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This is the maximum number of devices that you can connect to the router

How many devices can I connect to the Internet?

We must be aware that one thing is theoretical capacity, the maximum number that a router can support on paper, and another is the practice. That is, we can connect a large number of devices to our Wi-Fi network and that everything goes well, but also connect only 4 or 5 devices and that the connection is diminished. It will depend on the contracted connection and, also, on the use that we give to the network. For example, a 20 Mbps ADSL connection is not the same as a 500 Mbps symmetric fiber connection.

Theoretically we can say that the capacity of a router is measured in the number of IP addresses that he is capable of handling. That would be, on paper, the maximum number of devices that you will be able to connect. We could say that this maximum figure is going to be 253 devices connected at the same time (both by cable and by Wi-Fi) if we use the typical subnet mask 255.255.255.0. You have to discount the IP address used by the router itself. Some routers can increase that subnet mask, but it is the usual figure for domestic ones.

Now, if we talk about maximum number that the router will actually support, the figure will be lower. In fact, some manufacturers recommend not having more than 16 devices at the same time. However, there should be no problems with exceeding that figure. Yes, we could have a lower performance.

Everything will depend on factors such as internet speed contracted, if we are by Wi-Fi or cable, the band that we use and the use that we give to the network. If, for example, we have 50 devices connected at the same time, a rate of 100 Mbps, and in all of them we are going to be browsing, the normal thing is that it slows down a lot. If we are watching a video on YouTube, for example, it does not need much. But what if we multiply that by 30 devices at the same time?

How to increase the maximum number

To avoid these problems that we mentioned, routers usually have a maximum device limit connected. It will depend on the model and configuration that you bring from the factory. However, it is something that we can modify. We may need to connect more devices at any given time.

The process is simple, although it may vary depending on the model. The steps, yes, are similar. The first thing we will have to do is enter the router configuration. For this we need to know what the default gateway is, which is usually 192.168.1.1, and enter. If you don’t know what it is, you can go to Start, go to the Command Prompt, run the ipconfig command and there you will see the gateway.

Once this is done, you will simply have to find the corresponding option on your exact model. It is usually in the Wireless, Wi-Fi or similar section. Sometimes it comes in Advanced Options. You have to find a section called Maximum Clients, Max Clients or similar.

Maximum number of devices on the router

In our example, which we have tested on the Movistar HGU router, the limit is 64 connected devices at most to the router. It is a figure that, at first, may be more than enough for most home users. But of course, we return to what we were talking about: there are more and more devices connected and we may need to increase the number.

We would simply have to put a higher figure, give it to apply the changes and save. Also, if we look for the opposite, we could put a lower figure and limit access to other devices and in this way avoid saturation and have problems navigating.

Keep in mind that we are not always going to depend on the router, since sometimes the limit of simultaneous wireless clients is given by the Wi-Fi chipset itself, so in that case we could not do anything to overcome it. The important thing will always be to use common sense and not try to connect a large number of devices at the same time.

What happens if I connect a lot of things to Wi-Fi

But what could happen if I connect many devices to the Wi-Fi router? Let’s put a probable situation, without having to go to the maximum of connecting up to 253 devices to the router. Take, for example, a situation in which we begin to connect computers, mobile phones and other devices and suddenly we see that we have 20 or 30 things connected.

The first thing is that there may be a greater slowness when sending the signal. This occurs due to CSMA / CA protocol, which makes the router, before establishing the connection and emitting the signal, check if the channel is free or not. If there are many computers connected, that process will slow down. It will cause higher latency and slow speed.

Also, it is logical to think that the bandwidth may fall short. You have to think that the maximum amount is limited and we will not be able to pretend to watch YouTube videos in 4K from 10 computers at the same time if we have 100 Mbps, for example. Therefore, the more devices connected, the more speed problems and limitations to take advantage of the bandwidth without problems.

A very important factor that will influence all this is the actual use that we give to the Connection. That is to say, it is not the same to have 20 connected devices, such as electronic books, smart light bulbs, a television, a mobile phone that we use to navigate … That, instead, five computers and all of them downloading large files from the cloud, updating systems and, in short, making very extreme use of the connection. In the latter case we would have more problems, although the amount is less.

In short, we can say that theoretically the normal thing is that we can connect up to 253 devices to the router. Now, in practice, that figure is going to be lower. It will depend on different factors, such as the contracted speed, the use we give it or the type of router, but we can say that from about 20 devices is when we could start to have real problems.

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