Imagine being able to download a full HD movie in less than three second, or back your entire computer up in less than a minute without the need for any cables. Samsung has announced that it has made a breakthrough in Wi-Fi technology which will allow a 1GB file to be downloaded in less than three seconds.
“Samsung’s new technology removes the gap between theoretical and actual speeds, and exhibits actual speed that is more than 10 times faster than that of 2.4 Ghz and 5GHz Wi-Fi technologies,” the company said in a statement.
Samsung claims it is able to eliminate a problem where too many signals from different smartphones, tablets or computers cause interference, which hampers speed. The company didn’t really say much about how the new technology works, but Samsung has said to expect the first devices with the new Wi-Fi standard to appear in 2015.
It’s worth noting though, that this new breakthrough doesn’t suddenly mean you will have faster internet, your internet service provider controls that. This simply means faster connections in your internal network between devices. The technology itself also isn’t quite ready to replace your entire Wi-Fi network, with the range only around five metres. This means that at this stage it’s only really useful for sharing content between devices in the same room.
Samsung’s press release says it overcame those physical and metaphorical barriers with "high-performance modem technologies and by developing wide-coverage beam-forming antenna." The WirelessHD and WiGig standards groups have also been trying to improve 60GHz signal performance using beam-forming, a Wi-Fi technology that detects where client devices (like PCs and tablets) are physically located and then sends a focused signal directly at those devices, rather than mindlessly broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal in all directions as most routers do. (Beam-forming is already becoming a common feature in high-end 802.11ac routers.)
For the future, not today
Don’t start saving your pennies for this particular bit of next-gen networking kit just quite yet, however. While Samsung’s press release states that “commercialization is expected as early as next year,” that’s only talking about industry-wide usage of the 60GHz frequency itself—not necessarily the release of Samsung products packing the company’s new technology. A Samsung spokesperson provided the following statement to John Ribeiro of the IDG News Service:
It seems 802.11ac routers will have to do for now. Fortunately, there are a slew of compelling options available.
The story behind the story:
The idea of making wireless networks as fast or faster than wired connections holds obvious appeal — the less time you spend waiting for files to transfer, the more stuff you can get done. But while Wi-Fi improvements like Samsung’s new technology should (eventually) turbocharge sharing files, streaming locally stored movies, or playing games across your home network, don’t forget that a fast router won’t magically make your actual Internet connection any faster. Activities like browsing the web or zoning out on the couch and watching Netflix are usually limited by your Internet speed, not your router.