Have you ever heard of a wireless access point? Simply put, it is a wireless device capable of allowing interconnection between other WiFi devices and wired networks. Its function is to be an intermediary between a computer and a network, either local or Internet.
With them, it is possible for a mobile computer-type device (whether tablet, smartphone or computer) to connect to a network. They can also usually be connected to a wired network and help transmit data between the wired network and the wireless devices.
For example, if you are using your mobile phone or laptop to connect to the Internet, you are using an access point to access that network. As you can see, this is a device that is used on a daily basis and of which very few people are aware. So we’ll talk to you about how to create and configure a wireless access point, step by step.
What is an AP or Wireless Access Point and how does it work?
It is known by its acronym WAP or AP, due to its name Wireless Access Point. As we indicated before, it is a device whose function is to achieve the connection between mobile devices of a computing type, that is to say, a computer, a smartphone, tablet, etc, with a network.
The connection can be made both wirelessly and through a wired network. In addition, they have assigned IP addresses to proceed with their configuration. Most interestingly, many APs can connect to each other for the purpose of creating a much larger network for users to access from different areas.
For example, if there is an area in your home where the WiFi signal is not reaching you efficiently, you can make use of a wireless access point to establish a much wider connection from the signal transmitted by the router to your devices.
Finally, you should know that the AP acts as both a central transmitter and a receiver for wireless radio signals. It can be incorporated into a wired router or as a stand-alone device.
Why install an additional AP in my home? Main benefits
The main reason why installing an additional AP in your home is an excellent idea, is because through this device it is possible to get good signal in places where you usually do not have with a single router. In short, it helps boost the wireless signal in your home and expand it to different areas.
If the distance between the router and the area where you are using your mobile phone or laptop is large, the WiFi network may be interfered with and may not reach you efficiently. Hence, the importance of having a wireless access point in your home. Thanks to this, you will enjoy maximum connectivity regardless of your location.
In addition, there are many types of APs designed by different brands. Whichever one you choose, they are usually very easy to install and configure in your home. Just follow a few simple steps and you’re done. Below, we explain a step-by-step guide to proceed with your configuration according to your brand.
Access Point vs. WiFi Repeater Which is better to install at home?
There is another device available on the market that performs a function very similar to that of the Access Point. It is a WiFi repeater. This is connected to a power outlet and also allows you to extend the Internet network wirelessly or by means of cables with the help of an Ethernet port.
The main difference between the two is that the repeater creates a new network, so you will have to switch when you are in the low coverage area. Instead, the AP is considered another router linked to the original one, so the network remains the same and the connection does not decrease.
In this way, it can be said that the access points are responsible for transmitting the original signal, while the repeaters, as their name suggests, retransmit the existing signal.
If you only need to connect a few devices, the WiFi repeater can work for you, however, if you are looking for a totally fresh and stable network, it is better to lean towards using an AP. So, if you’re wondering which one is better to install at home, the winner is definitely the Access Point.
Steps to configure any brand of router as an access point in your home
Below, we explain step by step how you can set up any brand of router as an access point in your home easily and simply. This way, you can do it yourself without having to be an expert on the subject. Follow the instructions below:
This is one of the most common brands out there and it’s easy to set up. You only have to pay attention and follow each of the steps that we will specify:
Connect your computer to TL-WA501G/TL-WA601G and log into the web-based utility specifically. Then place the IP address 192.168.1.1 in the web browser.
To avoid IP conflicts, change the LAN IP address of the access point (TL-WA501G/TL-WA601G). After changing the IP address of the access point, re-enter the access point with the new IP address.
Proceed to set up the wireless mode with the client and connect to the wireless network. The specific steps to do this are:
- Click on “Wireless”. Then, enter Wireless Mode in the client on the left and select. If the router or access point you are connecting to does not support WDS, do not enable the WDS option.
- In case you know the SSID of the wireless network or the MAC address of the AP, you can enter it in the corresponding AP box manually. After that, select “Save”.
- You can also click on the “Survey” button to see what wireless networks are available. Then select the “Connect” button and you’re done. Then enter the “Connect” button and the network SSID and MAC address of the AP will be automatically displayed in the client mode box.
- When the setup is complete, you can reboot the device. But first you have to click “Save” for the settings to take effect after rebooting the device.
- Connect the AP router on the Wan port to the LAN port of the router/modem.
- Enter the user interface on the router. Select “Administration” and then “Operation Mode”.
- Select the AP mode and click “Save”.
- You can get IP LAN automatically or manually. To do it automatically: set Auto IP Address (Yes). To do it manually: set Automatic IP Address (No), then manually fill in the LAN IP, Subnet Mask, Gateway and DNS.
- Proceed to set the network name (SSID) and password for the new wireless network.
- Click “Apply” to save the settings.
Finally, note that in Access Point (AP) mode, the IP address assigned by DHCP is changed. Therefore, it is recommended that you install and use Device Discovery Utility to find the IP address of your wireless router.
Before explaining the configuration, you should know that the AP provides WiFi and LAN connectivity. However, you should not connect the access point directly to an Internet modem. Instead, you should connect it to a router that is connected to an Internet modem.
The configuration that we will give you, is specifically for the model WAC104.
Connect the Ethernet cable included in the package to one of the Access Point’s Ethernet ports. In these cases, you can use any of the four built-in LAN ports.
Proceed to connect the other end of the cable to a LAN port on the router.
Turn on the AP at the power indicator. To check if it’s lit, the green button lights steadily. If this does not happen, press the on/off button again.
