Maximum wifi client on Pi 3 hotspot

2017-06-12 18:50:37

Is there a maximum number of wifi clients for a hotspot on the Raspberry Pi 3 ? (using the built-in wifi chip : Broadcom BCM43438)

Regarding the software, I'm using hostapd to manage the Access Point (on raspbian).

The goal is to serve some PHP pages hosted on the Pi. There isn't much computation and I think the bottleneck will be the number of clients supported by the hotspot.

I'm interested in theoretical limit (e.g. the driver) as well as "experienced" limits.

my real world limit was 22 school kids in a classroom connected via there smartphones directly to the pi, now the access point was an open hotspot so the overhead was reduced drastically reduced as no encryption took place, also my pi-3 hadn't actually reached its limit as I'm sure more clients could have connected but was preforming rather sluggishly especially since every student had to click the same link at the same time to follow along.

I found that page loads took on average 2.5-3seconds for me. W

  • my real world limit was 22 school kids in a classroom connected via there smartphones directly to the pi, now the access point was an open hotspot so the overhead was reduced drastically reduced as no encryption took place, also my pi-3 hadn't actually reached its limit as I'm sure more clients could have connected but was preforming rather sluggishly especially since every student had to click the same link at the same time to follow along.

    I found that page loads took on average 2.5-3seconds for me. With the server being node.js http server and the content being returned the contents of a static file that were being stored in a string.

    2017-06-12 19:02:28
  • No, not really, although you will be limited depending on the subnet your Access Point creates - decided by your DHCP configuration. E.g. 253 hosts for a subnet with a netmask of 255.255.255.0, but more than 64000 hosts for a subnet of 255.255.0.0.

    2017-06-12 19:33:46
  • On a off-line Pi configured as a hotspot thanks to https://frillip.com/using-your-raspberry-pi-3-as-a-wifi-access-point-with-hostapd/, I configured a hard coded 40 IP limit. Seems to handle all of them properly. Because using web sockets for real-time interactions among all connected users on my nodejs app, didn't try more.

    More generally, I think that though the Pi may offer this feature with a bit of custom configuration, it is not optimized for this use. If you wan't to get satisfying WIFI performance for each client, I suggest you restrain the number of physical clients: I mean, it's not because it's wireless that each client won't consume less resource about handling its connection / IP session.

    Many routers offer to assign much more IP, but that's about DHCP and assigning addresses to connected clients, not about handling 50 WIFI trafic-wise distinct connections and contexts.

    Ex: All Apple Airport stations have a limitations of 50 users for instance...

    https://www.apple.com

    2017-06-12 20:26:23