Differences Wireless access point, Wireless router, and Wi-Fi

Wifi routers are the starting point for IT Managers in Zambia who seek to ready for work from home
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What is a wireless access point how does it differ from the wireless router? Often these words wireless access, wireless router and wifi are used interchangeably with no regard to the real meaning. However, a wireless router stands superior to the wireless access point in the way it operates as much as the Wi-Fi is entirely different.

The first two ‘wireless access point’ and the ‘wireless router’ actually refer to physical network devices programmed with some OS while Wi-Fi refers to a family of protocols.

Access Point

An access point is a wireless ‘hub’. The transmitter/receiver connects together the wireless nodes and typically bridges them to the wired network. This network device is often known as WAP -wireless access point or AP – access point.

This networking hardware device allows other Wi-Fi devices to connect to a wired network. So from a wireless clients’ point of view (laptops or mobile stations), an access point provides a virtual cable between the associated clients.

Wireless Router

It follows that an access point should be distinguished from a wireless router easily. A wireless router is a combination of an access point and a router and can perform routing 

Clients connect to the access points by knowing their ‘identification’.

This identification is known as the Service Set Identity (SSID) and it should be shared by all members of the specific wireless network. That’s why you see the name of your wireless when you check the SSID on the base of your home router either from Airtel, MTN, Zamtel and Hai.

All the wireless clients and access Points within an Extended Service Set (ESS) must be configured with the same ID (ESSID).

Each access point in the ESS has its own Basic Service Set ID (BSSID) – usually the access point’s MAC Address.

This allows wireless clients to roam between multiple access points while staying connected to the same network.

Connecting to a wireless network with SSID x is equivalent to plugging your computer into an Ethernet socket on the wall with a UTP RJ45 terminated ethernet cable.

Wireless Client

A wireless client is any wireless station that connects to a wireless Local Area Network (LAN) to share its resources.

A wireless station is defined as any computer with an installed wireless network adapter card that transmits and receives Radio Frequency (RF) signals.

Some common wireless clients include smart TVs, laptops, PDA’s, surveillance equipment, and wireless VoIP phones.


Wi-Fi is sometimes written as WiFiWifi, or wifi, but these are not approved by the Wi-Fi IEEE standard. What is Wi-Fi? Wi-Fi (Wifi) is the most popular facility that allows computers, smartphones, TVs, or other devices to connect to the Internet or communicate with one another wirelessly within a particular area.

Wi-Fi belongs to the family of network protocols developed under IEEE 802.11 standards.

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