Wireless Access Point vs. Router – What the Main Difference?

If you’re one of the people who ask themselves each year what’s the difference between a router and a wireless access point, then you’ve come to the right place! Read on if you want to be more informed and make better decisions in the future.


A router is the device that takes the signal from your internet service provider (ISP) or their modem and splits it up into several signals which you can use in your home. For this reason you can use various devices, such as tablets, laptops and smartphones simultaneously. You only get one IP address from the ISP, so you need a router if you want to connect more than one computer at the same time through an Ethernet cable.

Even though they have become obsolete nowadays, there are still routers that don’t contain any wireless components. However, almost all the routers released in the last ten years have Wi-Fi as an essential accessory.

Wireless Access Points (WAPs)

Any router with Wi-Fi can be called a WAP, but there are also some other differences. What you need to know is the way in which the mesh networking systems work. They are quite a recent invention and they use external antennas to spread the signal received from the router. As such, any antenna becomes an access point.

Which one is better?

Truth is both of them are excellent systems, but it only depends on your needs. The first thing you have to do is to decide whether you need for your home a mesh network or a router with range extenders. Range extenders are quite old by now and they have a complicated setup system. Moreover, it can even cost more than a mesh networking system. However, if your router has antennas which are large enough, you may not even need a mesh networking system.