Definition: An access point is a dedicated hardware device that provides for wireless connectivity with a network infrastructure. The devices broadcast radio frequency energy and use Internet protocols. Legitimate users can conveniently pass through the entry-way or node upon properly authenticating to the network. Care must be taken, however, that the default administrative password that comes with the equipment is changed. The equipment broadcasts, multi-directionally, an SSID (Service Set Identifier). Care must also be taken as to the broadcast range and direction of the signal. Without encryption, any passerby can access the information resources and possibly achieve unauthorized entry.
Its Relevance: Devices that provide for wireless entry into a network infrastructure are targets for threats. Nefarious users will take advantage of any vulnerabilities with the hardware and a risk would be realized. Despite the threats and vulnerabilities most organizations want to take advantage of the increases in efficiency and convenience provided for by flexible access.