Good News! Qualcomm Wants to End Slow, Overcrowded, Public Wi-Fi

By Tom Pritchard on at

Chip-making-overlord Qualcomm has announced support for multi user-multiple-input-multiple-output (MU-MIMO) in its future network-enabled equipment. What does this random selection of words mean? In a nutshell, it could mean the end of overcrowding on public Wi-Fi.

Because everybody loves free internet, a single public Wi-Fi network can see over a hundred users at the same time -- meaning the connection speed is slower than a snail on Valium. This is because wireless access points are only able to communicate with a single user at a time.  With MU-MIMO on board, access points will be able to multi-task and communicate with multiple users at the same time. What does this mean for you? The potential for speeds to increase to 600Mbps.

As it stands, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 801 processor (present in both the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5) supports MU-MIMO, but requires an update to activate it. Qualcomm has promised that its upcoming Snapdragon 805 will also support the technology, but it's meaningless until access points have MU-MIMO support. Fortunately Qualcomm's competitor Quantenna has jumped ahead and started including MU-MIMO chips in wireless routers.

It's all very exciting, and hopefully it means we'll see a surge in high-speed, readily available public Wi-Fi. [Yahoo Tech]