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I've seen a few WiFi capacity planning questions, and this one is related, but hopefully different enough not to be closed. Also, this is related specifically to 802.11g, but a similar question could be made for N.

In order to squeeze more WiFi users into a space, the transmit power on the APs need to be reduced and the APs squeezed closer together. My question is, how far can you practically take this before the network becomes unusable? There will come a point where the transmit power is so weak that nobody will actually be able to pick up a connection, or be constantly roaming to/from APs spaced a few feet apart as they walk around. There are also only 3 available channels to use as well, which is a factor to consider. After determining the peak AP density, then multiply by users-per-AP, which should be easier to find out.

After factoring all of this in and running some back-of-the-envelope calculations, I'd like to be able to get a figure of "XX users per 10ft^2" or something. This can be considered the physical limit of WiFi, and will keep people from asking about getting 3,000 people in a ballroom conference on WiFi. Can anyone with WiFi experience chime in, or better yet, provide some calculations for a more accurate figure?

Assumptions: Let's assume an ideal environment with no reflection (think of a big, square, open room, with the APs spaced out on a plane), APs are placed on the ceiling so humans won't absorb the waves, and the only interference are from the APs themselves and the devices. As for what devices specifically, that's irrelevant for the first point of the question (AP density, so only channel and transmit power should matter).

User experience: Wikipedia states that Wireless G has about 22Mbps maximum effective throughput, or about 2.75MB/s. For the purpose of this question, anything below 100KB/s per user can be deemed to be a poor user experience. As for roaming, I'll assume the user is standing in the same place, so hopefully that will be a non-issue.

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closed as not constructive by Wesley, HopelessN00b, Greg Askew, Zoredache, Chopper3 Nov 28 '12 at 22:35

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Not sure why this got a close vote but I'm certainly interested in the answer. –  joeqwerty Nov 28 '12 at 18:53
    
As you're thinking about this, make sure you factor in the height of the room. Reducing the transmit power allows you to space AP's closer together, but if the space between AP's ends up being less than the height of the ceiling, you'll get dead spaces between the AP's. –  longneck Nov 28 '12 at 19:13
    
Seems too subjective and variable to create a one-size-fits all rule for to me. How much roaming is "too much" roaming? What devices are you talking about? The coverage shadow and map are going to be different for each AP. What about the environment? Reflection, absorption and noise will play a factor. What about user limits per device (per manufacturer spec)? If there were a simple answer to this question, everyone would be using it, and wireless surveying and planning wouldn't be so expensive. –  HopelessN00b Nov 28 '12 at 19:17
    
I added some edits. My intent of this question is to find out a hard physical limit (within reason). I didn't necessarily mean that it should be practical, or become a guideline for the future. –  Bigbio2002 Nov 28 '12 at 19:28
    
There is No magic bullet answer. –  Matt Nov 28 '12 at 20:44
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