Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) is a set of multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technologies for wireless communication, in which a set of users or wireless terminals, each with one or more antennas, communicate with each other.
In contrast, single-user MIMO considers a single multi-antenna transmitter communicating with a single multi-antenna receiver. In a similar way that OFDMA adds multiple access (multi-user) capabilities to OFDM, MU-MIMO adds multiple access (multi-user) capabilities to MIMO.
MU-MIMO has been investigated since the beginning of research into multi-antenna communication, including work by Telatar on the capacity of the MU-MIMO uplink.
SDMA, massive MIMO, coordinated multipoint (CoMP), and ad hoc MIMO are all related to MU-MIMO; each of those technologies often leverage spatial degrees of freedom to separate users.
Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) can leverage multiple users as spatially distributed transmission resources, at the cost of somewhat more expensive signal processing. In comparison, conventional, or single-user MIMO considers only local device multiple antenna dimensions.
Multi-user MIMO algorithms are developed to enhance MIMO systems when the number of users or connections is greater than one. Multi-user MIMO can be generalized into two categories: MIMO broadcast channels (MIMO BC) and MIMO multiple access channels (MIMO MAC) for downlink and uplink situations, respectively. Single-user MIMO can be represented as point-to-point, pairwise MIMO.
To remove ambiguity of the words receiver and transmitter, we can adopt the terms access point (AP; or, base station), and user. An AP is the transmitter and a user is the receiver for downlink environments, whereas an AP is the receiver and a user is the transmitter for uplink environments. Homogeneous networks are somewhat freed from this distinction.