The end of wonky wifi and router resets? Dailymail.com tests Google's $199 OnHub
- Router being made by TP-LINK and designed to be left on a shelf
- Can automatically set itself to fastest channel and update itself
- Router will initially only be sold in US and Canada
It is the bane of most people's online lives - wonky wifi, and constant router resets to try and get a fast signal.
However, Google believes it may have the answer - in the shape of a $199 flowerpot sized router designed to sit on your tabletop.
It's incredible simple to set up, and we found it really did boost the speed of our home wifi connection - but at a high price.
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The Mountain View, California, company is promising its wireless router will be sleeker, more reliable, more secure and easier to use than other long-established alternatives made by the Arris Group, Netgear, Apple and other hardware specialists.
HOW IT WORKS
Google says the router was designed to be placed on a shelf or cabinet, where performance is best.
During setup, OnHub searches the airwaves and selects the best channel for the fastest connection.
A unique antenna design and smart software keep working in the background, automatically adjusting OnHub to avoid interference and keep your network at peak performance.
You can even prioritize a device, so that your most important activity — like streaming your favourite show — gets the fastest speed.
They key to the router is the accompanying app.
This makes setup incredible easy - especially for Android users.
We did initially struggle to get the router setup using an iPhone running the latest public test version of Apple's iOS 9 - but switching to one running iOS 8 solved the problem instantly.
However, on Android, its even easier, with the two devices using sound to 'talk' to each other and exchange passwords.
Once setup, you can name your network and set a password.
Crucially, the app makes it easy to share this - so the end of writing and calling out long complex passwords is over, thankfully.
Once set up, the hub is blazingly fast.
However, just how much better obviously depends on your existing setup.
For instance, my home setup uses Time Warner's supplied wireless router, which supposedly offers speeds of 300mb.
Using their supplied router, my average download speeds were around 40mbs per second at best - with resets needed at least weekly.
Using the Google router, speeds leapt upto 150mbs instantly.
However, it must be said that swapping for most decent high end routers, many costing less, would have had a similar effect on speeds.
So what makes Google's OnHub a better bet? Ease of use, in a nutshell.
Virtually anyone will will be able to set it up, and use it on a daily basis with no problem.
What Google's product also has in spades is potential.
Packed into its interior is a loudspeaker, and communications that will allow it to talk to the 'internet of things' - everything from your lightbulbs to temperature sensors.
The problem is that many of these features are not yet turned on, and Google has not said when or even if it will enable them.
It also only has one ethernet port - which means you'll need to but a separate switch if you want to have a cabled connection to your TV and games console, for instance.
Everything is set up and controlled through an app - which can also give you the status of your network (left) and let you prioritise devices (right)
However, Google say OnHub also will adapt to the evolving needs of its owners because its software will be regularly updated to unlock new features.
The concept is similar to the automatic software upgrades the company makes to its Chrome browser and personal computers running on its Chrome operating system.
Google expects most people will be able to set up OnHub in three minutes or less - something we found easily achievable.
The router is designed to be managed with a mobile app called Google On that will work on Apple's iPhone, as well as devices running on Google's Android software.
For the moment, this is a great router for the well off technophobe - with the absolutely superbly simple setup its key selling point.
Its outer shell is removable, and comes in either blue or black, with more colours coming.
It's also exceptionally good looking, resembling a flower pot, with a glowing status light (and currently unused speaker) on top.
Even after you’ve set it up, you still might actually find yourself opening the OnHub’s mobile app.
It makes it incredibly easy to see what devices are connected to your network and which ones are using the most bandwidth, and you can prioritise bandwidth to specific devices, so if you’re having an online gaming session or want to stream 4K content to your TV, you can allocate the most bandwidth to those tasks.
Rebooting the router is also done right from the app, as is updating its firmware, which Google says happens automatically.
You can also share the network’s password with a friend just by showing them a screen from the app, or send a text from the app.
The device will go on sale in stores in the U.S. and Canada,.
The Mountain View, California, company is promising its wireless router will be sleeker, more reliable, more secure and easier to use than other long-established alternatives made by the Arris Group, Netgear, Apple and other hardware specialists. - and on this evidence, it's made a great start down that road.
Google says its wireless router will be sleeker, more reliable, more secure and easier to use than other long-established alternatives made by the Arris Group, Netgear, Apple and others.
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