access point definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Mapping your wireless local area network: How to make your WLAN shine

In a wireless local area network (WLAN), an access point is a station that transmits and receives data (sometimes referred to as a transceiver). An access point connects users to other users within the network and also can serve as the point of interconnection between the WLAN and a fixed wire network. Each access point can serve multiple users within a defined network area; as people move beyond the range of one access point, they are automatically handed over to the next one. A small WLAN may only require a single access point; the number required increases as a function of the number of network users and the physical size of the network.

This was first published in March 2010

Next Steps

Learn how to protect WLAN access points with the right WIPS system.

Four criteria to consider when buying a locally managed WLAN product.

Making the business case for cloud-managed WLAN.

Learn more about WLANs that are configured and managed entirely from the cloud; only the access points (APs) are on-premises.

Learn more about cloud-controlled WLAN and how to choose the right cloud WLAN product.

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