Repeater vs Access Point: How They Affect Your WiFi Signal

Marketing 17 minute read 17th February 2023

This repeater vs access point guide will show you everything you need to know about these two tools and how they can help you boost your WiFi reach and stability.

In short, an access point is the better option if you require a dependable internet connection for a medium-sized business space for larger groups of people. However, a repeater could be a better alternative for a small venue.

However, when it comes to repeater vs access point, the primary function of both is to increase the range of the router’s WiFi, yet the ideal user is quite different.

The way they’re installed, how they affect the overall internet speed, and how many users they can manage simultaneously are all things that you need to consider. Therefore, if your WiFi connection is weak and you want to find the right solution for your situation, keep reading.

Repeater vs Access Point: Which Is Best for My Business?

repeater vs access point

Access points will be the most reliable sources of wireless internet connection for your employees and clients if you’re looking to extend your guest WiFi coverage. They can also handle more devices, which is an important point when discussing repeater vs access point.

A repeater is a good option if you’re running a small business. With few people using the internet, you just need to boost the signal a little bit to get coverage over the entire office or workspace.

The downside of access points is the installation process. Setting up cables and pulling them through walls and ceilings is not optional for all businesses.

The downside of a repeater is that while you get wider coverage, it tends to come at the cost of internet speed. This may be fine, depending on what you do. But if a high-speed internet connection is vital to your business, the access point may be the best solution.

When deciding on repeater vs access point, you must consider how many devices each option can handle. The repeater is limited to what the router can accept and still be fast enough for utility. This may be fine in your home but can quickly become unstable at your business venue. Especially if you have clients connecting to your social WiFi hotspot.

In the following sections of this repeater vs access point article, we’ll go through this question in greater detail. We’ll start by analyzing what an access point is, what a repeater is, and when one might be a better option.

Repeater vs Access Point: What Is an Access Point?

repeater vs access point

An access point is a device you connect to the router. To have the best performance, however, you need to pay attention to where you place it. As a general rule, you have to place it where the router’s signal cannot reach.

An access point is essentially an extension of the router itself. When you install an access point in an area, all devices will connect through that access point, not the router.

When contemplating repeater vs access point, one of the main issues with access points brought up is the installation process. It needs to connect to the router using an ethernet cable. If it goes to a different floor, it means you have to pull the cable there, too. This is a big job for smaller businesses and might not be the most efficient way to solve the problem.

Wouldn’t it be easier to have a router on each floor instead of access points?

Repeater vs Access Point: Do Several Routers Work Instead?

You want access points instead of several routers because they connect to the router and, thus, the same local network.

For management and maintenance reasons, it makes more sense for the entire venue to use one local network using a router rather than several.

A critical aspect of repeater vs access point, is the security concern. The access point has no firewall or protection - the router does. All access points then share the same firewall and protection as the router.

For safety, it’s better to have only one firewall to manage than individually having to ensure that every single router is adequately protected. Several routers leave you more exposed and vulnerable. This is not an ideal scenario, considering the risks that public WiFi poses to users.

Updates (or lack thereof) can cause security and maintenance issues. Therefore it’s smart only to update one device to stay up to date. Older routers also need to be replaced from time to time to ensure the highest internet quality. Replacing one singular router is both easier and cheaper.

Repeater vs Access Point: Does the Access Point (AP) Replace the Router?

No, the AP does not replace the router. The router is still required to access the internet via modem.

Before you install access points, however, make sure you only need wireless internet in that location. When discussing repeater vs access point, you need to know that you cannot connect an ethernet cable to an AP from another device, like a desktop computer. If you need devices connected to the router for maximum performance, AP may not be your option.

Repeater vs Access Point: Is It Simple To Install an Access Points?

repeater vs access point

As mentioned above, installing access points can be tricky if the work area is big enough. Pulling cables through walls and ceilings is not something everybody can afford. With that said, there are other ways to solve the problem of poor internet connection without access points.

As we’re talking about repeater vs access point, and APs aren’t for you, one alternative to them is so-called WiFi extenders. This is a potential solution for smaller businesses with fewer employees and customers that still need to expand the WiFi range.

AP vs Extender: Are There Alternative to Access Points?

A way to increase the range of your WiFi is by using extenders. One type of WiFi extender is the repeater. Which option is best for you, ap vs extenders, will depend on the size of the office and how many floors or buildings need to be covered.

