Netgear's MIMO: Cheap, Great Range But Slower

Netgear is the most recent WLAN vendor to offer MIMO equipment and it's range and price are exceptional, even if its speed isn't.

Glenn Fleishman, Contributor

May 3, 2005

2 Min Read

The Technology Difference

Netgear uses many antennas in its implementation of Video54's technology. But Airgo, which provides competing MIMO technology used by Linksys and Belkin, says that because Video54 doesn't put multiple streams of data over the same frequencies following different reflection paths at the same time. That's called spatial multiplexing; see The Multiple Ins And Outs Of MIMO )

In other words, Airgo claims that's why Video54 isn't true MIMO. Perhaps, but then, Airgo has trademarked the term "true MIMO" and, after all, there are no standards yet as to what MIMO is.

While Netgear's equipment isn't as cheap as plain old 802.11g, it does reliably deliver much more range in the same circumstances. That's true even if you use a standard 802.11g gateway or cards on one end.

In other words, Netgear's equipment provides significantly greater range than Linksys' or Belkin's gear but only, roughly, two-thirds the speed. But Netgear's RANGEMAX still provides more than enough sustained speed for virtually any home or small office application.

Buying Advice

Which is better for the money? If you need high throughput, Airgo-based products (such as Belkin's and Linksys') are the only way to go. However, all elements in your WLAN network -- adapters and routers -- must use this equipment to achieve the faster speeds.

If you need range, such as getting coverage to the corners of a large house, Netgear's approach might be the right compromise between interoperability and variety. It's fast enough and it's range is exemplary. Plus, it's cheaper than the Linksys equipment.

The need for range is probably more pervasive than the need for speed, a fact that all current MIMO vendors are emphasizing as they don't want to be caught promoting speed that they can't deliver when 802.11n comes and requires yet another equipment upgrade.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights