A RE­CAP – WHAT IS MU-MIMO?

HWM (Malaysia) - - LEARN -

MU-MIMO, which stands for Multi-User, Multi-In­put Multi-Out­put, ex­ists to solve a prob­lem faced by its pre­de­ces­sor, Sin­gle-User MIMO (SU-MIMO). MIMO it­self means that a router has mul­ti­ple an­ten­nas, each ca­pa­ble of emit­ting one spa­tial stream of data. The is­sue with this is that most de­vices do not have that many an­ten­nas them­selves, and are thus not ca­pa­ble of tak­ing in the full data out­put of a router. Add the fact that SU-MIMO does not al­low for the mul­ti­ple an­ten­nas to serve dif­fer­ent client de­vices at a time, and the re­sult is wastage of the router's full ca­pac­ity, called the MIMO gap.

In­stead of push­ing all the data to one de­vice that can’t make use of it all, MUMIMO means that the spa­tial streams are split be­tween the other de­vices that are con­nected to the net­work.

MU-MIMO closes this gap by split­ting its in­di­vid­ual spa­tial streams to serve one de­vice each, re­sult­ing in, the­o­ret­i­cally, an equally high speed en­joyed by up to four de­vices per router or ac­cess point. With MUMIMO and de­vices sup­port­ing this tech­nol­ogy, the mul­ti­ple streams are spread out among the clients, mean­ing each gets its own stream of data. An­other re­sult of this is the router is ca­pa­ble of send­ing more data out at a time, clos­ing the MIMO gap.

Still, MU-MIMO has some draw­backs of its own, chief among which be­ing adop­tion. So far, there are few client de­vices out there that sup­port MU-MIMO, and you will need such de­vices to truly take ad­van­tage of this fea­ture. And while still faster than us­ing a router that does not sup­port MU-MIMO, if a de­vice that does not sup­port MU-MIMO con­nects to a MU-MIMO ac­cess point, other con­nected, MU-MIMO sup­ported de­vices will ex­pe­ri­ence a dip in speed. This is be­cause the router will have to serve the legacy de­vice with data the old-fash­ioned way – by push­ing all four spa­tial streams of data to the de­vice, de­spite the de­vice be­ing in­ca­pable to make full use of it. Other de­vices will also have to take turns in get­ting data from the router, to ac­com­mo­date the de­vice that doesn't sup­port MU-MIMO.

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