Everything is wireless these days, right? Or perhaps it just seems that way. MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) radios seem to be the most popular of the bunch. MIMO means that multiple antennas are used for both the transmit and receive ends of the signal in the wireless subsystem. The result, in theory at least, is improved performance, including higher data throughput and range without requiring a higher transmit power or additional bandwidth. Rather, the signal is spread between the antennas. Some people refer to MIMO as smart antenna technology.
I’ve been using a MIMO wireless router for many years for the WiFi in my home office. There’s no question that its performance is superior to single-antenna systems. If you’re designing some sort of system that requires wireless, whether it’s WiFi or some other technology, MIMO should be on your list of considerations, and probably pretty high up on that list.
Once you get the MIMO architecture designed in, you’ll need to test that subsystem. Unfortunately, this has been a fairly significant challenge for designers, even those who are familiar with wireless technology. While it might seem trivial (or maybe it doesn’t), there’s a specific process to follow to test properly.
To help you get from Point A to Point B, we’ve assembled a series of classes in our Digi-Key Continuing Education Center called Testing MIMO Radios. While taking these online classes won’t make you an expert, it’ll get you much further down the road in your wireless development. And you’ll be earning IEEE Professional Development Hours at the same time.