TP-Link OnHub Review
|Wireless Speed:||1900 Mbps|
|USB:||1 x 3.0|
The advent of the TP-Link Onhub device marks Google’s first foray into the Wi-Fi router arena. A sleek dual-band device that is as drastically different from the traditional router as they can get, the Onhub router was developed by Google in conjunction with TP-Link.
And, with more than a dozen antennas and various thoroughly designed apps, the effort injected into the creation of the TP-Link Onhub shows; though, its mixed performance and the fact that the router lacks a number of management features common in the average router might turn some people off.
The TP-Link Onhub is the sort of router designed to stand out in any setting; discarding the nondescript appearance of its various competitors (often black boxes with numerous antennas shooting out from the sides or the top), the TP-Link Onhub router is as cool as it is sleek, free of external antennas or any other design anomalies common with the standard router.
Some people are bound to find the packaging of the router just as intriguing and intelligently designed as the product within, this making the unboxing process a very enticing experience.
The router itself is a cylindrical tube that is wider at the top. 7.5 inches tall and 4.6 inches wide, the components of the router are surrounded by a removable plastic shell. Along with a speaker at the top (which produces a series of electronic sounds during the set up process), the device’s appearance is complimented by a ring of light that glows, revealing the status of the router.
Considerable thought went into the design of this device, Google determined to unveil a router that users would be proud to display out in the open. Admittedly, there is more to the capabilities of this device than its pretty aesthetics.
The TP-Link Onhub is an AC1900 device; this means that users can look forward to a router capable of shifting devices between the bands of 2.4GHz (where it can provide up to 600Mbps) and 5GHz (where it can provide up to 1,300Mbps, at least theoretically) when it detects congestion.
Capable of covering all the 802.11 bands in use today and eliminating the need to set up an additional 5GHz SSID as many other similar devices must do these days, the TP-Link Onhub router boasts a 1.4GHz dual core processor, 1GB of DDR3 memory as well as 4GB of eMMC flash storage.
To ensure maximum coverage, Google and TP-Link have armed their Onhub router with six 2.4GHz and 5GHz antennas (respectively); arranged in a circular manner, individuals can also expect to encounter a reflector antenna (that boosts signal strength) as well as a radio that is continuously changing channels to ensure optimum performance, especially during congestion.
It is worth noting, though, that while the device is armed with ZigBee and Bluetooth antennas and even provides support for the Google Protocol Weave, none of these elements actually do anything at the present.
Rather Google promises that it will eventually enable them in the future, most likely via software updates. In fact, one of the biggest draws of the TP-Link Onhub router is its presentation as a device with untapped potential, designed to get smarter and better with the passing of time.
When you remove the plastic wrapping, you are going to find two Ethernet ports, which is a problem when you consider the fact that other routers within this same price range have up to four ports for connecting to wired devices.
One could interpret this lack of adequate ports as a message from Google, that wired technology has no place in the future it envisions.
The TP-Link Onhub router also has a USB3.0 port, but it is primarily reserved for recovery use and serves no purpose as a means through which users can connect devices like printers and external drives to the network.
Your appreciation or disappointment with this device’s hardware offerings will depend on the purposes for which you are using the router in the first place.
Instead of a web-based interface, most of this device’s primary functions can be manipulated via an app available for Android and iOS devices. The free app is pretty easy to use, complimented by tips, tutorials and guides designed to simplify the process of mastering the different settings.
From the main page, one can acquire an overview of their connected devices (via a diagram), with a Help Guide’ provided to aid users troubleshoot any issues that might arise.
From the application’s interface, one should be able to access settings such as the IP address, connection status and download history.
The set up process is rather straightforward. You only need to open a valid Google account and download the free app to get started. Once you log into your account, there are instructions to guide you through the process of connecting your router to power, plugging the Ethernet cable into its proper place and configuring the necessary settings, this including creating and naming your network.
- The device has a sleek and rather attractive design
- The TP-Link Onhub router is very easy to set up.
- The device’s app is well designed and efficient.
- The device has a lot of promising hardware options that could prove useful in the future, especially for smart appliances.
- The device only has one wired port.
- There is no PC or web-based interface through which the device’s settings can be configured.
- A number of the standard management options common in most routers in the same price range are missing.
- Some of the router’s features haven’t yet been enabled.
- You need an authentic Google account in order to use the device.
- The performance is mostly average.
- The price tag is a little high.
If you are a lay individual looking for an easy way to introduce dual-band networks into your home, then the TP-Link Onhub device is probably the router you have been looking for.
Boasting a unique design complimented by a user friendly app, this Google device promises more than it actually delivers, the various dormant features doing little to justify the $200 price tag. While one cannot deny the potential Google’s router possesses, the mediocre performance and average speeds the device delivers do not help its case, especially when it is compared to other routers within the same price range.