Main article: Residential gateway
While functionally similar to routers, residential gateways use port address translation in addition to routing. Instead of connecting local computers to the remote network directly, a residential gateway makes multiple local computers appear to be a single computer.
A wireless router is a network device that performs the functions of a router but also includes the functions of a wireless access point. It is commonly used to allow access to the Internet or a computer network without the need for a cabled connection. It can function in a wired LAN (local area network), a wireless only LAN, or a mixed wired/wireless network. Most current wireless routers have the following characteristics:
- LAN ports, which function in the same manner as the ports of a network switch
- A WAN port, to connect to a wider area network. The routing functions are filtered using this port. If it is not used, many functions of the router will be bypassed.
- Wireless antennae. These allow connections from other wireless devices (NICs (network interface cards), wireless repeaters, wireless access points, and wireless bridges, for example).
A wireless network bypasses these issues entirely. For many people, a wireless network is the only way they can route their internet connection from one location to another. A wireless network is excellent for situations where you wish to use your laptop in any location of your home, whether it is the kitchen or the bathroom.The wireless router can be thought of as the very heart of the wireless network, and it unctions in the same manner as a cordless phone base station. What most people refer to as being a wireless router is actually a device that has dual functions, which includes the access point, and the router itself.
The access point will be responsible for connecting the computers in the facility to one another, and it will then connect all of these to the Internet. An office which is substantially large in size may have access points or routers which are stored in distinct boxes to obtain a larger range via the network. However, these are more expensive than the typical wireless router, because they have a much larger range.
The wireless functions operate as a separate nested "mini-LAN" within the router. The devices that connect wirelessly use the wireless router as their hub, and the wireless router presents that "mini-LAN" as a single device to the rest of the LAN. This mini-LAN has the same features as discrete WAPs have.
Wireless routers, access points, and bridges are available that utilize each of the commonly used wireless frequencies (used in the Wireless-B, Wireless-A (and -G), and Wireless-N standards). The frequency bands for these wireless standards can be used license-free in most countries.
Wireless routers can work with devices in a point-to-point mode, but more commonly functions in a point to multipoint mode.
Wireless devices used that communicate with the wireless router must be set to the same service set identifier (SSID) and radio channel.