Most of the time, WAPs and range extenders are mistaken one for another, and that’s really fine as these techs have quite a few things in common. However, they are not similar to each other and also serve different purposes in their environments.

What is an access point?

A wireless access point (WAP or AP) is a wireless networking device that allows wireless devices to connect to a wired network. In other words, it serves as a central hub for Wi-Fi devices.

An AP connects to the router, switch, or hub via an Ethernet cable and transmits a Wi-Fi signal to the desired area. It acts as a partner of the router.

WAPs are popular in public places like coffee shops, libraries, train stations, and airports to provide wireless internet access to visitors. WAPs are also commonly used in office environments to provide network connectivity to employees. Here, users can connect to the network from anywhere within that office building and continue working. A powerful benefit to employees is that they have instant mobility and can simply pick up their laptops and move to any desired location without disruption.

How is it different from a range extender?

Range extenders, sometimes called repeaters or boosters, function by repeating the wireless signal that it receives from the router and then creating a secondary network to improve the main router’s coverage. It connects wirelessly to your Wi-Fi routers and is especially helpful when you get poor or zero network performance in certain areas where the Wi-Fi signal cannot reach.

Range extenders are a great option for home Wi-Fi networks. However, the speed of your Wi-Fi signal may dip up to 50% as it relies on the same frequency as the router. For example, if you are near your router and can get 40 Mbps per second, the speed of your extended network will be about 20 Mbps per second. AP, on the other hand, is able to increase the network coverage in its designated area by 100% to provide reliable and consistent speed, and that’s why it is said to be more efficient than the extender.

To make things clear, think of the AP as a companion of the router that provides the router with the space to hold more users in terms of connectivity and think of a range extender like a device that amplifies the router signal where it can reach the corner of your house. A range extender comes with a lower cost but let’s say you are a rapidly growing business with more people; you’ll need a network that sustains the local traffic. So, in that case, the AP will definitely be better in the long run than the ranger extender, which is suitable if there is a limited amount of people using it.

That is the way the range extenders are suitable for small-scale and household usage. They are easy to purchase and install; however, they have limitations on the number of people using them at once, unlike the WAP, where that usage number is much higher. WAP comes with the extra benefit that comes with its price. In the long run for a growing firm, WAP will provide the best efficiency as compared to a range extender.

Range Extenders vs. Access Points


Access Point (AP)

Range Extender


A device that allows different Wi-Fi devices to establish a connection with the wired network

A device repeats the wireless signal from your router to expand its reach by creating a second network


Connects to your router/switch/hub via an Ethernet cable

Connects wirelessly to your router


Creates wireless network

Replicates the current network


100% of the router’s speed

About 50% of the router’s speed

Connected devices

Much higher than range extender, up to 60 devices each

Limited number, up to 20 devices each


Manages collectively

Manages separately from the router



Comparatively cheaper than the AP





Large businesses, train stations, and airports

Homes and small businesses

Which one to choose?

Range extenders are a much more cost-effective and easier means to boost your network coverage in your home. If you are looking for a device that will improve your home wireless network, we recommend you reach for a range extender.

WAPs are more suitable for you if you work in a large-scale company or own one, depending on your firm’s growth and if it is consistent and sure, then you can choose Wireless AP over the range extender. However, if you own a firm that houses limited personnel, then you can always opt out for the ranger extender over the AP as it is cheaper and technically more suitable.