Routers somehow manage to be one of the most frustrating and most necessary items in the household at the same time, but Google wants to change that with OnHub. This new $200 router is designed specifically for people who have pretty much no clue how to work their router, which is most people. If you just want to set it down and have it work, then OnHub is perfect for you, but one of the biggest criticisms that reviewers seem to have is that the tweaking options are very, very limited, so even minor tech enthusiasts may find themselves becoming annoyed.
You’ll either love or hate the new OnHub Wi-Fi router that Google and TP-Link have cooked up. If you’re of the “I just want it to work” mindset, you’ll dig it. If you’re an enthusiast who likes to bend hardware to your will, tweaking knobs and being aware of everything that’s going on under the hood, it will drive you nuts. The OnHub is a dual-band router co-designed by Google and TP-Link (manufactured by the latter) that operates networks on both the 2.4GHz (802.11b/g/n) and 5GHz (802.11n/a/ac) frequency bands simultaneously. But both networks use the same SSID, and the router decides for you which network each client should use. As I discovered during benchmarking, those assignments can change without notice if the router decides it can provide better service, but it’s not always right. The only way you can set up the OnHub is with a smartphone or tablet (Android or iOS) and Google’s app. Punch in the router’s IP address on a web browser, the way an enthusiast would configure a router, and you’ll see a polite message telling you to open the Google On app if you want to change any of its settings.