Google WiFi Router TP-Link – OnHub AC1900 Review

Editor rating

0/5 on August 18, 2018

User's rating

3,263 reviews

PROS

- Intelligently designed hardware.

- Strong wireless signal with excellent range.

- Dead-simple setup and troubleshooting.

- Excellent mobile app.

CONS

- Lacks some features found in similarly priced hardware.

- Only one Ethernet port.

VERDICT

The Google WiFi Router TP-Link - OnHub AC1900 does its job with no fuss or attention needed from me. Like most appliances, the router is supposed to be invisible, do its job, and stay out of your way. For the first time, I can say my router does just that — I don’t have to worry about whether or not my Wi-Fi is working with the OnHub because it just does. Google has a grander ambition for the OnHub and its followup products, but even if that never comes to fruition, having usable Wi-Fi anywhere in my home is worth the asking price to me.

Google’s OnHub is missing some of the advanced features found in similarly priced routers, but it makes up for that with excellent, powerful hardware that looks good in your home and a great app that makes setup, maintenance and troubleshooting easy. The trade-off should be worth it for most consumers -- if you’re tired of dealing with the horrible software and ugly hardware that most routers feature, the Google OnHub is an excellent option.

The Google WiFi Router TP-Link – OnHub AC1900 is like no other router I’ve seen. It’s super-cool and strikingly odd at the same time. On one hand, this is one of the best-looking, most radically designed routers on the market — one you wouldn’t mind having displayed in the living room, instead of hidden away in the basement. It’s also likely the most convenient and it’s fun to use — especially for Android users. Plus, the hardware under the hood will make it a better router in the future.

Keep in mind, however, that the OnHub is an evolving piece of hardware: some of its most promising features haven’t even been turned on yet. That means features, functionality and even performance can change significantly over time via future software updates; these are the type of after-purchase updates that have made products like the Amazon Echo and Google’s own Chromecast age well.

Video – Google OnHub Review – A Router to Rule Them All

 

 

Google WiFi Router TP-Link – OnHub AC1900 Features

 

– The companion Google Wifi app makes setup simple and lets you to control your network from your smartphone.

– Super fast Wi-Fi speeds up to 1900 mbps to help with smooth streaming, gaming and downloading.

– Helps eliminate dead zones with 2.4GHz and 5GHz Band1/2/3/4 Wi-Fi antenna-13, 2.4GHz Bluetooth antenna- 1 & 2.4GHz Zigbee antenna-1. Reliable coverage for most homes up to 2,500 square feet.

– Supports 100+ connected devices, so everyone can get on at once and signal rate- Wi-Fi 5GHz is Up to 1300Mbps,2.4GHz is Up to 600Mbps, Bluetooth is 4.0&HS.

– A separate guest network helps get friends online easily, and allows you to share devices, like your Chromecast, with them.

– Industry-leading 2-year warranty and 24/7 premium technical support.

 

$124.99
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Last updated on November 16, 2018 4:14 am

Our Google WiFi Router TP-Link – OnHub AC1900 Review

 

Google WiFi Router TP-Link - OnHub AC1900

Google believes that its new WiFi Router OnHub AC1900 is a step forward. Made in partnership with TP-Link, it’s a powerful, intelligent and, yes, good looking home networking device with a high price to match. Google is betting that the combination of ease of use and attractive design is the path wireless routers need to follow.

The premium experience Google is shooting for here starts before you even get the OnHub out of the box. The packaging is thoughtfully designed; it reminded me of unboxing an iPod in the days of yore. Certainly, it’s the most elegant non-Apple router unboxing I’ve ever encountered.

Video – OnHub Field Test #2: Can a kid set it up?

 

 

And then there’s the OnHub itself: a cylindrical tube that’s ever so slightly wider at the top than at the base. A removable plastic shell (available in blue or black) snaps into place surrounding the inner workings of the hardware, all of which are encased in the gray tube, which that shell hides away. A little bit of the tube peeks out over the cover, with an LED ring surrounding it that immediately brings to mind the ill-fated Nexus Q music and video-streamer. There are no sci-fi antennas or hard angles to be seen here. Google even included special flat Ethernet cables that can easily wrap around its base to be more unobtrusive. It is, without a doubt, the nicest-looking router I’ve ever used.

