If you’re using a Google OnHub router, the bad news is that you can only use it for one more year.
December 19, 2022, Google said in a new blog post, all support for OnHub routers will end. The routers, currently six years old, will still work, but you will no longer be able to manage them with the Google Home smartphone app. Unfortunately, the app is the only way to manage an OnHub.
“You won’t be able to update things like Wi-Fi network settings, add additional Wi-Fi devices, or run speed tests,” the blog said. “Google Assistant features such as ‘Hey Google, pause my Wi-Fi’ will stop working. OnHub performance cannot be guaranteed.”
As to whether or not you’ll get any further firmware or security updates, Google was vague, only stating that these would expire “before December 19, 2022.” That could mean tomorrow, or it could mean that OnHubs will get several months of additional updates.
So you could continue to use your OnHub, but we do not recommend that you do so. Instead, Google recommends to “upgrade to a new Wi-Fi setup today”.
Discount offer on Nest Wifi devices
To that end, the company will send all OnHub owners an email with a link offering a 40% discount on its current Nest Wifi mesh systems. In theory, this means that a Nest router and two mesh “points”, which normally retail for $ 350, would only cost $ 210. That’s about the same price as an OnHub router when it was released in 2015. The offer is valid until March. 31, 2022.
There are actually two OnHub models: one made by TP-Link, the other by Asus. The first came out in August 2015 and cost $ 200; the second launched in October of the same year and cost $ 220. Their innards were identical and up to Google’s specifications, but Google’s own WiFi mesh router system replaced the OnHubs in late 2016.
Google’s intentions with the OnHub were to produce a powerful, attractive, and easy-to-use router, and to sell it for what was then a high price. Back then, most home Wi-Fi routers cost between $ 60 and $ 120. The TP-Link version even had a series of optional hulls, for which you can exchange the original case.
In our review of the TP-Link version of Google OnHub, Brian Nadel said that it “could represent the future of home networking,” but was limited by its narrow configuration choices.
For example, there was only one downstream Ethernet port. There was also no way to interface with the router’s admin settings from a PC or Mac and, upon release, a non-working USB port.
Fortunately, the Google Wifi mesh systems that Google released a year later were backward compatible with OnHubs, and the two models could work interchangeably on the same home network.
According to 9to5Google, OnHubs and Wifis even found themselves on the same firmware update cycle. The Google Home app, which controls a wider range of smart home devices, has gradually replaced the dedicated OnHub app.
OnHub had too short a professional life
Yet the OnHub will only be seven years old when Google officially kills it. Routers should have a longer lifespan than this.
The venerable, drab Netgear Nighthawk R7000, for example, released in the fall of 2013. But eight years later, it’s still in production, sold in stores, and updated with new firmware and security updates.
Unlike OnHub (or Wi-Fi), you can skip the smartphone app (in this case, Nighthawk’s) and instead administer the R7000 the old-fashioned way – from a PC or desktop. Mac connected by Ethernet cable.
In comparison, the OnHub’s short lifespan shows that sometimes gadgets can get too high-tech for their own good.
Discover our choices for best Wi-Fi routers, and the best mesh Wi-Fi systems.