The wireless access point
is the WLAN
equivalent of the hub
: it distributes network access to any wireless network adapter
s in range. A WLAN
network centered around an access point is in infrastructure
mode, where all traffic passes through the
access point, as opposed to ad-hoc
which WLAN adapters talk directly to each other.
The typical access point supports no less than 255 simultaneous wireless devices at a range of 30-300
meters (depending on conditions) and has at least one
connection for wired networks.
Some wireless access points, like D-Link
DI-713P, also throw in freebies like
, a 3-port 100 MBps hub
and a printer port, all managed through a built-in Web server.
The abbreviation AP is occasionally used, but the logical alternative WAP is almost never seen (at least in Europe) due to the
potential for confusion with the Wireless Application
Protocol found on mobile phones.