What is Beamforming? Why do we need it in a Router?

Beamforming in a router and other network devices: How does it work, benefits and demerits?

When looking for internet devices, it is common to find words that relate to technology. One of these words is beamforming technology. When reading reviews, we only learn that a specific router has beamforming technology, but we do not know how it works.

The beamforming technology has a massive role to play when it comes to range coverage and internet stability. It is a technology that facilitates receiving of data and channeling signals to your specific devices.

You will find Beamforming being mentioned in the best routers for a home. It is one of the most crucial features when you are looking for a router for thick walls or the best router for a large home.

In addition, if you live in a two-story house, your best router should have beamforming. Having a better understanding of it will help us know how it works and how important it is.

What is beamforming?

Beamforming is a technology that is responsible for focusing signals towards a specific direction. Traditionally, we understand that the Wi-Fi signals get channeled in all directions then devices pick the signals. With beamforming technology, the signals get directed to a specific device such as a tablet or laptop.

Using beamforming technology is that each device gets access to a more robust, stable, and reliable network connection. Devices do not need to fight for the available signal but will have it coming towards them in abundance.  Each device ends up performing to its best as it has an adequate and reliable connection.

How the beamforming technology work

Electromagnetic waves work by a single antenna displaying its signal in all directions. With the beamforming, there must be a bond between a device and the router.

Once bound, the signal moves from the router straight to the device that needs the internet.  A targeted beam, therefore, serves the specific device.

When there are many connected devices, the waves do not move circularly as we are used to. Each device gets its channel of signal that ensures there is adequate, high speed, and reliable connection. The outcome of such channeling is that it will serve a specific number of devices perfectly and leave the others with an inferior connection.

The result of having targeted signals is that they can cover a broader range. Any device in the far end of the range and one closest to the multiple service router will all have the same functionality. The beamforming also improves the range that the signal covers.

Benefits of the beamforming technology

Quality signal

The beamforming focuses on a specific device hence ensuring that it delivers a stable signal. The connected device will end up performing to the maximum as it has more than enough internet.

Internet speeds

The speeds of the connection get multiplied because the connection is stable. You can therefore download content quickly and stream content effortlessly.

The technology especially when combined with other advanced technologies such as QoS, Mu MI-MO, and excellent processors enables all your devices to get the best internet connections.

Range improvement

When the signal moves in a circular motion, its range coverage fluctuates. The beamforming technology is good as it ensures that you can cover an extended range effortlessly.

The device that is on the other end of the connection will have a chance to enjoy a reliable connection under the same distance. This makes it excellent for thick walls and large homes.

Less interference by devices

As other devices struggle to pick up the signal, there comes some interruption with the connection. The case is different with the beamforming as the devices end up enjoying a stable connection.

Signal quality remains stable for all the connected devices making the service reliable and more convenient. This is one of the ways to mitigate against the different things that block or interfere with Wi-Fi signals.

Ease of connection

Devices get quickly connected when there is beamforming technology. Less time taken by each device to pick up the signal is less because it creates a unique bond with the router when it gets to the network.

Most of the time you will find a device searching for the signal, especially at range. With weak signals, your devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones also require frequent recharging. With beamforming, the devices get excellent signals thus reducing the power usage.

Limitations of the beamforming technology

Signal attenuation

When the router sends signals to a device that is blocked by an obstacle, there is usually interference. A 2.4ghz signal is capable of going through the wall, while a 5ghz signal experiences challenges. Because the signals are targeted, they go towards a specific direction, making obstacles lower it.

Long-range effect

The major disadvantage that comes along when the device is at the far end is that it gets distracted. If it has a connection, then it gets a good and reliable signal. You cannot get a poor network as you either get it in plenty or completely nothing.

Transmission paths challenge

There is also a significant challenge with the transmission parts, especially when the router is in an enclosed area. The signal gets instant obstacles making it difficult to have adequate signals beyond the walls. Any device that is away or beyond the walls ends up not getting good internet.

Ways in which beamforming works in a router and other devices

There are two ways in which beamforming technology works.  Under the first method, it can serve the routers that have the 802.11 technology. When the devices begin to pair in support of each other, the quality of service improves. You can call this phenomenon explicit beamforming.

The technology is also capable of serving the older versions of routers and devices. Under this method, devices can either pair up or fail to do so. The router the technology ends up serving the specific routers that it works with. You can call this theory implicit beamforming.

What products support the beamforming

There are many long-range routers and Wi-Fi boosters that support beamforming. Such devices will have a dual-band or tri-band technology that will make sharing devices within bands possible. You can check on the side of the user’s manual to see if there is beamforming technology.

Devices that support the technology usually have the latest Wi-Fi technology. Any router that has an extended range of coverage gets boosted by beamforming technology.

It can serve many devices and supply good internet for each. You can also check on the compatibility of your devices with beamforming technology.

Wi-Fi versions that support the beamforming

The beamforming technology came into existence since 2008. The Wi-Fi technology that was operating at that time was the 802.11n and was the first technology to adopt beamforming.

