Access points work in a simple way: They receive their network data via a fast Ethernet cable and then continue to radio to WLAN devices. The prices for home access points are between 20 and 100 euros. Many devices that you can find under the name Access Point can also work as repeaters – and vice versa. The role of an access point can also be taken over by almost any disused router.
Since the access point only works as an interface between the cable and wireless network, it brings the WLAN clients into the existing network without routing. The WLAN subscribers get their IP addresses from the central router and not from the access point.
If the router radio network does not cover an important room, but there is a cable network there, preferably use a WLAN access point at this location. Technically, it doesn’t matter whether it is a direct Ethernet network or a Powerline bridge that arrives there.
An access point such as the TP-Link TL-WA901ND (around 30 euros) is connected to the cable network via its Ethernet port using a CAT cable. Once connected, the access point can be configured in the browser using its IP address on the PC.
By default, the access point takes an IP, which the manual reveals together with the access data. In most cases, however, it is easier and faster if you search for the new access point in the router’s device list – you can find the connected network devices in a Fritzbox, for example under “Home network -> Mesh”. If you type the IP address displayed there in the browser, the login dialog of the access point appears. First of all, make sure that the device receives a self-defined, fixed IP in the future. And be sure to give the “admin” account a secure password. If the access point’s admin access is protected at the factory, you will find the appropriate user name and password in the manual.
The new radio network is set up under “Wireless” and “Wireless” and requires the usual WLAN information – i.e. a network name (SSID), the encryption type (preferably WPA-Personal) and the access password.
Of course, the dedicated access points also offer the definition of channel, bandwidth and visibility of the radio network. Mobile devices can then connect to this new radio network immediately or, depending on their location, to the base station. It is therefore best to use clearly distinguishable SSID names for the router radio network and for that of the access point (s).
Tip: The more complex representatives of their kind offer numerous options that invite you to try them out, but they can also go wrong. Access points that are used less often may also “forget” their configuration data after a period of time without a power supply. In any case, use the option to save the settings of the cleanly configured device as a file on your work computer.
The data rate that an access point should deliver via LAN and WLAN depends on the performance of the devices that you want to bring to it via the network. Accordingly, you choose a model with Gigabit LAN and 11ac WLAN if you want to connect many devices with high transfer performance. In the other case, if, for example, only an older tablet or notebook is to have access to the home network via the AP, Fast Ethernet (100 Mbit / s) is also sufficient for the LAN and 11n for the WLAN connection.
Many WLAN repeaters come with a LAN connection: You can then use the device itself as an access point – provided its firmware allows it – there should then be a corresponding option in the repeater menu: For TP-Link repeaters, click for example on the “Mode” menu and now activate “Accesspoint” instead of “Repeater”. With a Fritz repeater like the AVM 1750E, go to “Home network access -› Change access type “and mark the entry” LAN bridge “. With some repeaters, such as the Netgear EX6100, you can simply change the mode using a switch on the housing.
In many cases, you don’t need a new device at all. Often the old router of a previous provider is still in the basement, which takes over this task effortlessly. Connect this router to the cable network using a CAT cable. You can access its configuration interface as usual via its IP address in the browser. This is where its function as a DHCP server is switched off and all other functions except WLAN are best. Otherwise, you proceed like a new device, i.e. define the SSID, encryption type and access password. Again, we recommend requesting a fixed IP under “LAN” (or a similar menu item) to simplify access to the configuration.
Some old routers show an explicit option “Internet access via LAN” or similar in the configuration, which you have to activate. Other old routers, on the other hand, lack any indication of this possible use in the configuration interface, but still work perfectly as access points.
The corresponding settings can be found in the interface of the Fritz! Box in “Internet -> Access data”. A Fritz! Box can be converted into an access point by activating the “External modem or router” option and “Use existing Internet connection (IP client mode)”. If there is a Fritz-OS version 7 or higher for the older Fritzbox model, you can connect it to a current Fritzbox as a mesh repeater. Then the access point automatically takes over the SSID and password of the main WLAN for its WLAN access. In addition, its firmware can be updated via the menu of the main router. To do this, you have to activate the “Mesh Repeater” option in the menu of the Fritzbox that is to serve as the access point, which can be found under “Home Network -> Mesh -> Mesh Settings -> Mesh Mode”.
Tip for the home network: Old routers often still use the outdated 802.11g standard, but this is often sufficient for surfing. A second free backup network with such old hardware, which you can switch on if necessary, is the ideal solution for visitors who want to quickly access the net with their notebook, but who do not necessarily want to give the access data to their main network.
Office tip: In the case of larger office spaces, you can use several access points to ensure an even supply to the radio network. While it does not matter which manufacturer the device and the router come from for individual access points in the home network, it is advantageous here to use devices from the same manufacturer: They usually support roaming, i.e. mobile work, without having to manually switch after changing locations to connect to another access point.
Even if you only use WLAN in your network, the situation may arise that you still need an Ethernet connection at certain points: This is necessary, for example, if you want to use a network printer that does not have WLAN but an Ethernet port. Another typical example would be a Linux computer that should use a cable connection to avoid a driver problem with WLAN.
While the access point continues to operate from the cable network, you need a WLAN receiver that sends the data on via an Ethernet cable. The solution to this task is a WLAN repeater with an Ethernet port. AVM offers such devices with the Fritz WLAN Repeater 450E. You simply plug the repeater into the socket at the desired location and use it to connect the printer or PC with a CAT power cable. Then press the WPS button on the repeater and then on the router: After a short time, the two devices are connected via the radio network and the wired device on the repeater comes into the WLAN. (PC world)