Difference between a Wireless Router and a Wireless Access Point (AP)

Nowadays wireless networks are almost at every home. And I’m sure you hear people around talking about wireless equipment from time to time.

A lot of network devices look very much alike – a box with two or three antennas. So let us find out what is the difference between such frequently used concepts as “Wireless Router” and “Access Point”.

What is the difference

Router is a device designed for routing packets between different networks. A typical consumer router is a Wireless one and has two network interfaces: LAN (including WLAN) and WAN. It serves to connect a local area network (LAN) to a wide area network – Internet (WAN).

As a rule, typical home routers provide several functions at once:

  1. Router itself
  2. Access point
  3. Ethernet switch
  4. DNS server
  5. DHCP server

Access Point (AP) does not route anything. It just converts an existing wired network (LAN) into a wireless one (WLAN). Access Point is a common name for the network equipment class. Very often modern consumer APs are able to function as:

  1. Access Point
  2. AP+Bridge
  3. Repeater
  4. Wireless client
  5. Multi-SSID


  1. Wireless router = Router + AP.
  2. AP cannot be used as a router.
  3. Every wireless router can be used as an AP.

We hope, we made this issue a bit more clear to you and now you can really tell the difference. If something remains unclear, feel free to ask questions in the comments below.

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