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JiWire offers a long review of Linksys’s MIMO router: They find the Linksys SRX is the best-performing MIMO router they’ve tested so far but would like setup improved and the price dropped.
Buffalo Technology uses Airgo chips to enter the MIMO market: Buffalo will ship a gateway and PC Card in mid-May similar to those offered by Belkin and Linksys. The retail price is $189 and $119, respectively.
Tim Higgins of Tom’s Networking offers his exhaustive look at the NetGear RangeMax Wireless Router: This device uses Atheros’s Super G technology combined with Video54’s multiple antenna approach. The folks at Airgo say that Video54’s MIMO isn’t MIMO because it doesn’t support spatial multiplexing (multiple signals taking different paths over the same frequencies). Video54 says multiple antennas are multiple antennas; they’re using a phase-array approach per packet in which each packet can be sent through a different antenna combination. The device has a street price of just $118, far below its “true MIMO” competitors.
Higgins thinks that the device delivers on some but not all of its claims, and that because four different technologies are involved (three from Atheros then Video54 on top) he has some issues with the simplicity of it, too. He doesn’t know which technologies need to be turned on, off, or changed in order to achieve the best results with that combination. That’s a key advantage for the True MIMO line of products using Airgo chips: it’s essentially one technology that wraps around all these ideas while delivering better results.
MIMO is hitting the market, but what’s the future of the products shipping now?: This piece I wrote for Mobile Pipeline provides an overview of MIMO technology and some of the issues that will face buyers of technology today—will that gateway they bought work tomorrow? Well, sure. But you won’t be able to use the fastest versions of “true MIMO” as backwards compatible versions of future MIMO, almost certainly.
Remarkably, NewsFactor Network has a similar story with a bit of a different tack: that author focuses on spatial multiplexing and its ability to increase the effective carrying capacity of a chunk of spectrum. Atheros’s two radio, four antenna system transmits the same data over both radios; Airgo’s MIMO sends different data over each radio sending signals across different paths. Atheros increases range; Airgo increases data rate and range.
USA Today columnist calls MIMO-equipped gateways out of the ballpark: Despite problems he had using a Linksys WRT54GX’s flash settings, Edward Baig was impressed with the results of MIMO when using just a MIMO adapter or just a MIMO gateway, a common sentiment. He tested a variety of real-world conditions and found that even the worst cases were far better than plain 802.11g. Price is an issue, but he doesn’t stress it as performance obviously exceeded his expectations.
Airgo’s CEO speculates: Unstrung reports that Airgo’s financial performance has the CEO talking openly with them about a public offering.
Craig Mathias of the Farpoint Group runs down the state of MIMO and its future: MIMO’s current technology appears in products from four vendors, two of which are following a multiple antenna strategy that the other two (and their chip supplier Airgo) say flatly isn’t MIMO. Airgo, Linksys, and Belkin would argue that spatial multiplexing, or sending data over the same frequencies through different paths is MIMO while the others use beamforming and phase array techniques.
Mathias recommends MIMO unhesitatingly after performing tests with Belkin’s Pre-N gear and a variety of 802.11g adapters and gateways. He points out rightly that for distance and throughput, MIMO beats cheaper 802.11g devices because of the complexity—and might be cheaper depending on how many 802.11g devices you’d have to put together to reach the same results.