Should I choose a router, mesh wifi, or access point?¶
Should you buy a Router, a Mesh Wifi, or an Access Point?
A router is a 3-in-1 system.
- It has a firewall, which blocks/allows traffic between your internal LAN and the internet WAN.
- It routes wireless traffic.
- It routes your internal LAN traffic. Since most routers have multiple ports in order for you to plug multiple devices, without having to purchase a network switch.
An Access Point lacks the firewall functionality of a router. Meaning, if you plug an Access Point to your network, it needs to know where the firewall is and where to send the wireless traffic.
An Access Point can either be:
- a dedicated hardware (ex. business or enterprise-type)
- a consumer router. However, the user must login to the dashboard and change configuration from a “router-mode” to a “access point-mode” and set the appropriate gateway/firewall IP.
- Usually more than one wifi system working together in a mesh-type-topology to provide wireless connectivity in an area.
- Mesh wifi systems can communicate with each other, either a wired or wireless backhaul.
- Mesh wifi systems have software optimizations/algorithms to optimize clients that roam between Mesh wifi units
- If you’re a consumer, choose a router or a mesh wifi
- If you’re buying for a business, choose an Access Point
- If you’re an IT administrator, choose an Access Point