Routers may seem like mysterious devices that gets you connected to the internet, but only if you don’t first understand a few things about them. These devices have not only an upper limit to how many computers they can support, but all sorts of other characteristics as well.
What Is a Router?
A router is a device used for networking computers across the internet. Most commonly, smaller ones are used in homes and small businesses, but larger routers do exist and provide increased speeds and connections. Where the data goes is determined by these devices.
Roughly, information in the form of data packets are sent from one computer to another through the router. By using a connection table, this router gets the proper network address to make sure the data is being delivered to the correct computer or device.
Aside from manufacturer and size, routers can be organized by bands, speed, and WAN. All three of these can influence the quality of your internet connection, along with how fast you can load pages or download software.
How Many Computers Can Be Supported?
Most home routers can withstand a maximum of 250 possible connected devices. It should be noted that the internet speed is divided between all the connections. An internet connection that allows 500 Mbps with 250 connections will average at around 2 Mbps per device.
Tekserv, which provides IT support in Aberdeen, notes that anything that requires more data, such as streaming or downloading, will put more pressure on the router. This results in a marked slowdown for other devices. You can also overheat a router that is under these loads for an extended period.
What About Larger Routers, How Many Can They Support?
Theoretically if you use the proper software you can support as many as 65,535 possible connections on one large router. That being said, this amount is ludicrous for multiple reasons, with most feasible numbers hovering around 800 at once.
Is There a Way to Limit the Number of Connections on My Router?
Yes, most home routers are able to control the number of connections, or clients, at any given time. This is done through the administrator and typically defaults to 50 maximum connections. This limit is kept in place to help your network run smoothly.
What you have to do first is log into your router’s firmware; this is the software that is built into the router itself. All you have to do is open up an internet browser and type the IP address in. This is typically 192.168.1.1, but can vary depending on what model router you have.
There should be a default username and password on your router or in its booklet. Some routers do allow for unique ones when setting it up for the first time though. If you are unsure or unable to find anything, try using “admin” for the username and “password” as the password.
What Other Features Can I Change on My Router?
There are multiple useful features that you can access while in the settings. For one, you can see who is connected, extend your network, control the quality of the connection, and even modify the speed of your internet by incorporating the proper wireless channel.
There are multiple programs online that allow you to scan your local networks and see which channel has minimal interference, thus giving you the highest speed. This should be under the wireless setting and standard channel tabs in your settings.
What Can I Do to Improve the Security of My Router?
The simplest way is just to incorporate a password on your router, preferably something fairly unique. From here, you can modify your network encryption in the router settings, along with turning your wireless network off when you’re not at home.
What Are the Best Routers on the Market Today?
It really depends on what you need. While the Netgear Nighthawk AD7200 is a top pick, this might be a bit of overkill if you aren’t using multiple devices or needing the fastest speeds. In that case, you can go with something like the D-Link AC1200, as it’s much cheaper.
Technically, you can incorporate hundreds of connections into a given router, but this isn’t that feasible as it divides the internet speed with each additional device. You can modify who and what can connect, along with all sorts of things, in your router’s settings.