Samsung Introduces ‘SmartThings Wi-Fi’ Combination Mesh Router and Smart Home Hub

The latest offering for users looking to add mesh networking to their homes has been revealed by Samsung today, called the SmartThings Wi-Fi (via The Verge). The router includes mesh networking technology from Plume, which itself recently revealed its "SuperPod" mesh router along with a $60/year subscription.

Samsung's SmartThings Wi-Fi isn't subscription-based, and in addition to the usual mesh networking features, the device also acts as a smart home hub for any SmartThings accessories. Similar to Apple TV and HomePod acting as a hub for HomeKit, SmartThings Wi-Fi will allow customers to set up and manage SmartThings-compatible plugs, switches, lights, cameras, and doorbells from Philips, Ring, Arlo, Kwikset, and much more.


With Plume's technology, SmartThings Wi-Fi learns the environment to optimize performance for consistent coverage throughout the home. The system is sold on Samsung's website in a 1-pack for $119.99 (covering 1,500 square feet) or a 3-pack for $279.99 (up to 4,500 square feet).

The company today also revealed a new standalone SmartThings Hub priced at $69.99, for those users who already have a router but still want to implement SmartThings products into their home. As an upgrade to the previous hub, the new device does not need to be plugged directly into your router and can instead work wirelessly anywhere in your home.


There are a few other SmartThings announcements that happened today, including upgrades to the platform's Motion Sensor, Multipurpose Sensor, and Water Leak Sensor. There's also a new SmartThings Outlet for $34.99 and a SmartThings Button for $14.99, all available to purchase on Samsung.com beginning today.

The SmartThings product launches today follow last week's Galaxy Note 9 reveal event, during which Samsung showcased its latest flagship smartphone. The company also detailed a new Galaxy Watch, Wireless Charger Duo, and Galaxy Home Smart Speaker.


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Apple Signals Smart Home Mesh Networking Interest by Joining ‘The Thread Group’

Apple has become a member of The Thread Group, an organization that supports companies interested in innovating networking solutions for consumer smart home devices using the Thread mesh standard (via 9to5Mac).

Apple has been added to the list of official members on the group's website, although what that means in practical terms is unclear. According to literature available online, the group's mission is "to focus on education, marketing, promotion of the Thread Networking Protocol, and ensuring a great experience through rigorous, meaningful product certification".
Thread Group is a not-for-profit organization responsible for the market education around the Thread networking protocol and certification of Thread products. Thread is an IP-based wireless networking protocol providing the best way to connect products in the home. With Thread, product developers and consumers can easily and securely connect more than 250 devices into a low-power, wireless mesh network.
Thread is just one among several mesh standards that smart home products can be certified to support. Zigbee and Z-Wave are two such examples of rival standards competing in the connected home market, while Bluetooth was also recently updated to support mesh networking, or creating large-scale networks across devices without relying on a central hub or router.

In recent years, Wi-Fi mesh systems have become a popular solution for in-home wireless networks, with options from companies like Linksys, Orbi, Eero, and Google.

The technology is also looking to expand, with the Wi-Fi Alliance in May announcing a new certification program called "EasyMesh", which aims to allow users to build mesh networks in their homes across different brands.

Apple joined the Qi Wireless Charging Consortium ahead of its adoption of inductive charging in last year's iPhone lineup, so Apple's Thread Group membership is sure to ignite speculation that the Thread standard could be coming to HomeKit products or even a future version of HomeKit.


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TP-Link Announces New ‘Deco M9 Plus’ Mesh Wi-Fi System That Doubles as Smart Home Hub

The latest entry in the mesh router market comes today from TP-Link, which has announced availability of the Deco M9 Plus Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 2-Pack System. The router is TP-Link's newest mesh offering and promises to eliminate Wi-Fi dead spots with dependable connections to "more than 100 devices" throughout a home, and it also doubles as a smart home hub for IoT products.

TP-Link says the Deco M9 Plus provides a "stronger and more dynamic" backhaul than rival systems, supplementing its dedicated 5 GHz backhaul with additional backhaul throughput from other Wi-Fi bands as network demand increases. The system automatically identifies the strongest connection for every device (4K streaming boxes, game consoles, etc) to keep the network running smoothly.


“From everyday activities like streaming Netflix and using smart voice assistants, to occasional video chats with friends or online gaming, our home lives are more connected than ever before,” said Derrick Wang, director of product management at TP-Link USA Corp.

“Today, families need Wi-Fi systems that can support the higher demands put on their network, delivering reliable performance in every room of the home. Deco M9 Plus is a powerful solution designed to meet the Wi-Fi needs of the modern smart home.”
The 2-pack provides Wi-Fi for homes up to 4,500 square feet, and a single pack can be purchased to add to the network. Once set up, the connected Deco App can limit and monitor internet usage for all devices connected to the system. In terms of security, TP-Link HomeCare provides antivirus and malware protection in an effort to safeguard every connected device on the network from outside malware and hackers.

More Deco M9 Plus features:
- Standard 2-pack offers coverage up to 4,500 sq. ft.
- Powerful AC2200 tri-band Wi-Fi
- Three Wi-Fi bands with a dedicated backhaul to support 100-plus devices
- Quad-core CPU with 4 GB eMMC Flash and 512 MB RAM
- Wireless speeds of up to 400 Mbps on 2.4 GHz + 867 Mbps on 5 GHz (1) + 867 Mbps on 5 GHz (2)
- 6 Wi-Fi antennas, 1 Bluetooth antenna and 1 ZigBee antenna inside each Deco Unit
- 1 USB 2.0 port (reserved) and 2 Gigabit ports
- Built-in smart home hub compatible with Bluetooth 4.2 and ZigBee HA 1.2
- Advanced Wi-Fi security and HomeCare powered by Trend Micro
In addition, the Deco M9 Plus is a smart home hub that users can set up to enable control of ZigBee, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi devices using the Deco App. TP-Link says this "eliminates the need for additional smart hubs in the home" and the system supports a collection of smart home brands like the company's own light bulbs and switches, GE, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, and Kwikset. The Deco M9 Plus is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT.

The TP-Link Deco M9 Plus Mesh Wi-Fi 2-Pack can be purchased for $299.99, while a 1-pack will run for $179.99.


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