# Are WiFi router speeds per client or cumulative?

If a wireless router has a maximum data rate of 54 megabits per second over the air, does that mean 54Mbit/sec per client or is it shared between them?

For example if there were 10 devices all trying to saturate the bandwidth, would they all be able to do 54Mbit/sec or would each get around 5.4Mbit/sec?

It is shared.

The best situation is up to 300 mbit/sec total. (e.g. 1 AP, 1 client). In practise it is a lot less because there is a lot of overhead in wireless and because speed drops rapidly if you move away from the AP.

Expect this to get significantly worse when there are multiple clients. E.g. 1 AP, 1 client, expect 300 mbit/sec total (real world in a nearby room: 10-15 MB/sec)
1 AP, 2 clients, (both active). Both maybe 5 MB/sec due to lots of retransmissions.
1 AP, 3 clients, ... even worse.

If you do not use wireless all the time (e.g. browse. download a page, read it while WiFi is idle) this works fine. If you have multiple computers running torrents or similar then you really do not want WiFi.

For example if there were 10 devices all trying to saturate the bandwidth, would they all be able to do 54Mbit/sec or would each get around 5.4Mbit/sec?

Best case each would get 5.4mbit.
Likely case: A lot less.

Note that wired does have cumulative throughput though most switches.

E.g.

```               WIRED!

Computer A ----- S       A can communicate at 100mbit/sec to  B
w       At the same time
Computer B ----- i       C can communicate at 100mbit/sec to  D
t
Computer C ----- c       If A tries to communicate at 100mbit to both C and D
h       then speed will be shared
Computer D -----/
```
• And if your communicating to the internet your internet speed is probably even lower than that. Best case you get 3-5mb/s total for all internet, anything more your going pay and arm and leg for, unless you live where google fiber exists. Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 21:31
• Fibre is not all that uncommon outside the US. Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 21:35

It's shared, but only in the sense that it's a "half-duplex" medium, meaning only 1 device can actually talk on the wire at once.

So if all other devices are quiet, the reminaing client would get near 54Mbps speeds (assuming everything else is ideal).