How many wifi devices is too many?

banz

Occasional Visitor
I have aimesh setup with 1 router and 1 node. Used to have a total of 3 nodes but I think it was causing more problems with connectivity.
Running the latest merlin firmware.
  • Reboot once a week
  • ~15 wifi camera devices
  • ~20 pcs/phones/laptops
  • ~10 IOT
  • Around 20 wifi clients connected to 1 router and another 10 to the aimesh node
  • CPU low utilization on the main router
  • Just 1 guest network isolation on 2.4G and 5G + 2.4G enabled.
  • 1 router on 2nd floor and mesh node on 1st floor. Under 2000sqft
  • WAN is not saturated
  • 2.4G and 5G does not overlap with the neighbors

I'm hardwired most of the time and sitting very closed to router so I don't see any issues. However guest / family complains that internet is unstable and it drops out every now and again. I do occasionally see video streaming buffer taking longer or dropping quality. However everything else seems okay for me.

Might be my imagination but it does feel like the more wifi devices I add to the network, the more it suffer. Am I saturating the wifi bandwidth?

Been using asus merlin for years and I really don't want to go back to pfsense. Is it possible that the router is just unable to cope with these many wifi clients? Since cpu is low, I don't know if moving to faster hardware will make any difference?
 

banz

Occasional Visitor
If I look at the signal strength for the devices. They all look pretty healthy.
 

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OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I have aimesh setup with 1 router and 1 node. Used to have a total of 3 nodes but I think it was causing more problems with connectivity.
Running the latest merlin firmware.
  • Reboot once a week
  • ~15 wifi camera devices
  • ~20 pcs/phones/laptops
  • ~10 IOT
  • Around 20 wifi clients connected to 1 router and another 10 to the aimesh node
  • CPU low utilization on the main router
  • Just 1 guest network isolation on 2.4G and 5G + 2.4G enabled.
  • 1 router on 2nd floor and mesh node on 1st floor. Under 2000sqft
  • WAN is not saturated
  • 2.4G and 5G does not overlap with the neighbors

I'm hardwired most of the time and sitting very closed to router so I don't see any issues. However guest / family complains that internet is unstable and it drops out every now and again. I do occasionally see video streaming buffer taking longer or dropping quality. However everything else seems okay for me.

Might be my imagination but it does feel like the more wifi devices I add to the network, the more it suffer. Am I saturating the wifi bandwidth?

Been using asus merlin for years and I really don't want to go back to pfsense. Is it possible that the router is just unable to cope with these many wifi clients? Since cpu is low, I don't know if moving to faster hardware will make any difference?

Faster than what?

I would focus on the client(s) reporting issues and ask what could be the issue with them. And look for radio interference from any device using radio on the band(?) with trouble.

Do you use the router USB 3.0 port?

Do you use same SSIDs... maybe you could segment traffic on different SSIDs/bands.

OE
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
There are many factors involved in determining whether you are running out of bandwidth.

Are the problem devices connected to the root or leaf mesh node?
Are the mesh devices dual radio or tri-radio (2nd 5 GHz radio).
If two radio, keep in mind the mesh connection competes for the same bandwidth as client devices, so adds to airtime use.

A large number of IDLE client devices don't use a lot of bandwidth.
 

Kingp1n

Very Senior Member
I have aimesh setup with 1 router and 1 node. Used to have a total of 3 nodes but I think it was causing more problems with connectivity.
Running the latest merlin firmware.
  • Reboot once a week
  • ~15 wifi camera devices
  • ~20 pcs/phones/laptops
  • ~10 IOT
  • Around 20 wifi clients connected to 1 router and another 10 to the aimesh node
  • CPU low utilization on the main router
  • Just 1 guest network isolation on 2.4G and 5G + 2.4G enabled.
  • 1 router on 2nd floor and mesh node on 1st floor. Under 2000sqft
  • WAN is not saturated
  • 2.4G and 5G does not overlap with the neighbors

I'm hardwired most of the time and sitting very closed to router so I don't see any issues. However guest / family complains that internet is unstable and it drops out every now and again. I do occasionally see video streaming buffer taking longer or dropping quality. However everything else seems okay for me.

