Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Google OnHub is Google's secret weapon for the smart home

When we thought Google had its hands full with the upcoming new Nexus 5 and 6, they reveal this OnHub - a seemingly common WiFi Hub... but, just like a popular animation series says: there's more than meets the eye.

At first sight, this Google OnHub might seem just like any regular WiFi hotspot, albeit a slightly better looking one, without the usual assortment of antennas popping out. The idea is that it will be inconspicuous enough for you to put it in plain view, with the obvious advantages in the signal quality.

This Gigabit hub comes with dual-band (2.4 and 5GHz) and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac support, and inside it there are nothing less than 14(!) antennas: 6 antennas for the 2.4GHz frequencies; 6 more for the 5GHz (these sets are place in a circular pattern for omnidirectional coverage; then we have an extra 2.4GHz directional antenna for improved signal strength in a specific direction; and finally there's still another antenna used to monitor the airwaves and avoid congestion.

The OnHub also comes with a Google On app that makes it easier than ever to manage your network (it even uses the same Chromecast tricks, to automagically connect by using sound), and it allows you to see what devices are connected to your network and using your bandwidth, even if you're away from home. There's also the guarantee of security updates whenever needed, and the promise that these updates won't disrupt the WiFi connections. (Considering there are milllions of infected routers out there that will never be updated, this alone would be enough to make us want one OnHub.)

But this is just the beginning. The OnHub is actually the first major step for Google to enter into the Smart Home market, as this "hub" can not only "speak" WiFi, but Bluetooth and Zigbee as well, including Google's own Weave. This makes it the "must have" hub for anyone hoping to have a Google/Android based smart home. This alone helps explain the $199.99 price tag, and the only thing left is for us to hope this time things will be different from all the unfulfilled Android@Home promises from years ago.

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