What Is MU-MIMO and Do I Need It on My Router?

Learn all about MU-MIMO

What Is MU-MIMO?

New technological advances to improve WiFi seem to come around all the time, so you’d be forgiven for tuning out for most of them.

Having said that, there’s a new wireless networking standard in town, and it’s poised to be in high demand.

What Is MU-MIMO?

MU-MIMO is its name, and let’s just get what the name means out of the way first, because it’s silly and distracting.

MU-MIMO stands for “Multiple User Multiple Input Multiple Output”, and this technology is going to change the way you and your housemates share your WiFi.

Basically, MU-MIMO is a new wireless networking standard update that allows you and your fellow WiFi users to share WiFi at the same time.

You might already be thinking that you share WiFi all the time, swiping away at your phone while watching Netflix, or using a laptop while your significant other uses WiFi. That’s sort of true, but the difference is that your router likely uses SU-MIMO (Single User Multiple Input Multiple Output), which delivers a rotating burst of WiFi to each device, and does so fast enough that you usually don’t notice the difference.

MU-MIMO improves on this system by allowing a router to communicate with multiple devices at once, as though each device using the router has its own personal router devoted to it. As you can imagine, this creates a more efficient wireless network and makes your WiFi usage that much more fluid. Better still, the data sent by a MU-MIMO router is only readable on the intended device, which essentially encrypts the data for you.

Do I Need MU-MIMO on My Router?

Sounds like a slam dunk case, right? Get yourself MU-MIMO right away.

Not so fast.

MU-MIMO is on the verge of being huge, but it’s not totally there yet. Only a limited number of routers are offering MU-MIMO capabilities, so we recommend waiting a bit until it goes fully mainstream.

Moreover, there are some other drawbacks to MU-MIMO, though they are admittedly minor. For starters, MU-MIMO basically forces your router to handle a lot more info about each connected device, which makes managing your network a bit more difficult.

Secondly, and this is probably the biggest drawback, MU-MIMO works for downlink activity but not the reverse. Anything you want to download will receive the MU-MIMO benefits. Anything you want to upload does not.

Lastly, MU-MIMO is most effectively used on stationary devices, which is nice for your desktop and Roku, etc. but your phone may not benefit so greatly from this new tech. But really, these are quibbles, and it strikes us that it’s a matter of time before MU-MIMO irons out these details and becomes ubiquitous.

In the meantime, our many DD-WRT and Tomato-flashed Wireless-AC routers are here, and ready to provide you with the best conceivable wireless network today. Check out our most recent best-sellers list to find out how we can transform your network into an unstoppable force.

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