In a common Wi-Fi network, there are really only two different types of networking devices. The first is the AP, or Access Point. The second is the wireless adapter. Both come in a variety of forms.
The basic Access Point is a device that connects a wired network to a wireless one, broadcasting a signal out to client devices. Essentially, it is a network switch with a wireless card attached.
Access Point: Router
A router is an Access Point with NAT (Network Address Translator) capabilities. It is used to translate info from one network to another, usually from a private network out to the wider Internet.
Access Point: Bridge
A bridge is an access point that accepts a signal from another access point and sends it back out over a wired connection. These are used when the cost of running a wire between two parts of a building is prohibitive.
A wireless adapter is a device that plugs directly into a computer, giving it the ability to receive and transmit wireless networking signals.
Wireless Adapter: USB & PC Card
A USB wireless adapter plugs into a computer using a USB port. With higher speed wireless networks, USB can create a bandwidth bottleneck, limiting speeds. Their advantage is that they are cheaper and far easier to install. PC card adapters are similar, but usually have higher overall speed.
Wireless Adapter: PCI
These are superior to USB adapters because they connect to a computer's motherboard directly, with much higher speeds. They are commonly found in laptops with built-in wireless and on desktop computers.
What Are the Advantages of Wireless Communication?
Wireless communication has changed how people everywhere in the world can communicate with each other. Without being tethered to a fixed location...
The Network Devices Used in Connecting to a LAN
A local area network, or LAN, allows all the computers connected to it to share an Internet connection and transfer files amongst...
How to Install a Wireless Communication Card on a Laptop
Installing a wireless communication card on a computer laptop requires a network adapter card and software that needs to be installed for...