What is an Access Point?
An Access Point (AP) is a device that can send and receive data. It receives an internet signal through an Ethernet cable connection to the router and converts it into a separate Wi-Fi network. This enables pleasant internet browsing even in remote areas of your home, and it provides fast Wi-Fi to additional devices that the router's network would otherwise have trouble reaching.
When is an Access Point useful?
The classic scenario: You enjoy fast internet in areas close to your router, often in the hallway and living room. However, the router's signal doesn't reach the first floor or the other end of the apartment. By setting up an Access Point here, you can provide fast Wi-Fi to additional devices. This is particularly beneficial for demanding applications such as home office, streaming, and gaming.
What is the difference between access point and repeater?
Repeater and Access Points generally have the same goal: extending the home network and amplifying the Wi-Fi signal in remote areas of the house. However, the way they receive data from the router differs. The Access Point receives data via an Ethernet cable, while the Repeater does so wirelessly. This is generally more convenient and visually discreet, but it can be less efficient as the Wi-Fi signal strength diminishes over longer distances. For optimal Wi-Fi performance, an Access Point is preferred.
Extending your home network with an Access Point offers clear advantages:
- Strong Wi-Fi for additional devices and users in areas where the router signal doesn't reach
- Optional LAN connections for potentially data-intensive applications such as home office, streaming, and gaming
- Full data utilization thanks to the Ethernet connection to the router (unlike Wi-Fi extension through Repeaters)
Opting for an Access Point instead of a Repeater comes with some drawbacks, including a more complex setup, the need to run an Ethernet cable, and reduced flexibility. However, with the right Access Point solution, these disadvantages can be easily overcome.
An access point with dual band functionality can transmit in both the 2.4 and 5 GHz networks. The latter enables higher data rates over short distances, which benefits demanding applications.
MU-MIMO allows parallel data streams to be sent to multiple end devices and users connected at the same time in the home network. Thus, the Wi-Fi capacity of your access point is utilized much better.
If your access point offers one or, ideally, several Ethernet outputs, you can also connect your end devices via LAN instead of Wi-Fi – a major advantage for data-intensive applications.
How to set up an Access Point
– Considerations and basic steps
Identify important devices and areas with weak Wi-Fi
Crucial questions to ask yourself: Which rooms currently only have a weak signal coverage or lack strong Wi-Fi altogether? And where do you absolutely need a better signal? Where are most of the devices located that rely on a strong Wi-Fi connection?
If, for instance, you are concerned about just one room on the same floor as the router, or a smart device that receives a slightly weak Wi-Fi signal and needs a boost to function properly, using a flexible Wi-Fi repeater might be sufficient.
On the other hand, if you have a complete home office or entertainment center with numerous devices that require fast Wi-Fi and LAN connections, perhaps even on a different floor, then it is advisable to invest in an Access Point. You should position it centrally within the desired expansion area to achieve optimal results.
Strategically placing the Access Point and running cables
If your goal is to provide Wi-Fi to multiple rooms and devices, it's best to position your Access Point as close and centrally as possible. This helps ensure a relatively even distribution of the Wi-Fi signal. Pro tip: Consider using a PoE Access Point (Power over Ethernet) as it eliminates the need for an external power source, making the placement more flexible.
Things get a bit more complex when you have devices in one or more rooms that can benefit from a LAN connection. In our guide on Ethernet, you can learn about the applications and devices that require it.
So, if you want to supply a Smart TV, a home office PC, a gaming console, or other data-hungry devices with a particularly stable and fast internet connection, you'll need to run LAN cables from the Access Point to each room where such devices are located.
Use the right cable standard, cable channels, and more
When wiring the router to the Access Point and connecting any other devices, it's essential to use an appropriate cable standard. You'll come across network cables of different categories in stores, such as CAT 5, CAT 6, CAT 7, and CAT 8.
These categories differ in various specifications, including transmission speed and distance capabilities. For home users, a CAT 5 network cable is generally sufficient. With data rates of up to 1 Gbps, it is more than fast enough and provides a decent range of 100 meters.
To lay LAN cables inconspicuously, you can run them along baseboards and door frames. Additional aids such as flat cables and cable channels can help keep the unsightly wires as discreet as possible.
Setup: SSID, Wi-Fi frequency bands, and more
Once you have placed your Access Point and made the necessary connections, you can finally focus on the setup process. The exact setup procedure varies depending on the device, but the following aspects are important and should be considered.
If your Access Point is Dual-Band capable – supporting both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands – you should enable this option in the Wi-Fi settings of your device. Additionally, you should configure your SSID (Service Set Identifier), which determines the name under which this second Wi-Fi network will be displayed within your network environment.
With patience, some investment, and a bit of DIY skill, you can strategically place your Access Point and extend your router's Wi-Fi range. Alternatively, you can simplify the process by utilizing existing cables that are already installed within the walls of your house.
The Easy Alternative:
Access Points on Power Outlets - with Powerline
You can turn every single power outlet in your living area into its own Access Point for strong Wi-Fi. The key to success: Magic Powerline. devolo's efficient home network extension utilizes the electrical wiring of your house to transport the internet signal throughout the entire living space. Simply place an adapter near the router and another one as an Access Point in the room of your choice - and you're done.
The significant advantage: You don't need to run long cables from the router to the Access Point, and you have much more flexibility in designing your home network. Even outdoor Access Points are possible if you place an adapter in your garden shed. Additionally, each adapter offers two Gigabit Ethernet ports for high-performance LAN connections. This ensures that each of your devices receives the data it needs.
If you want to set up multiple Wi-Fi Access Points, it's incredibly easy. devolo Powerline adapters together form a large mesh network that guarantees seamless Wi-Fi coverage throughout your living area.
With integrated Access Point Steering, each adapter ensures that all Wi-Fi devices are always connected to the strongest available Wi-Fi Access Point - without interruptions and fully automatic.
- Internet everywhere – with Powerline technology
- Wi-Fi 6 with up to 1,800 Mbps
- Powerline speed up to 2,400 Mbps
- For medium to large living areas (several floors)
- Efficient, parallel use of data-hungry applications via LAN and Wi-Fi
- 2 Gigabit LAN ports per adapter for an easy Ethernet connection