Router as AP vs a dedicated AP

  Gary Wood 00:37 AM 19 Feb 12
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I need to upgrade my current 54g Wireless Access Point, pending my FTTC installation. I want to stick with separate router and access point, because the location of my wired router is not a good/convenient place for my wireless access point.

Having researched prices online, it seems that I get get a wireless router for significantly less than I can get a dedicated Wireless Access Point. For example, a Netgear WN604 wireless-n access point is about £50, whilst I can get an equivalent wireless router (WNR1000) for £30.

Is there any reason to go for the Wireless Access Point, as opposed to buying the router and simply using it as an access point? (i.e. turn off DHCP, etc, as described here: http://www.speedguide.net/articles/how-to-set-a-wireless-router-as-an-access-point-2556/p-1/)

  mgmcc 09:15 AM 19 Feb 12

In general, a wireless "Cable/DSL Router" which doesn't incorporate a modem, is less expensive than a stand-alone Wireless Access Point. You don't even need to disable its DHCP server, just connect its ethernet WAN port to one of your main router's LAN ports, run it as a sub-router and connect all of your devices to it. Just make sure that both routers operate in a different subnet (IP address range) to avoid a conflict.

If you need to connect to both routers, and have network access between devices on the separate routers, then you would have to disable the second router's DHCP server and use it as a basic Network Switch & Wireless Access Point so that all devices are in the same subnet.

  Gary Wood 12:24 PM 19 Feb 12

Thanks mgmcc - this is really helpful. I do need to access files etc. between machines, so I'll need to disable DHCP to create a single subnet, but that should be fine, according to what you say here.

I'm puzzled by why an AP is more expensive than a router, though - presumably it's just an issue of manufacturing scales (i.e. fewer people buy APs, so fewer are produced, at greater cost)?

  D@ve 22:07 PM 29 Feb 12

"presumably it's just an issue of manufacturing scales (i.e. fewer people buy APs, so fewer are produced, at greater cost)"

I would imagine so. I've been using a dual router setup with DHCP disabled on the second router etc. for a long time and not had an issue with it. I can't see any reason to pay more for an Access Point.

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