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These days, it’s not just our laptops and mobile phones that require an internet connection. It’s also the smart devices in our homes that need connectivity. Your Smart security system is useless without one as is your Smart TV. Add to the list all the guests you may have over, and that’s a whole lot of devices that’ll need connecting. So, understandably you may ask: “How many devices can I connect to a router?”

Well, to answer it plainly, hundreds! Theoretically speaking, you can connect any number of devices you like. Whether you should is entirely another matter.

For instance, many routers and access points can handle up to 250 devices over a Wi-Fi network, but when the bandwidth gets divided, you’ll end up with hardly any speed to do anything useful. So, the thing you should bear in mind is there is an optimal number of devices you can connect to a single router. Finding the magic number however can be a bit tricky so, if you’re ready we’ll get into it.

Factors Impacting the Number of Devices You Can Connect

To find the optimal number of devices you can connect to a router, you must take into consideration the following:

As a general rule, experts recommend not to connect any more than 45 devices over a Wi-Fi network. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right number for you. For every individual or household, the number varies―depending on the above-stated factors.

How is Internet Used in Your Household?

Usually, while an individual may have 2-3 connected devices, they end up using only one at a time. For example, you may watch a movie on your laptop and not use your smartphone at all. Or, even if you do keep it connected, its for nothing more than checking notifications. If that’s how everyone in the family uses the internet, you should not really have to worry about the number of devices connected to the router. Because wireless routers in common use these days are able to handle light to heavy online activities in a household scenario pretty seamlessly.

What you do however need to look at is your usage. If internet consumption exceeds the limitations of your connection―in terms of the number of connected devices and nature of internet activities―that will only lead to a poor quality internet experience.

What is Your Internet Plan Like?

Each plan comes with a specific bandwidth allotted to you. If you’re subscribed to a plan that is expected to deliver 200 Mbps download speed, that means the max amount of data you can transmit or receive at any given time is 25 MB/s. So, the more devices you connect, the more it will get divided.

In case, all devices on Wi-Fi are regularly engaged in data-intense activities like streaming 4K content and online gaming, your internet plan must be able to support that. For instance―the 1 Gbps WOW! Internet plan―which can easily support such activities on multiple devices alongside standard usage. 

With a near accurate estimate of internet consumption in your home―in terms of the number of users/devices and the type of usage―you can judge how many devices the internet connection can support. And, the number of devices connected to your router must not exceed that―if you are to have a seamless experience.

How Capable is Your Wireless Router?

What Speeds Does it Support?

Generally speaking, your wireless router must fulfill the pre-requisites of being compatible with your provider’s service, as well as with the speed tier you are subscribed to.

For instance, if you are subscribed to Spectrum Internet® Ultra, which gets you up to 400 Mbps download speeds, NETGEAR DOCSIS 3.0 1.75 Gbps, 2-in-1 Cable Modem Wi-Fi Router is an ideal choice. Whereas if you’ve signed up for the 200 Mbps speed tier offered by Spectrum, NETGEAR DOCSIS 3.0 1.2 Gbps, 2-in-1 Cable Modem Wi-Fi Router would do a great job. Cox Internet subscribers can also use the above-mentioned devices to support the Internet Preferred plan which delivers up to 150 Mbps download speeds.

Once again, you see how the ability of your wireless router is directly linked with the internet provider-plan you are subscribed to. Meaning, the number of devices you’ll be able to optimally connect to the router must remain in line with the capacity of your internet connection.

Is it Single, Dual, or Tri-Band?

Additional factors such as the available frequency bands on your wireless router also play a role in how many devices can be optimally connected simultaneously.

Routers in common use these days are dual band―meaning you have 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. You can connect over either―depending on the nature of activities you are conducting.

The two bands differ in the speed they are able to support―while the 2.4GHz band is good enough for speeds up to 150 Mbps, the 5GHz band supports speeds up to 1 Gbps. So, depending on what activities the various devices in your home are used for, you can allocate the right band to each, without crowding only one. This way you will be able to draw maximum advantage from your internet connection and the wireless router.   

Some things to keep in mind are―the 2.4GHz band has a longer range compared to its counterpart, there are still some devices which connect only via the 2.4GHz band, and this band is more prone to external interference. Plus, you must know having a dual or tri-band router will not do anything which your internet connection is not capable of delivering―you can only maximize the output of a compatible router by using the right bands.

How Many Devices Can Connect to WiFi?

As we have said earlier, the number of devices you can connect to your router is not something you can determine without taking into account the internet plan you are on. The power that feeds the router is the internet service―and while you can maximize the output of your connection by using the right wireless router, the number of devices you can optimally connect will remain limited to what your internet plan supports.

Max. Download Speed

25 Mbps

50 Mbps

 

100 Mbps

 

1 Gbps

 

Online Activity

·   Web surfing, emails

·   Moderate video watching

 

·   HD streaming

·   Online gaming

·   4K streaming

·   4K gameplay  

 

·   4K streaming

·   Competitive gaming  

·   Smart home security

 

Number of devices

Can handle up to 2 devices

 

Can handle up to 3 devices

 

Can handle up to 4 devices  

Can handle 10 devices  

 

How to Get the Most from Your Network

Before we go, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your Wi-Fi network:

Fix a second access point

This will help distribute the load on the network and let you connect devices without compromising on the quality of the connection. Mesh Wi-Fi systems are great for this purpose so make sure to check out Xfinity Internet plans. Or, if that isn’t for you and you’re wondering “can I attach a router to a router”, then the answer is yes! So if you have an extra router at home, get connecting!

Upgrade your Router

If you own an older model of a router, buy a new one. Preferably one that is the dual or triple band. Then you can shift devices to appropriate bands and optimize the output.

Upgrade Your Internet Plan

If you reach the conclusion, the reason why you are unable to connect as many devices as you now need to, is the internet connection you have, get a fresh evaluation of your requirements, and upgrade to a higher speed plan. Unless the power that feeds your network, is sufficient, you can achieve little.

Final Words

See, it’s not that hard. Just understanding how it all works is helpful. Armed with this knowledge you will know exactly how many devices you should connect and how you can improve your connectivity. So go ahead and get your home Wi-Fi set up with all the devices your internet plan allows you―make the best of your plan and your internet equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many devices can you connect to a router?

Theoretically, you can connect about 250, but experts suggest you not connect more than 45. For best output, the number of devices must be limited to what your speed plan allows.

Can too many devices on WiFi slow down the internet?

Yes. You only have limited bandwidth available for use so if you connect too many devices to the router, the Wi-Fi speed will slow down.

A 25 Mbps connection can support how many devices?

If you have a 25 Mbps connection you can connect more up to 2 devices with ease.