Today, Google unveiled OnHub, a $199 cylindrical home WiFi router it claims is so easy to configure and use, it “speaks human.”
Home router configuration is often a messy, poorly-designed affair. An old interface coupled with the occasional forced reboot makes for immense frustration for many people. Google seeks to change that today with the introduction of OnHub, a smart home router developed in conjunction with TP-LINK, the Taiwanese maker of networking products.
Google is trying to distinguish itself with ease-of-use. First, the OnHub will maintain itself with automatic updates to provide new features and security over time. No more awkward firmware updates you didn't even know existed until after a security scare.
Second, the router will have a companion mobile app called Google On for Android and iOS. You use the app to configure the router by creating a username and password. From there you can share your credentials with friends and family via text and email. In addition, you can remotely monitor and control the network. No mention is made of parental control features found on other routers. It’s unclear if OnHub will eventually update to include those features, such as DNS per device or applying a time-constraint on specific devices.
OnHub supports all the usual WiFi standards, including 802.11ac, 802.15.4, Bluetooth Smart Ready and Thread. And judging by the inclusion of Weave, Google’s smart home and IoT standard, future updates could bring integration of appliances and other home devices.
Google is touting the design. The router has 13 internal antennas; six are 2.4 GHz and six are 5 GHz, while the remaining antenna is “congestion-sensing.” Its cylindrical housing was designed to provide better signal broadcast throughout a space. Google claims these attributes enable speeds up to 1900 Mbps and connections for up to 128 devices, including “smart thermostats,” a curiously vague phrase considering Google owns the Nest thermostat line.
With the OnHub home router, Google makes an even more integrated and connected play into users’ lives, expanding on its dominant Android mobile software. It’s unclear if OnHub will, in fact, become a “hub,” potentially integrating the Google Now service.
Google begins pre-orders today.