Qualcomm aims to soothe multi-user Wi-Fi congestion with its new MU-MIMO (multi user-multiple-input multiple-output) antenna technology. Wireless routers and access points are being targeted by new Qualcomm chipsets which should cope much better with multiple devices accessing a Wi-Fi connection at the same time.
Wi-Fi performance can suffer as more and more users log on. Current Wi-Fi routers and access points send a stream of data to one user at a time and switch to send data to each active user as required. "These snippets in time become increasingly smaller and more frequent as more users log in, effectively throttling the network bandwidth and speed for all users," explains TweakTown.
Qualcomm's MU-MIMO antenna tech allows 802.11ac networks to transmit data to many users simultaneously. The benefits compared to the above case scenario are clear. Rishi Grover, director of product marketing at Qualcomm said "Vendors are eager to get to market and deploy this technology, because they really see a need for it". One of Qualcomm's hardware partners likened the MU-MIMO to a switched Ethernet network.
MU-MIMO requires new routers and access points but will also need clients to be upgraded. ITWorld reports that mobile devices powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 801 and 805 processors "already support the technology". However software will need updating to activate it. For laptops or other connected device Qualcomm will be offering chipsets.
Beyond this MU-MIMO technology Qualcomm has another couple of innovations up its sleeve to improve network performance. A feature called 'Airtime Fairness' prevents slower clients from hogging the network, channels can be auto-switched in the face of interference and another feature steers dual-band 5GHz capable clients to utilise that capability.
The first products supporting MU-MIMO are expected between Q2 2015 and summer time.