Walter Mossberg writes about a new version of Wi-Fi that expands both the range and speed:
MIMO — which stands for Multiple Input, Multiple Output — is likely to be the basis for the next major flavor of Wi-Fi, now under development, which goes by the technical name 802.11n. It’s intended to replace the most common flavors used in homes today, which engineers call 802.11b and 802.11g. But MIMO is so good that makers are rushing it into the market even before the new standard is complete.
Here’s a greatly simplified explanation [of how it works]: Standard Wi-Fi base stations send out a single data stream, even if they have two antennas. This single stream is diluted by a number of factors, including “scatter” — the tendency of radio waves to bounce off objects and thus travel over multiple paths, not all of which reach the receiver.
But MIMO base stations send out multiple data streams using multiple antennas (three in the case of the new Belkin and Linksys units). The receiver card then scoops up the scattered beams from their multiple paths and reconstructs them into a single, strong signal.