Then you have to wait for the WiFi indicator to light up in steady green as well. If it doesn’t, you need to press the WiFi On/Off button.
Log in to the AP from a wireless device (tablet, computer, smartphone, etc) To log in, you must follow this address http://www.aplogin.net. Then, enter admin as user name and password. Then, the web management interface of the access point will be displayed.
Configures the basic WiFi network and security. For them, follow these steps:
- Go to Setup/Wireless Setup.
- Set the AP name, SSID, region, and a security option. When it comes to region, you can’t select the United States or Canada. Other than that, you must ensure that the country is set to the region in which the device is operating.
- Click “Apply”.
In case you want to know more about the subject, you can consult the user manuals provided on the Internet by Netgear.
The configuration that we will explain, is for the Huawei HG532c router:
- Press the reset button, to set the factory configuration. To do this, leave the reset button pressed for about 15 seconds until the lights on the router change.
- Connect the router to the computer via a network cable.
- The router will throw you an IP address (192.168.1.1). To access the router’s settings, simply type that IP address into your browser.
- Write the word “admin” in both user and password.
- Disable DHCP in the LAN settings section.
- Enter in the link: http:// + IP address + /html/ntwkall/wan.asp
Then you have to delete all the entries and create a new one with the following parameters:
- Type of link: DSL
- WAN connection: Enable
- VPI/VCI: 8 / 35
- List of services: INTERNET
- Port assignment: LAN1 and SSID1
- Connection type: Bridge
- Transparent DHCP transmission: enable or Enable
- Type of service: UBR without PCR
- Encryption mode: LLC
All other fields are blank. Then click “send” and you’re done.
We will explain how to configure the access point with a PC that is directly connected to the Cisco AP541N:
Turn on your PC and, in case you haven’t done so, proceed to change the PC IP Address to make sure it has an IP address from the same subnet. In case you don’t know how to do it, follow these steps:
- Go to Start on a Windows PC and select Settings. Then go to Control Panel.
- In the Control Panel dialog box, click Network.
- Under Network, select TCP/IP for the PC’s Ethernet card. After that, click on Properties.
- Within the IP Address window, click on Specify an IP address.
- Enter an IP address that is in the same subnet as the IP address of the access point. (The default address of the AP is 192.168.10.10). Then, you can set the command to 192.168.10.250, and for the PC’s IP subnet mask to 255.255.255.0.
- Inside Subnet Mask, type 255.255.255.0. Click “OK”. The changes will be applied.
- When they request to restart the computer, click “Yes“.
Connect an Ethernet cable to the PC’s Ethernet port. The other end of that cable, connect it to the Cisco AP541N Ethernet port.
Turn on the access point.
Open a browser window. If you are asked to install an Active-X add-on when you connect the device, you must follow the instructions to accept the add-on.
Enter the IP address of the Cisco AP541N in the browser bar. Then press Enter. Immediately, the Access Point Configuration Utility will appear.
Once there, you have to enter the default login information. In these cases, both username and password must be written “cisco”.
A window with the name Getting Started will appear. Here, you can configure the device according to your specific needs. Once there, there are some recommendations you can take into account:
- Change the administrator password in the “Change Administrator Password” section.
- Configure the SSID and enable wireless security in the “SSID, Guest Access, and Security Configuration” section.
- Switch on the radio interface under “Radio Settings”.
- In case you do not use DHCP on your network, click “Change IP Address” to set the Connection Type parameter of the Static access point. You can also change the Static IP Address and Subnet Mask parameters to an IP address and subnet mask that match the IP addresses on your network. This avoids assigning the access point an unknown IP address.
- Get the latest version of the Cisco AP541N software by clicking on the “Upgrade Software” button.
To explain the procedure, we will use the Linksys WRT54GC router model configuration as a guide:
- Connect one end of a network cable to the main network router. The other end will be connected to one of the Linksys router’s Ethernet connectors.
- From a computer, open the browser and enter the URL address of the newly installed router. Usually this is http://192.168.1.1/.
- Once the pop-up window is opened, enter the data corresponding to the user and password. This data is provided by the manufacturer (usually “admin”).
- Proceed to make the necessary settings when you open the Linksys router’s main configuration page. Remember to disable the DHCP service, so that it can function as an AP. To do this, leave the automatic DHCP configuration that comes by default under “Network Connection Type”.
- Under “Network Configuration”, select the “DHCP Server” option. Then click on “Save information”.
Finally, the Linksys router will be rebooted and the process is complete.
AP vs Hotspot How are they different and which is better for connecting to the Internet?
The Hotspot is a place or access equipment, which allows the user to connect their devices to the Internet via a wireless connection. One of the aspects that characterize hotspots is that it is a captive portal in which an identification is usually requested by means of a User and a Password in order to be used.
They generate their own Internet signal, which means they don’t have to be connected to a router to work. This is the main difference between an AP and a hotspot. In this way, you get to take the Internet signal anywhere. Even today, many mobile phones can be used as “hot spots”.
One of the most interesting features of the hotspots is that they offer a secure Internet connection with limited access and can be transported anywhere. To know which one benefits you the most at the moment of connecting to the Internet, you must be clear about your needs.
If, for example, you only need to expand the Internet signal in your home, taking advantage of an access point works much better. On the other hand, if you want to share the Internet in areas that are isolated from your home, a hotspot is a good idea.
In case you have a restaurant or any business and you don’t have a router, but you still want to offer connection to your customers, you can use a hotspot that generates its own network and gives access to people in a limited way.
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