OnQ Blog

Building a better video conference with uplink MU-MIMO

Feb 2, 2021

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

One of the most unwelcome but shared experiences of the last 12 months is the video conference hiccup. It’s when you suddenly lose a co-worker’s feed or their audio and video sync diverge or, worst of all, your connection drops but you continue speaking to an audience that’s long gone. Never have our internet connections, and what seems like mission-critical interactions, seemed so fragile. 

This fragility can largely be boiled down to one simple fact — modern Wi-Fi technology never could have imagined the sudden and massive surges in uplink data demand that is common today. Think about videos you send to teammates via Microsoft Teams or Zoom as uplink data, versus video arriving to your device via downlink. As anyone who has conducted a simple internet speed test can affirm, it’s common to see downlink traffic outperform uplink speeds by 10x to 15x. 

Wi-Fi 6, the latest generation of ubiquitous wireless technology, is about one thing above all else: multi-user traffic management. It’s a collection of features and protocols aimed at driving as much data as possible to as many devices as possible simultaneously. A key component of this features-and-protocols combination is MU-MIMO (multi-user multi-in multi-out). Wi-Fi 6 includes downlink MU-MIMO as part of the standard and will evolve to support uplink operation (on a timeline the Wi-Fi Alliance will determine). To help illustrate the powerful impact of this next-generation feature — supported end-to-end using our Qualcomm Multi-User Traffic Management technology — we constructed a straightforward demo with commercially available smartphones in the following video:

Qualcomm Uplink MU-MIMO Demonstration

Feb 2, 2021 | 0:55

As the video demonstrates, there’s a huge benefit in overall performance even in this congested environment. The best news is that Qualcomm’s advanced two-way traffic management technology, including uplink MU-MIMO, is fully operational on our latest Wi-Fi 6 products. This includes the Qualcomm Networking Pro Series and Qualcomm Immersive Home Platforms for networking as well as our latest Qualcomm FastConnect systems for mobile devices like smartphones and PCs. 

To ensure productive and reliable connectivity while working, playing, and learning remotely, the demand for a better approach to uplink data has never been greater. Uplink MU-MIMO is designed to deliver in every environment, at home and even after our eventual return to the congested environments of enterprise and public spaces such as brick-and-mortar offices, classrooms, and coffee shops. Qualcomm’s end-to-end solutions enable customers to deliver networking and mobile products that meet the moment, while deploying leading technology ahead of standards timelines. 

To ensure interoperability, we also ran this test scenario with competitor’s AP and observed near-identical SU-MIMO performance.


Qualcomm FastConnect Systems, Qualcomm Networking Pro Series, Qualcomm Multi-User Traffic Management and Qualcomm Immersive Home Platforms are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

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Megan Wenholz, PMP

Senior Marketing Comm. Coordinator, Qualcomm Technologies

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