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IT40 News for 08/13/2018

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#39 Samsung has a new SmartThings hub and router with Plume’s mesh Wi-Fi tech

Samsung is overhauling its SmartThings product line today, with two key new offerings: a brand new hub, which can now wirelessly connect to your router, and a new Wi-Fi router that includes mesh networking tech from Plume.

The router is the bigger deal. It’s a dual-band model that’s sold in a three-pack and, like other mesh routers, is meant to have units placed all around your home to deliver better Wi-Fi coverage. This is Samsung’s second try at a mesh SmartThings router, but this time around, it’s licensing mesh networking tech from Plume. Plume has a lot of buy-in from major cable companies already, so presumably the tech is well-tested and — for Samsung to have gone and paid for this integration — probably better than whatever Samsung made on its own.

And since this is a SmartThings router, it also doubles as a SmartThings hub. That’ll allow you to set up and manage a wide number of smart home devices, like plugs, switches, and lights, that connect over Zigbee and Z-Wave, two wireless protocols not typically found in routers. It’s a great perk, and really, all routers should probably start including this stuff, especially now that smart home tech is becoming more and more popular.

Samsung is calling the router SmartThings Wifi (much better than the old name: “Samsung Connect Home”). It goes on sale today, selling in a three-pack for $280 or individually for $120.

The other part of this announcement is a new standalone SmartThings hub, and it comes with a major upgrade. Previously, you had to plug the SmartThings hub directly into your router, but the new hub can work wirelessly. That means you can put the hub elsewhere in your house and reduce the immense clutter of cables that tends to grow around home routers. It’ll sell for $70.

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