MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple output) is a wireless technology capable to support multiple users on multiple devices at the same time.
1- Technical aspects of Wi-Fi MU-MIMO
This technology has been introduced by 802.11ac Wave 2 also known as Wi-Fi 5 but only downlink. It can support 4×4 and potentially 8×8 configurations.
What does that mean?
That means that potentially it will be able to support up 8 spatial streams on the same frequency. That is to say, each data set or spatial stream will use multiple radios and antennas to communicate with the client and vice versa. Both the client and the access point need to support the number of spatial streams and MU-MIMO.
All spatial streams will be simultaneously using the same channel for better efficiency.
This technology of MU-MIMO combined with beamforming also allows more flexibility. Beamforming is used by the AP to send its RF signal directly to the client and the client to the AP. The result is better throughput.
The technology prevents devices from interfering with each other. This allows a better support for high concentration of users. It works with downlink wireless connections.
With MU-MIMO, multiple network clients can communicate at the same time thanks to an access point (AP).
2- Now, what’s new with Wi-Fi 6 standard?
Today, with the 802.11ax also known as Wi-Fi 6, MU-MIMO is adding a new dimension. Now wireless devices can return streams to an AP in both the uplink and downlink directions.
This new improvement increases speed and efficiency of connection.
Also, more simultaneous devices may be supported with Wi-Fi 6 standard. Like we said previously, with Wi-Fi 6 it can support up 8 spatial streams on the same frequency.
In a few words, MU-MIMO is very helpful for supporting a dense client environment.
3- In which environment is MU-MIMO the most relevant?
MU-MIMO is particularly useful in high-density venues such as convention centers, auditoriums, school classrooms, college lecture halls, or high traffic retail environments.
With Wi-Fi 6 there are a number of benefits, including increasing the number of simultaneously transmitting and receiving connections, thanks to MU-MIMO, longer battery life, thanks to Target Wake Time and more bandwidth for bandwidth intensive applications like gaming.
For more information about Wi-Fi, read these articles: