Wireless networks are very important today among Internet users. We have many devices of all kinds that we can connect to the network and access services, web pages, exchange files, etc. It is true that many of them can also connect to the access point via cable, however this is less and less present precisely because of the improvement of Wi-Fi networks. Now, what is the limit? In this article we will explain how many devices we can connect to our Wi-Fi and when we could have problems.
How many devices can we connect to a Wi-Fi network
Modern routers are capable of having a large number of devices connected at the same time. Over the years, wireless networks have improved remarkably, and that also means fewer problems for access points to manage the different connections.
Perhaps a few years ago we did not connect more than 5 or 6 devices to our router. A desktop computer, a couple of laptops, a mobile device over Wi-Fi… Not much else. But today this has changed and especially with what is known as the Internet of Things we have many more connected devices. We are talking about televisions, smart bulbs, video players … In short, a wide range of options that are part of our day to day.
But of course, as in almost everything there is a limit. It must be borne in mind that, at least with today’s home routers , we cannot connect all the equipment we would like, although it must also be said that it would be very rare to overcome that barrier with current needs. However, at present we can say that on average there are 3 or 4 connected devices per person. Everyone has their mobile phone, laptop, maybe a Tablet, an electronic book …
Theoretical maximum capacity
The maximum ability a router has to connect devices is limited by the number of IP addresses it can handle. If we take into account the subnet mask 255.255.255.0 and the IP address used by the router itself, we can say that the theoretical maximum limit to connect computers is 253 . Of course, here we can include both cable devices and through Wi-Fi.
But that maximum figure is theoretical. In practice it will be less and will depend on the type of router. In addition, it should also be mentioned that we are at a domestic level, since there are more professional access points that can host more connections.
Maximum clients allowed
But if we consider a more realistic characteristic, we must observe the maximum number of clients allowed in a router. That figure is going to be the limit that we can connect via Wi-Fi to our device, although we can modify it.
It will depend on the router, but a very common figure is 64. That is the number of clients (devices) that will allow a connection. However, as we have indicated, we can modify that figure in many of the routers.
To do this, to see what is the maximum number of clients allowed on the router and also modify the figure, we must access its configuration. Generally we can enter through 192.168.1.1, put the access credentials and there go to the Wireless or Wi-Fi section. It may be in Advanced Settings (it will depend on the device) and there we will see different points of the wireless network and one of them is the maximum number of devices allowed.
With how many devices connected to the Internet we will have problems
This question does not have an exact answer. It should be mentioned that it will depend a lot on the type of router , as well as the use that we are giving to the connection. It is not the same to have 4 computers connected to Wi-Fi and to be downloading and uploading content to the network, thus consuming the bandwidth, than having 10 devices such as mobiles, tablets, electronic books, televisions … that are practically not consuming width of band.
However, we can give a rough idea of when we can start to have problems. Let’s say we have a 50 Mbps connection and there are 10 devices connected. The speed of that connection , the maximum capacity, will be divided between the equipment that we have connected. If for example we need to have a good speed to make a video call without interruptions or upload files quickly to the cloud, if we have 10 devices connected and only 50 Mbps we could have problems.
On the other hand, if that same example is applied to a 1 Gbps fiber optic connection, the problem would be much less. We have a much higher bandwidth to divide between the same number of devices, so in that case the number of computers connected to Wi-Fi can be higher without problems. In this case, at least theoretically, we could have up to 50 devices with a distribution of 20 Mbps for each one.
However, from 15 or 20 devices connected to the router we could start to have problems. Again this will depend on the type of device we have, but in a basic home router we can set that barrier as the limit from which we can start to have some kind of problem, loss of connection, etc.