Qualcomm announced the first Qualcomm VIVE 4-stream 802.11ac solutions with multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) from its subsidiary Qualcomm Atheros. MU-MIMO could bring about a significant difference to home network speeds and make gigabit Wi-Fi a practical reality.

Qualcomm is launching eight parts that all support 801.11ac Release 2 including MU-MIMO or Multi-User MIMO which can effectively triple the throughput of a Wi-Fi device.

“Using MU-MIMO is like using the carpool lane: the Wi-Fi Highway doesn’t change, but grouping up with other users lets you go much faster while de-congesting the other lanes,” said Qualcomm.

“Great connectivity is not just about increasing the absolute speed. It’s about making better use of network and airtime efficiency to support the growing number of connected devices, services and applications,” said Dan Rabinovitsj, senior vice president, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc.

“After seven years of MU-MIMO development and testing, we’ve gained a deep understanding of real-world channel behavior with this advanced Wi-Fi technology in crowded environments. These insights have led to the creation of our precision-based algorithm technology that, along with technologies like the Qualcomm Internet Processor and StreamBoost maximizes Wi-Fi performance for all connected devices.”

MU-MIMO (multi-user MIMO), is an improvement over the SU-MIMO (single-user MIMO) technology which served a single user at a time until it was done completely and then moved on to the next request.

Qualcomm claims chips’ maximum physical layer rates of up to 1.733 Gbps for routers and access points, and up to 867 Mbps at the client side. The company noted that to utilize it fully, MU-MIMO requires compatible devices on both ends of the Wi-Fi network.

Qualcomm also plans to demonstrate the MU-MIMO-enabled chips’ technology to manufacturers of wireless routers in the next few months. The company is expecting products based on its MU-MIMO silicon to hit the shelves in late 2014 or early 2015.