For example, a café that only wants the WiFi to extend to the outside seating area can use a repeater to boost the signal.

For these, you don’t need access points, just a WiFi signal extension, this is a good option. But it does come with some drawbacks, which we will cover below. But first, we’ll discuss the repeater and how it works.

Repeater vs Access Point: What Is a Repeater?

In this repeater vs access point discussion, it’s time to turn our heads to the repeater. The repeater is a device that will wirelessly boost your WiFi signal. You plug in one device close to the router and another closer to where you need a stronger signal.

The repeater receives the signal from the router and “repeats” the information, thus creating an increased version of the WiFi signal.

For the best experience using a repeater, you must have a good distance between the router and the repeater. However, you should locate it in a place where the device can receive a decent signal. Otherwise, it will repeat a weak signal.

When debating Repeater vs access point, we must point out the disadvantages of each alternative.

One significant drawback with the repeater is how many people can use the internet. The number of active users depends on how many people can be on the same router. The more users, the slower it will be. The boosted signal also affects the speed of the internet.

If neither the repeater nor the access point seems right for you, there is a third way for your business to get better WiFi: The Bridge.

What Is the Difference Between Bridge and Repeater?

The bridge system is a way of connecting two routers to one local network. Two adjacent buildings belonging to the same business can enjoy the same WiFfi and local network by “bridging” the two routers together wirelessly.

The difference between bridge and repeater is that the bridge connects two separate networks allowing them to work as one. The bridge is for when the repeater isn’t enough or it’s not feasible to create access points.

If you have two access points, you can connect them using AP mode, which will discuss below.

AP Mode vs Repeater Mode: How To Connect Two Access Points?

repeater vs access point

If you have two access points, you can connect them rather than connecting both to the router. Many access points integrate ap mode or repeater mode. When using ap mode, you can allow a second access point to communicate with the first access point.

This can expand the WiFi range further and only connect one access point to the router.

Some access points can also enter repeater mode. This makes them extenders and will increase the WiFi range further. Much like a repeater, this can come at the cost of speed and bandwidth. This can be a temporary solution if you don’t want another access point. Therefore, choose wisely what is the best solution for your unique situation.

However, deciding between ap mode and repeater mode is generally considered the better option since it’s a more stable and long-term solution.

Repeater vs Access Point: When To Choose Access Points?

The best way to summarize the difference between a Repeater vs access point is this: The repeater extends the signal, and the AP extends the router.

We’ve covered three options for wireless internet connection: access points, repeaters, and a bridge.

All three options work but have their own time, place, and limitations. If you have a medium-sized business, installing access points connecting to your router via cable will be the best option and give you the best performance.

The use of a cable from the access point to the router makes it tricky - and more expensive.

Access points should be a long-term solution, not a temporary fix.

With this information in mind, consider your venue and your resources and make a decision that best suits your needs. When in doubt, it is always a good idea to consult an expert or ask for information from your Internet provider.

Now let’s have a look on when to choose a repeater instead of an access point.

Repeater vs Access Point: When To Choose Repeater?

The repeater is often the best option for WiFi in small office spaces. The only problem with a repeater is that you sacrifice ranges for speed and bandwidth.

A repeater is a good option when you only need to boost the signal a little. Neither ap nor repeater might work if you want the same network in different buildings.

In those cases, you can explore the bridge option. The bridge allows separate networks to communicate and work as one over a wireless connection.

Having two different routers and networks means more maintenance and management. Each router and network need to be updated individually.

If the repeater isn’t enough, and you don’t need access points, you can connect two networks using the bridge.

Repeater vs access point is an interesting discussion. The best solution depends on specific circumstances. Both offer solutions to poor internet access. The repeater may be a temporary solution, while an access point is a long-term option.

Applying the solutions mentioned in this article will make your internet signal more robust and reliable. Moreover, you can take advantage of your free WiFi and use it to automate marketing initiatives.

Have a look at Beambox. Beambox is a WiFi marketing solution that helps businesses of small and medium size to unleash the power of their free WiFi.

With Beambox, you can brand the WiFi experience at your venue, collect customer data and run marketing campaigns on autopilot.

Over 12,000 businesses are using Beambox to grow their rating on online review sites and grow their business. Moreover, Beambox does not require you to buy any extra hardware. Do you want to try it? Start your free trial today!

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