Wireless Access Point

What Does Wireless Access Point Mean?

A wireless access point (WAP) is a hardware device or configured node on a local area network (LAN) that allows wireless capable devices and wired networks to connect through a wireless standard, including Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. WAPs feature radio transmitters and antennae, which facilitate connectivity between devices and the Internet or a network.

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A WAP is also known as a hotspot.

Techopedia Explains Wireless Access Point

Wireless access points (WAP) may be used to provide network connectivity in office environments, allowing employees to work anywhere in the office and remain connected to a network. In addition, WAPs provide wireless Internet in public places, like coffee shops, airports, and train stations.

Wireless access points are most commonly thought of in the context of the 802 series of wireless standards, commonly known as Wi-Fi. While there are other wireless standards, the vast majority of the time the terms Wi-Fi hotspot and WAP are synonymous. WAPs are not wireless routers themselves, however, and will need to connect to an Ethernet router.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.