Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Google's Got A Router

You know what wi-fi is.  It is our wireless path to the internet. It is the invisible beam that enables our computers, tablets, and smartphones to send and receive emails, texts, photos, posts, and chats. It helps us watch movies on line, send files over the internet and pass the time at the airport.  For years the technology has been pretty much the same: Plug a square box into your computer, pay an internet service provider for access, watch a bunch of lights start to flash, and surf away. The only real limitations are range, signal strength, and speed.

Google is trying to bring a new sexy to routers.  The Googlies have released their OnHub router, and it is getting pretty good reviews.


BGR.com points out these features:

  1. The OnHub router comes with a Google designed antenna system which, when coupled with Google’s software, can dynamically adjust pertinent router settings as to keep interference to a minimum.
  2. The router allows you to prioritize one device over another. In other words, if you want to ensure that the Netflix stream on your laptop gets more bandwidth love than, say, a nearby iOS device downloading a few updates, you can make that happen.
  3. You can say goodbye to toggling router settings the old fashioned way. Google OnHub’s companion mobile app gives you complete control over your router settings directly from your smartphone. Need to reset your router? It’s as easy as opening up the app.
  4. The companion mobile app will also keep an eye on the state of your network, let you perform various network tests, and even suggest solutions to network hiccups as they arise.
  5. Want to share your Wi-Fi password with a friend? The OnHub mobile app makes it a breeze. Simply tapping on a “reveal password” button will make your Wi-Fi network more easily accessible to people you want to share it with.
  6. Google OnHub makes it easy to not only tell how many devices are on your network at any given time, but to also discern how much data is being used by each device.
  7. First noted by The Verge, the companion app can also perform speed tests and subsequently provide “real-life examples of what types of internet activities are optimal, like ‘You can stream Ultra HD video at this speed.'” This should be especially useful for the majority of Internet users who aren’t likely to be well-versed in all things Mbps.
  8. Hardware wise, the OnHub router comes with an array of 13 different antennas, each positioned 120 degrees apart. This ensures that the signal is spread out uniformly in as many directions as possible. On a related note, Yousef Shanawany adds the following nugget of insight: “According to Matt Cutts, who was a guest speaker on this week’s This Week in Google, the last of the 13 antennas in the OnHub is used to switch the outgoing signal to the best channel it can sense in the air every five minutes, whereas regular routers sense the best channel only when the router first turns on, and keeps that channel until the routers are reset.
  9. Not surprisingly, the OnHub router supports 802.11ac WiFi which can deliver speeds as fast as 1.3 gigabits per second along with wider coverage than earlier standards.
According to Google more than 120 different devices can connect to one Onhub.  Its switching technology is also possessing of some magical power to speed up the speed of your wi-fi notwithstanding the speed control forced upon you by your ISP. The biggest, perhaps the only criticism, is the $200 price tag.

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