Google is releasing a new Wi-Fi router called the OnHub. Although it looks deceptively like an Amazon Echo, it's actually a spiffy networking device that Google is billing as an easier-to-use and more powerful alternative to regular home routers.
The OnHub features a total of 13 antennas, set up as 3x3 (3 transmitting, 3 receiving) for 2.4 Ghz, 3x3 for 5 GHz, and an auxiliary bandwidth congestion antenna. That array is set up in a circular pattern for wider coverage. A reflector set behind one of the 2.4 GHz antennas allows for an additional signal boost in a specific direction. Along with 1900Mbps 802.11ac, the OnHub supports the Bluetooth Smart, Weave, and IEEE 802.15.4 protocols. The last one lets the OnHub connect to ZigBee and Thread devices.
Google's On app controls the OnHub, and it's supposed to be easy to use—you get a visualization of connected devices, easy setup, and bandwidth monitoring and prioritization tools, even if you're not at home. The OnHub has a few neat tricks up its sleeve, too—the top-mounted speaker can send ultrasonic tones with connection info to Android devices for easier setup, and its LED ring uses different colors to inform the user of the router's status. The auxiliary antenna will also let the OnHub adjust its Wi-Fi settings automatically based on network congestion, and Google says the router's software can be updated without connection interruptions.
The OnHub's internals are pretty meaty, considering it's a home router. It's powered by a Qualcomm Atheros IPQ8064 SoC clocked at 1.4 GHz, which is served by 1 GB of DDR3L RAM. The outer casing is 7.5" tall and 4.6" in diameter, and buyers get a choice of black or blue finishes.
The OnHub will be available "in the coming weeks" for $200 at the Google Play store and online retailers. Preorder pages are already up.