WiFi devices are multiplying like rabbits! The average household has 4 devices connected to the WiFi network, and that number is still increasing. With so many devices vying for bandwidth, it can be difficult to maintain a reliable connection on all of them.
This post will answer the question: how many devices can one router support? We’ll also cover what factors affect this number, tips for optimizing your home wireless network to connect more devices, and common troubleshooting when things go wrong.
Before we go too far down this rabbit hole, let’s understand a bit better what a router is and what role it plays in keeping us connected.
What is A Router: How Does It Keep Our WiFi Devices Connected?
A router is a box that connects our devices to the internet. It provides you with an address and helps get your devices connected to other devices on the network.
When you connect one device (like your laptop) to a router, it gives every other device in range of that WiFi signal access to the same connection and helps devices find each other.
The role of the router is to facilitate communication between devices on your network and keep them connected. It does this by assigning an IP address, a series of numbers that acts as a unique identifier for every device on the network, to every device when it connects to WiFi.
Routers also come with a built-in firewall, which helps to protect your devices from unauthorized access and hacking.
Now that we know what a router is and how it works, let’s answer the question: how many devices can one router support?
How Many WiFi Devices Can One Router Support?
The number of devices that a router can support is affected by many factors: the type of devices, the age of the router, interference from other devices and appliances, and your home’s physical layout.
Generally speaking, most routers can handle up to 12 devices without any problems. However, if you have older devices or use many devices at once, you may require a more advanced router. Let’s take a deeper dive and understand this better!
The devices that connect to the router are not just the smartphones and laptops in your home – it’s also all of the devices that connect to these devices! For example, If several people are using their phones or watching YouTube videos on iPads simultaneously, it can severely affect network performance if your wireless network is weak.
You can have devices not connected to a network, but they will still drain the router’s resources. For example, you may have devices in other rooms, or an old phone plugged into your router via Ethernet cable. These devices connect to the internet through your home WiFi without requiring any additional configuration on their own, but they still require some of your router’s processing power.
Lastly, devices that are connected to the network can also drain resources by accessing devices on other parts of the network (such as an iPhone connecting to a media center). This is called “WiFi Multicast.” It doesn’t happen very often, but if you have several devices trying to watch different video streams or play multiplayer games, it can cause an even larger drain on your router’s resources.
In general, to maintain optimal performance for devices connected directly to the network and devices accessing other devices on the network through WiFi Multicast, you should not have more than 12 of them at once.
If you have more than 12 devices, you can still connect them all to your network, but it will require some effort on your part, which we will explore later in the article.
What Factors Affect the Number of WiFi Devices Connected to A Router?
The number of devices that can be connected to a router is affected by the following factors:
Some routers are designed to handle more devices than others. If you have an older router, it may not be able to support as many devices as a newer model.
Range of the router
How far your devices can be from the router will also affect how many devices can be connected to it. If you have a large house, you may need to purchase a more powerful router with a longer range.
Other devices and appliances in your home can interfere with your WiFi signal and cause devices to lose connection. Cordless phones, microwaves, and devices that emit strong electromagnetic radiation are a big source of this interference. If your devices frequently lose connection or have low internet speeds, try to move them away from these devices and appliances as much as possible.
The number of devices connected at once
As mentioned above, it is recommended not to connect more than 12 devices simultaneously if you want optimal performance for devices on the network and the devices that are accessing those on the network through WiFi Multicast.
The physical layout of your home
Your home layout can greatly affect how many devices can be connected to your router. Walls, doors, windows, furniture–all of these things block wireless signals in one way or another. If you live in a large home and devices are having trouble connecting, try to move them closer together or consider purchasing a repeater.
The number of users
If more than one person is using their devices in your home simultaneously (such as several people on their phones watching YouTube videos), it will also affect performance as you have too many devices connected at once.
If devices are frequently losing connection, and you believe it’s due to the number of users, keep reading as we explore ways to optimize performance.
Tips to Optimize WiFi Network with More Than 12 Devices
If you have more than 12 devices and want to connect them all to your home WiFi network, there are a few things you can do to help optimize performance:
Try Using A WiFi Extender
A WiFi extender is a device that helps boost the signal of your home WiFi network and extend the range of your router. This can be helpful if devices are having trouble connecting due to the range of your router.
A WiFi extender can also be used in conjunction with a repeater, which we’ll discuss next.
Use A Repeater
A repeater is a device that helps extend the range of your WiFi signal. It can be an effective solution when devices have trouble connecting to your home network because they’re too far away from the router or there’s too much signal interference, but it will likely require some technical know-how.
Use A Networked Switch
This means using a networked switch and plugging Ethernet cables into as many devices as possible that need internet access.
This direct connection option will help you free up WiFi bandwidth and improve overall performance for devices that need the connection and cannot connect via ethernet.
Best Devices to Connect to Ethernet
Devices that can benefit the most by consistently being connected to ethernet are those which are mostly in a fixed position, require constant connection, and would otherwise use a great deal of WiFi bandwidth.
Examples could include a home desktop or docking station, security system, printer, etc. If devices are only intermittently used or you need greater mobility, use them wirelessly.
These are just a few tips for optimizing your home WiFi network with more than 12 devices. Now, if you’re still unsure what’s causing poor performance, let’s finally explore how to troubleshoot and determine exactly what the problem is with your network.
Troubleshooting Tips for Problems with Home WiFi Networks
- If devices frequently lose connection, make sure they’re not too far away from the router. Have you moved devices to another room?
- Try using a different wireless channel on your router if one or more channels keep having interference issues. For most routers, this can be done by logging into their control panel and selecting a new WiFi channel.
- If devices are dropping connection often and you’ve tried different channels with no success, it’s possible that your router is getting too much interference. In this case, try purchasing a WiFi extender or mesh network to help boost the signal in problematic areas of your home.
- If devices can’t connect even after trying the above-mentioned tips, there may be something wrong with your router. In this case, it may be time to purchase a new one.
- If devices are connecting slowly or intermittently, try turning off devices that aren’t in use. This will free up bandwidth for devices that need it and help improve performance. You can also try changing the WiFi channel on your router to one with less traffic.
We have explored what purpose a router serves in connecting our devices to WiFi, how many devices can be connected to a network at any given time, what factors affect performance, and some common troubleshooting tips.
Now it’s time to optimize! Follow the diagnostic and troubleshooting tips provided, and start to experiment with solutions. If you need any help whatsoever, reach out to us at _________. We would be happy to help you optimize your home network!