What are wireless access points?
Also known as Access Point, the wireless access point (WAP) is a high-technology gadget which functions as a center of data transfer for all users of a network. The WAP apart from acting as a communication center is also vital in maintaining the security of a wireless network. The WAP is usually an independent device which can be connected to an LAN hub. If a network has several WAPs then the users can be anywhere in the range and access other computers and the internet.
To put it simply WAPs receive and transmit data from the server to nodes, node to node and node to server and switch to external network such as internet etc. The WAPs installed at home or small office networks are usually dedicated gadgets with built in adapters, antenna and transmitters. But in large Wi-Fi networks these gadgets are high-technology devices which can perform a range of functions. When suitable WAPs are clubbed with a wired LAN, the network size of 255 clients can be easily taken care of.
In a typical local area network of computer there is a server, a hub and several nodes which are connected to the hub. Without the hub it would be impossible to communicate between the computers. These don’t need to be set up, you just need to install a wireless adapter in each computer and install a hub your network is up and running.
But what if you want to get your laptop onto the network and be able to work from anywhere in your home, from the bedroom, kitchen or even from the bathroom? One option is to draw cables into every room and plug in wherever you are. The other is to set up a wireless network.
To make a wireless network work, you need to install a wireless access point (WAP). On the outer appearance it looks like a box with an antenna and an RJ-45 ethernet port. To make your wireless network work you just have to plug this into a network cable on one end and connect the other end into the hub.
The two primary tasks that a WAP accomplishes are:
1.The WAP functions as a interface for all the computers on your network. To put it in simple terms, WAP behaves like a hub or a switch in a wired network.
2.WAP connects your wireless network to any wired network so that wired and wireless nodes of the network can communicate and transfer data between them.