Over the summer we got a first look at Google’s plans to fix you crappy home networking situation. The first OnHub router, manufactured by TP-Link, was pretty cool–and very expensive. Now Google’s got yet another OnHub router, this time made by Asus. It’s even more expensive.
Google OnHub is a great idea on paper. For the most part, home networking is a headache. When your wifi’s not working, you never quite know why it’s not working. All you get is blinking lights that don’t tell you anything. Basically your only recourse is to unplug the router and hope that firing it back up solves the problem.
OnHub solves this with an app, which allows you to do things like monitor who’s connected to the network, diagnose potential problems, and prioritize connectivity to one device or another. The TP-Link router worked well, even if it wasn’t exactly worth $200.
Well, get ready, because the new Asus OnHub router costs...$220! Even more money! Like the TP-Link OnHub, it has an attractive vaguely conical design, and sports a ring of LED light that tells you what emotions your network is feeling at the moment.
The router’s main new feature is the ability to prioritize traffic to a device by waving your hand over the OnHub. I’m having a hard time imagining how the mechanics of this feature actually work, but here’s how they describe it:
Control OnHub by waving your hand over its top. For example, just wave to prioritize a device to make sure it has enough bandwidth, like your Chromecast while streaming a movie.
As before, the Asus OnHub isn’s shipping with all its powers full enabled. You’re investing in the future. Over time it should get more features. As starting point, $220 feels a little pricey. But the core concept–a smarter, friendlier router–is something I can’t help but support.