Ruckus and the MU-MIMO demo at #WFD8

I’ve just got to take my hat off to the team at Ruckus Wireless for their successful, yet gutsy move, to do a live demonstration in front of the #WFD8 delegates and on live broadcast streaming video of a MU-MIMO demonstration.

This ranks right up there with Cisco doing 80MHz channel demonstration. So I applaud GT Hill, Sumana Mannem, and Peter Khoury for their efforts in using unstable, and not-ready-for-market custom chipsets in a pair of laptops acting as the MU-MIMO clients.

The first run was with a Ruckus Wireless 802.11ac wave 2 R-710 access point. Following GT’s new nomenclature, this is a 4X4:4:3 – with the last digit representing the number of MU-MIMO clients supported. This first pass used an IXIA Chariot script with the MU-MIMO features turned off. Resulting with an aggregate net throughput around 250Mb over the one minute time period – using the patented Beam Flex running in SU-MIMO mode.

The next run was the same script, but this time the client devices, which happened to be about 180° apart from each other, with the AP in the middle, used MU-MIMO instead. The Beam Flex capability was turned off, and just MU-MIMO alone allowed for around a 38% improvement in speed to around 350Mb aggregate over the same test cycle. Just to see how consistent this test was, I asked Sumana to re-run the MU-MIMO test again, and the third pass resulted in an aggregate throughput within 2Mb of the initial MU-MIMO run. I was pleasantly surprised by the consistency.

So Kudos to the Ruckus developer teams and the Technical Marketing group to be able to pull of this Tech Field Day first! Well done!

Personally, I’m not thinking this MU-MIMO thing is nearly as ‘cool’ and ‘noteworthy’ as all these marketing folks want to believe. The cost of going to MU-MIMO is fairly significant. Sure, you can talk to two or three SISO clients at the same time (kind of) – but the cost is at least a drop of one MCS rate. So you aren’t getting ‘double’ the throughput. There are ‘grouping’ issues and ‘queuing’ issues and trying to match data size issues – not to mention the entire lack of MU-MIMO support in any shipping clients today. Yes – in the future we’ll be getting MU-MIMO clients – but don’t hold your breath.

Though this does give all those marketing people who have been tired of talking about the same things over and over again – something new to beat to death. You haven’t heard the last of MU-MIMO… not in the least. Prepare yourself for the MU-MIMO marketing onslaught to come. Just don’t believe everything you hear.

Here’s the live stream enjoy!