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First they came for your search engine. Then they came for your web browser and your smartphone. And now? They’re coming for your home — and here’s why that’s a great thing. We are, of course, talking about Google!

Routers are typically messy and complicated affairs. Without a lot of research, networking can be quite challenging to learn 10 Ways To Improve The Speed of Your Current Router 10 Ways To Improve The Speed of Your Current Router Here are a few simple router tweaks that could make a world of difference on your home Wi-Fi network. Read More and more than most everyday Internet users really want. This gets even more stressful when something goes wrong with a router.

Most of us know the good old “turn it off, turn it back on” routine, but past that it usually means hours spent researching problems on tech forums. Google has decided that isn’t great for anyone and has instead created a simple user-friendly router called OnHub Google Announces New OnHub Multi-Protocol Wireless Router Google Announces New OnHub Multi-Protocol Wireless Router Google unveiled its answer to the Smart Home market in the form of a Smart Home hub called OnHub, a standard wireless router also capable of the most popular smart home network protocols. Read More .

Here are several reasons why you should think about getting one.

1. Control Using Google’s App

For the launch of their brand new and simplified router, Google decided to eschew the standard web interface of nearly every other router and instead create an iOS and Android app that’s used to set up, monitor, and control the OnHub.

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There is no messing around with web interfaces, hundreds of settings, and network SSIDs. Instead all the setup is done through the Google On app, making it quick and painless to get your network up and running.

After setup it provides a multitude of features including a live network map, and the ability to tap on a device for more information like connection status and IP address.

OnHub-App

Using the app you can perform two types of speed tests: the first is the common speed test between your ISP and your router, the second allows you to test the speed between the OnHub and any connected device, allowing you to determine if slow speeds are because of your connection or your ISP.

2. Ease and Simplicity

The overarching theme of the OnHub is a singular focus on simplicity. This isn’t intended as a device for power users — not yet, anyway. The whole user experience has been designed for laymen, removing the jargon and technical aspects of routers that usually intimidate everyday users.

There is an option to enable a guest network which can be set up easily through the app, making sure that your private network stays secure but that there is still access for guests if they need it.

Guest-Network

Another neat feature of the guest network with OnHub is that you can allocate certain devices like your Chromecast or wireless speakers to the guest network, allowing visitors to use only the devices you want them using.

But what about that data hogger in your family that slows your network down by constantly streaming Netflix or downloading massively big games? With OnHub, you can switch to Priority mode for your own devices, which is similar to QoS management How to Fix Gaming & Video Lag With an Easy Router Tweak How to Fix Gaming & Video Lag With an Easy Router Tweak Tired of network lag when other people are watching videos and downloading torrents? Here's how to reclaim your network performance without any third-party tools. Read More .

3. IFTTT Support

One of the best automation services around is If This Then That (IFTTT) The Ultimate IFTTT Guide: Use The Web's Most Powerful Tool Like A Pro The Ultimate IFTTT Guide: Use The Web's Most Powerful Tool Like A Pro IFTTT is an automation that will enable you to connect 2 services so that, when something happens with one service, a trigger goes off and an action takes place automatically on the other. Read More . Offering connections to over 300 apps and services, it allows you to create “if this, then that” statements (known as recipes) to control and automate your devices.

When Google updated the OnHub with IFTTT, it became the first router ever to support IFTTT. This is a pretty exciting look at Google’s plans for the future, but also gives a great and potentially limitless way to automate your life based on your OnHub activity.

Google released the above video to show off just a few of the ways that you can take advantage of the new IFTTT integration, including email notifications when someone arrives home, automatically locking your front door when you leave the house, and disabling security monitor notifications when someone is at home.

While these suggestions are a great starting point, as with other IFTTT connections, the future possibilities are endless.

4. Powerful Hardware

The OnHub is a well-powered piece of hardware featuring a dual-core 1.4 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM, and a USB 3.0 port. This is unusual for routers because they typically wouldn’t be required to do the level of computing that the OnHub does (possibly hinting at what Google has in store for future updates).

