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The Fastest WiFi: Now on Desktops

A few weeks ago we featured several laptops from leading vendors that have integrated triple-stream 3×3 MIMO. This means that road warriors and lightweight computing gurus can zip along using WiFi at up to 450 Mbps, provided they connect to an access point such as the Meraki MR24. But laptop users don’t get all the triple-stream glory: Apple’s new iMac also supports triple-stream 3×3 MIMO and 450 Mbps data rates.

New Apple iMac

Apple recently refreshed their line of iMac desktop computers. Similar to the new Macbook Pro refresh, the big news was around the Intel Sandy Bridge processors, upgraded graphics cards, and blazingly-fast throughput via Thunderbolt I/O and SSD-HDD caching. But again, Apple quietly slipped in new 802.11n hardware to support 450 Mbps. Our friends at iFixit wasted no time to bring out their suction cups and pull off the iMac’s beautiful glass screen.

Removing the glass from an Apple iPad

Next to the optical drive is the WiFi module. Apple uses the Atheros AR9380, which supports triple-stream 3×3 MIMO and 450 Mbps with a PCIe interface. The close-up view of the Atheros module reveals its three antenna ports – necessary for 3×3 MIMO.

WiFi module inside the Apple iMac

Closeup of WiFi module shows triple-stream-capable hardware

As 3×3 MIMO becomes even more popular, we expect other manufacturers to continue this trend and integrate it directly into their hardware. Let us know if you’ve found other desktops with integrated triple-stream 3×3 MIMO.