It’s no secret that Samsung is heavily invested in the connected home space, and the company’s purchase of SmartThings in 2014 plays a big part in its strategy. On the same day that Samsung introduced the Galaxy S8 and S8+ to the world, it also unveiled the Connect Home, a Wi-Fi mesh router to compete against Eero, Google, and Luma. The expectation is that this device will be the module in the home to manage not only Samsung’s line of connected devices, but all those third-party devices supported through SmartThings.
The Samsung Connect Home is not the the company's first router, but Samsung is focused on streamlining management of such internet-enabled devices as lights, thermostats, televisions, and appliances. "When it comes to the connected home, there are too many things to keep track of," a Samsung spokesperson explained. "We want to bring it all into a single place, a single application to manage everything, along with third-party products that SmartThings connects with. We're simplifying the overall experience."'
There are two types of Samsung Connect routers, with the main differences found in the processor, speed, and number of antennas. The Connect Home features a 2×2 MU-MIMO antenna, a 710 MHz quad core processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of flash storage. It provides speeds of 866Mbps at 5GHz and 400Mbps at 2.4Ghz. A single unit has a range of up to 1,500 square feet, while a three-pack offers a range of 4,500 square feet. The device by itself measures 4.72 x 4.72 x 1.16 inches.
The other router is the Connect Home Pro, which has a 4×4 MU-MIMO antenna, 1.7 GHz dual core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of flash storage, and a range of 1,500 square feet. It provides speeds of 1,733Mbps at 5GHz and 800Mpbs at 2.4GHz. It has the same measurements as the Connect Home.
It’s worth noting that the Connect Home is the only one available as either a single or a three-pack.
Above: How to manage connected devices using a single app on the Samsung Galaxy S8.Image Credit: Ken Yeung/VentureBeat
Because it's a mesh router, you can have multiples stationed throughout your home to improve internet reception in all rooms. Mesh networking has picked up in recent months, with Google, Luma, Eero, Meraki, Ruckus Wireless, and Ubiquiti Wireless all participating in the marketplace.
The Samsung Connect Home also includes the company’s SmartThings hub, previously a separate device that you could purchase for $99. Now you only need one device to get internet access and manage connected devices. Through Samsung Connect, you’ll be able to sync up any internet-enabled device right on your new Galaxy S8 or S8+, all within a single app. No longer will you have to jump from app to app just to control the smart vacuum, see what’s inside your refrigerator, adjust the thermostat before you get home, or turn off your lights.
But Samsung isn’t the first to the game, at least in terms of routers, as Google’s OnHub router can also control connected devices such as the Philips Hue lights. Nevertheless, with more than 10 million automations on SmartThings, there’s motivation for Samsung to simplify the experience by providing a control panel to manage them all.
Above: Using Samsung’s Connect Home and the Galaxy S8, you can find out what’s inside your smart fridge.Image Credit: Ken Yeung/VentureBeat
This is by no means Samsung’s first effort to integrate SmartThings into its products. In 2015, the company announced that its 2016 lineup of smart TVs would include technology that allowed users to connect, manage, and control their smart devices and internet of things (IoT) services.
"With Samsung Smart TVs working with the SmartThings technology, we have an opportunity to reach millions of households," SmartThings chief executive Alex Hawkinson said at the time. "Applying this technology into current household devices is a major step forwards that will make it much easier for everyone to experience the benefits of a smart home."
Now the router could improve access and offer consumers multiple ways to manage their smart home, whether through their television, phone, or perhaps soon a tablet. And since it’s all controlled through the router, there’s an opportunity for Samsung to leverage its Bixby artificial intelligence service, a use case the company has said is logical.
Samsung has not released pricing or availability information for the Connect Home or Connect Home Pro routers.