Samsung announced a new Wi-Fi technology over the weekend that provides speeds up to five times faster than those currently available.

Their new 60GHz Wi-Fi is reportedly capable of downloading 4.6Gbps, or 575MB per second. Current top-of-the-line standards are only capable of downloading up to 108MB a second.

As an example of its utility, Samsung says the new Wi-Fi technology will allow users to transfer a 1GB movie in under 3 seconds, “while uncompressed high-definition videos can easily be streamed from mobile devices to TVs in real-time without any delay.”

“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,” Kim Chang Yong, Head of Samsung Electronics’ DMC R&D Center, said in a statement released Sunday. “New and innovative changes await Samsung’s next-generation devices, while new possibilities have been opened up for the future development of Wi-Fi technology.”

Current generation networks use much lower frequencies, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, largely because 60GHz presented substantial engineering challenges. Frequencies at those levels do not penetrate walls easily, negating any speed benefit to consumers by making networks essentially useless. But Samsung managed to get around that limitation “by leveraging millimeter-wave circuit design” and using a newly developed antenna. The result is a faster network that makes connecting multiple devices a smoother experience than current technologies.

But as Business Insider points out, the technology’s promise is limited by the broadband speeds end users are saddled with, which, if low enough, might make any benefit of the new 60GHz technology negligible. BI also notes that the 802.11 ad standard Samsung mentions isn’t completely new, either:

This standard was pioneered by WiGig, which was acquired by the Wi-Fi Alliance last year, and initially promised 7 Gigabits per second (Gbps) — much faster than the 4.6 Gbps Samsung is promising. But even in that earlier implementation, WiGig insisted 802.11 ad Wi-Fi would not replace current wireless networks, but supplement them, by providing speedy bursts of connectivity over extremely short distances.

Samsung expects their new Wi-Fi technology to be commercially available next year, and “plans to apply this new technology to a wide range of products, including audio visual and medical devices, as well as telecommunications equipment.”

[photo credit: nan palmero]