There are currently two versions of the OnHub:

  • OnHub from TP-Link
  • OnHub from Asus

Both are near identical in technical specs except for two differences. The TP-Link version features a front-facing antenna reflector that strengthens Wi-Fi signals in the direction of the antenna. While the Asus lacks this features, it does have Wave control to set a device to priority on the network by simply waving your hand above the OnHub.

OnHub-Hardware

While both OnHubs feature LED lights for the status of the device, the TP-Link has an “ambient light ring” which also features a light sensor that can adjust the light ring based on the amount of light in the room. Although this sensor isn’t active at the moment, it may be enabled with a future OnHub update.

5. Improved Wireless Coverage

While most routers come with just two antennas to provide Wi-Fi coverage, the TP-Link OnHub comes equipped with thirteen arranged in a circular pattern, which aims to extend Wi-Fi coverage throughout a house, not just in two directions.

The Asus on OnHub only features seven antennas, so if coverage is what you need, then the TP-Link has the upper-hand here.

OnHub-Antennas

Most modern routers are able to broadcast at two different frequencies How Dual-Band Routers Can Solve Your Wireless Woes How Dual-Band Routers Can Solve Your Wireless Woes Using a router that supports the dual-band standard can significantly boost your Wi-Fi speeds in many circumstances. Read More  — 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz — but the two frequencies usually behave as two separate networks with different SSIDs.

The OnHub seamlessly merges these two frequency networks into one SSID and will automatically choose the most stable and fastest frequency for any given device. Most devices can’t intelligently switch between 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz and it’s convenient that the OnHub does it for you.

6. Aesthetic Design

It’s unlikely that you’ve ever looked at a router and thought “That would look great in my house,” but that’s exactly what Google got right with the OnHub.

They even state that the OnHub is designed to “be out in the open” due to its design, both aesthetically and functionally by giving better coverage in an outwards direction from the center of your home rather than tucked in the corner of the room or a closet.

User-Submitted-OnHub-Home

Both the TP-Link and Asus OnHub are sleek, minimalist devices designed to look good. You can even get replacement shells for the TP-Link OnHub so that you can make it look even more appealing in your home, rather than the black or blue that come as standard.

Sadly, the Asus OnHub is only available in its original slate grey.

7. Frequent Update Schedule

When the OnHub first launched in 2015, Google committed to providing software updates every six weeks, and for the most part this has been true. Most of these updates have been small bug fixes and security updates but there have also been interesting updates (like the one adding IFTTT support).

With such a robust update schedule, it makes one wonder what Google plans for the OnHub going forward. The announcements for Google Assistant and Google Home at I/O 2016 offer a great starting point for speculation.

We already know that the OnHub supports networking standards that Internet of Things devices The Internet of Things: 10 Useful Products You Must Try in 2016 The Internet of Things: 10 Useful Products You Must Try in 2016 The Internet of Things is ramping up in 2016, but what does that mean exactly? How do you personally benefit from the Internet of Things? Here are a few useful products to illustrate. Read More typically use, like Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), Weave, and the 802.15.4 wireless standard.

At the moment the router doesn’t make use of these features, but it would seem bizarre for Google to build these into the product if they didn’t have a plan for them. There is also the fact that the OnHub can support up to 100 connected devices, which is far more people than a house normally holds.

Of course at the moment this is speculation, but with all the other benefits of the OnHub along with the potential for a software update to unlock some great Smart Home functionality the OnHub seems to be worth the investment.

What do you make of Google’s OnHub router? Would you get one? Have you got one? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Devin Arthur via Google Product Forums, Syda Productions via Shutterstock

  1. Michael Chalk
    October 10, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Hey come on dude. You might think it's funny starting with an adaptation of the famous anti-fascist quote by Martin Niemöller, but really? In these times, when fascism is creeping its ugly way back into Western politics everywhere? When even a US presidential candidate is starting up the trail towards internment. It's actually not okay (with me).

    And in terms of writing, it might work if google was on a trail of destruction, but that's not even what you're trying to convey. I just don't get it.

