With an active Wi-Fi network, different users and devices can be wirelessly connected to access the internet from a common bandwidth. Whether you operate a home Wi-Fi or business wireless network, computers, phones, tablets, and other internet-enabled devices connected to the network will share a finite capacity of resources. To keep your Wi-Fi network operating efficiently, you need to have absolute control on internet access, particularly the number of users and devices that can be connected to the network at any given time.
Why You Really Need To Limit Users Connecting On Wi-Fi Network
While it is possible to have so many users and devices connected to a wireless network, the number of active connections should be under control at all times. This is necessary to ensure that the network is operating optimally. Since every device on a network will share from a common limited resource, leaving it without any form of protection will overburden the Wi-Fi network and this is not something you need.
With several devices connected at a time and using your Wi-Fi network, your internet resource will deplete at a faster rate and you will have to pay more to maintain steady internet connectivity at home or in your office.
Also, since every device connected to a Wi-Fi network takes a bit more of the bandwidth that is being broadcast, the speed of your network will be significantly influenced by the number of active users at any given time. This means every newly added device will slow your network further, even to a point that things will stall or look fuzzy. You may also start receiving connection error messages when the Wi-Fi network is overburdened. There are different things you can do to avoid such a scenario and limiting the number of users is one of the most effective ones.
How Do You Limit The Number Of Connections To Your Network?
There are different ways to control the number of users and devices that can use your Wi-Fi network at any time. Depending on the type of router or business network you are using, there are few things you can do in the admin area to have better control and manage your wireless network the way you want it. We will discuss the most practical ways in steps:
Access your Admin Control
You can only control the setup of your wireless network through the administrative panel of your router. The panel is mostly available through a web browser but some manufacturers have great apps to make admin accessibility easier. In some older routers, you may need to type the IP address of the router in a web browser to access admin control.
The admin portal of Linksys business routers can mostly be accessed by typing ‘http://business.linksys.com/’ into a web browser. There are some NETGEAR routers, however, that the admin panels are only accessible through mobile apps.
What You Can Do In the Admin Panel
The admin panel gives you full control over how your wireless network can be accessed and used. You can control Wi-Fi usage from here in many ways. You can start by setting a strong password that no one can crack, as well as WPA2 encryption. You can also disable SSID Broadcast from this point and prevent your network from being seen by individuals searching for signals. You can also block some devices, enable guest access, enable internet filters, restrict hours of usage and throttle bandwidth usage to manage your network.
Limiting the Number of Wireless Connections to Your Network
With some routers, limiting the number of users connecting on the Wi-Fi network is straightforward. For NETGEAR AirCard 785, for instance, the steps below should be followed:
- Open an internet browser through a connected device
- Access the admin panel through http://NETGEAR.arcard
- Enter your credentials and sign in to the panel
- Scroll down to WiFiOptions
- Open the dropdown on Max WiFi and select the maximum number of connections you want to allow (you can also adjust the number of wireless clients that can connect per network by clicking the left and right arrows named ‘Main WiFi’ and ‘Secondary WiFi’)
- Click Submit and you are done.
While this procedure is unique to NETGEAR AirCard 785 router, it is similar to what is obtainable with other routers that support this method of restriction.
Other Things You Can Do
Besides setting a maximum number of network users, you can also block access to all devices except the ones you list in your router’s access control settings. This is a time-consuming process that involves creating a list with the physical address or Media Access Control (MAC) address of all the devices you want to have access to your network. This is a perfect approach if you have a few devices (like in home networks). You can also create guest access on the network with some restrictions that do not affect your employees.
Controlling access to your Wi-Fi network is important for so many reasons. One of the best ways to do this is to limit the number of users connecting on the network. We have discussed the best way to achieve this and hope this article helps you manage your Wireless network better.