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I have approximately 30 supervised WiFi-only iPad 2s located in a central office. They all need to connect to the same network to access the Internet. The most they'll do is visit a website, fill out some online forms, and download a 1 MB document for downloading. More than likely, not all 30 iPads will be in use, probably 15 on average. I bought this router thinking it could handle the load of iPads, but we seem to be having major slow down issues every now and then. I thought it was related to the speed of the Internet, but turns out the connection from the iPads to the router was severely degraded. I couldn't even get the Routers configuration page to pull up on an iPad connected directly to the wifi. I ended up completely turning off half the iPads and rebooting the router and speed increased drastically.

Therefore, what would be the best way to go about hooking up 30 iPads to the same network?

FYI, I'm using Configurator 2 to push the same profile to all iPad's to automatically connect to that wifi network.

*Side Note: Anyone know of a way to stop an iPad from requesting automatic updates? This could cause a lot of network strain if 30 iPads try to update at once. The messages are also quite annoying.

  • For your side note, you can turn off automatic updates in Settings > iTunes & App Store > Updates. You can also turn off background refresh for any apps in Settings > General > Background App Refresh. – ruddfawcett Aug 7 '16 at 17:54
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    Not being able to get to the router's configuration page from a connected device doesn't (necessarily) mean that the device's ability to connect is the problem - if the router is under high load, the internal web server it runs for configuration pages might be timing out. Same thing for serving a lot of devices simultaneously. Reducing the number of connections and rebooting the router would then naturally cause speed to increase as the router is under less load. Assuming each device connects at normal speed by itself, the router is the problem. – tubedogg Aug 7 '16 at 17:56
  • I believe that's just app updates, not iOS updates. Sorry if I was misleading in my question. Thanks though. – Gerneio Aug 7 '16 at 17:56
  • @tubedogg it's a brand new router. What specs should I be looking for in the router? – Gerneio Aug 7 '16 at 17:57
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This can be easily solved by getting the proper infrastructure, not just a router.

The specs of your router don't matter. What you are going to find is that after about 5 (maybe 10) devices simultaneously connect, your speeds are going to drop. This is because each iPad (device, actually), regardless of what you are trying to do is attempting to use 100% of the bandwidth. It's the nature of the TCP/IP stack; not your router or device.

I know this from having to deal with a government client that provided free wireless for the jury pool. When people would come in one at a time, wireless was fine. When they came in en mass, the WAP would crash. It didn't matter if there were less than 30 people in the pool or 100. If they came online en mass, Wi-Fi was down.

What you need is

  • At minimum 4 WAPs
  • Enterprise Grade WAPs that allow you to throttle bandwidth to each client.
  • The AP's configured in as a mesh (Ubiquiti has this baked in)

Try Ubiquiti Networks WAP's. They will have the features you are going to need.

  • Thanks for your input! Makes a lot of sense. Would 4 be needed for a 1000 sq ft area, or Do I need 4 to handle 30 devices? – Gerneio Aug 7 '16 at 18:14
  • That's tough to say without doing a site survey to see where the dead spots are, where the people would be congregating, etc. If it's a 1000 sq ft "box" (say 50' x 20') then 3 or 4 down the center should be fine. If there is "stuff" like partitions, walls, equipment, etc, you may need more. – Allan Aug 7 '16 at 18:30
  • In reality, the general use of the devices will probably be within a single 500 sq ft wide open room. – Gerneio Aug 7 '16 at 18:33
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    The single room makes all the difference. I'll post an answer with a very different recommendation than Alan's - +1 for the post nonetheless. What would be the budget for the 4 AP and licenses for software? – bmike Aug 7 '16 at 18:43
  • the nice thing with these controllerless WAPs is that you can start with 2 or three and just add them on as you need them. It (mesh) was in my head when I was first answering, but I never typed it out. Doh! – Allan Aug 7 '16 at 18:43

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