As the title of this post suggests, a WAP is a Wireless Access Point. The chances are if you use any kind of mobile computing – laptops, netbooks, iPads etc. you will be connecting to your network wirelessly.
WAPs look something like this:
They are usually found somewhere high-ish up so that the wireless signal can transmit better. If you find one behind a pile of books or on the floor, moving it to a better location would be a great idea if the cables are long enough!
Some WAPs get POE (Power over Ethernet) which means as long as they are plugged into the network, they will get an electricity supply as well. Others have a separate power connection – this is where the fun comes in. Caretakers are notorious for switching WAPs off – after all, it’s part of their role in making sure devices aren’t wasting electricity. But if no one switches the WAP back on again the next day, the wireless signal simply won’t be there.
I do get a fair few support calls which can be fixed by turning on the WAP again. If it’s got no lights on, you know that it needs switching on. They are usually configured so that this is all it takes to get it working again. Ideally they shouldn’t be switched off in the first place and I have been known to put “Do not turn off” stickers on the plugs to help this!