To many of us, the term MU-MIMO might not strike a chord. Fret not, despite the seemingly long acronym accorded to it, the way it works is in fact really simple. MU-MIMO stands for multi-user, multiple input, multiple output. It is basically a technological upgrade from the older SU-MIMO standard (single-user, multiple input, multiple output). These are actually terms used to describe the different ways in which routers are able to send and receive information from multiple electronic devices.
How it actually works
The SU (single-unit) standard version allows you to send and receive several streams of data simultaneously. However, it has a key downside. If there were two devices streaming information from the router at the same time, one device would get priority while the other would have to wait for the first to buffer portions of the data first. This would mean that the quality of the Internet you receive drops.
MU-MIMO is able to efficiently break up your bandwidth into separate, individual streams. This allows equal sharing of the internet connection. We are now all able to browse the internet or watch movies without the fear of our internet speed being compromised by others on the same Wi-Fi connection. The routers equipped with MU-MIMO are available in different variations and can provide internet streaming for two, three or four devices. In order for MU-MIMO to function, both the router and the electronic device receiving the connection would have to be compatible. Currently, routers equipped with MU-MIMO are only able to broadcast over the newer 802.11ac wireless protocol which is a signal that many devices have not yet been updated to decode.
What would this mean for you?
The upgrade to MU-MIMO would definitely benefit everyone, regardless of whether you are an avid gamer or just a regular internet user browsing the internet. For gamers, it can be infuriating when you are in the middle of a game and all of a sudden, it starts to lag. Most likely, this results from a new device sharing the same connection and taking up a portion of the limited bandwidth. However, with MU-MIMO, such a situation can be averted since each device has its own separate connection.
With the increasing availability of MU-MIMO, we would all be able to relish being able to enjoy uninterrupted internet connections both at home and at work.