5GHz WiFi has become very popular over the past few years.
It has a higher bandwidth cap than 2.4GHz WiFi.
But how many devices can connect to 5GHz WiFi?
In general, you can connect up to 32 devices to 5GHz WiFi simultaneously, but this also depends on your router. Some routers have support for over 250 devices; others only support up to 10. Your Internet speed also affects how many devices can be used practically on the 5GHz band.
Read on to learn some interesting facts about 5GHz WiFi and how many devices you can connect to one router.
1. You Can Connect More Devices Using 2.4GHz and 5GHz Combined
I already mentioned that you could connect up to 32 devices on 5GHz. But 2.4GHz also supports 32 devices.
That means you can connect up to 64 devices on a single router.
Lifewire claims that you can connect up to 250 devices. But this is only true for mesh networks or commercial routers.
However, that’s still the theoretical limit. The practical limit is much humbler.
My WiFi starts acting up after I connect five devices. I can’t even imagine how it would be like to connect 64.
Since 2.4GHz and 5GHz use different WLAN channels, there’s less interference when connecting the devices to 2 different frequencies.
So, even if you have 6 or 7 devices, it’s best to connect them to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Overcrowding one channel leads to congestion.
5GHz is significantly faster than 2.4GHz. It supports higher data rates at the cost of range and object penetration.
I recommend connecting things like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and your TV to 5GHz WiFi.
You should connect everything you use daily, and that can benefit from faster WiFi.
On the other hand, smart home gadgets like smart switches and LED bulbs don’t use much bandwidth. Connect these devices to your 2.4GHz WiFi.
Not to mention that 2.4GHz has a better range and can penetrate through walls.
So, keep your 5GHz WiFi available for the devices you want to use to watch movies, play video games, or download files.
Learn more: Can you use 2.4GHz and 5GHz at the same time?
2. Some Routers Support More Devices Than Others
You can connect only a certain number of devices to a single router.
This number depends on the router model, not on the WiFi band it uses. But the number of supported bands still matters.
A dual-band WiFi router can support more devices than a single-band one.
Dual-band is a fancy term used to describe a router that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi.
If your router has 5GHz WiFi, it’s most likely a dual-band router.
But the quality of your router matters the most. Even the cheapest router on the market can claim that it supports up to 64 devices.
However, it’ll probably disconnect every other device once you connect more than ten.
If you want to connect over 100 devices, you’ll have to use mesh networking. A mesh network uses multiple routers to get excellent coverage.
I recommend the TP-Link Deco Mesh WiFi from Amazon.com.
It supports over 100 devices simultaneously, covers up to 5,500 square feet (511 square meters), and it’s easy to set up.
You can get 2 or 3 routers initially, but you can connect as many as you want.
There’s no upper limit, so you can essentially connect an unlimited number of devices.
Just note that no matter how good your routers are, they aren’t a replacement for a bad Internet connection.
You still need enough bandwidth from your ISP to support a large network.
If you only want to connect 20 to 30 devices, you won’t need a mesh network. A single high-quality router is enough.
The Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 from Amazon.com is one of the highest-rated routers on Amazon.
This high-end router supports up to 45 devices reliably for content consumption that requires a lot of bandwidth.
It achieves that thanks to its unique tri-band system and powerful 1.7GHz quad-core CPU.
The router has a few cool features, such as Beamforming+, MU-MIMO, and Alexa voice control.
3. WiFi Extenders Can’t Add More Devices Than Supported
WiFi extenders are great devices that you can connect to your existing router. They increase the range by boosting your signal.
However, you won’t be able to connect more devices than what your router supports. This is true for WiFi extenders, boosters, and repeaters.
WiFi extenders receive the signal from your router and forward it to your phone.
But it’s still one network, so everything is tied to your original router that provides the connectivity.
The only way to add support for more devices than what your router supports is through a mesh network.
The Amazon Eero Mesh WiFi System from Amazon.com is a great router replacement.
Your whole home gets WiFi coverage, and you can add as many Eero routers as you want.
You don’t need to throw away your modem.
Instead, you connect the Eero router to the modem and place other Eero routers around the home to create a mesh network.
Note that even if an extender won’t increase the number of devices, it’s still useful. It can help you get more WiFi coverage.
Also, it takes some load off your router by processing the connected devices instead.
If you’re looking for a way to boost your WiFi signal for cheap, I recommend the TP-Link AC750 from Amazon.com.
It plugs directly into the wall, and it’s very easy to get it running.
You can eliminate dead zones and make your WiFi faster and more stable.
Also, it supports OneMesh technology to create a mesh network with compatible devices.
How To Increase the Maximum Number of Supported Devices
Most home users don’t need to connect more than six or seven devices to their WiFi.
Even if you have a smart home, you most likely won’t connect more than 10 to 15 gadgets.
If your WiFi isn’t great, consider getting an affordable router that sends out a better signal.
My favorite is the TP-Link Archer A7 from Amazon.com.
It uses dual-band WiFi, supports Alexa, has 4 Gigabit LAN ports, and uses three antennas to send its signal.
I use the Archer A7 myself, and it’s a great router at an affordable price.
I recommend it to everyone looking for an upgrade over the ISP-provided router.
But if you need support for many devices for commercial purposes, that’s a different story.
Here are a few things that you can do to add support for more devices on WiFi:
- Create a mesh network. Mesh networks can support infinitely many routers, so there’s an infinite range. You can also connect as many devices as you want.
- Upgrade your Internet. Even the best router can’t do its job without enough bandwidth. Get a better Internet plan.
- Use fiber. Fiber Internet is significantly faster than cable Internet.
- Get another ISP. It sounds counterintuitive, but having Internet access from 2 different ISPs means you’ll always have at least 1 as a backup. Also, you’ll probably get more bandwidth.
- Use dual-band WiFi. If you combine 2.4GHz and 5GHz, you can connect more devices to a single router.
Check out: Do Router Antennas Make a Difference? The Surprising Truth
The maximum number of supported devices doesn’t solely depend on 5GHz WiFi.
It has more to do with your router and the way your network is set up.
5GHz supports up to 32 devices if your Internet is fast enough. If you combine it with 2.4GHz, you can connect 32 more.
But the best way to increase the maximum number of connected devices is to create a mesh network.
Reading recommendation: 3 Reasons Why Smart Bulbs Need a 2.4 GHz WiFi Connection