Routers with Multi User MIMO, feed all devices simultaneously ( Diagram: courtesy Qualcomm). Inset 1: TP-Link MU-MIMO Talon AD7000. Inset 2: Linsys MaxStream MU-MIMO wireless network adapter.
WI with more FI is coming

A  new update to  WIFi, is set to sharply improve the home hotspot,  in 2016. Say hello to MU-MIMO
By Anand Parthasarathy
Bangalore, February 1 2016: You are  working on your laptop  and suddenly  the powerpoint  you are  editing, freezes.  Why ? Because your children in the other room  started downloading a heavy video  from YouTube.  Familiar scenario? Happens all the time when you use a  WiFi  router  to share a single broadband connection to the home. Wireless hotspots are limited by the technology  they harness.  The   underlying WiFi technology ( called  802.11  a, b, g ,n or ac)  that fuels the  wireless hotspot at home or office  today,  can  serve only one device at a time. It cycles rapidly from one PC, phone or laptop to the other , creating the illusion that all are being simultaneously served .   But when one  user  gobbles up the gigabytes,  other  applications grind to a halt.  Not any more. 

The  first  devices  that harness an exciting  new technology  were  unveiled  last month  -- by mid 2016 we can expect to see them in India.  The  WiFi routers  we use today,  exploit what is   called  SI MIMO:   Single User  Multiple In, Multiple Out.  That means,  while  multiple devices  can latch on to  hotpot,  IT  only  serves one  user at a time -- which explains the familiar logjams.  The current  WiFi standard, 802.11ac   has now been updated as  11 ac Wave2  and it enables Multi User or MU MIMO.  This means  it can serve every user device  in the home, simultaneously. No more waiting in queue!

Linksys, says    its new    Max-Stream series of  MU-MIMO-ready routers   which we can expect to buy for between Rs 14,000 and Rs 20,000,   "function as if multiple devices  have their own dedicated router....the whole household can play video games,  listen to music, check email, shop, stream movie – all at the same time."  A new  Wave 2  router   alone is not enough;  you need a matching  wireless adapter at the PC or laptop end. So Linksys has also launched a Max Stream USB adapter  for the equivalent of Rs 4000.

Another  router  leader, TP-Link  has gone ahead and announced a  MI-MIMO router, the Talon AD7000,   that offers  the next iteration in  data speed beyond 11ac -- that is 11ad . This means  serving multiple users  at the same  time at even higher speeds  -- up to 4.6 GBPS.. about 3 times faster than  11ac routers.

Who needs these  dizzy speeds?    Well, you and I will demand them, as we get used to  better and sharper TV -- which  is already   moving from  2K and HD to 4K and Ultra HD. By end  2016, we can expect  dish operators  to offer more and more content in 4K --  mostly live sports.  This will be  useless unless we have the means to  share such pixel-rich stuff across the home ... and  on our phones.   MU-MIMO does just that.  Acer  has already made 3 models in its Aspire series of  notebooks,  MU-MIMO-ready as has Motorola with its   X series phones.  The common factor  is a chip  solution  called Qualcomm Vive. Expect to  find Vive under the hood of many more  smartphones and tablets this year.
The Indian  behind  MIMO.... see our story