General Question

gasman's avatar

Can my wireless hub-router handle a houseful?

Asked by gasman (11160 points ) September 23rd, 2012

Technical Jellies: How many users can share a home wi-fi network before it’s noticeably slow?

Next week my wife & I will be hosting a houseful of visitors from France, maybe 8 or 10 lodging in our home in connection with a “sister city” event.

I have a single broadband connection from Comcast via cable modem, connected to an Apple AirPort Extreme 802.11n (4th Generation) hub-router, about two years old. The wi-fi network has “WPA/WPA 2 personal” security. Although it’s dual-band I only use 2.4 Ghz, which gives pretty good coverage through our house.

I googled “speed test” and ran three different free apps. My connection clocks out around 35 Mbps download, 6 upload. On Sunday morning, if that matters.

We’ve had 2 or 3 laptop users connected to our network simultaneously without any problems but never had to handle as many as 8 or 10 users at once. Any way to know in advance how it will work? What else can we do short-term?

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5 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

Unless everyone spends their time watching streaming video, you will be fine. For most purposes, the Internet is slower than your cable connection and your WiFi.

jerv's avatar

Precisely so. Many coffee shops and other public access wifi hotspots use the same sort of router as most households.

As @jaytkay says, the weak link is actually your internet connection, but even that isn’t much of a limit unless people start streaming video or doing file-sharing. Normal surfing takes up little bandwidth and thus won’t be a problem. Even then, your connection is 5 times faster than mine and I have few issues with 2–3 devices on my network at a time.

YARNLADY's avatar

If they are gamers, you might have a problem. For the normal internet use, probably not.

RocketGuy's avatar

Most routers are smart enough to divvy up bandwidth. Netflix needs at least 2 Mbps per user. Web browsing maybe 1 Mbps per user.

gasman's avatar

Thanks to all for answering. Sounds like I can cross that off the worry list…

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