The new SmartThings Wifi from Samsung is a wireless mesh networking system with a full-fledged SmartThings home-automation hub built in. So while it controls smart-home devices via ZigBee, Z-Wave, IP and Bluetooth, it also extends Wi-Fi signals around the house with Plume AI technology.
Plume, which sells its own Wi-Fi mesh networking products called Pods and SuperPods, says it uses cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) to provide “stable and consistent Wi-Fi coverage and speed in every room within your home using blazing fast tri-band SuperPods coupled with auto-channel hop technology.”
The company claims its Adaptive Wi-Fi technology “learns your environment and optimizes performance for a powerful, reliable home Wi-Fi experience.”
The system reportedly “allocates more capacity to the devices that need it most.”
If it sounds familiar, it’s because SmartThings Wifi is pretty much the exact same product as Samsung Connect Home, introduced last year. That system is now selling for about $150 for a three-pack. The new version retails for $280. A three-pack can cover a 4,500-square-foot home.
As with the original Connect Home system, the new Plume-powered model offers parental controls and configurable guest Wi-Fi access. The new system provides connected-device monitoring and performance tracking.
Unlike Plume, which charges $200 for lifetime “membership,” Samsung charges no fees for cloud-based Wi-Fi services.
Upgraded SmartThings Hub & Home Automation Devices
In addition to launching SmartThings Wifi, Samsung is “upgrading the performance and connectivity” of its SmartThings hub ($70 as a stand-alone product), water leak sensor, motion sensor, multipurpose sensor and smart outlet.
The hub has been “upgraded with the latest Zigbee, Z-wave, and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity protocols” and now can be connected via Wi-Fi, not restricted to hardwired Ethernet.
The SmartThings Motion Sensor has been redesigned with a magnetic ball mount, so consumers can adjust the tilt angle for a wider view range.
Samsung is also introducing the new ZigBee-enabled SmartThings Button ($15) with programmable triggers that manually control routines around the home, avoiding the need to open up an app.
The SmartThings Button, like the rest of the SmartThings sensor line, monitors temperature in an area of the home, and can trigger a smart thermostat to adjust automatically.