The newly announced Netgear Orbi is packing both Amazon Alexa and a Harmon Kardon smart speaker, while the updated TP-Link Deco M9 Plus is adding smart home device control to the mix, with Bluetooth and Zigbee radios joining traditional Wi-Fi connectivity.
It follows a path previously trodden by Samsung Connect Home, the Korean tech giant’s first attempt to mash-up a mesh Wi-Fi router with a SmartThings controller.
We loved the concept and the hardware looked great, but poor networking performance and clunky controls meant we couldn’t give Connect Home a full endorsement.
One significant weakness compared to competitors is a lack of wired backhaul support, which means that the hubs must connect wirelessly, limiting speeds.
Mansion-dwellers can add up to 32 hubs for mega-coverage.
Other similarities include a quad-core, 710 MHz Qualcomm processor supported by 512 MB that appeared in Samsung Connect Home (not the faster, 1.7 GHz CPU that powered Connect Home Pro), with support for Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth 4.1 & 2×2 AC1300 Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac wave2).