But who cares? This is something you’ll set up and hide away and hopefully forget about, until it misbehaves, right? On the contrary, Google designed this router, so you’d be inclined to place it out in the open, hopefully on a high shelf somewhere. That’s because Google believes the most important thing it can do to improve people’s WiFi experience is making a product they won’t want to hide away in a closet.

The thoughtful design isn’t restricted to just looks, either — Google picked a cylindrical router to help aid with signal distribution. Around the inside of the cylinder are the 2.4 and 5GHz wireless antennas; three pairs of antennas for each band are evenly distributed around the cylinder, and there’s another large 2.4GHz antenna built right into the casing itself.

Google OnHub 100 Connections

The rest of the OnHub’s working bits are about what you’d expect for a router in this price range: It’s an AC1900 device that covers all 802.11 bands in use at this point (a/b/g/n/ac, if you’re counting). Its WiFi radio can detect congestion and move devices between the 2.4 and 5GHz bands for optimal performance; there’s no need to set up an additional 5GHz SSID as many routers do these days. Google even included support for Bluetooth, Weave (Google’s Internet of Things protocol) and the ZigBee local wireless networking standard, even though they don’t do anything yet — Google says it can enable them in future software updates. That’s part of the whole OnHub concept: a router that can get smarter and better as years pass.

Google did leave out a few things that are generally table stakes for a router in this class. Notably, there are only two Ethernet ports: one to plug the OnHub into your modem, and one to use for wired internet. Most routers in this price range include four ports for hooking up wired devices. Google’s clearly looking at that as a legacy feature that doesn’t have a place in our modern, wireless world — something that fits with Google’s larger ethos. It didn’t bother me, but it’s definitely something to be aware of. Additionally, the single USB 3.0 port is essentially useless. You can’t hook up a networked printer or hard drive here; its only purpose is for USB recovery if the internal software gets horribly corrupted. If you’re a power user who relies on more Ethernet ports or USB connectivity, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Google WiFi Router TP-Link - OnHub AC1900 Features

OnHub AC1900 Software

If distinctive, elegant hardware is one of Google’s major tentpoles for OnHub, equally elegant and intuitive software is the other. Nearly every router out there has simply atrocious software; even doing basic things like setting a password or changing the name of your network can be a real hassle for the average user. Google’s gone in the opposite direction and crafted an interface that’s simpler than any I’ve ever seen — but again, it’s at the expense of features that power users might crave.

The first thing to note is that everything on the OnHub is done through the Google On app on your mobile device, available for Android 4.0 and iOS 7 or higher. Google told me that it will eventually offer a simple web interface for setting up the OnHub, but at launch, a smartphone or tablet is required.

OnHub AC1900 Setup

The setup process is incredibly simple, particularly if you’re using Android. Once you download the application and log in with your Google account, just tap the “add new OnHub” prompt to start setup. The app will detect if there’s an OnHub nearby that’s in setup mode; once it finds the new OnHub, your phone will prompt you to move right next to the router. That’s because the OnHub will then play an audio tone that’s used to pair the router with your phone and your Google account. Once your phone recognizes the code, you’re prompted to enter a network name and password, and that’s it. You wait a minute or two, and the OnHub should be good to go. (You’ll know it’s up and running when the LED ring stays blue.)

Sadly, the process for setting up the OnHub with an iOS device is less elegant, although not necessarily more difficult. Instead of the audio tone, you connect to the router using the standard iOS wireless settings with a default network and password found underneath the device. Then, when you jump back into the OnHub app, you’ll set up your permanent username and password and the router will finish setup automatically. Either way, it’s faster and simpler than just about any router installation I’ve experienced. It feels very Apple-esque in its focus on just the basics — in fact, it’s even easier to set up than Apple’s routers.

