Mesh WiFi systems, like those from Eero, Netgear, Google and many others, have quickly become the preferred way to blanket a home in internet coverage. It provides a simple way to reach all corners of a house, something that's needed with the growing number of WiFi-enabled smart home devices.
Samsung, which bought home automation platform SmartThings back in 2014, is tackling both mesh WiFi and smart home connectivity with its new, simply-named SmartThings WiFi mesh network system. As the name suggests, this system consists of multiple access points you can spread throughout your home to provide strong WiFi coverage. And like last year's Samsung Connect Home router, the new model also includes a full SmartThings hub, a helpful feature for people trying home automation for the first time.
While the SmartThings hub makes Samsung's offering unique, it also has some notable features on the WiFi side as well. Samsung partnered with Plume, one of the first companies to build out mesh WiFi systems, to offer AI-based networking optimization. Once everything is set up, the network begins "learning" about how a household uses the available bandwidth and it can divide it up between devices to maximize performance.
For example, when I upload large files to Dropbox or Google Drive, my computer usually saturates the available upload bandwidth, which means that all the rest of the devices in my house suffer for it. But Samsung says that its WiFi system will know to leave enough bandwidth available so that Netflix can keep streaming if I'm watching it while I upload. And as network resources are freed up, something hungry for more speed will get it. Plume does this not just by analyzing a single network but by learning from other homes using Plume so it has more data to draw on when moving resources around.