Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is working on technology that promises to triple Wi-Fi speeds, but it could be years before everyday networks see the benefit. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the implications for Qualcomm investors in the following video.
Interestingly, Qualcomm isn't pitching speed so much as efficiency. The technology, called MU-MIMO for "multi-user, multi-input, multi-output," allows multiple groups to gain access to wireless signal at the same time at speeds consistent with their usage. The theory? Smarter delivery should lead to higher overall speeds, especially since current Wi-Fi technology tends to serve a single group or user at a time.
Can the plan work? Tim says a lot depends on how quickly Qualcomm brings MU-MIMO to market since the technology requires both broadcasters (e.g., routers) and recipients (e.g., computers, smartphones) to have compatible radios. Convincing manufacturers of desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones to adopt the technology may not be easy.
Or maybe the timing is exactly right. Research firm IHS says we should expect another 6 billion-plus devices to seek connections to the Internet this year. A plurality will log in wirelessly, creating a need for the sort of bandwidth management MU-MIMO provides.
Either way, history says manufacturers tend to take their time changing internal tech specs. Investors shouldn't be surprised if Qualcomm's estimate that it will begin shipping MU-MIMO chipsets to customers early next year proves too optimistic, Tim says.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you expect the industry to adopt MU-MIMO soon? Why or why not? Please watch the video to get the full story and then leave a comment to let us know your take, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Qualcomm stock at current prices.
Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.
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