  2. Brent
    August 25, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Don't buy the OnHub, and here is why:

    1)The advertised USB port does almost nothing. No USB storage. No Printer Sharing. They should not even advertise the USB 3.0 port as a feature because it can ONLY be used to recover the router from a failure. There is a very active Google Discussion on the official OnHub group with Google clearly not promising to ever get the port functional for any other use.

    2)Updates are practically non-existent. The very few updates they add REMOVE features to make it more user-proof. Advanced features are buried or broken after the last update.

    3)No IPv6 support. In 2016 this is unacceptable for currently in production hardware.

    4)All signs point to a dead-end product. This could mean the OnHub project has quietly died or they are working on the next generation of hardware (It would almost be worse if they are moving ahead with a new generation while leaving a half-backed product on the shelves)

    Some people may say that you shouldn't expect much from a beta product, but my argument is that they shouldn't ambiguously advertise features that they don't follow up with... particularly "frequent updates" and "USB 3.0 port". Also, don't sell a beta product at a premium price!

    This half-baked product would have been MUCH better implemented as a firmware project for select devices while they work out initial development cycles and roadmaps. They could have selected one or two cutting edge routers to create firmware for, and if you don't like it you can fall back to the manufacturers official firmware.

  3. Captain Supersmart
    August 20, 2016 at 12:31 am

    Most routers today are super simple to setup it's almost ludicrous. Maybe 5-10 years ago that wouldn't have been the case. So basically, anyone who 'needs' this router must be a complete moron.

    • James Frew
      September 7, 2016 at 9:59 am

      It really depends on the brand and whether its provided by your ISP and what they have custom loaded. There are a lot of different configurations that can make it a daunting task for people either just getting online or those with less tech experience.

  4. William Marshall
    August 18, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    What kind of devices can be connected to the USB port? External storage?

    • James Frew
      August 19, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Currently its only use is to connect to a computer if you need to flash a system image or software update.

  5. James
    August 17, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    With that Google will have the last scintilla of info about you that it doesn't already have

  6. Mary
    August 17, 2016 at 5:33 am

    Is it a modem/router combo or just a router?

    • James Frew
      August 17, 2016 at 6:03 am

      Router

  7. diablo135
    August 17, 2016 at 1:47 am

    Hello James,

    This router does seem pretty cool, especially for it's simplicity. and the article was good too. However, I do notice that your answers to everyone's comments all seem to vehemently defend the OnHub. Why is that?

    • James Frew
      August 19, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Glad you enjoyed the article. Most of the comments where I have defended the OnHub are where there were sentiments about Google's data collection policies. Others have been to do with "advanced router functionality" which isn't really what this router is about. Its a simplified device and caters towards people that aren't as into tech, which I think is a great thing.

      Google does have a tendency to cancel projects but I am genuinely hopeful that this is the start of their smart home initiatives and hopefully when they release other products they will update the OnHub to be something like the Amazon Echo.

  8. Richard
    August 16, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    OK I missed the most important point Where do I get one?

    • James Frew
      August 17, 2016 at 6:05 am

      The OnHub is currently only officially launched in the US. Although that doesn't mean you can't purchase it from sellers on Amazon or eBay, but if you go that route and something doesn't work there is no support outside of the US.

  9. Carol Elkins
    August 16, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Please forgive an ignorant question, but what happens when an OnHub network goes down? How will an app work to get the router working again? Are they assuming that everyone has a cell phone plan? If one doesn't have a cell phone plan and instead uses the wi-fi network to connect an Android tablet to run the apps, how does the app run if the network goes down?

  10. Miron Chumash
    August 16, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    I like google solution!!!

  11. Cho
    August 16, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    What about Port-Forwarding?
    Anyone with IP cameras and/or media streaming devices need Port Forwarding to direct incoming traffic.
    My ASUS Rt-AC68 is limited to 32 port forwarding entries in it's tables.
    This is inadequate for our SmartHome and IPcam requirements.

    • James Frew
      August 16, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      There's always a chance that they will add those kind of more advanced features in the future - but my opinion on it is that they are more likely to try and tightly integrate it with their own smart home products like Nest and Google Home (once its released).

  12. 4mcpcb
    August 15, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I like google solution!

