Interesting Stuff

Interesting Stuff

Here is a good video for a basic idea of WiFi Networking - the terms, parts and it provides a foundation of knowledge so that you can communicate with anyone


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Current WiFi Standards

How Many Connections Can A Wireless Router Handle?

The question of how many literal connections a wireless router can handle is anywhere between 250 and 1000+ depending on the Subnet Mask and the manufacturer. (Quick question answered: It's not 255 because the router has to assign itself a few IPs.)
The question of how many usable simultaneous connections is a different story altogether because that number is drastically smaller.
When I say usable simultaneous connections I'm referring to how many connections the wireless router can handle before your connectivity speed gets so slow it's unusable.
Examining network requests per connection
While it's true each computer connected wirelessly uses a single IP address, that connection has multiple network requests dependent upon how many apps that use the network.
If you examine a single computer on the network and how many requests it makes, this is how it usually breaks down:

  • Web browser
  • Instant messaging

You might be saying to yourself "Okay.. that's just two apps. No big deal, right?"

Wrong. A web browser can balloon up to as many as 30 or more network requests at any given time.

When you visit a web site, the primary request is made from that dot-com. But maybe that dot-com is requesting images to be displayed for advertisements. That's 5 to 10 more requests right there. And maybe there's video on the site. That's a binary transfer that adds a few more requests. And maybe you have add-ons/plugins in your browser. They usually make network requests as well.

An instant messaging app is even worse because it's keeping a consistent connection with the server(s) it connects to for chat. And if the IM app has ads displayed in it (Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live, AIM, etc.), even more network requests are made.

So just from a browser and instant messaging app alone, this can lead up to 40 or 50 requests at any given time depending on what you're doing on the internet.

How to view the requests?

In Windows you do this via the NETSTAT command line application.

  • Launch a command prompt (Start, Run, type CMD, click OK)
  • Type NETSTAT -B

You'll see all the apps that are currently making network requests and what they are requesting.
Network requests will be listed as ESTABLISHED or CLOSE_WAIT for most instances.

Crunching the real numbers

Let's say for the moment all the computer boxes on the network are making really high network requests and each box uses 50 at any given time.
Even though the requests are small in size, when added up this can lead to network "bottlenecking" where the connection "chokes".
If you've got 4 boxes making 50 requests, that's 200 requests.

Will the network slow down at this point?

Yes. This is especially true if you have a basic cheapo wireless router that can't route very well.

How many usable simultaneous connections can you have at this point?

Probably not more than 5 before things really start to crawl.

What can you do to loosen the bottleneck?

The first obvious answer is to buy a better wireless router. If you want one of the best names in routers, that would be Cisco. And yes they do cost a crapload of money.
The second answer is to decrease the amount of network activity per box.

If you have issues with Near Line of Sight, or Non Line of Sight, here are some thoughts to consider:


There are several unlicensed wi fi frequencies that are available in the US - 900 Mhz,2.4 Ghz and 5.8 Ghz

For non line of sight wireless connections, there are tradeoffs that must be taken into consideration when selecting the right frequency for your project.

  • 900 Mhz - Some say offers the best non line of sight penetration, but the least amount of end user throughput. Ham operators in this frequency say this is the least effective for tree penetration.
  • 2.4 Ghz - Obstacle penetration is a problem is this frequency and most often requires some line of sight to be effective
  • 5.8 Ghz - Conflicting results indicate no clear consensus regarding the effective use of this frequency for wireless transmission.

There will always be some loss in throughput due to distance (free air loss) and obstruction type/density.
Essentially, the best method for tree penetration is to use a transmitter in any frequency that has OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) capability. This uses wider channels for better penetration.
Certain types of antenna polarizations also offer better penetration. These can be circular or multi polarized antennas.
Consideration must be given to the tradeoffs between throughput, signal/noise ratios and antenna gain when selecting a setup that has some or near line of sight. It is often a trial and error scenario to arrive at the best solution for the project.

Wi Fi Security Notes:

Folks in the hospitality industry are often concerned with security. Here is a copy of an article that may make more sense to you -
Insecure WiFi systems installed at hotels across the UK could be hacked.

Following its claims that WiFi is no longer a secure method of connection last week, Global Secure Systems has warned that insecure WiFi systems installed at hotels across the UK could be hacked with embarrassing consequences, as has happened with the high-end Thompson hotel chain in the US.

Weekend reports in the US suggested that a hacker has threatened to release a number of embarrassing emails sent and received by guests and staff at the high-end Thompson hotel chain there.

GSS' managing director David Hobson claimed that the same thing could happen in the UK, as many hotels leave their WiFi networks open - i.e. without a password - for guests to use in their rooms. He said: "This potentially leaves the systems open to hacker incursions, and could end up with guests' emails being plastered all over the Internet."

Hobson said that the use of WiFi passwords in hotels is a relatively easy security procedure to implement, with reception staff giving out the passwords to guests as they check in. By changing the passwords on a regular basis, guests can be assured their online sessions, including their email interchanges, will remain private, as they should be.

Hobson said: "Many hotel guests use Webmail, rather than email client software, on their laptops for convenience's sakes. If a hacker gains access to an open WiFi network in the hotel, they can easily eavesdrop on the Webmail sessions, with potential embarrassing consequences for the guests and the hotel(s) concerned.

"UK hotels should now be looking to their WiFi security procedures to prevent a possible run of copycat hacker attacks on this side of the Atlantic. Using WiFi passwords isn't rocket science - it's common sense security and whilst this has highlighted one potential issue - open web mail, it also highlights issues with all open public hotspots. You need to ensure your PC/laptop is set up with personal firewalls to stop hackers bouncing off hotspots on to your hard drive!"