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1st Published, Dec. 2004

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Wireless Cable/DSL Router or Access Point What should I get?

In order to have a good Wireless connection, and to cover maximum distance it is advisable to put the Wireless main source in a good location.  In a Home, Apartment etc. you will get better result if the source (i.e. the Antenna) is free of obstructions and it is installed high in center of the converge area. E.g. High in an hallway that leads to most of the rooms in the house will be a good location.  If you use Wireless Cable/DSL Router it will be difficult to extend most of the Network wires and put it in a good high place (With 4-6 cables hanging around).

An Access Point (AP) need to be connected with one CAT5, and a Power supply cord.  If you use Power over Ethernet. (POE) it is just one CAT5 wire. As a result it is much more flexible to find the best installation point using an AP rather then installing a Wireless Cable/DSL Router.

 Technology wise Access Points are better Network Hardware than Cable/DSL Routers. 

Almost all Wireless Cable/DSL Router are configured to work in one Mode only, "Gateway."  Newly made Access Point can work in three to five Modes.

More about Configuration Modes here:  Wireless Network - Configuration Modes.

In some cases, you will need to install an External Antenna to improve propagation.  While most AP has a removable Antenna, only few Routers provide this flexibility.

All said you may be will find the need to install more then one AP to cover the designated area, thus multi node APs will be an important asset. In contrast Wireless Cable/DSL Routers can not talk one to the other.

So why they are selling Wireless Cable/DSL Routers?

If you want to use the Wireless source as a Gateway only, and you are not concern about distance, Cable/DSL Router will be cheaper and more comfortable to configure.

I got a spare Wireless Cable/DSL Router, can I use it as an Access Point? 

Answer here: How do I use a Wireless Cable/DSL Router as a Switch with an Access Point?

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