Author: Jack Wager
While you don’t have to be a networking guru to configure the device, you should have some general networking knowledge. TP-LINK does provide a Quick Installation Guide, but since it is a ‘quick guide’, it doesn’t cover every scenario (namely Bridge). This section is going to explain the purpose of each mode, and provide an example network topology.
AP (Access Point)
AP is useful in two scenarios:
1) You don’t have a wireless router and you’d like to provide wireless access on your network
2) You do have a wireless router but it is too far away to use Repeater, Bridge, or Client. Although, you do have an ethernet cable in this remote location. The ethernet cable in the remote location can be connected to the TL-WR700N, and wireless access is now available.
Bridge & Repeater
I’m putting Bridge & Repeater together because the TL-WR700N essentially treats them equally, with the exception of how they’re configured. On the TL-WR700N, each mode will repeat the wireless signal, while accepting wired clients. Naturally these two modes perform similar operations, but vary slightly. Here’s a quick overview of each:
A bridge is intended to use a wireless link instead of wired, to connect two sections of a network.
Example: A business has two buildings that are directly across the street from each other. It is very expensive to get the two buildings physically wired up, so you can wirelessly bridge the buildings together. Creating the effect that there’s a very long cable between the buildings.
A repeater will connect to another AP, then repeat (broadcast) the same signal to extend the range of a wireless network.
This is useful if you have a device that needs to access a wireless network but it doesn’t have a wireless card. A perfect example of this would be the Xbox 360 (pre-slim era). When the Xbox 360 launched in 2005, it did not come with a built-in Wi-Fi adapter. Microsoft sold the wireless adapter separately for $99.99. That’s a pretty steep price just for a wireless adapter, but have no fear, the TP-LINK TL-WR700N can save your wallet a few dollars. Every Xbox 360 has an ethernet port, so you just connect the Xbox’s ethernet port to the TL-WR700N’s, put it the device in client mode, and your non-Wi-Fi capable Xbox now has internet connectivity. You can also connect the TL-WR700N’s ethernet port to a switch so it can provide access to more than one device.
If you use the internet, you probably have a router, or have experience with one. This mode will essentially allow you to take one incoming connection and share it with multiple users via Wi-Fi. Since the TL-WR700N only has one ethernet port, and that port is being used by the incoming connection, no wired clients can be supported in this mode.
Finally, a summary table with all of the modes and their basic abilities.
Ethernet port is LAN/WAN
Supports Wired Clients