A new chip could triple the download speed on shared Wi-Fi connections, according to Qualcomm.

SAN DIEGO - A new chip could triple the download speed on shared Wi-Fi connections, according to Qualcomm. The MU-MIMO chip works by allowing networks to transmit data to two to three devices at the same time, Vice President Todd Antes of Qualcomm Atheros told PC World Thursday. Currently, Wi-Fi networks are only able to communicate with one device at a time, meaning the network slows down when more people join. "Many of us have had the experience when you're in an airport, for example, and literally a hundred people or more are vying for access through a single access point," he said. "In some cases you can be limited to mere kilobits of throughput, if not disconnected." The increased use of Wi-Fi devices and popularity of streaming on-demand high-resolution video content has crowded Wi-Fi networks, according to the company. In these situations, only a small portion of the network's capability is being used because only one device is sending and receiving information at a time, it said. Qualcomm developed an algorithm to maximize use of the bandwidth by sending simultaneous transmissions to groups of clients, the company announced. "Great connectivity is not just about increasing the absolute speed," said Dan Rabinovitsj, senior vice president of Qualcomm Atheros, in a statement. "It's about making better use of network and airtime efficiency to support the growing number of connected devices, services and applications." The company likened using its new MU-MIMO chip to using the carpool lane on a highway. It said the Wi-Fi highway, or bandwidth, won't change, but that grouping up with other users will let consumers go faster and decongest other lanes. The technology works best when both the network and device accessing the Wi-Fi are using the chip, according to the company. It said MU-MIMO chips will be made for use in a range of products that include routers, smartphones and tablets. The chip is expected to available in 2015.%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif%3Fcid%3D160027%26pid%3D46%22%20/%3E