How can I provide 20 to 25 users access to my Comcast WiFi?

Devlyn February 4, 2011

I am hosting an online auction bidding party. I am told by Comcast that I can only handle up to 5 users with the router that I have. Is there a way to boost that so I can handle up to 20-25? Or what is the maximum usage?

    February 4, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Hello, is this a combo modem/router provided by Comcast? or is is a router by itself? If you have a combo modem/router there is not much you can do and the person that told you only five users can access it might be right. If, on the other hand you have a router on its own like d-link, lynksis, etc, there are a few things you can try.

    First thing you can try is to place your router in a central location of your house. Take into consideration that If your wireless router or access point is against an outside wall of your home, the signal will be weak on the other side of your home. If your router is on the first floor and you need to reach nodes on the second floor, try placing the router high on a shelf.

    A second thing you can try is to make sure the router is not close to objects made of metal. Walls and also floors will cause interference router's wireless signals. The closer your router is metal, wall and floors, the more interference you will get your wireless signal will be weaker.

    You can also try changing the antennas to boost the signal strenght. Usually the antennas provided with your router are omnidirectional. These antennas broadcast in all directions around the router. Pretty much all of the commercial routers have antennas that can be removed. Try to change your router's antenna for one compatible with your router and provides high gain. With a high gain antenna you focus the signal in only one direction. Doing it this way you target your wireless signal in an specific direction where you need it most.

    The most important thing hardware based that you can try is installing a wireless repeater. You can even use another router as a repeater or as another access point. Wireless repeaters extend your wireless network range without requiring you to add any wiring. The only thing you have to make sure is to place the wireless repeater halfway between your wireless router and the computers that will be receiving the signal. By using a repeater you can give an extra boost to your wireless signal.

    Another method that can help boost your wireless signal is changing the broadcasting channel. Wireless routers can broadcast on different channels. Changing channels might help you because there are channels where there is a lot of interference, sometimes one wireless channel is clearer than others. Use your router's configuration panel to change the router's channel and see if your signal improves. Just remember that if you end up changing the channel, you do not have to worry about changing your computer's configuration, because the changes will be automatically detected.

    Another very important thing is to try and reduce interference caused by other electronics in your house. The most common wireless technology is still G, even though nowadays new routers and computer's network cards come with N. Wireless G operates at 2.4 gigahertz. This frequency is shared by electronic components found on homes. For example, the most common examples are cordless phones and microwave ovens. There are also other less common electronics that share this frequency like baby monitors and garage door openers. If you use these wireless devices in your home, there is a strong possibility that your computer is going to have a hard time connecting to your router because of electronic interference. If your network uses wireless-G, you can lessen the impact to your network by avoiding this frequency. For example, try looking for cordless phones and other devices that use the 5.8 GHz. Also wireless N can operate at 2.4 GHz and also at 5.0 GHz frequencies. By using a router with wireless N technology, you may experience less interference on your network if you use this technology.

    In theory the maximum speed you get with wireless G is 54 Mbps. Wireless N, on the other hand, can reach up to 300 Mbps. So, if you want to reach more coverage and longer range from your router, it is better if you use Wireless N. Also wireless N is back compatible with a, b and g technology.

  2. Anonymous
    February 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    The access point should take the brunt, but you are correct about distrobution of the network traffic. I think it depends more on the budget. Bandwidth will not be a huge problem as long as there is enough down for 25 users.

    I have worked on teams where we set up a hundred or so people on three access points. Ofcourse they where the nicest SOHO access points we could get. I wish we could have got SMC bridges, but what can you do.

  3. Anonymous
    February 4, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    A Linksys wireless router that you can buy just about anywhere will work just fine. It will not be blazing fast browsing the web with 20 - 25 users connected to it. You will want to position the wireless router in a central location so that everyone will get decent signal. I would use InSSIDer to do a site survey so that you can make sure that you get decent signal.

    If you can, get a bg/n wireless router. (bg/n refers to the speed you browse at, n being the fastest)

    • Mike
      February 4, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      Contraire~ it will be pretty slow having 20-25 Users on one WiFi since Wireless Bandwidth is always shared for all connected clients.

      It's probably a better idea to add an additional Wireless Network (via Router or Access Point) and distribute the clients evenly.

      Rule of the thumb is ~10 clients per Access Point/Router