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These days, it seems almost unheard of in metropolitan areas to go a certain distance without running into a new Wi-Fi network. Wireless Internet represents an apex of modern technology, allowing endless amounts of information to be accessed without having to physically plug into a network. It has become so common and so popular that many people expect it places the same way they would to find hot and cold running water.
As such, there have had to be advancements made in the way that these networks are constructed and configured. They generally must be available within the entire building that they are designated to, and sometimes even across several structures at once. From privately streaming movies to conducting corporate telemeetings, these signals have to be available and strong in order to avoid frustration. As such, there are two kinds of devices that can help to stretch the signal further: wireless access points and wireless bridges. While essentially serving a similar function, it is important to understand the key differences between wireless access points and wireless bridges in order to build a stronger network.
Wireless bridges and wireless access points are the same in that they both carry a wireless networking signal. Where they are placed in the chain of devices, however, is indicative of their individual natures. The connection first enters the office or home through a modem. It then moves through a router, which allows the signal to be distributed over the airwaves. From the router, it is fed into a switch or a hub, which is what actually creates the network.
This is where wireless access points and wireless bridges come in handy. Wireless access points, in their modern incarnation, are tools that allow the network to be expanded wirelessly into an immediate area. Wireless bridges, on the other hand, are put into play when a network is made up of multiple segmentations. These all have to be under the same umbrella in order to work effectively, and a signal can only be stretched so far. Making it so that everyone has the access that they need is a critical thought to consider when going about searching for wireless access points and wireless bridges.
But because these networks are becoming so big, wireless access points and wireless bridges have to be protected in the same way that a router (wired router or wireless router) or other mission-critical endpoint would. With so many potentially harmful devices and malware strains trying to connect to any available network, encryption, as well as the practices that go into improving it, are tantamount to defending private and professional devices and information.
There are several manufacturers that have made it a mission to help create better wireless networks. There are some of the usual technological contenders in the ring - Dell and Cisco to name a few - but also companies like EnGenius, D-Link and ZyTel, which are just as committed to strengthening not only connections but the security that is required of them as well.