Three Ways to Use Wireless Bridges and Access Points

The world of wireless bridges and access points can be a little tricky to understand at first, but hopefully I’ve cleared up some of your confusion. Now that we’ve defined our terms, we can get to the fun stuff: the three coolest ways to use a wireless bridge or access point.

1. Kill Your Cables

“You can pry my Gigabit Ethernet out of my cold, dead hands.” That’s what I used to think whenever I’d string cable around my apartment to bring high-speed Ethernet to all my gadgets.

I’ve since become a happy user of wireless bridges. Here’s why: A 300Mbps Wireless-N connection is powerful enough to handle all of my home networking activities, including high-definition movie streaming, boring ol’ Internet surfing, and desktop screen-sharing. The convenience of not having ugly wires running around my house more than makes up for the slower transfer times from my desktop PC to my wireless bridge to my living room-based network attached storage device. I don’t transfer enough multigigabyte files to notice much of a speed difference, and I’d rather walk around my house without tripping on network cables at every turn.

2. Multipurpose Access Points

My favorite access points are those built like D-Link’s Wi-Fi Booster (DAP-1525). The DAP-1525 combines an access point with a four-port switch. This means that I can still use Gigabit Ethernet to connect a group of high-bandwidth devices while I’m simultaneously connecting wirelessly to everything else in the area.

Take, for example, my living room. I use a wired connection to hook my network attached storage device and gaming consoles up to my access point. They all benefit from the high-bandwidth connection required to flawlessly stream high-def 1080p video from my storage device. And I can still connect wireless devices, thanks to the access point’s wireless coverage.

3. Multi-feature Devices

I’m not done combining yet! Whenever I add a new wireless access point or bridge to my network, I always choose a device that combines both networking techniques into a single product. It’s the versatility I’m after: Thanks to a bridge/access point hybrid, I can now either give wired devices access to wireless networks or give wireless devices access to a stronger signal in an area that my original wireless network setup can’t reach very well. And it gets even better. Some access point/bridge hybrid devices — including the D-Link DAP-1525 — allow you to toggle their access point modes between the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band at the flick of a switch.

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