Lately, it's become pretty obvious that MIMO smart antenna technology has become the darling of the design engineering community. Just look at this year's CES show. A host of companies, including Linksys and Netgear, rolled out MIMO-enabled systems and began touting the range and bandwidth boost that MIMO provides.
However, the launch of MIMO systems also opened a touchy topic in the design community. Since the January launches, engineers have been bickering about the misuse and misrepresentation of what MIMO technology actually is. And, that bickering lead Datacomm Research to agree that the word MIMO is being misused ( See MIMO squabble heats up).
Truth be told, I agree with the engineers that the word MIMO is being misused. You can't simply throw multiple antennas in a system and say the system is MIMO-enabled. There has to be some sort of spatial processing element that must also be included.
But, here's my reality check. Despite the technical debates, the word MIMO means nothing to end users. All end users care about is rate, reach, and cost (usually in the reverse order). So fighting over what's "true MIMO" and what's not, really doesn't accomplish much. The real focus should be on optimizing a WLAN solution to deliver expanded range, reach, and interesting price points. That takes the focus away from MIMO and puts it back were it belongs -- on the end user.
Editor's Note: Tell us what you thoughts about the misuse of the word MIMO in the marketplace in our 802.11n Forum).