Your wireless network is only effective if it covers all the areas you need it to.
How do you know what you need and what will work best for your business?
The KR Group knows how critical your wireless network is to keep your business running in today’s world.
A common question businesses ask about networking devices is what the difference is between access points and extenders.
If you’re reading this with the same question, you’re likely also wondering what the difference means for your business’s needs.
You can answer that question by thinking about how the answers to the following points apply to your business:
- What is an access point?
- What is an extender?
- Which boosts my signal?
- Which one extends coverage?
We’ll be looking at these from the perspective of business use. If you’re reading this as a tech-savvy homeowner, many of the factors still apply. However, your use case will be smaller in scope.
To connect your wireless devices to the internet, you’ll need access points.
This piece of hardware is physically wired to your router and emits wireless signals for your other devices to connect to your network.
Depending on the brand and your budget, access points can come with a variety of other features. But, their primary purpose will always be to provide a wireless signal for your devices.
Wireless Extender Definition
Wireless extenders lengthen the broadcast reach of an existing wireless network.
They are connected to either wireless routers or access points and then provide a larger connectivity area by extending the network.
This purpose means extenders don’t need an Ethernet connection, only power, which makes them easier to install than some access points.
Which Boosts a Signal?
A common misconception is you should implement extenders when you want to boost a signal.
Extenders repeat the signal they’re receiving from an access point to extend coverage.
If you’re truly looking to boost your signal, you’ll want to look at the signal strength settings of the actual access point.
Alternatively, you can add external antennae to an access point to amplify the signal even further.
For example, most access points come with internal antennae with a range of 2.2 dBi. By purchasing and deploying external antennae capable of 7 dBi, the signal will propagate further. (Keep in mind that you’ll need to ensure the access points you’re deploying are compatible with external antennae because not all devices have this feature.)
You can even implement directional antennae to focus the wireless signal in a specific direction to cover more area.
Which Extends Coverage?
As their name implies, wireless extenders lengthen the broadcast of a signal.
If you’re thinking this sounds similar to what you thought access points do, you aren’t wrong. That’s because many access points incorporate extender technology.
Extender capabilities are what allow access points to create a mesh network.
For manufacturers that incorporate mesh technology into their access points, only some devices require a wired connection. The others can repeat the signal they detect from another access point.
Which Is Right for Your Business?
By this point, you’ve likely started to determine which device you’d like to implement in your network.
Access points can boost your signal, while extenders lengthen the coverage of your wireless network.
Regardless of your business’ size, access points are almost always the right choice.
Extenders have a limited capacity for how many users can connect at one time. For this reason, they scale poorly and don’t meet most businesses’ networking demands.
However, access points can incorporate a much larger number of users.
There are also security concerns with extenders. Generally, access points will have much more robust security features, which is critical when talking about business data.
To say it simply, access points are for businesses; extenders are for home networking.
When you’re ready to purchase access points, you can schedule an appointment with one of our technology consultants or browse our online store.
And if you still need more information before making a decision, check out some of our other articles: