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PC World applied its usual extensive testing to six consumer MIMO routers (True, beamforming, and multi-antenna varieties): They put Linksys’s WRT54GX at the top of the list despite its higher price than other multiple-antenna gateways due to its steady short and long range performance and ease of setup. Belkin’s early entry in the market was noted as a best buy, but PC World noted its short-range performance is undistinguished.
NetGear’s RangeMax had the best short-range performance, with PC World measuring 31 Mbps, but thought its long-distance speeds mediocre. They also found that they couldn’t disable channel bonding when nearby networks were operating, but NetGear says they’ve fixed this problem. (Side note: I found that RangeMax topped out at about 30 Mbps in my testing, too, for a Mobile Pipeline article. NetGear says they can reach 40 Mbps of real throughput, so I’m happy to see PC World confirm my experience.)
Airgo’s True G gear will be less than $100; sports two antennas: True G is Airgo’s alternative to True MIMO, which employs multiple simultaneous data streams over different paths when endpoints are using Airgo’s technology. True G only has two antennas to True MIMO’s three—as sold by Linksys, Belkin, and others. A company spokesperson explained that the reduction in cost was achieved through fewer antennas and a lower component count.
Airgo has been frustrated in its attempts to capitalize on MIMO as a term that they “own”: True MIMO is a trademark, but Airgo also wants MIMO to refer only to those devices that use spatial multiplexing. (Some dispute Airgo’s founders position as the inventors of MIMO, too, citing earlier papers, but the founders’ early work in the field is what’s been instantiated as product by them.)
True AG chipsets will also be available for 802.11a and g range extension. Both True G and AG will have two receive and two transmit antennas; the True MIMO devices have three receive and two transmit antennas.
According to this article, Airgo expects street prices of gear based on their chips to drop to $129 to $149 for True MIMO and $69 to $99 for a router for True G. True AG will be slightly more expensive.
Internetnews.com says even faster wireless networking coming—by 2015: The news site reports on WIGWAM (Wireless Gigabit with Advanced Multimedia), a German academic and corporate consortium that’s working on 1 Gbps wireless data technology in the 60 GHz band. Interestingly, the numbers for 802.11n in this article are all talking about 100 Mbps, while members of the two leading proposals for 802.11n believe that with optional or mandatory extensions (one point of contention) speeds of as high as 600 Mbps are possible, but 200 to 400 Mbps are almost certain.
Extremely clear, detailed article from AP on the non-standards mess around MIMO: Matthew Fordahl’s superb piece examines the nomenclature problem, the process of standards’ development, certification issues, and consumer confusion.
Airgo chips will power embedded MIMO in Samsung laptop: This is a first—a manufacturer building a MIMO adapter right into a laptop. But it’s an interesting option because, for competitive reasons, they can’t price the laptop above similar laptops unless MIMO is a selling point. Thus it obviates some of the concerns with separately purchasing a MIMO adapter due to cost or future compatibility.
Very few internal laptop adapters can be updated anyway, so you can’t argue convincingly that having an early MIMO device that’s backwards compatible and offers greater range even without a MIMO gateway is a downside for a purchaser.