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Old 01-27-2006, 08:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default MIMO Explained

MIMO technology (Multiple Input Multiple Output) is one of the key features of the upcoming 802.11n Wi-Fi specification. The theory is that the more antennas you put on the router the more signals you're going to send out. Over long distances parts of a signal are going to be lost due to reflections off of surfaces, interferrance with other wireless devices, and many other natural causes. The more signals (via antennas) you send out, the more fragments of signals you're going to recieve on the other end. You can then piece together those fragments and make an entire signal out of them. The "theory" is true, MIMO technology considerably strengthens the signal of wireless devices.

MIMO is still a new technology though, and because of that the amount of MIMO capable products available to the public is very small. There are only two companies who offer MIMO capable products, and they are: Linksys and Belkin. Belkin offers two different product lines that are MIMO capable, Pre-N and Wireless G Plus. Pre-N refers to 802.11n, the upcoming Wi-Fi specification. Since 802.11n hasn't even been fully drawn up though, it is doubtful that Pre-N products will be upgradable to 802.11n. Wireless G Plus products are simply wireless G routers with MIMO technology slapped on. None of these offer extra features such as WPA2. Also, Belkin hasn't released any firmware to enable security features like WPA2; at least they haven't yet. You can take a look at a Pre-N comparison chart here, and a Wireless G Plus comparison chart here.

Linksys has also come out with MIMO capable routers, and there are currently three of those on the market right now. The three MIMO capable routers Linksys released are branded with the SRX name; which stands for Speed and Range eXpansion. These three routers are: the SRX, the SRX200, and the SRX400. A comparison chart may be found here. Besides the MIMO technology, one of the newer features included in these Linksys routers is the WPA2 security encryption option. Even if your router out of the box doesn't have the WPA2 option, Linksys released a firmware update that adds that feature to your router. Remember though, that the use of WPA2 with Windows might require a hotfix.
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