Qualcomm's New MU-MIMO Technology to Provide Faster Wi-Fi Speeds

By Frank Griffin April 09, 2014

How many times have you walked into coffee shop to use the Wi-Fi and walked right out once you realize the number of people using their devices? By now, we have come to realize the more people there are using a Wi-Fi hotspot, the slower the speed will be. This is because Wi-Fi networks can only serve one device at a time by cycling among different users, and the more devices there are, the slower the speed gets for everyone using the network. To overcome this technological hurdle, Qualcomm has come up with a new antenna technology to boost Wi-Fi download speeds event if there are many users competing for the same bandwidth.

The Qualcomm solution is MU-MIMO (multi user-multiple-input multiple-output), which allows networks to transmit data to more than one user at a time.

As of now, Qualcomm is the only company working on this technology, and several vendors have already integrated this technology into their devices as part of the company's Snapdragon 801 processor powering smartphones for HTC, Samsung and Sony. However, it needs to be activated with a software update in order for the feature to work.

The full effect of the MU-MIMO technology can only be experienced when it is used on both sides of the connection, meaning the device as well as the router. Qualcomm has built this feature into all of its latest Atheros 11ac client solutions inclulding:

  • Snapdragon 805 and 801 mobile processors
  • QCA6174, designed for tablets and high-end smartphones, combines 2-stream 11ac with Bluetooth 4.1 to provide more than 600 Mbps
  • The QCA9378 – Qualcomm Atheros’ new 2-stream VIVE solution for connected TVs, set-top boxes and other entertainment devices for 4k video, gaming, audio and other latency-sensitive media applications
  • The QCA6574 – the first automotive solution to combine 2-stream 11ac and Bluetooth 4.1 for in-car communication, media infotainment and point-to-point connections

This technology can theoretically achieve maximum wireless speeds of 6.93 Gbps for 802.11ac Wave 2, making it faster than anything currently in the market place for the public.

According to the company, the technology will not be available until the middle of 2015 for enterprises, while home networking equipment will be able to purchase it by the end of the year or the first quarter of next year.

"After seven years of MU-MIMO development and testing, we’ve gained a deep understanding of real-world channel behavior with this advanced Wi-Fi technology in crowded environments. These insights have led to the creation of our precision-based algorithm technology that, along with technologies like the Qualcomm Internet Processor and StreamBoost, maximizes Wi-Fi performance for all connected devices,” said Dan Rabinovitsj, senior vice president, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

IoTevolutionworld Contributing Writer

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