Alexa has given us the power to connect to and control may devices, including smart plugs, with just the sounds of our voice. It’s a great convenience when your hands or full, or you simply don’t want to get off the couch. But how many devices can Alexa connect to?
How Many Smart Plugs Can You Connect to Alexa? Alexa allows for an unumber of Smart plugs to connect to it. You would need to think of a different name for each of the smart plugs. The limiting factor for connecting Wi-Fi smart plugs becomes the router, which can support a maximum of 255 devices, depending on the router.
There are a lot of connection options when it comes to connecting smart plugs, such as Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Z-Wave.
If you plan on using a ton of smart home devices, you might want to skip Wi-FI.
I’ll try to sort out the connection options and clear up any confusion in this article.
Smart Plugs Limitations due to Wireless Protocol
The maximum number of devices that can connect to a router is limited to 255 devices.
A lot of routers allow even fewer, between 32 and 64.
The reason is because of the way the addressing is setup.
The typical address a router creates for your home network looks something like this: 192.162.1.zzz
Each device gets assigned a number when it connects to the router, which replaces the zzz in the address mentioned above.
So, the first device you connect to the router gets the address of 188.8.131.52.
It may seem like you could go all the way up to 999 using the address scheme, but no, that’s not the way it works. It only goes up to 255.
Explaining this would get into computer science a little bit, so I don’t want to go into detail on it. If your curious, research byte boundaries, and look at hoe many bits 255 takes up.
Wi-FI Words of Caution
There are a few reasons that you may want to limit the number of devices using Wi-Fi. If either of the following issues may be a problem for you, you might want to consider using Z-Wave or ZigBee.
Bandwidth is the amount of traffic that your router can handle. The more devices, the more congested it is. A lot like creating a traffic jam, having low bandwidth can slow down your internet speed.
Did you use to have fast internet, but now it seems to be going slow? You might want to think about the number of devices on your network.
Wi-Fi uses a certain frequency of radio waves. Smart devices typically use 2.4 GHz, because it has further range.
When your devices use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet, the signals are sent with radio waves and despite of all advanced features wireless network interference can happen.
As a result, your wireless connection may become weak and unreliable.
If you have a bunch of devices on your Wi-Fi, and you notice devices not being able to stay connected to your router, this may be your problem. Try disconnecting other nearby devices
The number of devices that can connect to your Z-Wave hub is limited to 232 devices.
The addressing scheme is similar to Wi-Fi, in that there are 255 connection ports. However, a few of those addresses are reserved. Enough to bring the number of available addresses down to 232.
There are a few benefits to using z-wave over wi-fi.
First, Z-Wave consumes less power the Wireless devices. If you have a significant number of smart devices, the power savings could add up.
Second. Z-Wave will only use up one of your available addresses on your router. That’s because all the smart devices connect to a hub, and only the hub connects to the router.
Third, Z-wave is a mesh network, which extends range and reliability. A mesh network is where each device is able to relay messages to the next device, so it may hop from the hub to a deice to the next deice.
If you plan on having more than 200 some devices, this is the one for you.
The number of devices that can connect to your Z-Wave hub is limited to about 65,000 devices.
It’s actually a little bit more, but I just don’t think you’ll use that many.
For Computer Nerds, the address width is double the number of bits of Wi-Fi or Z-Wave, so 256 x 256 = 65,536.
The benefits of ZigBee are very similar to Z-Wave, except ZigBee allows you to have way more devices. ZigBee also requires a hub.
How To Connect Smart Plug To Alexa
Setting up your smart plug is a fairly straightforward device, assuming its compatible with Alexa.
The basics steps are:
- Plug-in the smart plug
- Connect and Setup the smart plug through the manufacturer’s app on your smart phone
- In the Alexa app,
- Select setup smart plug
- Give Alexa your credentials to login through manufacturer’s portal
Here’s a video that demonstrates this using a TP-Link device. Any other manufacturer will be a similar process.
Smart Plug Troubleshooting
If your going to be using a device with Alexa, you should probably check that it is compatible before buying it. You can check on Amazon’s Alexa site here.
If you find your device is compatible, but Alexa is having trouble discovering the smart plug still, try these tips.
- Make sure your Alexa device and the Alexa app have the latest software version. These usually update automatically, but it’s a good thing to check if you’re having trouble.
- It’s unusual for a home network to have more than 1 Wi-Fi network, but if you do, check that your Alexa device and your smart plug are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
- Check that Alexa is within 30 ft of your smart plug.
Lastly, there is the classic, “have you tried resetting it?”
This is typically done by doing some form of the following:
- Unplug and wait 10 or so seconds.
- Press and hold the button on the plug.
- While holding the button, plug into an outlet.
- For plugs with lights, release the button once you see the LED light up.
- Lastly, set up Amazon Smart Plug again.
Device specific tips (from Amazon):
- Phillips Hue V1 bridge (circle-shaped): Press the button on the bridge before discovering your devices.
- TP-Link devices: Turn on Remote Control in the Kasa app.
- Harmony devices: Select Welcome Back on the YOUR SETTINGS HAVE BEEN RESTORED page. Make your updates, and then select Link Account.
In case I’m not up-to-date on the latest troubleshooting, Amazon has a page that will help guide you though basic troubleshooting. You can find it here.
Can you connect multiple devices to Alexa?
Alexa can control an unlimited number of devices. If you want to control Alexa with multiple devices, such as smart phones, it is possible to connect multiple devices. However, Alexa will only respond through one device.
Do smart plugs use a lot of electricity?
Smart plugs themselves do not use a lot of electricity. Smart plugs use approximately 1 Watt of power when in stand-by mode. That results in an energy usage of 8.76 kWh over the course of a year.