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WiFi cards with more than 2 spatial streams

Ryan024
Beginner
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I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on why client devices supporting more than 2x2 spatial streams are very rare. I'm not aware of any WiFi 6 client that supports more than 2, or any Intel WiFi card from any generation that supports more than 2.

I've seen it discussed before, one possible reason given was power consumption. I'm not sure this is really the reason, though, since to my understanding the additional streams can be put to sleep until needed. In a desktop or plugged in laptop, it would be even less of an issue.

Is it just cost / market for higher end cards is too small?

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Caguicla_Intel
Moderator
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Hi Ryan024,

 

Thank you for posting in Intel Communities.

 

Please allow us to check your request internally. We will give you an update as soon as possible.

 

Thank you for your kind patience.


Best regards,

 

Caguicla C.

Intel® Customer Support Technician


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Caguicla_Intel
Moderator
242 Views

Hi Ryan024,

 

We would like to provide a general explanation about your query. Please see the details below:

 

Adding new antennas will consume additional power and require a place to place. In addition to this - Wireless adapters require to meet Wireless regulatory requirements, as installation or use of Wireless Adapters is subject to country-specific legal regulations. All these factors are affecting the final product design.

Wi-Fi performance can be improved by implementing new technologies.

Some general technologies/features that have been used and improved in recent Wi-Fi standards:

  • Channel Bandwidth
  • MU-MIMO
  • QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation)

More details regarding Wi-Fi Standards Evolution are presented here: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/docs/wireless/wi-fi-7.html


And specifically some key features implemented in the recent standards:

Wi-Fi 6:

  • Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA)
  • Overlapping Basic Service Sets (OBSS)
  • Beamforming

More details can be found here: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/gaming/resources/wifi-6.html


Wi-Fi 7:

  • MLO & Deterministic Latency
  • Multi Resource Units (RU) and Puncturing

More details can be found here: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/docs/wireless/wi-fi-7.html


Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.

 

Best regards,

 

Crisselle C.

Intel® Customer Support Technician


Ryan024
Beginner
237 Views

Hi Crisselle,

Thank you for your detailed response.

Is it fair to say that power and space are the main considerations stopping 4x4 cards from being mainstream, while regulatory requirements make it not worth developing a niche / high end 4x4 card?

I have been paying attention to the improvements in WiFi6 and 7, and while they all sound good, it seems to me like increasing the number of spatial streams would still be better, at least for throughput / spectral efficiency.

Is my understanding correct that doubling the number of spatial streams or doubling channel width would double the power consumption and throughput, but having the additional spatial streams would be about twice as spectrally efficient?

Thanks

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Caguicla_Intel
Moderator
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Hello Ryan024,

 

Thank you for your prompt response.

 

I will review this request internally to ensure the information provided is precise. We will update you at the earliest opportunity.

 

Best regards,

 

Caguicla C.

Intel® Customer Support Technician


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Caguicla_Intel
Moderator
67 Views

Hello Ryan024,

 

Good day!

 

I am sending this follow-up to check whether you read our email. If so, please confirm and let us know if you have additional questions or need clarification.

 

Best regards,

 

Caguicla C.

Intel® Customer Support Technician


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Caguicla_Intel
Moderator
35 Views

Hello Ryan024,

 

As we have not heard from you for the past few days, we will go ahead and close this thread. If you need help in the future, please submit a new question as this thread will no longer be monitored.

 

Best regards,

 

Caguicla C.

Intel® Customer Support Technician


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