What are the features of the wireless router, and why has it been used in SOHO?


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wireless devices are often available in two forms: a stand-alone access point (AP) and a wireless router that combines a broadband access router with a wireless AP.  Stand-alone APs are popular in companies that need to deploy a large number of APs to cover a large area, all connected together by ethernet to a separate WLAN firewall.

Wireless routers are popular in small business and home office environments where a single AP will do the trick. In this case, combining the broadband access router with the AP provides a single box solution that's easier to administer and usually less expensive than two separate boxes. Wireless routers tend to include network address translation to support Internet connection sharing by WLAN users -- a feature that's convenient on SOHO environments. They may also include basic firewall rules or packet filters that deflect port scanners and other low-grade attacks aimed at always-on broadband connection. Finally, most wireless routers include a built-in 4-port Ethernet switch for connecting a few wired PCs in addition to wireless stations. This can be handy to manage the router or connect a printer to a SOHO LAN.

This was first published in July 2003

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