Working with the MU-MIMO, the devices had access to quality internet that served by ensuring each device has access to a stable and reliable connection.

Since then, there have been improvements in technology and the devices that support it. The current Wi-Fi 6 technology devices work very well with the beamforming technology.

802.11ac technology has had excellent support for beamforming, making it applicable to the current routers and other internet devices.

The future of the beamforming technology in routers and other devices

Beamforming has undergone various improvements making it adaptable to many routers. Devices that are compatible with routers that have the technology have also continued to mushroom.

Some devices come covering a very wide range and accommodate many devices in terms of range coverage.

The future of beamforming technology lies in having more advancements. It will, therefore, be a technology that will end up serving many devices. Range coverage will also keep improving hence making it possible to serve many devices over a broader range with the same technology.

Why do we need beamforming in a long-range router?

A long-range router needs stable and reliable beamforming. It is beneficial because it will ensure that all your connected devices have a stable connection, especially when they are far from the router.

When the distance is long, targeted signals work better hence ensuring the connection facilitates maximum functionality.

Under long ranges, there are high possibilities that there will be too much noise from other routers. The beamforming is the ideal solution as it ensures a bond between the device and the router first hence providing a reliable service.

Therefore, having the router that has the beamforming technology will ensure that there are maximum stability and reliability of the connection. It will be fast, stable, and covering the entire stipulated range.

5G beamforming

Currently, the role out of the 5G internet is on the trend.  The frequencies of the 5G operate between 30-300GHz. This means that the data transfer rate is rapid and can manage to penetrate through the walls faster.

As it manages through the physical objects or there is too much noise within the connection, the beamforming helps ensure more stability and reliability.

The 5G beamforming works under scenes hence come hidden under the 5G internet. Its combination with the MU-MIMO technology boosts the performance of the connection, making it quite reliable. 

Having additional antennas, both built-in and physical antennas, is vital as it greatly boosts the connection.

The 5G is better than 4G because it has better speeds and the standard has many extra features. The performance enjoys a perfect boost making the speeds of connection more reliable.

Latency rates get lower as the devices come with various performance technologies built-in. The outcome is that the devices cover an extensive range and have better and enhanced connection stability. 

Universal beamforming

The term universal means that it is something that applies worldwide. Universal beamforming is a method of sending signals that applies when a single signal works on individual devices. Each device enjoys its root to the router under this method, but the signals are released in a single channel.

Each device ends up performing as expected because there is a strong signal. The chances of having congestion of devices get limited because each device gets the signal it needs. Those at the furthest point get an adequate connection.

Explicit beamforming

Explicit beamforming has all to do with the latest Wi-Fi technology. When the router and the endpoint meet, they quickly pair and begin to work together. As a result, you will have better reception and range coverage.

When connected to devices, explicit beamforming makes the transmission better. It works by having the state of communication between two devices assessed. Signals are channeled to a device, and once they get replied, the devices can pair and work together.

Implicit beamforming

Under implicit beamforming, the router can access the devices it is serving and pick information from them. What the information gets used for is to assess the performance and improve the connection. The feature is straightforward to enable or disable.

The good thing with implicit beamforming is that it makes the performance better depending on the specific device. Its problem is that it exposes the devices to threats.

TX beamforming

TX Beamforming comes with the transmission of waves. Transmit beamforming is a technology that allows the transmission of the wave directionally to reach many devices. A strong and spatial correlation creates a wave which then manages to reach all the devices.

This system works towards improving the range and the SNR system capacity. It is an optional feature found on the 802.11n Wi-Fi standards.

MU-MIMO VS Beamforming

When using internet devices, it is very common to meet terms such as the MU-MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) technology and the beamforming. These are technologies that play a big role in improving the performance of internet devices. For instance, the MU-MIMO technology ensures that most of your devices can use the same connection and deliver outstanding performance.

On the other hand, beamforming technology ensures that the range coverage gets boosted. It also focuses on a single device, ensuring that the device at the farthest end gets the connection. With beamforming technology, you can be sure that the devices operating within the range will have a stable signal hence delivering high-quality work.

Below are the differences between beamforming and MU-MIMO technologies

MU-MIMO TechnologyBeamforming technology
Focuses on individual device performanceFocuses on signal strength for devices within the range
Creates streams of connection for every single device hence maintaining speedsCreates a unique channel to ensure that the devices enjoy a stable connection
Prioritizes devices that need extra internet to workEnsures that each connected device has access to the amount of internet it needs
Can work without the beamforming technologyRequires the MU-MIMO technology to work

Conclusion

The beamforming technology is essential for the functionality of your router, especially if it is a long-range router. When buying a router, it is significantly better if you ensure that it has beamforming technology. Its focus on single devices is valuable as it makes speeds and stability of connections more outstanding.

Choosing to have compatible and highly performing routers or modems with beamforming technology will save your life for long-range connections. When assessing each device, you will need to check on its quality and the features it comes along with.

The beamforming is important as it will ensure each device’s performance as you expect.

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