Unanswered questions on what determines the max connection of a wlan NIC on AP mode

Jouni Malinen jkmaline at cc.hut.fi
Fri Mar 28 23:32:37 EST 2003

On Fri, Mar 28, 2003 at 07:15:23PM +0100, david jaoui wrote:

> This is a very cryptic topic.

Not really that cryptic..

> How many concurrent connections can a PCMCIA (ie prism) in AP mode (ie hostap) can accept ?
> (= How many computers max in a wireless LAN . Not a regarding the bandwith to share behind)

Like Subrata already pointed out, IEEE 802.11 standard has a limit for
this in the amount of available Association IDs. There are room for
2007 stations. This is the absolute maximum specied the protocol if you
want to support power saving. If some of the stations don't care about
power saving, you could have multiple stations using the same AID.
However, I don't think there is much point in trying to use more than
2000 stations in one 802.11 AP..

> You can buy, for example, 3 different types of 3com access points :
> 3CRWE20096A-E1  up to 128 users
> 3CRWE60092A-E1  up to 65 users
> 3CRWE80096A       up to 256 users

> What determines the limit ?

Differentiation of the products and marketing strategy?

> Is-it regarding the embedded RAM of the whole device (Access point or embedded PC with motherboard soekris-like) ? Explanation according to some people : The connections management table is as big as the size of embedded RAM allows.

I would say this is the most probable technical reason for different
limits on the number of supported users. In Host AP mode like setups, it
is the amount of RAM the host system has and with firmware-based AP
solutions it is the amount of RAM made available to the firmware code.

Jouni Malinen                                            PGP id EFC895FA

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