What is AP hotspot?

Extending your Wi-Fi range within your home can make all the difference. If you want to access the internet from anywhere in your home without losing any speed, an access point is precisely what you need. So, what is AP hotspot?

You may have a router whose signal does not cover your whole property, leaving several dead spots uncatered for, especially within a large area. Luckily, you can use multiple access points to create a stronger signal within your environment. However, it is not as simple as it sounds since you cannot merely place routers on every floor as overlapping wireless access points also create issues with your network.

An access point refers to networking devices that connect Wi-Fi devices to a wireless or wired network. As a result, they form a wireless local area network (WLAN) and can be incorporated with a standalone or wired router.

How do APs work?

Whether as an independent device or as part of a router, a wireless access point serves as a central transmitter and receiver of wireless radio signals. Its hardware consists of antennas, radio transceivers, and device firmware to allow wireless connectivity anywhere.

Standalone access points are built within wireless routers’ hardware to allow mobile devices, like laptops, tablets, and smartphones, to access the internet without using a cable. Likewise, Wi-Fi hotspots use one or more wireless APs to support the coverage of the network. As a result, most homes require one standalone router with an access point to cover the physical area, while businesses often use many.

With wireless access points, devices that do not have an in-built Wi-Fi connection feature can seamlessly connect to a wireless network. By connecting an access point to a printer or scanner using an Ethernet cable or router without an in-built Wi-Fi connection feature, the device will connect to your network without the use of a cable.

Similarly, APs act as wireless range extenders that increase the coverage of your existing wireless network. Once you connect your router to an access point through an Ethernet cable, it automatically increases the network range of your Wi-Fi access. However, you have to find the best locations to install your access points to ensure your entire environment receives a strong and reliable signal.

In other words, APs aid in enabling Wi-Fi infrastructure mode networking without the need to add a second router. Modern APs can handle up to 255 clients simultaneously, while older ones supported a maximum of 20 users. It is also worthy to note that they offer a bridging capability that allows a local Wi-Fi network to connect to other wired networks.

Tips for setting up a wireless access point

setting up a wireless access point

The security measures of a wireless access point are critical when using an AP hotspot. For instance, when a wireless access point connected to a physical network bases its security on physical access control, it means that anybody within close range to the access point can connect to the network, which is potentially dangerous.

As a result, the best security measure of a wireless access point is the use of encryption. Modern wireless access points support a wide array of encryption mechanisms, with WPA2 being more popular and effective. Other older wireless access points only support the WEP encryption scheme, which has proven insufficient for modern attacks.

It would be best if you chose a strong password that cannot be easily guessed. Avoid common passwords, like your pet’s name, favorite color, car’s model, or home address, among many other common options. Furthermore, it is advisable to keep your password to yourself and create a guest wireless network with a simpler password where your friends and guests can use it when they visit.

Another vital feature of wireless access points is the channel it uses to broadcast its signal. For instance, Netspot routers have a discover mode that collects details about surrounding wireless networks and presents the data on an interactive table. As a result, the network administrator can see the busiest channel and switch to one with minimal traffic to enjoy faster upload and download speeds as well as better response times.

Likewise, ensure that you do not place your wireless access point close to electronic devices or other materials, like thick walls, that may interfere with its signal. It is also vital to use wireless analysis tools, like the Wi-Fi analyzer, to optimize the coverage.

What is the difference between a router and an access point?

With the rapid development of computer technologies, many people cannot distinguish between a router and an access point. A router refers to a networking device that allows multiple devices, like laptops, computers, phones, and tablets, to connect to each other, forming a managed local area network. The device also provides internet access to its connected users, which can connect to the device using Ethernet cables, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi. However, the router must have an active internet service from a network carrier to distribute data to the local area network’s devices.

Alternatively, an access point is a wireless network device that serves as a portal for devices to connect to a local area network. Primarily, access points extend the coverage of an existing network and the number of users who can connect to the network wirelessly. A high-speed cable connects a router to an access point, transforming the connection from wired to wireless. As a result, connected devices can connect to access points only through Wi-Fi. Access points only provide access to a router’s established network. It is also worthy to note that wireless routers can function as access points, but not all access points can work as routers.

Access point
Routers are multifunctional devices that serve as a router, access point, DNS server, switch, and DHCP server
An access point is also a multifunctional device that acts as an access point, AP + Bridge, Repeater, Multi SSID, and wireless client
WAN port
It has a WAN port that connects to your ISP for internet connection
No WAN port
Supported area
Ideal for small businesses and residential areas
Ideal for large businesses and venues


There are many reasons why you would need multiple access points on your network. Whether you want to support a larger capacity of devices or enhance coverage within your space, access points will ensure you have stable and robust internet connectivity wherever you go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do access points reduce the network’s speed?

Access points do not reduce the speed of your network, unlike a repeater that decreases the bandwidth.

How many users can connect to an access point?

Most modern standalone wireless routers and access points can support a maximum of 250 connected users.

Leave a Comment