Most people buying a router want to make sure they get the latest and greatest features buy a router and have it work. They want everybody in the home to get the bandwidth they need and not have to worry about videos buffering or your games lagging out. Techies like me may want a little more out of it in terms of advanced features… but we all want the same thing – great performance with no hassles.
The router industry does not make it easy. Routers are being advertised and marketed with names and terms that at best are confusing, and in the worst cases are misleading. One such example are the AC numbers. These AC numbers correlate to the amount of bandwidth these routers can provide… the theory is the higher the AC numbers the better the router. Routers today are marketed from AC 750 all the way up to AC 7200… the problem is nobody knows what those numbers mean or how to obtain the advertised amount of throughput. Earlier this year, CNET posted a great article on this that can be found here.
The problem with confusing, or misleading, marketing is that consumers often end up not knowing which features are important. Sometime a crucial feature can slip by without you even knowing you need it… one of these features that you should know about is Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO for short).
So what is MU-MIMO? It may surprise you to know this, but routers have historically been pretty dumb, inefficient devices. In the past, if you had several devices connected to your router over WiFi, the router couldn’t talk to multiple devices at the same time… it would talk to them in round robin fashion… broadcasting to one device, then stopping and broadcasting to another device, then stopping and broadcasting to the next device, etc. This round robin approach kills network efficiency, and causes you to lose massive throughput in your home.
MU-MIMO addresses this by allowing your router to broadcast to multiple devices at the same time. By using its antennas much more efficiently with MU-MIMO, the router can communicate with multiple devices at a time causing much less down time because it doesn’t have to start and stop broadcasting nearly as often. How much of a difference can it make? It all depends on the devices in your home, but in real-world situations it can increase home throughput 60% or more according to router manufacturers.
This is a feature you should really check out, and make sure you get in your new router. MU-MIMO router technology, (and more) is explained in our video explaining the benefits of the advanced features that modern routers today provide;