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Smartphones with MIMO for Wi-Fi will increase rapidly.  This could have taken off with 802.11n, since 802.11n first supported MIMO, but did not because of the increased cost of adding MIMO combined with the complexity of antenna placements in small devices.  The closer MIMO antennas are placed, the less of a benefit there is to use MIMO.  But this is changing rapidly, even though at first 802.11ac (1X1) was seen as a way to provide an increased data rate over the wider channels used in 5 GHz without having the added cost or complexity of MIMO.  There are a few reasons for this change:

  • - New combo chipsets are available with MIMO
  • - Smartphones have gotten larger
  • - MIMO is being pushed into mid-sized smartphones faster than those in the industry thought would occur
  • - Mobile operators and cable operators have been pushing for 802.11ac and MIMO in devices to be able to provide more reliable and stable connections from farther away

 

At first, it was thought only some premium "phablets" would have MIMO for some time, but the Galaxy S5 has MIMO and will be shipping in the many tens of millions of devices this year alone.  With the combination of combo wireless connectivity chipsets supporting MIMO, the mobile operator demands, and the competitive situation of keeping up with specificiations and features, expect the shipments of smartphones with MIMO to increase rather quickly.

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