Might be my imagination but it does feel like the more wifi devices I add to the network, the more it suffer. Am I saturating the wifi bandwidth?

Been using asus merlin for years and I really don't want to go back to pfsense. Is it possible that the router is just unable to cope with these many wifi clients? Since cpu is low, I don't know if moving to faster hardware will make any difference?
What asus models are you using as the primary and node? Have you tried removing the node and noticed this issues as well only with the primary router?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
What router(s)? What firmware, specifically? Wired or wireless backhaul?

In a normal home, a single (current) router (properly placed and configured) is more than enough for less than a 2,000 SqFt area.

Turn off the node and see if the complaints go away.

Move your main router to a more central location (not physically, but rather, central to the bulk of the wireless devices in use). Note that inches may make a difference here, as can the orientation of the routers and the antennae (make small changes and keep good notes on your changes and be sure to 'test' with multiple client devices in multiple areas (that are 'normal' for them to be in) too).

What are your ISP speeds? Are they symmetrical up/down?

For most consumer routers, you can have 32 clients connected wirelessly, per Radio. Are you using a single SSID for both bands? Try with a new SSID on a Guest Network.

Use the slower 2.4GHz band for the IoT devices by not giving them a choice to connect to the 5GHz band.

Use the 5GHz band for actual wireless mobile devices.

Again, I'll repeat: don't use a node if it's not needed. If you must use a node, use a wired backhaul and set the two routers as physically distant from the other as possible.

Almost all L&LD Links

From the link above,

AiMesh Ideal Placement
 

heysoundude

Very Senior Member
even if all those cams are 720p at less than 24fps, that's still quite a bit of wireless traffic.
same for your IoT stuff: they're usually busy pinging each other and calling home/the mothership, never mind what they may be streaming to you
if router and mesh are communicating over the same airwaves rather than an ethernet backhaul, you've quite the busy piece of the ether, whatever wireless channel(s) you're using.
if wireless backhaul - is that channel experiencing interference from the neighbours?
this is just the start, as @thiggins noted above - you may need to subnet your cameras together and your IoT devices on another to clear paths for the computers/phones to be wireless...and then bind certain devices to specific places on the mesh.

Here's a simple link to get a picture of everything going on https://www.highspeedinternet.com/resources/how-does-wi-fi-work - the link on that page "how wifi devices technically connect" should help clarify just how busy your airwaves are, and hopefully (perhaps) clarify some of the stuff I've said above
when I started figuring all this stuff out, I started wiring as much stuff to routers/switches as possible, especially if they're "mission critical" and can't not connect or have good speed. bought the tool to crimp ethernet cables, a 1000' box of Cat5e...
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
  • ~15 wifi camera devices
  • ~20 pcs/phones/laptops
  • ~10 IOT

The wifi cameras can kill your airtime in a big way if they are constantly running - if they are on the same channel/band as your other users, you likely will get some complaints about poor performance.

laptops/phones/tablets - not so much, pretty typical for an N450 class router or better, should be "good enough"

IoT - 10 devices usually isn't an issue.
 

banz

Occasional Visitor
Faster than what?

I would focus on the client(s) reporting issues and ask what could be the issue with them. And look for radio interference from any device using radio on the band(?) with trouble.

Do you use the router USB 3.0 port?

Do you use same SSIDs... maybe you could segment traffic on different SSIDs/bands.

OE
Yes, I use usb 3.0 port with an usb hub to power some devices like raspberry pi.

I have 3 SSID. Two on 2.4G and 1 on 5G.

I've seen the issue and it's really odd. WAN is not saturated at all and I start seeing high 1000-2000ms ping on the 5G network when there isn't much traffic going on. CPU on router is low and no process on the router is hogging the cpu. Usually a reboot of the router fixes the issue or it just goes away by itself.

I would also see problems where the hardwired clients are working but all wifi devices shows it's connected but no WAN services. It would also fix itself or if I don't want to wait. I just reboot the router.
 

banz

Occasional Visitor
There are many factors involved in determining whether you are running out of bandwidth.

