Internet, Networking, & Security Home Networking 623 623 people found this article helpful How Many Devices Can Connect to One Wireless Router? You can use more devices at once than you think . . . probably by Bradley Mitchell Writer An MIT graduate who brings years of technical experience to articles on SEO, computers, and wireless networking. our editorial process LinkedIn Bradley Mitchell Updated on April 15, 2020 reviewed by Jerrick Leger Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Jerrick Leger is a CompTIA-certified IT Specialist with more than 10 years' experience in technical support and IT fields. He is also owns an IT firm in Texas serving small businesses. our review board Article reviewed on Feb 13, 2020 Jerrick Leger The Wireless Connection The Wireless Connection Introduction All About Wireless What Does Wireless Really Mean? 802.11 Standards Explained The Range Of A Wireless Network Dual-Band Wireless Networking Explained How Bluetooth Works With Wireless Measure It: Wi-Fi Signal Strength What Is A Wi-Fi Hotspot? The Best Wi-Fi Channels For Your Network Access Your Router As An Administrator 5 Tips for Securing A Wireless Network How Many Devices Can Connect To One Wireless Router? How To Connect At Home How to Name Your Wireless Network How to Change Your Wireless Router's Admin Password Change the Wi-Fi Channel Number to Avoid Interference Build a Wireless Home Network Use Wireless Speakers In Home Theater Connect Your Echo & Alexa To Wi-Fi Connect Google Home to Wi-Fi Wirelessly Connect An iPad To Your TV Use a Free Firewall Program How To Connect On The Go How to Find Free Wi-Fi Locations Get 4G or 3G on Your Laptop Connect To Wi-Fi in Your Car Get Wireless Internet Access in a Hotel Use Your Android As A Wi-Fi Hotspot Set Up Personal Hotspot On Your iPhone Connect Nintendo Switch To Bluetooth Headphones Connect To A Wireless Network With Windows Access Your Computer Remotely How to Troubleshoot Wireless Issues 7 Reasons Wi-Fi Connections Drop Disable Automatic Wireless Connections on Windows How to Hack-proof Your Wireless Router How to Fix OS X Bluetooth Wireless Problems What to Do When Google Home Won't Connect To Wi-Fi How to Hide Your Wireless Network Can't Connect To The Internet? Try This What to Do When There's No Internet Connection The Future of Wireless 5G Changes Everything How 4G And 5G Are Different Why 5G Really Is Faster All About 5G Cell Towers 5G Challenges: Why It Isn't Rolling Out Faster Is 5G The High-Speed Replacement for Cable? When 5G Is Coming to the US The 12 Best 5G Phones Coming in 2019 Tweet Share Email Computers and other devices on a network share a finite capacity of resources, and that's true for wired and wireless (Wi-Fi) networks. When you connect a laptop, a couple of PCs, and some smartphones to your network, it's harder to stream Netflix or Hulu on your TV. That's because as more devices connect to a network, it takes more bandwidth. The router determines where capacity is needed and where it's being used the most. It then pulls indiscriminately to keep all devices working at some level. Daniel Fishel / Lifewire How Many Devices Can Connect to a Router? Most home networks and public Wi-Fi hotspots function with a single wireless access point (a broadband router in the case of home networking). Conversely, business computer networks install multiple access points to expand their wireless network coverage to a larger physical area. Each access point has limits for the number of connections and the amount of network load it can handle. By integrating multiple access points into a larger network, the overall scale is increased. Theoretical Limits of Wi-Fi Network Scaling Many individual wireless routers and other access points can support up to approximately 250 connected devices. From a wired perspective, routers can accommodate a small number (usually between one and four) of wired Ethernet clients with the rest connected over wireless. The speed rating of access points represents the maximum theoretical network bandwidth each can support. A Wi-Fi router rated at 300 Mbps with 100 devices connected, for example, can only offer, on average, 3 Mbps to each (300/100=3). If you're not sure what your router can support, do a web search for the model number, and you should be able to find it that way. Most people only use their network connection occasionally, and a router shifts its available bandwidth to the devices that need it. Those shifts depend on what a particular device needs at a particular time. Practical Limits of Wi-Fi Network Scaling Most people don't have anywhere near the maximum number of devices a typical router can hold. That's a good thing, because connecting 250 devices to a single Wi-Fi access point, while theoretically possible, is not feasible for a few reasons. Administrators often keep limits in place to keep the routers and networks running reliably. On home networks, all devices typically share a single internet connection. The performance degrades as more devices join the network and use it simultaneously. Even a handful of active devices streaming video or downloading files can quickly max out a shared internet link. Access points overheat and stop working when operating at extreme loads for extended periods, even if handling only local traffic and not accessing the internet. A large number of Wi-Fi devices concentrated in close physical proximity, like a home or office building, generates wireless signal interference. Radio interference among Wi-Fi devices degrades network performance (due to frequent re-broadcasting of messages that fail to reach their destination) and eventually causes connection drops. Some home routers include a feature that allows administrators to control the number of clients that can simultaneously connect. Many Linksys routers, for example, set a default maximum of 50 devices. How to Maximize Your Network's Potential Installing a second router or access point on a home network can help distribute the network load. By adding more access points to the network, any number of devices can be supported. However, this makes the network progressively more challenging to manage. Something else you can do if you have one or more routers that support a large number of devices is to increase the bandwidth available to each simultaneously connected device by upping your subscription with your ISP. For example, if your network devices and internet subscription download at 1 Gbps, having 50 devices connected at once lets each device consume up to 20 megabits of data per second. Some people use mesh networks to improve wireless network coverage in their homes. These networks provide better coverage because they consist of interlocked routers that supply internet coverage over a broad area, which most traditional, single router networks can't offer.