Friday, 11 October 2013

How many people can use a café’s Wi-Fi at any one time?

I was visiting our HQ the other day and was unable to connect to the Wi-Fi, and I was wondering why, because I could tell the number of people there was no more than thirty.

A colleague told me that the maximum number of connection may have already been exceeded at that time.

Do you normally connect to the free Wi-Fi when at coffee shops?

So, how many people can connect to a cafe’s Wi-Fi at once? Or for that matter, to a single Wi-Fi spot anywhere?

Hardware-wise, most routers will handle 255 simultaneous users, more than enough for the average coffee shop. The main limiting factor is the cafe’s incoming broadband speed. If it has a cable connection offering 25Mbps and wishes to keep its customers happy by offering a consistent speed of at least 1Mbps per user, then the coffee shop’s limit is 25 people.

But with our situation in Malaysia - the 3G connection of 3Mbps to 7Mbps at best effort and fixed line broadband speed from TM of less than 5Mbps - it is far from good to satisfy 15 to 20 customers with decent speed.

You may end up getting a mere 400kbps to 800kbps (0.4 - 0.8Mbps) at a medium sized cafe. Not good enough to surf the internet.


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