The router has been one of those pieces of hardware that's mostly been stagnant over the last few years. Innovation tended to remain stuck within the firmware and few companies were willing to reboot a tool as ubiquitous and unsexy.
It makes sense. Most everyone overlooks the router. It just sits there doing a job no one else wants to do. Because most routers are more than up to the basic task at hand, it is often forgotten just how important they are.
That is, until Google decided to team up with TP-LINK and get their design teams working on the task. What they came up with is a perfect solution to a problem consumers and small business owners were most likely not aware they had.
What did Google do?
What did Google do with the router? They've given it a level of intelligence long overdue and refined the look and feel of the hardware such that it could remain in view without looking like an antiquated piece of technology. Within that clean design, you'll find 13 antennas (six 2.4GHz, six 5GHz and one to monitor congestion) as well as 4 GB of internal storage space (used for updates). The OnHub is capable of speeds up to 1900 Mbps.
Because of the aesthetic design, users will be more willing to leave the device out in the open, instead of tucked away on the floor or in a cabinet (where it loses range, speed, etc). If you don't like the blue or black outer shell, more color options are on the way.
How does it work?
Using the massive amount of antenna, when OnHub is first setup up it searches the airwaves for the best possible channel that will bring the fastest connection. This will remove much of the guesswork out of trying to get the most out of your router. While up and running, the OnHub searches every five minutes for the least crowded channel and automatically switches to ensure you have the fastest connection possible at all times.
Once setup, you can then control the OnHub via a mobile app, where you can prioritize devices for faster streaming on your network. The mobile app is available for both Android and iOS. From the mobile you can:
- Set up your OnHub router
- Learn how to improve your Wi-Fi connection if there's a slowdown
- Test your connection speed
- Share your network name and password
- Make changes to your settings (such as prioritizing devices)
- Remotely provide or receive help
OnHub is already available to purchase (although it is currently out of stock on the Google store).
Why you want this
Outside of being able to much more easily handle the management of your router (thanks to the mobile app), one of the main reasons you'll want this particular router is if you happen to live (or do business) in a location surrounded by other routers. When this is the case, your connection can get spotty, due to channel interference. The OnHub overcomes that issue with ease... such that you'll never have to manually change router channels to avoid interference. The router will also automatically update itself, so you always have the latest firmware installed. This means your router will have the most up-to-date features and security. To many, that alone will be worth the $200.00 selling price.
From where I stand, this bit of innovation is more than long overdue. The router has been relegated to the background and few companies have bothered giving this piece of technology the internal and external facelift it needed.
What would you do to router technology to make it more powerful and useful?
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.