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Wireless Client Disconnect Multiple Scenarios

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  • Wireless
  • Connection
  • Wireless Networking
Last response: in Wireless Networking
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April 14, 2012 12:15:34 AM

With the advent of all these consumption devices; smart phones, tablets, net books, gaming systems, laptops etc... I keep seeing recurring themes at a bunch of locations.

I've recently been in 3 locations where once a certain number of clients access a wireless router (not bridged, not strictly AP) another client gets disconnected from the network. This seems to be happening more and more.

Location 1: Linksys wrt110

HW - 1 PC

Wireless - 2 Droids, Ipad, netbook, laptop

Symptom - When all 5 are connected wirelessly someone gets the boot. It has actually completely locked up the router in some instances and a hard reset was required (power cycle did squat).

Location 2: Belkin f5d8231-4 v2

HW -3 desktops and a roku box
Wireless - roku box, laptop, xbox, itouch

HW devices are always fine. When 3,4 or 5+ clients connect someone gets the boot

Location 3: ubee ddw3611

No HW

Wireless - Wii, droid, iphone, Mac, netbook

Disconnects when 4 of 5 (typically) are connected.

The ISP is not the issue as they don't limit connected devices but the clients are NAT'd anyways so that shouldn't matter.

The documentation on all of these devices fails to show max # of clients or max simultaneous connections. At first I thought the clients were hammering the connections and just hit a maximum number of simultaneous connections that the wireless routers could handle but that doesn't seem to be the case.

I've also found zero documentation (on any wireless router or AP) that has a max # of clients per for a wireless device.

Obviously you can theoretically have 253 devices connected to these but that's clearly not a real world situation (I would never expect a wireless router/AP to support more than 20 clients, but 10,15,20 should be attainable).

So I guess i'm looking for some assistance here. What are you guys also seeing when connecting multiple devices? Especially consumption devices like droids, iphones, tables etc..? Is it typical for these lower end routers to have a max # of clients and to not have that documentation anywhere?

I'm also not looking to rock Tomato or DD-WRT as most people call me for help on this and i'd rather not go out to there and flash routers when I can just point them in the right direction to buy the right product. I love those just as much as anybody but when these situations keep popping up and people out of state call you it's not like you want a rook attempting even a simple FW upgrade.

I'm just looking for some simple answers to a simple problem really but the supporting documentation doesn't seem to exist and I really have no one else to bounce this off of so I figured i'd see what some other pros have seen with similar situations.

2 further points:

1) I'm not a moron and I didn't originally setup the networks

2) I've done good troubleshooting: hard resets and re-setup with new SSID's, broadcasting in mixed and just G mode, changed all channels to either 1,6 or 11 but overlap from other AP or interference from other devices is not an issue and turned off security.

I've done this in all locations with zero improvements or results. The only conclusion that i've come to is that a lot of these "lower end" wireless routers have a max # of clients that they are not documenting. I'm just looking for a little confirmation from some peers is all.

More about : wireless client disconnect multiple scenarios

a c 213 F Wireless
April 15, 2012 5:23:22 PM

Your conclusion is reasonable and IMO true. I've not seen any manufacturer admit they can only connect a few wireless devices, and many consumer grade routers will not even tolerate over 50-60 WIRED connections.

Wireless G provides a theoretical maximum of 54mbps half-duplex, but in reality far less depending on the quality of the radio and other factors (distance, interference and what not).

I am not surprised that some units start dropping connections at 5 or 6 users, better quality N routers will probably double that number in my experience.

One good information source to compare routers is http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/
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