Video – Google OnHub Smart Router Unboxing and Setup

 

 

OnHub AC1900 In Use

Once you’re up and running, the OnHub app gives you an overview of your entire network, providing useful tools that are generally buried deep in the settings on other routers. At a glance you can see if both your internet connection (from your ISP) and your router are functioning properly; you can also see how many devices are hooked up to your network. Tapping on the number of devices brings you to a detailed view that shows the bandwidth being used by each individual device as well as its name on your network. So if your PS4 is hogging all the bandwidth in the house, you’ll be able to see it here.

Beyond the real-time view of each device’s upload and download speeds, you can also switch things to a one-hour, seven-day or 30-day view to see exactly how much data has been uploaded and downloaded to each device. You can also see total data usage stats for your entire network. It’s another thing I’ve always wondered about, but never bothered to do the research to discover — the Google On app puts it front and center for you.

Another feature built into the app is a speed test, one that provides more detail than what you see on, say, Speedtest.net. Google tests your network connection in two ways. First, it checks your speed between the router and your internet provider. Then, it tests the strength of the connection between the OnHub and your device and presents this as an “efficiency” percentage. So, if your internet speed is rated at 50 Mbps and your device is seeing WiFi efficiency of 90 percent, that means your phone is getting speeds of 45 Mbps (you can see this calculation if you tap on the efficiency score).

Google OnHub Helps With Dead Zones

While this is a little more complicated than other speed tests, it’s actually very helpful in diagnosing internet problems; you can clearly see if there’s a problem with your ISP or if you just have a bad connection to your router. And Google explains the results in plain language, noting that your connection is strong enough to play Ultra HD video, for example. But if you’re too far from the router, it’ll tell you that as well, with a warning that you might see decreased performance because of a weak WiFi connection. For people who don’t know what upload and download numbers really represent, the additional context is definitely useful.

There are a few other features included in the app that are worth noting. You can quickly share your network name and password with friends via text, email and other typical sharing options — handy for when you have guests over. There’s also an option for adding other users to your OnHub, so multiple members of your family can control it, even when they’re not home (something that should be great for remote troubleshooting). You can even reboot it remotely from the app, rather than having to unplug the OnHub when things are going wrong. There are a few settings for the router itself, including adjusting the brightness of the OnHub’s LED ring and giving the router a new name.

As for more advanced options, you can adjust the DNS, forward ports, set up static IP addresses and tweak a few other settings. There’s also an option to prioritize bandwidth to a single device on the network for one, two or four hours. Other devices will stay connected, but the priority device will get the best performance. But for the most part, the OnHub’s feature set is more basic than you might find in other routers in this price range. Just as with the hardware, Google’s trading complexity for ease of use. Hopefully support if you have bigger problems will be just as easy: Google says it’s offering phone support seven days a week, and the Google On app will also give you suggestions to fix whatever problems you’re having.

Video – Tested In-Depth: Google OnHub Router

 

 

OnHub AC1900 Performance

None of this matters if the OnHub doesn’t perform like a more expensive router should, but fortunately, that’s not a problem. Every device I tried (Macs, Windows PCs, iPhones, iPads, Android devices, set-top boxes, consoles and more) connected quickly and without incident. I didn’t get a speed boost, but then again, the ASUS router I’ve been using is no slouch, so I wasn’t really expecting much of an upgrade in that regard.

It does seem that the OnHub’s clever antenna design actually offers better range than I was getting with the ASUS. Unscientifically, I pulled out my phone while walking my dogs up and down the block outside my house and was shocked to see that I still had a usable WiFi connection. Usually, my iPhone will stay connected to the ASUS router, but I can’t actually get any data to come through. But the OnHub was able to pump out a usable, albeit slow, signal much farther away from my living room than I expected.

Of course, the OnHub isn’t magic, and thus it couldn’t extend a strong signal to the parts of my small house that the ASUS was also unable to reach very well. That’s just a simple matter of physics; there are just too many walls in the way to get a full-strength signal to one room. But in general, the signal stayed strong. Even as I got farther away from the router and the “efficiency” rating started to drop, I generally had enough bandwidth coming in to keep my devices running nice and fast.