  13. Phil!
    August 13, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Once I gave up my control issues I started a love affair with the OnHub. Great coverage, reliable, and simple enough that I'll be recommending it to all those who look to me for home tech support.

    • James Frew
      August 13, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      I think Google would be glad to hear that you've had a good experience so far. What did you miss initially from your old router?

      • Christopher Woodhouse
        August 13, 2016 at 11:17 pm

        Having clear and easily accessible information from the router on an app instead of obscure browser window on my computer that lets me rename the network and set a custom password so easily. The fact that it updates itself, and in the whole time I've had it I've never lost connectivity (if I did, it told me it was because the modem was having an issue).

        • James Frew
          August 13, 2016 at 11:18 pm

          Would you want them to add more advanced features or do you think that what they have is enough for most people?

        • Christopher Woodhouse
          August 13, 2016 at 11:25 pm

          For the average person, the OnHub is perfect. I'm not using hyperbole; the average user cannot find a better, easier to use or more reliable router, PERIOD. I know there are some users who crave more advanced features, but frankly I don't think they constitute a large enough group to be profitable (which obviates basically anyone from making this 'power router').

  14. Bud
    August 13, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Unfortunately right now it is more of a access point with a plan port than a router. It is missing a lot of features that normal routers have. No parental controls, no ipv6 support, you cannot block someone from using it with renaming access point and reconfiguring everything else. It does have really good coverage. Get airport extreme for a router instead.

    Updates have not added any real features. The only real feature that was added was a guest Network. Ifttt support is very limited to events of device connect/disconnect and actions of prioritize (which only works for 2-4 hours). The updates are really just bug fixes. But they do crank one out about every month to 6 weeks.

    Take a look at the Google OnHub product forum before you buy.

    Keep in mind that the product is still in BETA.

    • James Frew
      August 13, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      You are right that it doesn't currently support those features like parental controls or IPV6, but could you elaborate further on the issue of renaming the access point - this isn't something I've read about before?

      Although IFTTT and Guest Networks are some of the more high profile updates, as I mentioned in the article for an over-powered router, with far more hardware capabilities than are needed, it seems unlikely that they don't have plans to release a more comprhensive update once Google Home and Google Assistant are released later this year to turn the OnHub into a more fully fledged Smart Home Device.

      As far as I know the OnHub is a fully released product, with Beta and Developer update channels. The product itself is not in beta.

      • bud
        August 14, 2016 at 5:50 pm

        renaming the access point- say for instance you gave (or someone else gave) the wireless password. you can identify the user, but you cannot block the user from using the wireless. the only method supported is to rename the access point and resetup all your other devices to use the new network name. Other router you can block the mac from connecting.

        They probably do have updates to be compatible with their new devices and products but they have not produced any requested features. and no new features since March (5 months ago). They do not hint nor produce a roadmap for the device. They do not even have a beta channel for testers.

        As far as the device being in beta, after you own the device and contact support that is what the Google employee will tell you. :)

  15. Mark “Mr. Marcus” Major
    August 13, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Sorry about than John H, even though I read point #5, it didn't sink in...eeerrrr, I hate when that happens...

    • Mark “Mr. Marcus” Major
      August 13, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      Here's what point #5 states...

      "Most modern routers are able to broadcast at two different frequencies — 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz — although the two frequencies usually behave as two separate networks with different SSIDs.
      That means that if a networked device like a Chromecast is on a different network than your device, they won’t be able to communicate with each other. The OnHub sidesteps this problem by seamlessly merging the two frequencies into a single network."

      • James Frew
        August 13, 2016 at 9:56 pm

        Does that answer your question?

      • ekrobles
        August 14, 2016 at 9:33 pm

        Wrong sir. Devices on the 5ghz channel can see devices on a 2.4ghz channel on every dual band router I have ever used which is a lot. I work IT.

  16. fcd76218
    August 13, 2016 at 11:53 am

    One BIG reason why Google OnHub SHOULD NOT be your next router - IT IS FROM GOOGLE. After all, would you want to use a router supplied by the NSA?!

