wireless access pt vs wireless router

I an in the process of going wireless. Upon looking up certain products I found that in several case wireless router were as cheap (or cheaper) the wireless access points (WAP). Why is this? What are the differences between the two? It seems to me that you get more from a wireless router and if it costs the same that thats what I should buy. Is there something I am missing here. Please help me understand any reason not to buy the wireless router over the WAP>
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  1. There is not much of a price difference between the access point and the wireless router. An access point will cost about the same as a four port wireless router. The advantage of keeping you wired router(I read your other post) is that you can probably use 100Mbps transfer; 802.11b only allows 11Mbps. If you plan on using wireless to more than 1 PC you should buy the router. Keep in mind that you will have to have a wireless card for each PC in your network if you go with the wireless router. If all you are doing is adding a laptop, go for the access point.

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  2. Actually you get less with a router if the consideration is wireless options. AP/Router combo's are strictly AP's. Traditionally and predominately anyway. Most SOHO AP's can act as a point to point or point to multipoint bridge, a workgroup bridge (client mode), and a few can even act as repeaters now. If you have a NAT router in place then just get the AP. You have many more options for down the road.
  3. The biggest reason I prefer a separate AP is that sometimes the best location for the radio and the best location for the router/switch is not the same. I prefer to place the router with all the cabling and then move the AP to the point where I can get the most signal coverage. Of course, for simple home installations with a limited operating area, some people may prefer to have a single device just to reduce the clutter.

    As others have already stated, stand alone APs do often times have features such as wireless bridging that is not available on router/AP combo units. However, very few people actually require that functionality and you generally know if that is a need before making a purchase, so if that is not a current need then I would not worry about it too much in reaching a decision.
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