Thursday, February 23, 2012

WiFI Access Point Comparison

With more devices becoming WiFi enabled it's more important than ever to have a quality WiFi network throughout your home or office. This can sometimes be easier said than done with larger homes or offices, but Access Points make it possible to redistribute WiFi off your existing wired network. The first step in selecting the correct Access Point for your application is identifying what type of WiFi category you fit into. Outlined below are popular WiFi categories and should help you determine which WiFi Access Point is right for you.

WiFi Categories:

  • Access Point - Designed to extend an existing WiFi network while preserving the DHCP range of your primary network. This means you can use an access point to extend an existing WiFi network and preserve file sharing. Access points do not feature WAW (WiFi as WAN) and require a stand alone router to give them Internet access.

  • WiFi as WAN - This feature allows you to connect to an existing WiFi network and repeat a brand new WiFi network. This does not bridge a network together, which means you won't be able to access files on a computer connected to the main network. This feature is useful if you have a larger home/office or multiple buildings that you need to provide WiFi to another area, but aren't concerned with file sharing between the locations.

  • Mesh Network - Mesh networks are typically found in larger scale deployments for cities, parks or businesses that want to maintain a single seamless WiFi network. This allows you to see a single SSID and have your device seamlessly transition between access points as you continue to travel. For Mesh network deployments 3Gstore recommends using star network topology by placing the primary router in the center and extend the mesh connectors outward.

After you've determined exactly which category you fit in, you can use our "Which WiFi Access Point is best for me?" guide to identify which Access Point is the best fit for you. The guide will go over all the major details on each Access Point including the mW (milliwatt) output rating of each Access Point. Now, if you don't know what a milliwatt is, or why it's important when choosing an Access Point don't worry we will break it down.

What is a milliwatt?

The Milliwatt output is one of the easiest ways to determine approximately how much power your WiFi router or repeater has. A Milliwatt is equal to one thousandth (10−3) of a watt. This means that there are 1,000 "milliwatts" in 1 "Watt," and the FCC regulates WiFi output power to a maximum of 1 Watt (1000mW) in the U.S.

To put this in perspective, lets take two typical 802.11n capable routers, one with 100mW of output power, and the other with 200mW of output power. The unit that offers 200mW is twice as powerful, which means you'll get nearly double the WiFi range as the 100mW WiFi router. Not all manufactures will give you the rating in milliwatts and you may see a reference to dBM instead.

Below if a quick reference chart for Pepwave, Cradlepoint and WiFi Ranger that lists the WiFi mW output power. For a more in depth look visit "Which WiFi Access Point is best for me?"

Pepwave Access Point mW Ratings:

* Powerboost may exceed local regulatory limits

Not sure which model is right for you visit - Which WiFi Accress point is best for me?

Cradlepoint Access Point mW Ratings:

Not sure which model is right for you visit - Which WiFi Accress point is best for me?

WiFi Ranger Access Point mW Ratings:

Read More - Click: Which WiFi Access Point is best for me?