On Tuesday, Google unveiled its answer to the Smart Home market in the form of a Smart Home hub. called Onhub.

Interestingly, OnHub serves a dual purpose. This is a standard wireless router that supports the latest 802.11 standards, but is also capable of supporting both modern home wireless protocols such as Bluetooth 4.0 and some of the most popular smart home networking protocols.

Whether this new router will match today’s wireless routers offered by leaders like Linksys and Belkin remains to be seen, but it’s one of the first all-in-one routers that allows you to connect to just about any wireless device people use. in their house today.

About Google OnHub

Offering a «new path to Wi-Fi,» OnHub is more like an Amazon Echo-like networking device than a simple router.


It comes with a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 4GB e-MMC flash, and 1GB DDR3L onboard memory. It includes one USB3.0 port, one LAN port, and one WAN port, so it’s clearly not intended to be used as a wired router — its function is purely wireless.

Unlike most routers on the market, which are more focused on functionality than looks, the OnHub was clearly designed to be aesthetically pleasing — the type of device that a person can place right on the corner of a desk or shelf instead of underneath. basement.


To that end, features have been built into this device that make it more like something like the Amazon Echo. or similar wireless devices that are designed to serve as a central control unit for a home rather than a simple wireless device to provide Internet connectivity.

OnHub includes the following hardware:

  • 3 watt speaker
  • Built-in ambient light sensor
  • Six tri-color arrays of LED lights
  • Multidirectional Dual Band Antenna Arrays

Google explains on the OnHub website that the router’s visual design was meant to encourage people to place the router «out in the open, which gives you the best signal.»

What protocols are supported

It’s not much trouble for a homeowner to simply buy any other dual-band router on the market and expose it to the public for the best signal. However, aside from the aesthetics, it is the added smart home connectivity that is the main selling point of this new device.

Google offers the free Google On mobile app to help you connect new smart home devices to your wireless network, as long as the device can communicate using one of the protocols supported by OnHub.


These include some of today’s most common wireless smart home protocols, such as:

  • Bluetooth 4.0 — used by a number of smart home manufacturers
  • Weave and Brillo — Android and OS smart home communication layer
  • Thread — protocol used by Samsung and Google’s own nest
  • Zigbee — based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard

With Google putting its weight behind these particular protocols, it can either promote wider adoption of those protocols or it can leave OnHub behind if any other protocol still gains more mainstream adoption.

On the other hand, just like the Google Chromebook OS, the OnHub system will be automatically updated with the latest features and security updates from Google — meaning that if you have OnHub, additional features may be added in the future, making it one of the most promising devices to buy in the smart home market today.

Pros and cons of using OnHub

While the smart home industry and enthusiasts in geek communities across the internet have cheered on the various products. The widespread adoption of these technologies may not happen unless these technologies are more easily integrated into the wireless networks people already have in their home.

OnHub is the obvious starting point for common sense to allow smart home products to enter the mainstream.

Pros: Many buyers who choose interesting smart home products when shopping, such as Philips Hue LED lights or smart switches and plugs. tend to shy away from purchasing these products because there is usually also a requirement to purchase a dedicated center.

However, if those same consumers can purchase a single hub — such as OnHub — and then monitor whether smart home products use these supported protocols when purchasing smart home products, becomes much more enticing (and easier to set up) for consumers. Just one hub purchase can support many smart home products.

Minuses: The downside to this is that by focusing on one hub for all your smart home needs, you’re also limited to only using supported smart home products.

Would you buy?

You can pre-order OnHub at multiple retailers like Amazon or Walmart for around $200 and the units ship on August 31st.

Do you see the benefits of owning a multi-protocol wireless router like the OnHub? Or is it useless to try to force homeowners to use smart home wireless protocols? Are you planning to buy one? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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