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Samsung’s ten times faster tri-band WiFi will supercharge your smart home

Samsung has announced details of its new tri-band WiFi technology which it claims offers speeds up to ten times faster than the current generation of WiFi. 

The new 60GHz technology promises to let you transfer files between devices in a matter of seconds and stream uncompressed HD video from phones to TVs in real-time without delay. 

As well as promising faster data transfer rates, Samsung says its 60GHz WiFi technology will most likely benefit the growing IoT (Internet of Things) by letting smart home devices talk to each other almost instantly. 

Not only is Samsung's 60GHz WiFi ten times faster, but it doesn't need a clear line of sight either
Samsung’s tri-band high ferquency WiFi technology promises to get around traditional obstacles – like brick walls

The WiFi protocol means there should be a continuous connection between enabled devices and traditional obstacles like brick walls or metal won’t pose as much of a problem – or so Samsung claims.  

Previous trials of 60GHz WiFi technology struggled to obtain high speeds without a direct line of sight. Samsung says that it’s managed to get round this by developing millimeter-wave circuit design, high performance modem technologies and a wide-coverage beam-forming antenna. 

Kim Chang Yong, head of Samsung Electronics’ Digital Media City R&D center said: “Samsung has successfully overcome the barriers to the commercialization of 60GHz millimeter-wave band Wi-Fi technology, and looks forward to commercializing this breakthrough technology.

“New and innovative changes await Samsung’s next-generation devices, while new possibilities have been opened up for the future development of WiFi technology.” 

Samsung hasn’t revealed how these elements work together to provide a more stable connection, but announced that its beam forming technology dynamically adjusts to any changes to the environment, such as people walking through a room or furniture being moved around. 

What is beamforming and what does ‘tri-band WiFi’ mean?

Beam forming refers to the shape of the signal produced by wireless routers. Back in February 2013, TalkTalk explained how it used beam forming to provide better WiFi coverage in the home than previous models.

Virgin Media’s research partners also demonstrated how WiFi signals propagate around the home at their research facilities.  

Most wireless routers these days are dual-band devices – they send signals over the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio frequency bands. The lower 2.4GHz band is better suited to travelling through walls in the home, but as it’s commonly used by lots of devices it’s hard to get fast speeds over 2.4GHz channels. 

Things like baby monitors, microwaves and even Christmas tree lights also create interference which makes for slow going on 2.4GHz. 5GHz is less congested and delivers faster speeds, but it’s less good at burrowing through walls, ceilings and floors. 

The ‘tri-band’ term is used to refer to upcoming devices that communicate over 2.4GHz, 5GHz and the 60GHz frequencies. 

Samsung isn’t the only company to investigate how the 60GHz channel – currently an unlicenced part of the radio frequency spectrum – can be used in the home. 

LG has trialled 60GHz WiFi in the past and Qualcomm says that in the future, tri-band phones will be able to stream 4K video to TVs without breaking a sweat. Both companies have said that devices communicating across 60GHz work best where there’s direct line of sight, but Samsung seems to have found a workaround here.  

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