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Wireless Access Point as Wireless Router

Last response: in Networking
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February 18, 2013 5:38:49 AM

Hello,

I have cable modem that I had connected to a wireless router that crapped out on me. I went out and found this WAP that was really cheap so I bought it thinking I could get it to work. I was able to setup my laptop running Windows 7 to get internet connection via DHCP, but have no idea how to get more devices connected!

Am I on the right track here, or is not possible to use a WAP as wireless router.

Truth be told, I do not fully understand the differences between a wireless router and a WAP, but a critical difference that I am seeing is the absence of a WAN ethernet port on the WAP.

Please help.
February 18, 2013 1:41:55 PM

A wireless AP only provides wireless access. It does NOT allow sharing of the one public IP provided by your ISP. For that you *must* use a router. If you specifically buy a wireless router, that router includes the wireless AP too.
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February 18, 2013 4:52:33 PM

Hello Eibgrad,

Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, you just confirmed my worst fear about an AP. Here's what I still do not understand and what I hope you can help me with:

The DHCP server from which I request my IP gives me something like this:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . : socal.rr.com
Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::c169:e916:D 26c:8b17%12
IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 67.49.124.226
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.248.0
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 67.49.120.1

Does that not mean that all the IPs within the range described by my IPv4 and Subnet Mask are temporarily mine to do as I please?

If so, is it not possible to request that other devices have one of those IPs assigned to it?

If not, then how would a router be able to assign IPs to multiple devices?
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February 18, 2013 9:46:34 PM

That IP is your public IP. It's coming from the ISP's DHCP server! When you connect your Windows 7 machine to the ISP, it issues a DHCP request and the ISP is returning it, along the subnet mask, default gateway, DNS server, etc. That's the ONLY IP you can use.

In order to connect more devices to that public IP, you need a router. When you use a router, the router now issues a DHCP request to the ISP and receives that IP information itself. And then the router creates a NEW network (usually based on 192.168.1.x) and provides its own DHCP server. Now when your various devices make a DHCP request, the router's DHCP server responds and allocates IP in the 192.168.1.x address space. It then maps all those local IPs to the one public IP for you.

For most ppl, you don't even need to know such details. You can treat a router like a magic box. It just works.
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February 18, 2013 10:08:37 PM

eibgrad said:
That IP is your public IP. It's coming from the ISP's DHCP server! When you connect your Windows 7 machine to the ISP, it issues a DHCP request and the ISP is returning it, along the subnet mask, default gateway, DNS server, etc. That's the ONLY IP you can use.

In order to connect more devices to that public IP, you need a router. When you use a router, the router now issues a DHCP request to the ISP and receives that IP information itself. And then the router creates a NEW network (usually based on 192.168.1.x) and provides its own DHCP server. Now when your various devices make a DHCP request, the router's DHCP server responds and allocates IP in the 192.168.1.x address space. It then maps all those local IPs to the one public IP for you.

For most ppl, you don't even need to know such details. You can treat a router like a magic box. It just works.


Very informative. One final question:

Is the inability of a WAP to provide its own DHCP server by using the IP and subnet mask provided by my ISP a limitation of the device"s firmware, or is it a hardware limitation?
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February 18, 2013 10:08:59 PM

Best answer selected by Daeden.
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February 18, 2013 10:24:54 PM

Daeden said:
Very informative. One final question:

Is the inability of a WAP to provide its own DHCP server by using the IP and subnet mask provided by my ISP a limitation of the device"s firmware, or is it a hardware limitation?


A WAP is only designed to provide wireless access to an otherwise established network. That's all it is, by design. It's not there to provide routing, switching, DHCP services, etc. Most only have a single ethernet port for this reason. You can plug it into a wired-only router, or even just wired switch and boom, you now have wireless access to that network.
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