Wireless Access Point (WAPs)
Wireless network devices gain access to the network via WAPs. WAPs are typically deployed as part of a larger network infrastructure, but in some environments, such as small businesses or home offices, they can operate completely independently of a normal network.
Wired Access Points
When a WAP connects to a wired network, it is often referred to as a wired access point because it joins the wireless portion of the network with the wired portion.
WAPs are fairly innocuous, hub-like devices; the only giveaway to their function is the antennae that protrude from the box. Because WAPs process signals and are often connected into a wired network, they require power, which is supplied through an external AC power adapter or a built-in power supply.
A WAP for All Seasons
Because wireless networks are sometimes deployed in environments other than inside a warm, dry building, some manufacturers offer rugged versions of WAPs. These devices are sealed against the elements, making them suitable for placement in locations where nonrugged devices would not survive. If you are implementing a wireless network, you should consider whether using these rugged devices may be warranted.