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Too Many Devices on WiFi?

Posted October 15, 2018

With the fast developing world of the internet and the general rise of internet use throughout businesses, limited WiFi connectivity errors confront managers and business owners fairly often. Computers and some other devices on a network should be able to comfortably share capacity and still be able to function efficiently. However, WiFi connection limits depend upon several factors that those running busy businesses don’t often take into account.

For example, you may realize that when you connect a number of desktops, laptops, and phones on a network, it may be difficult to stream a video to a screen in the conference room. In fact, not only the quality of the video itself is affected, but it also affects the upload and download speeds of each device connected to the network.

So, let’s take a look at WiFi speed and WiFi connections and how we can make them faster and more reliable.

(Note: You can use our WiFi speed test to see how your business internet speed shakes out.)

What are some of the issues that can affect your WiFi speed?

Most businesses today offer WiFi connections for their employees, clients, and visitors. It’s just good business practice to offer a solid wireless network to help everyone get their jobs done efficiently. However, having WiFi available means it can sometimes get log-jammed with too much activity or have other issues that slow it down. Ultimately, you need a high-quality connection that allows your team to work productively.

In fact, having a fully managed wifi solution is one comprehensive way to ensure you get everything you need to increase customer loyalty and employee production. A managed wifi provider can give you a complete service that releases you from building, managing, troubleshooting, and updating your wireless network on your own. And cloud managed WiFi is for all sizes of wireless setups. You might have a large organization, multi-site offices, a full campus, or satellite branches. Cloud managed WiFi lets you coordinate everything for seamless operations.

Managed services also track more than your speed. They cover everything from security, ease of deployment, access point management, traffic reporting, cost avoidance (such as consulting on how to take advantage of trainings, licenses, etc.) and overall full wifi network management.

Should you decide to setup and manage your own network, here are a few problems that can affect your WiFi connection and speed.

1. Unknown Activity

It’s critical that you do a network assessment to see exactly how much use is going on with your network. This includes both known users (your employees, visitors, etc.) but also potential unknown users and devices.

“Can too many devices slow down wifi?”

Yes.

You could be carrying the weight from a neighboring organization, or some of their devices. You might be providing WiFi for cameras, appliances, tablets, and other items that you hadn’t considered when you initially set up your network.

Consider the change in tech environment around most offices in the last few years. There is an overlap between working time and personal time, especially on our devices. Do employees connect personal items as well as work items to the internet? You may need to consider a change in or update to your BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy.

First, determine what items are on the network, and then consider all of the applications those items are running. There may be one or two that are siphoning off a large portion of connectivity and causing sluggishness for everyone else.

2. Low Bandwidth

Perhaps the number of users and devices on your network is not unusual, but you still experience slow uploads and downloads? It could just be that you need to provide more wired bandwidth.

How long has it been since you had an upgrade? Was that upgrade sufficient then, but can’t meet today’s high online demands? Consider how often you are using things like streaming video or live financial updating software? These applications may need more juice than previous years.

3. Network Interference

Something as simple as a neighboring WiFi hotspot or a microwave could cause network interference resulting in poor connectivity. A network assessment will allow your IT department to see any potential problems.

How many devices can connect to a router?

Most of the wireless routers and access points state they can support about 250 devices connected at once. This WiFi connection number includes computers, cameras, tablets, smartphones, appliances, and a wide variety of other devices that are now internet-enabled. However, this doesn’t mean that because you can theoretically connect close to 250 devices on a single access point that you should do it.

Note that every device connected to your network is likely to decrease the available bandwidth to other devices that are on the same network. The reason is because all these devices will not only be sharing the same wireless network, but also will share the same internet connection supplied by your broadband service provider. In this situation, the problem is not necessarily the wireless connections but rather with the overall traffic accessing the internet router on your broadband service provider.

Larger businesses may choose WiFi networks with multiple access points to extend the overall coverage area. Each access point or router has its own WiFi connection limits, but by connecting them all together, you can scale up the load.

How many devices can share the internet?

We understand that in a network, the functionality of the internet connection shared is likely to be slow since many devices and computers are struggling to access the web at the same time. The big question remains, how many devices should share the internet connection simultaneously before you start experiencing a slowdown or buffering?

A general thumb rule should be to limit the number of connections to a home network, for instance, to about 45. The actual number is going to widely vary depending on the task by each of those devices. For example, if an internet user is downloading videos, MP3s, or other heavy files that require extra bandwidth than simple web browsing or checking email, the internet connection is going to strain and so it will be slow. On the other hand, if a network is hosting FTP or servers for gaming, the recommended limit on the number of devices connected will be lower.

How to Maximize the Potential of Your Network

Fixing a second access point or a router on a network can help you to distribute the load of your network. This is possible by increasing the number of access points to your network and any number of devices that can successfully be supported. However, this is likely to make the network become difficult to manage and you will likely require network management services.

The other thing you can do if you have one or more routers capable of supporting a lot of devices is to increase the bandwidth by increasing the subscription with your ISP.

In a situation where your internet subscription and network devices allow you to download at a rate of 1 Gbps, having 50 devices connected at once will allow each device to use up to 20 megabits of data per second.

Find WiFi Connectivity Solutions with MegaPath

When you are ready to have a network assessment performed, contact MegaPath for a fair analysis. We can suggest options to meet both your demand and locations, while keeping an eye on your available budget. The key is making sure your team can function at the highest productivity to meet your customers’, and future customers’, needs. Get in touch with us today!

 

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