Are the problem devices connected to the root or leaf mesh node?
Are the mesh devices dual radio or tri-radio (2nd 5 GHz radio).
If two radio, keep in mind the mesh connection competes for the same bandwidth as client devices, so adds to airtime use.

A large number of IDLE client devices don't use a lot of bandwidth.

The mesh device uses ethernet backhaul.

I suspect the cameras are idle. They only connect to AWS and upload small clips whenever they detect motion/person. Rest of the time they are just recording to local sdcard.

Whenever I get a wifi outage or high latency (when I ping the router from the wifi devices). It usually fixes itself and there is very little WAN traffic. I suspect there is something wrong with the router hence why the WAN traffic is tiny and the latency shoots up to 2000ms between the clients and router. However this usually happens on the 5G only where there are much less clients.
 

banz

Occasional Visitor
What asus models are you using as the primary and node? Have you tried removing the node and noticed this issues as well only with the primary router?
I'm using ac68p and ac86u (primary). I first started with the ac86u only. I don't recall seeing as much problem with just 1 primary router. However it has many dead spots in the house and the signal is too weak in some areas hence why I started adding more nodes.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Whenever I get a wifi outage or high latency (when I ping the router from the wifi devices). It usually fixes itself and there is very little WAN traffic.
When you ping are the devices with high latency associated with the root node or the leaf?
 

banz

Occasional Visitor
What router(s)? What firmware, specifically? Wired or wireless backhaul?

In a normal home, a single (current) router (properly placed and configured) is more than enough for less than a 2,000 SqFt area.

Turn off the node and see if the complaints go away.

Move your main router to a more central location (not physically, but rather, central to the bulk of the wireless devices in use). Note that inches may make a difference here, as can the orientation of the routers and the antennae (make small changes and keep good notes on your changes and be sure to 'test' with multiple client devices in multiple areas (that are 'normal' for them to be in) too).

What are your ISP speeds? Are they symmetrical up/down?

For most consumer routers, you can have 32 clients connected wirelessly, per Radio. Are you using a single SSID for both bands? Try with a new SSID on a Guest Network.

Use the slower 2.4GHz band for the IoT devices by not giving them a choice to connect to the 5GHz band.

Use the 5GHz band for actual wireless mobile devices.

Again, I'll repeat: don't use a node if it's not needed. If you must use a node, use a wired backhaul and set the two routers as physically distant from the other as possible.

Almost all L&LD Links

From the link above,

AiMesh Ideal Placement
ac86u and ac68p. All on 386.3_2. Wired backhaul.
I started with 1 router only but it had troubles reaching the edge of the house and the outside. I needed wifi outside as there are wireless cameras.

Have 1 router/mesh node on each floor. They are both in the central of the house. Well one of the mesh node is badly placed which is behind a TV in a wall hole.

My WAN speed isn't a problem, seems to be latency between the wifi clients and the router. My wan is only 200 down and 10 up. When I see problems with the wifi, it's usually when I have guest over and they add another 5-10 devices to the network. I start seeing high latency between the router and the clients of up to 2000ms. Or the clients starts dropping and unable to reconnect. But it usually resolve itself fine. I'm always hardwired so I don't see any problems, I just hear them from my family and friends when they are on wifi.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
What are your ISP speeds? Are your speeds symmetrical up/down?

You may have missed this post.


Can you give us a diagram of how the network is set up in relation to the home areas needing coverage?

The RT-AX68U is a worthy contender for upgrading your network with a (possibility) of a single router.

Report - 2x RT-AX68U upgrade over 2x RT-AC86U in wireless backhaul mode

Report - 2x RT-AX68U upgrade - Followup questions/answers
 

banz

Occasional Visitor
When you ping are the devices with high latency associated with the root node or the leaf?
It's with the root node. I actually never tried pinging the leaf nor have I checked whether they are connected to leaf or root node. Hmm I guess I should find that out.
 

banz

Occasional Visitor
even if all those cams are 720p at less than 24fps, that's still quite a bit of wireless traffic.
same for your IoT stuff: they're usually busy pinging each other and calling home/the mothership, never mind what they may be streaming to you
if router and mesh are communicating over the same airwaves rather than an ethernet backhaul, you've quite the busy piece of the ether, whatever wireless channel(s) you're using.
if wireless backhaul - is that channel experiencing interference from the neighbours?
this is just the start, as @thiggins noted above - you may need to subnet your cameras together and your IoT devices on another to clear paths for the computers/phones to be wireless...and then bind certain devices to specific places on the mesh.

