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New Wi-Fi chips embedded in Samsung laptops

Samsung will be the first laptop maker to embed MIMO technology, which expands the Wi-Fi range and speeds up performance.

Samsung is set to announce Wednesday that it will be the first laptop maker to incorporate new technology that greatly expands the range of Wi-Fi access and speeds up performance.

Samsung is embedding chips from start-up Airgo Networks that use a technology called multiple-input multiple-output, or MIMO, to increase bandwidth, speed and distance range of wireless networks. This technology could theoretically boost data rates to 100mbps, although Airgo executives say it will more likely transmit at about 45mbps. It will expand the signal range to about 600 to 900 feet.

Today, wireless networks based on the standard 802.11g have a range of about 150 feet to 300 feet and an optimal transfer rate of 54mbps, although the average rate is about half that.

Limited range and slower-than-expected speed are common complaints for consumers with wireless networks.

Linksys and Belkin are already selling wireless routers and network interface cards that use the Airgo MIMO technology. Samsung will be the first laptop maker to incorporate the technology directly into its products.

"When technology like this starts getting embedded into devices, then you know it's hitting the mainstream," said Dave Borison, director of product marketing for Airgo. "It's a testament to the fact that people are fed up with an older generation of products that are not as reliable and don't provide the speed and bandwidth they can get with this technology."

MIMO is based on 802.11g and 802.11b standards, but it works by allowing two or more distinct signals to be transmitted over the same 802.11 radio channel at the same time with no interference. This allows more data to be sent over the available radio spectrum than typically has been possible with standard transmissions.

Today, most laptops equipped for wireless connectivity use chips from Intel's