Google OnHub Router


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).

Google-onhub-router-2Google 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.

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