Although they appear to serve the same function, the two modes are distinct from each other. The main difference is that an Access Point (AP) mode connects multiple wireless devices and a bridge mode connects two separate networks.
Over there years there have been great advancements in computer technology. New gadgets keep coming up that make it easier and more flexible to use the internet. A good example is that we moved from using only wired connections to wireless connections. Routers have also been developed to be multi-functional. Today you can use a router as a modem, switch, network bridge, or access point.
Netgear routers are no exception to this. They come with inbuilt AP mode and Bridge mode to help you better expand your network. The problem is, since these two modes have been combined into one device, the differences between them have become blurred. In this article, we are going to elaborate on their distinction by doing a comparison. So, if you’re out buying a Netgear AP/bridge mode router, you’ll have a better understanding of how to utilize it.
What are the differences between Netgear AP Mode and Bridge Mode?
Connects wireless devices to the router
Connects separate networks
NAT is enabled
NAT is disabled
Allows the router to translate multiple IP addresses as a single IP address
The router cannot translate multiple addresses
Router’s default setting
Must be set up/enabled
Netgear AP Mode Vs Bridge Mode – A Comparison Overview.
Access Point Mode Overview
Also known as Wireless hotspots, an Access Point (AP) is one of the most commonly used instruments when it comes to networking. Its main function is to offer internet connectivity by connecting the router to multiple wireless devices. You can also use this setup as a WiFi extender. That means extending wireless internet connection to devices over long distances. Complex Access Points can even connect up to 200 devices or more. There are also some wireless APs that can connect two wireless networks, therefore acting as a wireless bridge.
So, you can say that the AP mode, serves to secure a Local Area Network (LAN) and offer internet connection to numerous devices. Most routers, including Netgear’s, come with this mode as the default. That is because, for there to be a connection between your router and multiple devices, your router needs to assign each device an IP address. This is done through the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server that assigns the IP addresses and the Network Address Translation (NAT) feature that enables the router to translate multiple IP addresses into a single one. Both the DHCP and the NAT features are enabled through the AP mode.
- Extends Wi-Fi range easily.
- Allows Multiple users within a network.
- Supports dual-band Wi-Fi.
- Less network stability with an increase in devices.
- Potential security risks.
Bridge Mode Overview
The simplest way to understand bridging is by thinking of two separate roads on either side of a wide river. To connect these two roads, you would need to build a bridge that passes across the river to join these two roads. In networking, bridging works in the same way, it’s the process of connecting two physically separate networks, allowing the sharing of data between them.
The bridge mode, therefore, functions by allowing your router to form bridges. It does this by eliminating the NAT feature of your router and setting the functionality to the DHCP server, without creating issues with the IP Addresses. On Bridge mode, you can easily extend your WiFi range by connecting numerous routers.
- Easy Wi-Fi range extension.
- Reduces network congestion.
- No need for numerous adapters for each device.
- Slower speed due to buffering and relays.
- Lack the ability to filter broadcast traffic individually.
When To Use Netgear AP Mode Vs Bridge Mode
Based on their functions, both modes are suitable for extending the Wi-Fi range to cover a wider area. The AP mode is more suitable, however, when you wish to connect your Netgear router to several wireless devices. The Bridge mode is more suitable if you want to use your router to connect to multiple routers. This mode will disable the NAT, which would have otherwise created conflicts, given the mesh of Wi-Fi systems created.
As we mentioned, the Netgear router will come with AP mode as the default. If you wish to change the setting to Bridge mode the following are the steps you should follow, for this, you’ll need at least two routers:
- First note down the Wi-Fi security mode, SSID, Operating frequency (2.5GHz/5GHz), and wireless password of router 1 that you will connect to.
- Next access and log in to router 2’s web interface.
- From the home page Click on Advanced, select, Advanced Set-Up and click on Wireless Bridge.
- Under Wireless Bridge, check the box next to Enable Bridge Mode.
- Click on Set up Bridge Mode Wireless Settings.
- Now key in the router 1’s settings information (i.e., SSID, wireless password, operating frequency, and Wi-Fi security mode)
- Click on Apply
- You’ll be redirected to the Advanced Wireless Settings Page.
- Click on Apply again, and your settings will be saved, router 2 is now operating on Bridge mode.
Now that you have a better understanding of what the AP and Bridge mode is, this will help you better improve your Wi-Fi coverage and network. Always keep in mind that although they appear to have similar functions, they have notable distinctions, especially when it comes to multiple devices. You can also always contact Netgear’s customer support service for further guidance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between Router mode and AP mode in Netgear routers?
On router mode, your Netgear router will function normally as a router. On AP mode, your router now acts as a gateway for other devices to connect to. This mode helps you extend the existing WiFi.
Does bridge mode improve speed?
No, bridge mode, does not increase your internet speed. It does, however, make it easier to extend Wi-Fi coverage.