To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

OnHub: Google launches its own router

Google stakes its claim in the smart home with launch of the OnHub router

Google has launched its own wireless router, OnHub, promising to end the Wi-Fi dropouts and complicated set-up that it claims bedevils other models. Google’s real motivation for launching the device, however, is to stake its claim in the emerging smart home market. 

The OnHub is an attractive, cylindrical unit that’s made by router manufacturer TP-Link. It actually looks very similar to the design of the D-Link DIR-868L, which was released a couple of years ago.

Despite the absence of any external antennae, Google claims the device will offer a reliable, fast Wi-Fi connection. The search giant claims a “unique [internal] antenna design and smart software keep working in the background, automatically adjusting OnHub to avoid interference and keep your network at peak performance”. The router also offers automatic Wi-Fi channel switching and the option to prioritise traffic to a particular device, which are both fairly standard on even the most rudimentary of today’s routers.

What does make the OnHub stand out is support for Bluetooth Smart Ready and Weave. Bluetooth Smart Ready is a low-power version of the Bluetooth standard designed for the Internet of Things, whilst Weave is a wireless protocol used by the Nest range of smart thermostats and smoke alarms, which are owned by Google. The OnHub is therefore clearly intended to become the device at the centre of the smart home, with Google attempting to control the lot.

Google’s also attempting to shift router management away from PCs and over to mobiles, with the OnHub controlled from an Android or iOS app, rather than through a web browser. The app keeps track of data consumption and helps users troubleshoot any connection problems that may ensue. It also reveals the network password, which can be texted or emailed to friends from your phone.

The router is currently only available in the US for $199 (around £125). Google hasn’t announced any plans to bring the device to the UK yet.