Computers

Google launches OnHub, its vision of the ultimate router

Google launches OnHub, its vis...
Google wants OnHub to stay out in the open
Google wants OnHub to stay out in the open
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Google wants OnHub to stay out in the open
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Google wants OnHub to stay out in the open
13 built-in antennas provide coverage in all directions
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13 built-in antennas provide coverage in all directions
The simple-to-use mobile app is as important as the router itself
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The simple-to-use mobile app is as important as the router itself
OnHub is available to pre-order in the U.S. now
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OnHub is available to pre-order in the U.S. now

The humble home router may not have the same kind of buzz associated with smartphones and tablets, but when you think about the role it serves, it's still a very important bit of kit. Google today announced its very own take on the router: called OnHub and built in partnership with TP-Link, it's designed to provide a secure, simple internet experience for everyone.

For a start, it comes with an accompanying diagnostics app for Android and iOS that means you don't have to interpret a series of blinking lights to work out what's happening with your internet connection. The app also makes password sharing much more straightforward – letting you view it with one tap and easily send it to friends. No more peering behind the router to look for the code that will let you connect a new device.

On the technical side there are 13 high-performance internal antennas (covering both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies) for a IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi connection, as well as support for Bluetooth and Weave, Google's smart home coding language. OnHub automatically senses network congestion in your home and will seamlessly switch to a different wireless channel if problems are detected, a troubleshooting technique you usually have to take care of yourself (that is, if you even know about it).

13 built-in antennas provide coverage in all directions
13 built-in antennas provide coverage in all directions

Google says its Amazon Echo-style looks are to encourage you to keep it out in the open where your devices can more easily connect to it, and the company claims a "unique antenna design" that blasts wireless connectivity in all directions. That should give you a good chance of getting connected, but for now we can only assess the device as it looks on paper.

Security plays a prominent role too. The router is protected with a verified boot system, so it won't start up if it's been modified or hacked in any way. Updates are applied automatically over the web, which removes another hassle of modern-day router maintenance: The firmware upgrade.

In short, Google's OnHub is built to offer faster, more secure Wi-Fi, straightforward management of your network, and a simplified experience all round. It's available to pre-order in the U.S. now for US$199.99 and will be coming to Canada soon; there's no word yet on international availability.

The only question is how many people Google can tempt to shell out $200 to upgrade the router they already own, irrespective of how great the technology might be – after all, Google isn't the only company pushing a next-generation networking device like this. Check out the video below to see some of the benefits of OnHub in action.

Source: Official Google Blog

5 comments
DonGateley
How does it connect to the internet? Oh, right. Questions here are pointless.
Mzungu_Mkubwa
No offense, but do we really need Google weasling its way into our data down to the router level? These dubiously motivated strangers already have their sticky fingers in our email, browsers, media, location and [insert *any* other aspect of our computing lives here]. Now I'm going to let them in at the IP packet level? Why? So that my router can talk to me via an app? Right. F*ck google. Information is power. We're handing it to them on a silver platter.
piperTom
DonGateley: it does not "connect to the internet." It's only a router. You must provide a modem -- most likely, you already have one.
Nicolas Zart
Great idea, although expensive for what it ultimately uses, open source software. Simply NOT from Google. Pass.
jochair
one of the tasks of a router is protocol conversion, so why can this one not do the internet connection ADSL ?