Google OnHub is a wireless router designed for home use including those with a home automation system. This is yet another experimental project from the Internet search and technology giant and since it’s Google some may wonder if more advertising is on the way based on personal Internet activity. That and many other questions remain, so let’s dive into the details about OnHub.
OnHub Features and Functionality
OnHub retails for around $200 which puts it right in the range of other high end wireless routers. Unlike similar products, however, there are only two wired ports, one for a cable modem and one for an Ethernet cable. Google claims the lack of cables enhances the router’s look, and it’s true that the sleek design might make you wonder if it’s an Apple product. Their main point is if a visually attractive wireless router is placed out in the open, overall wireless performance is improved.
Some power users might disagree and would probably prefer a few more LAN ports, especially since the OnHub still needs to reside close to your cable modem. When considering a device where function remains more important than style, perhaps looks don’t really matter.
Setting up the router is only possible using an app for the Android or iOS platforms and you also need a Google account. The lack of a web browser management option is a surprising oversight. In fact, OnHub’s current overall functionality is pretty limited, but Google promises significant feature updates over time.
The OnHub sports 13 antennas, giving it dual-band capability, important for streaming media uses requiring fast Internet speed. A 3-inch speaker is only functional during the device’s setup. There’s no volume control and it can’t play music. The included Bluetooth and ZigBee support hint at future home automation features, but they aren’t currently active.
Privacy Concerns with a Google Router?
Even with so much functionality disabled at launch, the OnHub appears to offer the quality performance typical of most high-end routers. If your family primarily uses mobile devices, videogame systems, and smart TVs instead of computers, its lack of wired ports isn’t a big problem.
Google promises it doesn’t track the websites you visit or the content you stream, but you still need an account with the search giant to use the OnHub. If you already embrace the company’s myriad of products, including Gmail, Android, Chromecast, and more, this isn’t a huge issue.
Many tech reviews of the router have been lukewarm, but if you’re a fan of Google with an eye towards sleek design, the OnHub makes for a decent choice in a wireless router. Here’s hoping the company adds functionality to the device in the short term.