What is a wireless access point and how it works?
A wireless access point generally called an access point allows other Wi-Fi devices to connect to a wired network as the access point acts as a networking hardware device or a configured node on a Local Area Network (LAN). It serves as an interconnection between a fixed wire network and a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) by transmitting and receiving data over WLAN.
A Wireless Access Point (AP) has its working similar to an Ethernet hub. The only difference between the two is that an AP relays 802.11 frames to all the other stations in the same subnet while LAN relays frames only to other 802.3 stations. Usually used in public places, wireless access point helps the devices to accommodate with Wi-Fi and internet hotspots.
Access Point Technologies
1) MESH Technology
A rich interconnection between devices or nodes is known as MESH Technology. It is a network-connected through wireless access points that are installed at each user's locale. This is the most affordable access point technology as it allows small businesses and homes in rural areas to connect to the internet without any discrepancies.
MESH is a cheap technology as it has a simplified infrastructure with decentralized networking that transmits signals from node to node one at a time.
2) MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) Antenna Technology
When more than one data signals are sent and received simultaneously over the same radio channel by the exploitation of the multipath propagation, it is called the Mimo Antenna Technology. Multiple Antennas are used at both ends i.e. the source who is the transmitter to the destination who is the receiver in order to optimize data speed and minimize the errors.
Apart from MMO, there are other such Antenna based technologies like- SIMO (Single Input Multiple Output) and MISO (Multiple Input Single Output). Even in conditions of maximum disturbance and interference, this technique supports enhanced data.
3) PoE(Power over Ethernet)
The PoE or Power over Ethernet technique allows a single cable to provide data connection and electric power to various devices like IP cameras, VoIP phones, wireless access points, etc.
It is a scalable, reliable and flexible technique as it protects the network equipment from damages like under-powering, overloading and incorrect installation which makes it a very intelligent technique. The network cables are easy to install and do not require an electrician to look into its intricacies which saves time as well as the cost of installation.
Advantage and Disadvantage of Access Point
In such a techno-savvy era, all of us might have used a wireless access point knowingly or unknowingly. Be it connecting to an open Wi-Fi network or borrowing connection through a hotspot, Access Point has entered each one of our lives in some way or the other. Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of Access Point that you must keep in mind:-
- Multiple Users Access- A router allows only 15-20 connections at a time while by using an AP more than 50 even hundreds of users can send and receive signals with a strong connection at the same time. It is most helpful in larger areas where a large number of people connect their devices to a single networking point.
- Wide Range of transmission- With an extreme level of mobility, AP provides coverage to the proximity of 100-300 meters without any interference. In cases of industries spread out on larger land, AP's help to avoid complex cabling by providing wireless strong network all over the area.
- Cost-Benefit- Access Point installation is very easy and cost-effective as it does not require any maintenance after the installation. With no wires involved, it saves the labor cost as well as the cost of connecting accessories.
- Security Issues- Wireless networks provide an open platform for connection which is often misused by eavesdropping or modification. Even though encryption is used for safety purposes, but it can also be compromised at times.
- Reliability- Being subject to certain propagation effects, wireless networks are not reliable as they come along with interference that might be difficult to handle by the network administrator.
- Troublesome at times- A wireless network comes with its own set of difficulties in the form of controllers, switches, Ethernet hubs, etc. All these technical devices need to be managed simultaneously in order to create a strong connection over the wireless network.
Top 5 Best Wireless Access Point for Small Business and Home Offices
1) Cisco Aironet Wireless Access Point (AIR-AP4800-B-K9)
Along with high-speed connectivity, Cisco Aironet 4800 provides top-notch security and better user experience.
2) Cisco Aironet Wireless Access Point (AIR-AP3802I-B-K9)
Cisco Aironet 3800 series is based on a modular architecture that provides flexible radio assignment and smart antenna connector.
3) Cisco Aironet Wireless Access Point (AIR-AP2802E)
Providing high-density experience, it can support up to 100 access points without a physical controller.
4) Cisco Aironet Wireless Access Point (AIR-AP2802I-B-K9)
It is an intelligent series that makes a decision based on end-device activities and usage.
5) Cisco Aironet Wireless Access Point (AIR-AP1562D-B-K9)
With flexible deployment modes, this series supports optical fiber-based connectivity for remote areas.