How many wireless clients do routers support?

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by Thatguy, May 24, 2012.

  1. Thatguy

    Thatguy Occasional Visitor

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    I've recently been in 3 locations where once a certain number of clients access a wireless router (not bridged, not strictly AP) another client gets disconnected from the network. This seems to be happening more and more.

    Location 1: Linksys wrt110

    HW - 1 PC

    Wireless - 2 Droids, Ipad, netbook, laptop

    Symptom - When all 5 are connected wirelessly someone gets the boot. It has actually completely locked up the router in some instances and a hard reset was required (power cycle did squat).

    Location 2: Belkin f5d8231-4 v2

    HW -3 desktops and a roku box
    Wireless - roku box, laptop, xbox, itouch

    HW devices are always fine. When 4 or 5+ clients connect someone gets the boot

    Location 3: ubee ddw3611

    No HW

    Wireless - Wii, droid, iphone, Mac, netbook

    Disconnects when 4 of 5 (typically) are connected.

    The ISP is not the issue as they don't limit connected devices but the clients are NAT'd anyways so that shouldn't matter.

    The documentation on all of these devices fails to show max # of clients or max simultaneous connections. At first I thought the clients were hammering the connections and just hit a maximum number of simultaneous connections that the wireless routers could handle but that doesn't seem to be the case. In each situation it's just accessing the routers when the users are on minor web sites (google, yahoo) that boots them off.

    I've also found zero documentation (on any wireless router or AP) that has a max # of clients per for a wireless device.

    Obviously you can theoretically have 253 devices connected to these but that's clearly not a real world situation (I would never expect a wireless router/AP to support more than 20 clients, but 10-15 should be attainable).

    So I guess i'm looking for some assistance here. What are you guys also seeing when connecting multiple devices? Especially consumption devices like droids, iphones, tables etc..? Is it typical for these lower end routers to have a max # of clients and to not have that documentation anywhere?

    I'm also not looking to rock Tomato or DD-WRT as and i'd rather not go out to there and flash routers when I can just point them in the right direction to buy the right product.

    I'm just looking for some simple answers to a simple problem really but the supporting documentation doesn't seem to exist and I really have no one else to bounce this off of so I figured i'd see what some other pros have seen with similar situations.

    2 further points:

    1) I'm not a moron and I didn't originally setup the networks but did reset them all up after I was asked for assistance

    2) I've done good troubleshooting: hard resets and re-setup with new SSID's, broadcasting in mixed and just G mode, changed all channels to either 1,6 or 11 but overlap from other AP or interference from other devices is not an issue and turned off security.

    I've done this in all locations with zero improvements or results. The only conclusion that i've come to is that a lot of these "lower end" wireless routers have a max # of clients that they are not documenting. I'm just looking for a little confirmation from some peers is all.
     
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  3. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

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    Do you have 3 WiFi routers in use with one WAN connection (ISP)?
    How is the WAN modem (or other?) connected to these?
    Is there more than one DHCP server?
    Are there 3 NATing routers going to a single WAN public IP address?
     
  4. overdrive31

    overdrive31 Senior Member

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    Sounds like DHCP conflict...do you have any manually set client side static addresses setup, specifically IPeez that exist in the DHCP pool? Client side manually set static addresses must exist outside the DHCP pool at all times. If this is your problem you can try DHCP reservation static addresses instead if you don't want to change the address they currently use.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  5. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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  6. Thatguy

    Thatguy Occasional Visitor

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    @ stevech These are 3 separate locations that happened about 2 months from each other with all 3 having nothing to do with the other.

    @ overdrive It is certainly not a DHCP issue, even when I forced static IP's it did the same thing. Plus, that's rookie stuff homeboy. :)

    @ TH - that was my conclusion, it had to be. Just needed further confirmation from others. It's odd that these routers don't specify that. It'd be nice if the documentation would provide that information. I'm consistently seeing people buying the $40 or $50 routers and trying to hook up 5-10 devices with nothing but issues and just general web browsing. Thanks for the link
     
  7. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Let me see if I can get any info from my manf contacts.
     
  8. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Cisco says they currently test their consumer routers (E and EA series) for up to 64 simultaneous clients. No spec for this, though.
     
  9. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

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    It's my understanding that the WiFi access point/router limitations is in the number of active Associations... not to be confused with TCP/IP connections.

    I also recall that the IEEE 802.11 standards, nor the WiFi Alliance "recommendations", state what to do if there are resouces for n associations and n+1 comes along. I know that some products disassociate the oldest/inactive client. This has the problem that a bad guy can jam out the access point by faking lots of associations with different MAC addresses.

    But I suppose the behavior is irregular among products.
     
  10. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Buffalo says it has no hard limit on number of wireless clients. But recommends 12 per band based on bandwidth considerations.
     
  11. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    NETGEAR also has no spec for max wireless clients. But they say one of their internal interference tests uses 13 simultaneously-connected clients.
     
  12. Thatguy

    Thatguy Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks Tim - if that's the case then some of these crappy or older products simply can't support more than 5 or 6 devices. I just find it odd that I had these random incidents because it seems obvious to me that it was simply max number of clients after all my troubleshooting yet no documentation existed.

    Hopefully the newer products take all these consumption devices as common and spec for them appropriately.
     
  13. JoeJoe

    JoeJoe Regular Contributor

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    I have used Linksys WRT54G (stock/ddwrt/tomato) and Netgear routers, never had a problem with 10+ clients connecting.

    Sometimes a bad client can causes problems for all.

    Test the connections for all by running a continual ping to the main router from all devices, look at the logs.
     
  14. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    That thought had crossed my mind. But how would one bad client cause all to disassociate?
     
  15. Thatguy

    Thatguy Occasional Visitor

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    updated location 2 to a cisco 4200 and all issues went away. All clients can connect no issues even when hammering connection. Before was only if client connected, never even had to access Internet.

    Location 1 is cheap and "will deal with it"

    Going to location 3 this weekend to get the skinny, had him disconnect from TW and call, got a new router-modem(their combo units) and now he says every things fine with all devices. Asked what kind he got and he told me black;.... i'll look at it.

    At the end of the day my suspicions I believe were correct. Undocumented max number of clients on low end/crappy routers.
     
  16. Thatguy

    Thatguy Occasional Visitor

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    I also have a wgrt54g running Tomato and/or stock and have never had any issues connecting 10+ clients
     

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