Monday, September 23, 2013

How many people can use a café’s Wi-Fi at once?

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? Image source

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.


thomas said...

Our local internet speed is too slow most of the time.

de engineur said...

Agree, they are too slow. The telcos are hiding behind the At-best-effort clause which is ridiculous.

The local definition of Broadband speed as 128kbps and above is outdated and unacceptable.

It should be at least 512kbps.