How Many Devices Can Connect To A Wi-Fi Extender?

Wi-Fi extenders can be great home networking solutions to expand wireless coverage in the home, but one interesting question is exactly how many devices can connect to a Wi-Fi extender? How many clients can these extenders/boosters support?

It’s a question that’s more relevant now than ever, with so many smaller, portable devices on home networks – US households are now cited to have an average of 16 internet connected devices. How many of these could connect to a Wi-Fi extender you install?

A modern dual band Wi-Fi extender can theoretically at least support up to 32 devices (16 on the 2.4 GHz band and 16 on the 5 GHz band). An older 2.4 GHz single band extender may only support up to 8 devices connecting to it’s network.

Realistically though, bandwidth considerations are likely to come into play long before you reach this upper limit on most home networks.

But in all honesty, the actual cited maximum number of devices varies by brand and model, so let’s cover theoretical and then practical/realistic takes on this topic as regards home networking.

The Theoretical Upper Limit Of Devices On Extender Networks

The theory on this topic is quite interesting, since the upper limit limit of devices that can connect to a Wi-Fi extender should be quite high – the same as the main router’s, in fact.

Since a Wi-Fi extender is effectively acting as bridging or forwarding device and pulling it’s main signal and data from the main host router, it’s more useful to see devices as ultimately connecting to the router, not the extender, in the context of this question.

And routers are capable of supporting 250+ devices (usually 254 to be precise) on a home network. The diagram below shows how a router typical assigns IP addresses to all devices on a home network (including an extender, which takes it’s own IP from the available pool of 250+ once configured).

It’s the private IP address range that’s important here – that pool of local IP addresses that can be dished out by the router. Any Wi-Fi extender connected to a router doesn’t create it’s own pool of addresses; it just uses the router’s.

Therefore, any connected extender could also theoretically support around 250 devices on the home network, since it is merely forwarding and reflecting the router’s host network in it’s own interface.

Therefore, under this interpretation, both a modern home router, and therefore any extenders feeding off it, can theoretically support more devices that you could really ever need or afford to buy in almost all scenarios.

The Practical Upper Limit Of Devices On Extender Networks

However, it’s not as simple as this, since some Wi-Fi extender manufacturers themselves state a smaller upper limit on connecting devices in their own documentation.

See this guide from TP Link for example, which states:

  • 32 devices maximum as the upper limit for a dual band extender (16 for the 2.4 GHz band and 16 devices for the 5 GHz band)
  • 8 devices maximum for an older single band extender with only 2.4 GHz.

Checking online, you’ll also find other extender models also cite a different number of supported devices in their marketing blurb:

  • Some models state up to 30 devices supported
  • Others state up to 55 devices supported.
  • Other numbers are also given and vary, but 30 tends to be the minimum for dual band models.

The actual number of supported devices is different for every extender brand and model, although it’s useful to take the commonly cited 30-32 devices limit as a useful starting point number for a new dual band extender, since this will likely cover most home networks.

Perhaps this is just a recommendation from them on the upper limit of devices, or perhaps the extender is limited to only accept this many devices, even though pure home networking theory suggests the upper limit should be 250+. You’ll have to check the documentation to find exact limits for each model.

The bottom line on this is that if you are looking to connect more than 8 devices to a Wi-Fi extender, it is highly recommended to get a dual band model to support this. Avoid an older single band extender when you have a lot of devices to service on the network.

But it’s reasonable to take this number the number a manufacturer gives you as the actual practical upper limit anyway, since bandwidth is always shared on a home network, so there’s always a realistic upper limit of devices you can use depending on your package’s bandwidth, after which there isn’t enough to go around.

See our extenders page here, with links to reliable models in all price ranges, all of which are dual band as standard and should support up to 32 devices.

Spreading Devices Out Over Dual Band Extender Networks

Give that almost all new Wi-Fi extenders come with dual band functionality as standard now, it is actually often useful to take advantage of this feature on busier home networks and spread devices out over both bands.

Dual band just means the extender can be configured to broadcast two networks – a 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz extender network – that can be connected to separately.

Here are the benefits of each:

  • 2.4 GHz – Works better over distance and through solid objects like walls. Better to use for devices furthest from the extender, and with the most obstructions in the way, as well as lower bandwidth consumption devices.
  • 5 GHz – Works better at close range, delivering better speeds in optimal conditions. Try using for closer devices with higher bandwidth needs. Suffers from less congestion and interference than 2.4 GHz, but doesn’t work so well through walls though.

Therefore, when you’ve got a lot of devices connecting, it can be useful to spread them out, connecting some to the 2.4 GHz extender band, and others to the 5 GHz extender band.

How To View All Devices Currently Connected To An Extender’s Network

Given that potentially quite a lot of devices can connect to a Wi-Fi extender, it can be useful to check all the currently connected devices, which you can do within an extender’s interface.

Here’s how you do this:

  1. Open a browser on any device connected to the extender
  2. Type in the extender’s default login URL into a browser address bar:
      • TP Link –
      • Netgear –
      • Linksys –
      • Wavlink –
  3. Enter the admin username/password (manually set during configuration)
  4. Once inside the extender’s interface, search for a Devices/Clients tab or menu to see all connected devices, listed by IP address and MAC address. Dual band extenders will split this into 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz menus to see which devices are connected to each band.

See our article on viewing connected devices on an extender for more detailed steps, plus how to implement access control and blocking if needed.

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