Earlier this week, Qualcomm announced plans for new technology that could triple Wi-Fi speeds in homes, offices, and public networks. As of now Wi-Fi can only sere one device at a time, cycling quickly among different users. This creates slower speeds for everyone when more than one device connects to the network.
“On a network like this, streaming or video chatting can be like sitting in the driver’s seat at rush hour: you’ll get to your destination, but it’s going to take some time,” Qualcomm said.
After seven years of research, Qualcomm will allow networks to transmit data to multiple groups of users simultaneously using algorithms that adapt on the fly to changes in usage. The technology is known as “MU-MIMO,” which stands for “multi-user, multiple input, multiple output.”
Qualcomm plans on selling MU-MIMO enabled chips to manufactures of wireless routers and access points. They will also sell these chips to companies that makes smartphones, tablets, and other consumer electronics.
When both network and user use this technology, it will boost speeds by two to three times. Devices using MU-MIMO networks that are not equipped with the technology won’t be able to use the improvement provided by the chip, but should still gain some benefit.
“Using MU-MIMO is like using the carpool lane: the Wi-Fi Highway doesn’t change, but grouping up with other users lets you go much faster while de-congesting the other lanes,” the company said.
Qualcomm plans to start demonstrating the technology within the next few months before beginning shipments to customers early next year.