What's the difference between SU-MIMO and MU-MIMO?

What's the difference between SU-MIMO and MU-MIMO?

  • SU - Single User
  • MU - Multiple Users
  • MIMO - Multiple-Input Multiple-Output

SU-MIMO was an optional technology that came along with 802.11n standards.  Single User MIMO operates multiple streams of data must be sent or received between just one device at a time.  This technology requires both the transmitting and receiving Wi-Fi radios support the MIMO technology, along with having multiple antennas.

While MU-MIMO only became available on wave 2 of 802.11ac standards.  This technology enables Wi-Fi to simultaneously transmit those multiple streams to different Wi-Fi devices, instead of just one single device when compared to the older version (SU-MIMO).  Another benefit to 'MU' is the Wi-Fi devices receiving one of the MIMO data streams doesn't have to have multiple antennas therefore even devices with single antenna will support this. However, the receiving Wi-Fi devices must support the MU-MIMO technology.

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