What is a wireless access point and a wireless repeater

When you’re suffering from poor WiFi signal there are usually a few options you can take to resolve the situation yourself. However, sometimes there are items of furniture you can’t move, or you cant move the router. What can you do then?

The first option you have is that you can use a device known as a wireless repeater – which does what it says on the tin: it repeats the signals. You can also connect a second device – known as a wireless access point – to your main router with a cable.

The wireless repeater is usually installed at a midway point to where you have a good area of coverage from your main WiFi signal. It obviously needs to have a good connection to the main router to communicate with the main router, as well as the connected devices.

Most often, it is a small device that simply plugs into a wall power socket, and will happily live there to be ignored and forgotten. There are many options available, and some have more functions and features than others.

A wireless access point gives a more secure connection to the main supply, and with the benefit of being able to be located further away from the main router – and thus expanding your wireless network by two or three times of the initial range. The two devices do not need to have their range overlap like a repeater does, so you can effectively create two wireless hotspot zones in completely separated areas (IE: a garden office, and a house living area, ignoring the garden in between).

You can also mix both devices into the same network. For example, you only occasionally need WiFi on a patio area, and the patio has a really weak signal. You can configure a WiFi repeater to install halfway between the patio and router, and only turn the socket on when you need to use the WiFi outside. The device should keep its settings stores, and only takes a few moments to load when switched on.

The cost of both devices are comparatively similar to purchase, although depending on the method you choose to install the devices will vary on installation costs. A wired access point will obviously take more effort to install and configure than a wireless repeater – which requires only a plug socket with a good signal to the main router.

At the time of writing, you could expect to pay around £25 to purchase either device. Installation of a WiFi repeater would be around £50 and a cabled wireless access point would be around £80 plus materials – depending on the cable run, and location of devices.

For a more definitive estimate, please contact us.

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