General Question

futurelaker88's avatar

Will having multiple IDLE devices connected to a router still slow it down?

Asked by futurelaker88 (1595 points ) December 30th, 2013

If i have say 10 devices in the house that all connect to wifi, does leaving them connected slow down the internet for active devices even if they are idle (asleep)? Or does it only matter how much bandwidth they are actually using at the moment?

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7 Answers

filmfann's avatar

Mostly routers don’t handle 10 devices at once, at least the ones I am aware of, mostly.
If they are sleeping, they might occasionally ping your system, but they shouldn’t cause much of a slow down in service. I think the exception here is the iPhones, which do continue to run programs, even when they appear to be asleep.
We have an iPhone, 2 computers, and 2 tablets here. Right now, the iPhone, a tablet, and both computers are on, and one tablet is sleeping. We have good service, but this is a pretty good modem/router (300). You can go bigger, or smaller, and that will change your service.

futurelaker88's avatar

yeah, it will start to become (and already has) a serious issue, the more devices homes tend to hold. With smart tv’s, blu ray players, apple tv, ps4/xbox, ipads, phones, ipods, laptops, computers, etc. 10 devices suddenly doesn’t seem like a lot. Imagine kids with computers and ipods and phones. 3 kids is already almost 9 devices!! Even if its less per child, your tv connects, your blu ray player does, your phone, your ipad/tablet/kindle, roku, I have probably 10 devices with a 3 person family. and I find it annoying to run around taking ipads and ipods and phones off wifi for fear of slowing down something that needs bandwidth (netflix).

Judi's avatar

Just my husband and I and we have 2 iPhones, 2 iPads, 1 laptop, 1 Mac, 1 PC, 1 xbox, and 1 smart TV. When the grand kids are here they have iPods and their parents have iPhones.
This was a great question.

futurelaker88's avatar

@Judi This is my point exactly!! So do us “normal” people with devices, shut off wifi on a regular basis, or is this something we don’t have to worry about, because the tech works itself out? I shut off my phone’s wifi and my ipad everytime i put them down, thinking leaving it on is bogging down the connection. I’m a little OCD, lol but I would love peace of mind, that I don’t have to do that.

Judi's avatar

@futurelaker88 , I have no idea. That’s why I think it’s a great question and I’ll wait for more answers to supplement the excellent answers already offered.

funkdaddy's avatar

A couple of things here

- you’ve got it pretty much right with the second scenario, the bandwidth of your internet connection is the limiting factor, not the router (at least in most home setups)
– if you’re curious, on most routers you can view logs that will tell you exactly what device is connecting outside your network and to where (usually it will list an IP address). It may not tell you exactly how much data is being transferred, but some do
– as far as wireless connections, you’re not limited to a certain number of devices like you are with physical ports on the router. Sometimes the router is configured to only allow x connections, but that can be changed really easily (search “change IP range” for your router in google). There’s usually an upper limit depending on basic IP settings, but it’s hundreds of devices (usually 255).

So, short answer, idle devices might have a minimal impact on how much of your internet connection is available, but unless they’re downloading something (software updates for example) there’s no overhead just for being connected. Nothing gets “reserved” by a device other than an address. On a broadband connection there’s really no reason to power them down or disconnect when you’re done.

futurelaker88's avatar

@funkdaddy perfect answer. that’s exactly what i wanted to confirm. Thanks a lot.

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