Access point vs router

What is the functional difference between a wireless router and a wireless access point?
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  1. A wireless router is a wireless AP (access point), but a wireless AP is not necessarily a wireless router.

    Every consumer-grade wireless router is really a combination device consisting of a switch, wireless AP, and router (we just call the whole thing a “router” for simplicity sake). The wireless AP provides wireless access to the network, in this case represented by the switch. Using only a switch and wireless AP, you can create a LAN (local area network) w/ both wired and wireless access.

    A router adds to that switch + wireless AP the ability to reach OUTSIDE that local network to another network, what we call the WAN (Wide Area Network), the most well-known being the Internet. IOW, the router component is responsible for moving traffic back and forth safely and efficiently between the LAN and WAN. It typically includes a firewall to protect the LAN from bad things on the WAN side.
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