A Question Regarding Wireless Access Points

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Where the hell did wireless access points go? I have a non wireless router and a separate 1GB switch and I want to buy a WAP to bung on my network, but the word wireless now seems to be permanently attached to the word router. I want to buy a WAP for like $40 but I can only buy it with another $40 worth of router stuck on it. But I have a router? What happens to people who want to extend wireless to the back of the property with a lan cable? do they put a redundant router there too, all flaccid and pointless? Or people like me who already have a router that works? Do I need to buy one of them funny airports from apple? Or am I a dinosaur and all the kids these days like to have a network in a box? Thanks?

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Brother, come close, I have a secret to tell you. Since the earliest days of electronics, technicians – pushed by their marketing department slave-masters – have been integrating more and more functions into the same devices. At one stage they were so in awe of their integration, they actually labelled it Very Large Scale Integration. If they knew then what we know now, they would not have gone so far up the superlative scale so early. Perhaps Extra Large, leaving room for multiple XXLs later, before moving on to Very?

We are approaching the apogee of that integration, and it is apparent in today’s consumer electronics. I believe that what you see as a Wireless Router, is in fact a box with an antenna wrapped around a single chip. The “Wireless” part of the equation has become commoditised into pointlessness. There is simply no value in creating it separately from the router. I’d go far as to guess that if you were to find a box labelled “WAP”, it would have the same chip in it, and simply lack the software to control the “router” bit.

I’m not being entirely facetious. Have you opened up a regular-sized DVD player lately? Between the power supply, the DVD platter, and the single-chip decoder/amplifier, there is enough space to house an entire Asian sweatshop to produce more of the very same DVD players. This is because the entire functionality of a DVD player – including surround sound and horrific bouncing-logo screensaver – is on about three chips.

Of course you can still find true Wireless Access Points like this one. Heck you could even pay $2,700 for the privilege of outdoor wifi (or you could bung a large aerial on your $50 indoor access point and put it next to a window).

3 Comments

  1. My friend has the same problem, shes just gonna get the new ADSL router, which works out better anyway, the one she has is so secure, its firewall doesnt allow much of anything through and its a 200km trip for me to fix her computers atm 🙂

  2. Thanks for that Ben, I see now the error of my heretical ways and I shall give praise to the manufacturing plant for providing me with such bounty even when I only wanted a little bit of the bounty. I have a small fear that I’m going to be asking the following question soon – “Ben I bought a router/wap and I’ve left the phone line unplugged in and it keeps popping up a dialog telling me that there is no phone line plugged in and would I like it to attack and kill the other router? How to make it stop?”

  3. Thank you for the very good advice. I had been wondering in case you may point me in direction of more resources?.

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