Difference Between Access Point vs Extender

Difference Between Access Point vs Extender

With each passing day, network engineers deploy new devices for accessing various networks. Today, we are going to look at two devices that are used in the networking circus. Have you ever been asked to spot the difference between access point and extender? In the computer technology field, that is something that many younger network engineers find difficult to do.

You probably face the same challenge. The good thing is that you are perusing the right guide because you will get to grasp their distinctions and much more. Yes, this is an assurance from us. In keeping with tradition, we will define the terms first.

Definition of Access Point

An access point is a term used to describe centralized wireless fidelity hub. The piece allows multiple nodes to connect to a network (mostly a local area network) through the Ethernet cable. The wireless nodes can detect and connect to the Wi-Fi signal when they are at a certain distance from the signal emitter. However, the computers can only connect to the network through the access point when the user has the necessary login requirements.

With the hardware mounted at a strategic point, computers and other internet-enabled gadgets can connect to it. It primarily generates radio waves and can work as a standalone piece. Despite working as standalone hardware, access point is often connected with routers and modems. It is a hardware piece that produces its own strong and high-performing signal. It is often used for domestic and commercial purposes.

Definition of Extender

An extender (or range extender) is a wireless device or repeater that is used to strengthen Wi-Fi signal. However, it does not broadcast a unique signal. Instead, it rebroadcasts already traveling signal just to strengthen it and help it cover more distance.

With it, Wi-Fi signals can cover more distance as it strengthens the signal’s quality and performance. If you have a computer that does not require strong networks to function well, you should get an extender because that is its best working condition.

Although some people call it a Wi-Fi booster, there are minor disparities between the two devices. The distinction stems from the fact that the extender works in a scenario where the Wi-Fi booster may not be useful. Put simply, it is more effective than the booster. Oftentimes, the extender is used in boosting Wi-Fi signal in the home and not commercial purposes.

Main Differences Between Access Point vs Extender

Having come thus far, we will give a clear-cut difference between extender and access point in the table below.

Basis of ComparisonAccess PointExtender
MeaningThis is a piece of hardware that creates its wireless signals (local area network) for wireless devices to connectThis is a device that strengthens signal to enable it cover more distances and allow devices to connect
Key functionProduces Wi-Fi signals for other nodes to connectBoosts the strength of the signal so it can cover more distance
Network quality (efficiency)The network quality remains relatively stable as it covers the projected distance   Network quality reduces by 50% as the signal travels. This drop in quality is often seen in its speed and performance  
Common useIt is commonly used for residential and commercial purposesIt is mostly applied in home networks. This should not be used in official settings
AffordabilityAccess points are priceyIt is very affordable

Difference Between Access Point and Extender: Conclusion

To wrap up this guide on access point vs extender, it is safe to state that the former is a hardware piece that acts as a central hub for other devices to link up to a LAN. On the other hand, an extender is used to strengthen signals wherever it matters most by continuously repeating them. The downside is that the Wi-Fi could become weaker when it gets to its final destination.

A network’s strength and performance reduce as it travels through a medium, including the air. While an access point is pricey, an extender is very affordable. At this point, we believe that the explanations in this guide have simplified the access point vs extender concept. Now you know the most suitable one for setting up your network.