Should I choose a router, mesh wifi, or access point?

Should you buy a Router, a Mesh Wifi, or an Access Point?

Router

A router is a 3-in-1 system.

  1. It has a firewall, which blocks/allows traffic between your internal LAN and the internet WAN.
  2. It routes wireless traffic.
  3. 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.

Access Point

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.

Mesh Wifi

  • 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

Use Case

  • 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