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New Member

APs and User Density

We are currently planning to deploy Cisco 4400 Wireless LAN Controllers using LWAAP with Cisco 1000 APs.

Is there a limit to the number of users that can connect to one AP ?

If you have an auditorium for example that can hold 400 people would it be possible for all the people to connect to the network without experiencing interference ?


Re: APs and User Density

If there is a "hard set" limit, it's well-below the practical limit of shared bandwidth.

As a rule-of-thumb maximum .... ~25-30 clients per AP seems to be about right ... if the clients are not actively engaged in online activities, you might be able to get more.

If you have users that are all surfing at the same time, or downloading, participating in a database application with a lot of traffic, you may not be able to get that many.

The usual way to increase the numbers is to have multiple access points, each on a different channel. Since 802.11b/g only has three non-overlapping channels, that would take you to ~90-100 casual users.

If you need more than that in one open area, you might want to look at using 802.11a; there are many more channels, and the channels do not overlap ... so theoretically, you can have a much higher client density for that given area.

If you can provide some additional details, perhaps we can provide some additonal specific information.

Good Luck


New Member

Re: APs and User Density

Hi Scott,

Thanks for your great response not sure what additional info you need.

Are there any limitations to using 802.11a ?

I thought 802.11a was not compatible with b/g ?



Re: APs and User Density

802.11a is not compatible with b/g: they are on different bands.

802.11a has many more channels, and they don't overlap ... you could potentially drive more active clients with less headaches and fewer APs.

Depending on how firm your need is for more active clients, it might cost less, and be an easier system to administer as an 802.11a system.

How many clients do you nedd to support (max concurrently active)?

What kind of application(s) are they running?

Do you supply the NICs (i.e., "corporate systems" ) or do the users bring their own (i.e., Internet Cafe, Hot Spot, etc)?

How are the configs getting into the user's wireless devices (puch from server, open with captive portal, self-config from a piece of paper ....)?

What kind of security (if any) and management systems do you plan to run?

Got Budget? What's a ballpark number?

What existing equipment do you have, what were you planning to buy?

These are some starter questions, possibly more to follow depending on your setup.

Good Luck


New Member

Re: APs and User Density

The Airespace controllers come with a default client limit per AP configured for 12. So by default, only 12 clients are allowed connection per AP. This value can be changed, but Airespace recommends it not to exceed 30.


New Member

Re: APs and User Density

Ok so we are limited to 30 users per AP by the 4400 controller , is it possible to have 11 APs (350 users) in close proximity without causing interference ?

New Member

Re: APs and User Density

Where do you modify the setting to increase from 12 to 30?

Found it.

New Member

Re: APs and User Density

What you probably found is the alarm threshold limit. Here are the hard limits for the 10xx access points in terms of clients per AP:

256 - 4 - x where:

- 4 is the number of static wep-key entries

- X is the number of WLANs that require a broadcast key entry

For AES; 128 on the 1000.

We recommend ~15 clients per AP for throughput reasons, but the AP can support much more.

New Member

Re: APs and User Density

Hi Scott,

To answer some of your questions :-

We have a floor which is dedicated for clients which is mostly conference rooms and an auditorium capable of holding 400 people. Some of the conference rooms are capable of holding 20 people. Most occasions we would get as many as 40 clients coming in and are booked into 2-3 conference rooms next to each other.

Normally the clients come in with their own laptops wanting to access the internet, they have their own vpn client to access their office emails. The network is separated from the production network.

We do not supply any equipment unless they have issues with access to the wireless network.

We've had issues in the past with clients coming in with Apple laptops and not being able to get a signal.

We have purchased the Cisco Aironet 1020 Lightweight AP which features both integrated sector antennas and an RP-TNC connector for external antennas.

The WLAN solution to be deployed is based upon the Airspace centralised WLAN solution and not the Aironet Distributed WLAN solution.

I believe the 1020 Lightweight AP already supports 802.11a so we really shouldn't have a problem with user density ?