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CONTEXT: We are searching for WIFI AP able to broadcast UDP stream on a maximum number of connections: 10, 30, 50, 100, 150, 200 (guess the WIFI point is different in term of price and technology according the number of possible clients). The goal is to use a WIFI AP as radio antenna to broadcast an audio stream (48kHz Stereo 16bit < 3 Mbps).

QUESTION: What technology / criteria must be considered in modern WIFI point to be able 1- to broadcast 3 Mbps stream 2- to manage a big number of connections (50 to 250).

Thanks by advance for your advises, experience feedback. (does it change something if the broadcast stream is 500 Kbps instead of 3 Mbps)

  • REM, i thought it was interesting to link to related app to make possible test in real situation. now it's removed. – user258609 Jun 1 '16 at 6:58
  • The question is still asking for a product, and that is explicitly off-topic here. – Ron Maupin Jun 1 '16 at 7:02
  • Without pointing a specific product, i guess it is possible to talk about the criteria and technologies required to fit the need... – user258609 Jun 1 '16 at 7:07
  • You should edit your question to fit the help center. – Ron Maupin Jun 1 '16 at 7:08
  • Did any answer help you? If so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you could provide and accept your own answer. – Ron Maupin Aug 14 '17 at 4:19
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You need an access point that is capable of multicasting. Otherwise, you will run out of channel capacity long before you exceed the access point capabilities.

Wireless clients will send and receive a various data rates depending on the distance from the access point (i.e. signal strength). The capacity of the channel is only as fast as the slowest client. So if you have a few clients who are operating at a low data rate (say 9Mb), you can only get three streams, as you are sending separate data streams to each client.

With multicast (actually a broadcast at layer 2), you are only sending one stream that everyone listens to. Only commercial grade access points can do multicast. this also assumes your data source and infrastructure can also do multicast.

  • No APs handle multicast well. Mcast being broadcast it's sent at basic rate, which will rarely even be 3Mbps. AT&T Uverse ships modified APs that send multicast as unicast to get around this problem. (they also limit the number of clients.) – Ricky Beam Jun 1 '16 at 19:01
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    Point taken, but you can set the minimum basic rate to get enough throughput. You pay for that with smaller cell size, though. – Ron Trunk Jun 1 '16 at 19:19
  • So to resume, it is possible to use WIFI AP to broadcast 1 to 3 Mbps UDP stream, but it requires "Commercial Grade AP" and possibly a specific configuration ? right ? Could you say something about the number of possible connections ? – user258609 Jun 4 '16 at 7:23
  • The number of access points probably depends more on the area to be covered. But I would plan for no more than 20-25 per AP. – Ron Trunk Jun 4 '16 at 19:38
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After one year, we finally got the following conclusions:

1- WIFI AP are usually not broadcast capable (the "Multicast" option is often limited to 3 or 5 connections).

2- Generally speaking it is difficult to find information on WIFI technology/capabilities.

3- We solved the problem by doing a server application sending 'n' unicast UDP streams (we are still in validation process).

Our work is available through different applications and documents on our VBAN protocol page.

  • You should accept your answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. – Ron Maupin Aug 16 '17 at 17:51
  • ok, note everyone can test our broadcast use case with VBAN-Spot Application (server to broadcast audio stream) and the VBAN-Receptor Lite application for Android/iOs (all free). – user258609 Aug 17 '17 at 8:09

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