it and use it to transfer data.
AlgorithmsRouters have tricky algorithms. Access points do not possess any algorithms.
Data packetsRouters route data packets to their destination as a part of their function.Access points are not able to do so.
FunctionA router connects the internet with the access point.Access points make Wi-Fi devices connect to it.
PurposeA router sets up a local area network or LAN.Access points let other devices connect to the LAN.

What is Router?

A router is a networking device responsible for routing data across a local area network. It is a 3-layer device as it follows the OSI reference model.

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To work, a router uses a table which is known as a routing table. This table consists of IP, and by this IP, the router is able to reach another certain destination IP address.

To work efficiently, an access point needs a router to get connected to wireless devices to the internet. The main objective of a router can be divided into two parts.

One is it can connect multiple computers, smartphones, and other devices in order to maintain a local area network or LAN. Secondly, the router is responsible for providing Internet access to its connected devices.

To provide and transmit the Internet, the router needs to get connected to an Internet service provider through an Ethernet cable. A router might retain a firewall and VPN handling as its security methods.

Ensuring the security of a LAN is very important, and a router can ensure that to some extent. A data packet is a set of data that is meant to reach its destination, and the router helps to accomplish this mission.

In this process, routers use the information available in their routing table.

router

What are Access Points?

An access point is a device that is responsible for connecting wireless devices to a wired network. Access points are inevitable devices in Wi-Fi technology.

Devices that are connected to the access point will gain an internet connection through a router. And an access point will be connected to a router.

A high-speed Ethernet cable establishes this connection and is responsible for transmitting the signal from wired to wireless.

This way, all the devices connected to the point are interconnected. However, technology has come a long way, and modern wireless routers and access points can get integrated into a single device.

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The access point will distribute data by creating a Wi-Fi hotspot. Any device in the home can connect to an access point and access the internet.

A network can bear a limited number of users to connect to it. However, this limit can get extended with the use of access points. It expands the wireless coverage and gives an opening to more users to get joined in the network.

access points

Main Differences Between Router and Access Points

  1. The router is responsible for connecting outside networks with the access point. It connects the router to the internet, whereas access points connect with wifi devices which will use that internet.
  2. If a router is a hub, then the access point is a sub-hub. A router is meant to create a LAN, and access points give access to multiple devices in the created network.
  3. Routers have complicated algorithms and routing tables to follow, but access points do not have any such complicated elements.
  4. Routers do not have any wireless hardware, but access points do have such hardware.
  5. The router connects the internet with the access point, and the access point connects it to other multiple devices.
Difference Between Router and Access Points
References
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4296845/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4455018/

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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11 thoughts on “Router vs Access Points: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article has helped clarify some doubts I had regarding the functions of routers and access points. I appreciate the clear comparison laid out here.

    Reply
  2. The article could have delved deeper into the technical aspects of routers and access points, but it was a good read nonetheless.

    Reply
    • I see where you’re coming from, Hall. I believe the article aims to provide an overview for a wider audience, which makes sense.

      Reply
    • I agree with Qtaylor; not everyone might be interested in the technical intricacies, so a general explanation is more accessible.

      Reply
  3. The article provides valuable insight into the functioning of routers and access points, and sufficiently covers the key differences between them. A great resource for anyone looking to understand these concepts.

    Reply
  4. This article has been very informative and has helped me understand the differences between routers and access points that I didn’t know before.

    Reply
  5. I found the article to be quite dry and lacking in engaging content. It’s important to be informative, but it needs to hold the reader’s attention too.

    Reply
    • I understand your point, White, but an engaging style doesn’t necessarily guarantee better understanding. Sometimes clarity and conciseness are what’s needed to effectively get the point across.

      Reply
  6. What a comprehensive and well-organized article! The comparison of routers and access points has never been clearer to me before.

    Reply
    • Good to know it provided clarity, Finley71. The readability and clear distinction are indeed indicative of a well-thought-out piece.

      Reply

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