how many people can use our wireless network?

I actually get asked this question and “is there a limit to the number of users on the wireless network?” fairly often.

Is there a limit?  Yes and No!

Strictly speaking there is a limit of around 64,000 concurrent users across three campuses.  This is because all three campuses use a 128.95.xxx.xxx address  pace.  If each of the xxx’s represents a number from (roughly) 1-253 then
you get 253*253 or 64,009 unique IP addresses.

However, the routers that we have are able to manage an unlimited number of users at any time. If, in the unlikely event that there were 64,010 people connected to the wireless network simultaneously the routers would be able to manage traffic in such a way that it would allow new users to come on.

So, there the answer to that: no, there really isn’t a limit to the number of people who can connect to our wireless at any one time.

However!  Within the building we only have 4 access points and they are 802.11b/g type access points.   This means that we have 4 access points that are each pumping out data at a maximum rate of 54Mbps.  That data rate can be effected, however, by the number of concurrent users and the data that they are transmitting/receiving.  So, if we had 30 users in the Snoqualmie room playing World of Warcraft on older computers that are using the lower transmission rate of 11Mbps they would certainly see a slowdown in network traffic — on that access point only.  Depending on what was going on, the rest of the building would be fairly OK.

So, yes and no.

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