Connectivity between devices and networks is very important in the way we communicate today. Whether we want to get some information from a certain website, or want computers to talk to other computers, we will encounter a network at some point. Because there are so many different ways to connect to the internet and to other devices, some of the terms used can be quite confusing. In this article, we are going to look at two terms that describe networks that seem to do the same thing but actually do not, what they stand for, and where they are applied.
Wireless Repeaters: What Are They and What Do They Do?
A wireless repeater simply creates a new access point with its main connection coming from the main router. Because they bounce this signal off their antennas or boards (they cause it to repeat), they are normally used to extend a wireless signal’s range.
Wireless repeaters are normally used in larger houses where a router is placed in one fixed position and the wireless repeaters are placed in different parts of the house. This is especially important where there are many walls and other obstacles that might reduce the wireless signal’s strength and range.
Wireless Bridges: What Are They and What Do They Do?
A Wireless bridge, sometimes called a wireless client bridge, connects two wired networks together over Wi-Fi. These networks are usually two separate wired network connections. The wireless bridge becomes a client in this configuration, logs into the main router, gets an internet connection and passes it to other devices that are connected to its LAN ports. This way, a home or a business is able to reduce the number of cables used, especially if you need a connection in a large space.
A wireless client bridge can also help in reducing the number of connections on a single router. This is because the connections to other wired devices can be divided between different routers, all of which are connected to the main router, with each router acting as a wireless bridge itself.
What to Look for When Buying a Repeater or a Wireless Client Bridge
One of the main things to consider is whether all the devices on the network will be compatible with each other. This includes bridges, routers, wireless antennas, repeaters, and more. This does not mean only getting equipment from one manufacturer, but this certainly helps.
Next, you want to check if your repeater has external connectors, removable antennas, and multiple ethernet ports. Lastly, ensure all the repeaters can adequately cover the area you need them to operate adequately. You might have to do a little bit of experimentation to get this right.
As for the bridges, you want to have other bridges with the same chipset and firmware to guarantee compatibility. For the best performance, consider a power-line wireless bridge as its signal can penetrate metal walls, cement brick as well as metal shelving.
If you have wired connections in your home or office but would like to reduce the number of cables in there, you should consider a wireless power bridge. If all you need to do is blanket a wider area with a wireless network, you would be better served by a wireless repeater.