    • James Frew
      August 13, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Google is one of the more privacy focused big tech companies. I get that they do have a lot of user data, and as an American company are bound by the laws of land - but what makes you think that Google is worse than any other company? Or that the OnHub would be more susceptible to law enforcement than any other manufacturer?

      • fcd76218
        August 13, 2016 at 11:15 pm

        You missed my point. I am not talking about OnHub being susceptible to law enforcement. I am talking about Google loading OnHub with firmware that records all the data that passes through it and sending it to the mother ship the way Samsung Smart TVs are doing.

        "Google is one of the more privacy focused big tech companies"
        They are focused on THEIR privacy, once they suck up any and all customer/user data. They do not give a rat's behind about user/customer privacy. In fact they trample all over it.

        "as an American company are bound by the laws of land"
        Unfortunately, there is no law that prevents Google from slicing and dicing and selling user data to the highest bidder without the consent of the user. At least the NSA does not sell the data they have harvested.

        • James Frew
          August 13, 2016 at 11:17 pm

          I would class the NSA under law enforcement. Who do you believe Google sells the data to? In terms of adverts they control the whole AdWords platform so they have no need to sell the data - Facebook is far worse for this.

        • Enoch
          August 16, 2016 at 9:09 pm

          Theyyonly bound by the laws of this country until they recieve a letter from some three initial federal agency that requires their unquestioning "cooperation" and forbids them to discuss or even disclose they have received such a "request" for "cooperation."

          Get one of those and you can't even go before a judge to get it rescinded. Because you're forbidden (in violation of every other law and rule of due process in thiscountry) to even attempt to do so.

          Don't talk to adults about the "rules" the government and businesses are required to adhere to. Because they don't exist except when the powers that be choose to let them apply.

    • Michael
      August 16, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      Don't worry... as long as you're using your Google android phone, accessing your gmail while on Google fiber wifi that is using an OnHub router, your privacy is sealed

  17. Chris
    August 13, 2016 at 5:10 am

    I've had the TP Link made OnHub for over six months now, and I must say is been a pleasure to own. I have never had a connectivity issue that didn't turn out to be the modems fault (it's rock solid), and I love controlling it from my phone.

    • James Frew
      August 13, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      What was your experience of routers before this and would you say the OnHub has simplified it? What features do you control with the app?

  18. Peter
    August 13, 2016 at 2:15 am

    How about 7 reasons why the google onhub should NOT be your next router?

    • James Frew
      August 13, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      Potentially in the future - what would be your reasons?

      • Peter
        August 13, 2016 at 9:57 pm

        1. Google knowing everything you are doing. Whether you use Chrome or Firefox, Google search for Duckduckgo

        2. Not the latest standards.

        • James Frew
          August 13, 2016 at 10:01 pm

          1. Too an extent - although they pretty much have the capability to know all of that already especially if you use an Android device.

          2. Latest standards with regards to...?

        • LANManic
          August 17, 2016 at 5:43 pm

          While there are certainly many connections that Google could snoop, MOST connections to private data are SSL secured - an encrypted pipeline from the client PC to the service - hence the OnHub would merely "see" as encrypted garbage.

        • LANManic
          August 17, 2016 at 5:48 pm

          While there are certainly many "texty" connections and metadata that Google could snoop, connections to private data should be SSL secured hence the OnHub would merely "see" encrypted garbage fly by, including "Google search for Duckduckgo" (but they would have that data anyway, right?)

  19. Mark “Mr. Marcus” Major
    August 12, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    I've been interested in one of these routers from it's release but I notice that they aren't dual band, as streaming is more popular nowadays I'm just wondering if it would be any better than your "normal" single band router, seeing as how the streaming devices (smart tv's, Fire TV's, Roku, etc) could exclusively use the 5g band, or does it make a difference?...

    • John Hayden
      August 13, 2016 at 10:12 am

      Read point number 5 in this article.

    • James Frew
      August 13, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      As John said I touched on this in #5. Also it appears to the user as a single band router, it actually uses 2.4 and 5GHz, but makes all the decisions internally so you don't have to worry about it.

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