Here's a simple link to get a picture of everything going on https://www.highspeedinternet.com/resources/how-does-wi-fi-work - the link on that page "how wifi devices technically connect" should help clarify just how busy your airwaves are, and hopefully (perhaps) clarify some of the stuff I've said above
when I started figuring all this stuff out, I started wiring as much stuff to routers/switches as possible, especially if they're "mission critical" and can't not connect or have good speed. bought the tool to crimp ethernet cables, a 1000' box of Cat5e...

One problem I noticed with guest network / yazfi and aimesh node.

All the wifi cameras are on 2.4G as they don't support 5G. Some camera reports they are getting a 192.168.1.0/24 subnet when they are actually on the Guest isolated network of 192.168.2.0/24. I know they are not on the 192.168.1.0/24 because I cannot ping them.

I've got all my cameras + IoT on a guest isolated network 2.4G all on one SSID using Yazfi.
 

banz

Occasional Visitor
What are your ISP speeds? Are your speeds symmetrical up/down?

You may have missed this post.


Can you give us a diagram of how the network is set up in relation to the home areas needing coverage?

The RT-AX68U is a worthy contender for upgrading your network with a (possibility) of a single router.

Report - 2x RT-AX68U upgrade over 2x RT-AC86U in wireless backhaul mode

Report - 2x RT-AX68U upgrade - Followup questions/answers
ISP speed is 200 down and 10 up.

Network diagram? As in relation to the rooms, floor plan of the house?

I've been wanting to go for wifi6 as my neighbors have started to use the 5G network and they seem to have the google mesh.

I also looked into ubiquiti/unifi devices but they are getting pretty pricey. I'm waiting for my work to upgrade our ciscos AP so I might be able to get some enterprise stuff for free.

The areas that I need better coverage is actually for the exterior of my house and the garage that have wifi cameras mounted. Or whenever I want to work from the yard.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Yes, I use usb 3.0 port with an usb hub to power some devices like raspberry pi.

I have 3 SSID. Two on 2.4G and 1 on 5G.

I've seen the issue and it's really odd. WAN is not saturated at all and I start seeing high 1000-2000ms ping on the 5G network when there isn't much traffic going on. CPU on router is low and no process on the router is hogging the cpu. Usually a reboot of the router fixes the issue or it just goes away by itself.

I would also see problems where the hardwired clients are working but all wifi devices shows it's connected but no WAN services. It would also fix itself or if I don't want to wait. I just reboot the router.

Sort of sounds like radio interference or some similar breakdown in WiFi comms.

Make sure your two nodes are not on top of each other.

Make sure they are located in the clear with no radio/WiFi devices near them. The one buried by the media center sounds suspect... move it out and up to test. Beware cordless devices/peripherals like phones, headphones, mice, etc. operating on the WiFi bands.

USB 3.0 EMI can upset use of the 2.4 band... not sure about the 5.0 band.

OE
 

heysoundude

Very Senior Member
One problem I noticed with guest network / yazfi and aimesh node.

All the wifi cameras are on 2.4G as they don't support 5G. Some camera reports they are getting a 192.168.1.0/24 subnet when they are actually on the Guest isolated network of 192.168.2.0/24. I know they are not on the 192.168.1.0/24 because I cannot ping them.

I've got all my cameras + IoT on a guest isolated network 2.4G all on one SSID using Yazfi.
https://www.sput.nl/internet/netmask-table.html Scroll to the bottom for /24
go see what others are doing for config on the YazFi threads...and maybe YazDHCP might help
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
When I see problems with the wifi, it's usually when I have guest over and they add another 5-10 devices to the network.
What are those 5-10 devices doing and where (which node and which band) are they connected?
 

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