Google unveiled its first OnHub home WiFi router designed to make it easier for consumers to set up and manage WiFi networks that can handle their expanding arrays of computers, smartphones and smart devices.
The sleek, black, drinking glass-shaped OnHub is made by TP-LINK for Google and is available for preorder from several online retailers, including the Google Store, Amazon and Walmart.com, for $199.99, according to an Aug. 18 post by Trond Wuellner, a Google group product manager, on the Google Official Blog.
"While we count on WiFi more than ever to be entertained, productive, and stay connected, we're streaming and sharing in new ways our old routers were never built to handle," wrote Wuellner. "So today, with our partner TP-LINK, we're launching OnHub, a different kind of router for a new way to WiFi. Instead of headaches and spotty connections, OnHub gives you WiFi that's fast, secure, and easy to use."
Google's approach with OnHub is to offer a nice-looking product that can be placed out in the open in a room where its performance will be better, instead of having to hide it on a floor or tucked away on a shelf where it can have connection issues, wrote Wuellner. At the same time, today's home routers often need to be reset or unplugged to improve their sometimes-spotty performance, causing connectivity headaches for users, he added.
OnHub also includes easier setup than traditional routers, he wrote, including automatic self-configuration by searching the airwaves in a home and selecting the best channel for the fastest connection. "A unique antenna design and smart software keep working in the background, automatically adjusting OnHub to avoid interference and keep your network at peak performance. You can even prioritize a device so that your most important activity—like streaming your favorite show—gets the fastest speed."
OnHub also includes an easy-to-use Google On app that makes it easier for users to set up and manage their WiFi system, he wrote. The Google On app is available for Android or iOS and can tell users how much bandwidth their devices are using, allow them to run a network check and offer suggestions if there's an issue with their WiFi system. "And, instead of lost passwords and sticky notes, it even reveals your password with a single tap and lets you text or email it to friends."
The OnHub router also includes automatic updates for new features and the latest security upgrades, Wuellner wrote.
The router will in the future be able to support smart devices that users add into their homes, whether they use Bluetooth Smart Ready, Weave or 802.15.4, he added. Additional OnHub devices will come in the future from partners, including Asus.
"At the end of the day, we want our WiFi to just work, so that we can do all the things we love to do online," he wrote. "Here's to WiFi with the reliability, speed, and security you want at home, without the frustrations you don't."
The OnHub WiFi router will be available for sale in retail stores in the United States and in Canada in the coming weeks.