Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/183488/is-there-a-limit-on-the-number-of-devices-a-router-can-concurrently-handle/
If you are purchasing a new router for a household with a high number of devices, you might wonder if it can handle all those devices concurrently without a problem. Today’s SuperUser Q&A post looks at the debate a reader is facing as he gets ready to purchase a new router for a heavy-usage household.
Most limit wireless connections to 16 or 17 I think?
I have ran into that problem before where no more devices can connect.
I haven't run into any hard limits on the number of concurrently-connected devices, but I have run into limitations on MAC filtering & DHCP reservations. Most SOHO routers have an upper limit of 32 entries in the MAC filter and/or DHCP reservations tables. This can be problematic if you're really strict about MAC filtering and IP address assignment - after you've authorized all the WiFi devices for a few family get-togethers, the tables fill up pretty quick.
There's a clear upper limit simply based on the logic limitations for IP addressing - an IP address today nearly always consists of four octets (8-bit numbers), represented by 'a.b.c.d'. The maximum number that can be represent by 8 bits is 255. So the last octet, 'd' above, can address 256 devices. 0 is reserved, and the router uses one of those addresses, so 253 addresses can be generated by the router's DHCP service, i.e., 192.168.1.1 through 192.168.1.253. The router is most commonly at 192.168.1.254, while 192.168.1.255 is reserved for other functions (that i don't think are really used much any more, but no one uses them as addresses for devices.) Of course, traffic, MAC authorization tables mentioned elsewhere, and other things will likely kill your performance and growth capability long before you add a couple hundred devices. Too many connections will make your router slow-down, drop packets, refuse connections, and generally act in unhappy-making ways.
I would assume that the theoretical maximum concurrent connections for the average consumer-grade (SoHo) router is 253 ie the niumber of additional available IP addresses on a /24 subnet mask.
After that, it's down to the design ie firmware, and is usually specified in a user guide/manual.
On my ancient 3Com G wireless router, maximum DHCP clients is 253, maximum WLAN clients is 128.
On my (less ancient) Belkin N wireless router, maximum DHCP clents is 100, but only 16 WLAN clients!
From a practical view, my house is full of wired and wireless devices (some have both). A few laptops, some DVD players, TIVO, WII, a smart TV, 4 smartphones, a tablet, a number of switches, a couple desktops, a few printers. Biggest issue is reserving IP addresses for the printers. I probably have at least a few dozen potential connections.
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