What Does an Access Point Do?

Wireless Access Points
January 10, 2023

You know that one department on the second floor always complains about poor WiFi signals? How about that dead spot in your office you avoid at all costs? These are common wireless troubles that many organizations deal with daily.

Using wireless access points can be a game-changer. Larger companies may need help with WiFi setup because they occupy more space. After all, it can be difficult to expect your router to supply fast and reliable signals to every device in the office (especially if you occupy more than one floor).

If the range of your current WiFi signal isn’t great, you may have come across wireless access points while trying to find a solution. But what does an access point do?

In this article, we’ll dive into that question and more.

What Does an Access Point Do?

Wireless access points work to distribute a WiFi signal by connecting directly to a router or network switch via ethernet cable. Access points can create a wireless local area network by receiving and transmitting the signal from the router. This can improve wireless coverage. 

A wireless access point is often referred to as a WAP or an AP. It’s a small and light device that distributes WiFi connections to a specific area of your office that may be struggling due to its distance from the router.

The router you get when initially setting up your company’s internet service will likely be able to distribute the WiFi signal. However, it’s going to have a limited range. If you’re finding more dead spots throughout the office, you’re probably exceeding your router. An access point can solve that.

How Do Access Points Work?

Though wireless access points are incredibly powerful and can make a huge impact, you might be surprised by how easy they are to implement.

Access points connect directly to your router (or network switch, if applicable) through an ethernet cable. This allows the access point to connect to the local area network and provides the bandwidth it needs to work.

The wireless access point distributes the frequency you receive from your internet service provider (either 2.4GHz or 5GHz) throughout your office.

What Makes Access Points Different?

Wireless access points have a lot of advantages in large office spaces because they extend your connectivity reach. It can expand the possibilities of what you can accomplish and where you can accomplish it, which can increase productivity levels and lessen frustration for your employees. This means more in our modern era than it ever has before.

What Is the Difference Between an Access Point and a Range Extender?

When researching wireless access points, many wonder whether they’re the same as a range extender. As the name suggests, a range extender elongates the reach of your existing wireless network.

Range extenders connect wirelessly to your router, which means they have to be placed where the WiFi signal is already strong. You can’t put a range extender in a spot that’s not receiving any signal. So while these devices can increase the coverage of your router, they don’t increase the bandwidth.

You’ll also be limited in terms of how many devices a range extender can support. Usually, they can’t support more than 20 devices. So depending on how many devices you have, a range extender might weigh down your signal.

An access point, by contrast, is the way to go for modern businesses. They can handle more than 60 simultaneous connections each, which means their capability is more in-line with what organizations today are looking for. If you install access points around the office, your employees can roam freely without worrying about dropping the connection.

No one will even know they’re switching between networks.

Do I Need an Access Point?

For organizations that have employees and guests connecting to your network with laptops, desktops, tablets, and mobile phones, you can add up to 20 devices quickly. At that point, you may experience drops in connectivity, lagging speeds, and other WiFi issues.

Access points can be portals to freedom for your organization. With the ability to support up to 60 simultaneous connections, you’ll easily be able to scale the number of devices in your company. Business-grade access points allow you to install them anywhere an ethernet cable can be connected.

Do I Need a Router if I Have an Access Point?

Yes, you still need a router, even with an access point. Your router distributes your internet connection to the access points, so you must have both.

How Do Meraki Wireless Access Points Work?

If you’re in the market for the highest-quality wireless access points, you’ve come across Cisco Meraki’s offerings. Cisco Meraki is known for creating best-in-class switches, access points, firewalls, and more. The quality of their hardware is unmatched, and their Meraki Dashboard puts them lightyears ahead of the competition.

The Meraki dashboard allows you to control and manage all of your Meraki devices from one centralized location. This includes your wireless access point(s), which makes it incredibly convenient to manage them and offers increased visibility into your network operations.

Some of the enterprise-grade features that set Cisco Meraki wireless access points apart from competitors include: 

  • WiFi6
  • Location and user analytics
  • Layer 7 application QoS
  • Identity-based firewall
  • Dedicated security radio
  • Centrally managed cloud dashboard
  • And more

Read more about what makes Cisco Meraki wireless access points special in this article from Stratus Information Systems. Stratus is an authorized Meraki partner specializing in offering as much or as little assistance as you need when setting up and managing your network. Request a quote today and see how we can help.

Get Meraki Access Points From Stratus Today

Getting one or more wireless access points for your organization can significantly improve the capacity of your wireless network. Since everything we do relies on that connection, you can alleviate your employees’ frustrations and increase their productivity.

Meraki access points are the best on the market—no questions asked. When purchasing any Cisco Meraki product, you want to buy from an authorized reseller to ensure optimum quality. Stratus Information Systems is a certified Meraki partner with a team of experts ready to elevate your network operations.

Contact us to find out how you can get started. If you’re ready to purchase or browse for Meraki access points, visit our shop today.