(I hope I am on the right StackExchange network - apologies if not as I'm visiting from stackoverflow)

We have a Netgear DGN2200 router in the office where 9 of us work. It has been fine until recently - we have all had our MacBook Pro's wirelessly connected, a few phones (Android, iPhone, BlackBerry) and an old iPad 1 (yes, mobile app developers loving our geek toys...).

Recently we have added 1 MacBook Pro, an iPad2, iPhone4S and 2 new Android devices.

  • We now have about 18 - 20 wireless devices in this office, trying to connect to the router.
  • We have started to experience IP conflicts at times. Sometimes certain devices can't get onto the network.
  • On the router console, I have not seen more than 16 devices connected consistently. Often this will fluctuate between 16 and 17 devices, where it looks like the router is cycling devices off the network as others try to get on.

So the question is: Should there be a max number of wireless connections to this router?

In my mind, 20 devices should not be the max - but I am having trouble finding any sort of info on that.

I have checked the channel usage in our office, and we have the only close network on that channel.

Looking at answers to this question (Set up wireless networking solution for small office (<30 people)?) it seems like we might need a new router for that many connections.

Extra info:

  • Default IP ranges could be a problem. We will get the guys to change their home network IP ranges - changing the one at office brings up an issue with the SVN server and all the projects currently synched out on various machines.
  • Lease period = 24 hours (default on router - cannot find the setting if it exists)
  • Dynamic IP range is to .254
  • I have "reserved" addresses for some devices below this range - hopefully this sorts out the conflicts.
  • As per splitting the bandwidth - we understand this to be a problem wrt speed; not sure if it is expected to have connection implications?

Final Outcome:

For future readers, I thought to provide our final solution. It is not really an "answer" as such, so I've put it here.

We changed routers. To another consumer level router (Billion 7300W I think). This immediately fixed the problem of having 20 connections simultaneously. We do still have the problem of slow internet access, splitting the internet pipe up to 20 ways - but that was never the issue for this question.

In all regards the router was set up the same way as the old one.

Conclusion: the old Netgear router was broken.


Two common issues I have seen are (1) long lease times causing issues, and (2) a user that comes into the office and has a conflicting IP address from a home or other wireless network. This is common if default IP address ranges are used. A user at home has 192.168.1.x and so does the office. They bring a device in that was sleeping or hibernated and they get a conflict.

What is the IP address range on the Netgear? How big is the range configured for IP address distribution? How long is the lease period?

I would also think another AP might help but it depends how the network is configured. More detail on the entire network may help. 20 users slices up the bandwidth per user to a pretty small piece of the pie. Not that that would cause IP conflicts.

  • Following your comment about hibernating PCs, I have set up the router so that each device has a specific reserved IP on our network. So far so good... so I'm marking this as solved. Thx – Richard Le Mesurier Feb 13 '12 at 12:02

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