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Old 05-09-2008, 11:59 PM
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Default Wireless Router Capacity

How does one know when a wireless router is at capacity? I have 4 computers and a printer all communicating wirelessly to a Microsoft MN 700 wireless router. How many wireless devices can a wireless router handle? I have never been able to see this in any criteria or specs for any wireless router. What limits the capacity? How does a wireless router prioritize what devices it is communicating with or do by a different method? I am seeing some network slow down, but it has been present for quite a while. I can't determine if it is related to the router capacity or other issues like personal firewalls on each of the computers.

Any help appreciated.

Doug
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Old 05-10-2008, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
What limits the capacity?
Collisions. Two devices try to communicate at the same time. Both pause for a random interval and try again.

Some devices communicate vast amounts of data. IP cameras. Get a bandwidth hog like that going, other devices keep colliding with the data. When they get their turn, they collide with each other. Network ends up with more collisions than deliveries.
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Old 05-10-2008, 12:50 PM
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So taking this to the extreme, an infinite number of devices can be connected and their connectivity is based upon the collison algorithm in the router. OK. Do all wireless routers output the same power, or can one adjust this on some routers and not others? Reason I ask is that there are quite a few wireless networks in my neighbourhood. Their signal strength appears to be higher than mine because my router network is not at the top of the list, so I have to be careful on what channel I select. Is the power rating something that is typically advertised for wireless routers?
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Old 05-10-2008, 03:47 PM
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So taking this to the extreme, an infinite number of devices can be connected and their connectivity is based upon the collison algorithm in the router. OK.
You jumped to a conclusion here. Turns out, it's quicksand... gotta watch that.

20-25 devices would be a marginally functional network segment. 10 is more realistic. 4 if they are IP cameras.

Quote:
based upon the collison algorithm in the router
The algorithm is in TCP/IP.

Quote:
Do all wireless routers output the same power, or can one adjust this on some routers and not others?
First thing: 802.11 is intentionally low powered. How could you keep a LOCAL Area Network LOCAL with high power? The whole point is, I use channel 6, my neighbor uses channel 9, and his other neighbor uses channel 6 again. We don't interfere because we all use low power.

28mW - 15 dBm - is a typical home router power output. But the radio is a transceiver - it both transmits and receives. If you stuck a 1 watt power amp on there, you would bestow the blessings of your transmitter on the whole block. But you would not be able to receive better, so you would be generating useless radio frequency energy, polluting the whole neighborhod, for no benefit.

Adjusting output power: All radio transmitters emit power on frequencies other than the intended frequencies. The manufacturer designed and tested the radio to emit power within certain limits. Exceed those limits, the transmitter "splatters" - gets into neighboring channels and completely different radio services. The clown up the street with the linear on his CB messing up your TV.

Legal unmodified off-the-shelf routers will be set up to a power level that keeps the radio in the good graces of the FCC. There are radios that can be enhanced with third-part software. This software can be used to increase the output of your router. The thing is, doubling the power gets you a 40% increase in range, but doubles the energy going through the radio. Too much extra heat for not a lot more sizzle.

Best practices in the world of radio is: Use the best antenna you can, then more power. Putting more power into less antenna is like putting a Porsche engine in a Trabant.
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:05 AM
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Thanks for the reply. Although I have 11 channels to select from on my router, I am under the impression that there are really only three channels to select from: 1, 6, or 11. I have chosen 11 because of the number of other wireless networks in my neighbourhood that are using channel 6. If I picked channel 9, would it all still work, with minimum interference from my neighbours who are focused on channel 6, 11, and 1?

Thanks again.
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:59 PM
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There are many people who give advice without having knowledge.

802.11 is not like CB. All of the RF energy is not squeezed into a narrow band of frequencies. 802.11 spreads itself across 22 mHz of bandwidth. That is almost 3 TV channels. If the transmitters are not right next to another, you can share frequencies with others with few problems.

If 1, 6, and 11 are all tied up, my next choice would be 3 and 9, or 4 and 9


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Old 05-11-2008, 04:35 PM
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Thanks very much for the explanation. Trying to find these explanations on the net can be difficult at times. Lots of general stuff, but the specifics are usually buried.
Looks like Channel 3 is my best bet in my neighbourhood. I used to be on channel 6 and noticed a significant slow down in one particular application I use. Moved to channel 11 and only noticed a marginal improvement in the application. I'll try channel 3 and see what happens. It may not be a wireless issue at all, but I'll find out. I have an application installed on two computers that share a common database on one of the computers. Both computers are on a wireless network going through a Microsoft MN 700 wireless router. The computer without the database has seen a significant slow down in the use of the application associated withe the database and I am trying to find out why.

Thanks again.
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