I come across a lot of technical literature that talks about a device being a "wireless access point/client/bridge", or "AP/client/repeater", or "AP/Client".

I understand that bridging and repeating functions are not always available for every device. But is there such a thing as a wireless access point that doesn't also serve as a client? It seems to me that the only difference between "client" and "access point" is a hard-line connection to the network, which is a question of topology and configuration, not of actual device capabilities or specifications. Thus, it seems to me that if one were to say "This is a wireless access point", prattling on about "and it's also a client" is redundant.

"Access point/bridge", that I can understand. But "AP/Client/Repeater"? or "AP/Client/Bridge"?


This is an explanation "as how I understand it" so if this is wrong please say so or edit.

In my eyes, a wireless access point can fuction as a router or such normally, but in access point mode it will only accept/distribute wireless connections and not provide any services such as DHCP or DNS. This is done over a wired connection. In "Access Point/Client" it is connecting, via wireless, to a main station and then distributing that wireless as an access point itself as well. I do this at home, in a form. We have the main family wireless device and then I have a router in Client Mode in the attic, so to the main wireless device the router appears as a normal "client" but once in the attic it re-distributes the connection (not over the wireless, however, my device is limited in that it can only act as a bridge or a normal wireless router before, it can't use the wireless to link to the main one and also can't extend the wireless network).

Yay for MS Paint!

  • 1
    "client" is used ambiguously by a lot of AP vendors. This is what they typically mean. – MDMarra Dec 20 '11 at 12:16
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    Note that "Bridged wireless" is also called "Mesh networking" by the large enterprise wireless products. – pauska Dec 20 '11 at 14:03

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