Video – Google OnHub Router

 

 

Conclusion

For a small segment of the market, Google’s OnHub will be a tough sell. Some consumers who typically spend $200 on a router are going to be looking for customization options and features that just aren’t offered here yet. (That’s not to mention the lack of Ethernet ports!) But for the majority of customers who don’t need advanced networking options, the OnHub presents a compelling vision for how simple managing your home’s wireless network could be. It’s an attractive piece of hardware that works well, is easy to set up and is easy to manage once it’s up and running.

If you’ve ever spent the afternoon banging your head against the wall trying to get your WiFi network up and running, the OnHub might well be the right router for you, despite its higher price. Again, there are some power users who will need more than the OnHub offers, and this simply isn’t for them. If you place a bigger premium on design and simplicity, and don’t mind the cost, the OnHub is easy to recommend.

$124.99
20 new from $99.00
14 used from $59.99
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Last updated on November 16, 2018 4:14 am

Google WiFi Router TP-Link – OnHub AC1900 Customer Reviews

 

“I have now used this for several months, and I’ve got to say it is the best router I’ve ever used (for the casual user).

PROS:
Amazing range with a very strong signal throughout the household. We used it in a 2-bedroom apartment, and never once lost a full signal. In our 4-bedroom house, we will possibly need an extender, but only because of where we have to place it in the house. The signal travels downstairs just fine, but it doesn’t reach to the far corner of the house in the guest bedroom downstairs. Hard to explain, but a normal router would never make it that far, and this one just gets a 1-2 bar signal that sometimes goes out down there. I can live with that.

Very easy setup. Plug it in, get the app going on your phone, sync up, and voila, you’ve got a signal.

Speed is FAST. I’ve had several routers that couldn’t get past the 50mbps to save your life. This baby shoots past that and doesn’t look back. I’ve gotten to my max of 100mbps throughout my house, and usually average around 80mbps, which I blame more on my provider than the router (because I get the same with direct connection).

Visually pleasing. Doesn’t LOOK like a router, and actually stands out as a decoration. Routers always have that “techy” look, whereas this one stands out as more of an interesting piece in the room.

CONS:
Customization isn’t there. As a normal user of the internet, with no need for tweaking my router in the least bit, it’s not a con for me. I can surf the web, check email, play games if I want, and use all my devices without a problem. HOWEVER, many people like to customize their settings a bit more, and this router isn’t for them (but those people probably know that, and they’re not even going to read this review).

Only one port for direct connection makes it to where you have to purchase a hub in order to have more direct ethernet. I bought a nice 5 port hub for cheap, and it does a fantastic job. You really don’t NEED it, but if you have any devices that aren’t wireless, or you just want that direct speed, you’ll want to buy a hub.

We absolutely love this thing, and we will end up buying the recommended extenders down the road.” …. Read More

Google OnHub Device Connections

“I saw some bad reviews on this when using it as a mesh. So I hooked it up directly from my modem to spread the signal. Then I used 3 decent “ac1200 or better” routers and created a wireless bridge. Thus, my own DIY mesh network.

Google Onhub is above all my expectations after reading reviews. I’m a computer tech by trade and I see a lot of different routers and mesh network systems now. It made things so simple that I think anyone could do what I did.

Onhub is amazing to say the least. “My house by the way, is almost 4,000 square feet so we aren’t talking a small house.” And my network covers every inch of my house with an amazingly fast wireless speed. I can even get full bars on the signal 3 houses down so its covering 10,000 square feet and onhub is a big part to do with the speed. The routers are carrying the distance.

Here are my tests:

*My old network had an xfinity modem/router combo with 3 routers, wireless bridged to spread throughout my house. I got on average 20-50mbps down and 8-12 up. Coverage was complete crap in my 4,000m square ft house.

*My new network consists of my xfinity modem/router combo, onhub hooked on that with a 25 ft. ethernet cable so I could center it in my house, then I linked 3 tp-link routers to wirelessly bridge to the tp-link onhub. What a difference! Now I get on average about 80mbps down and 10-12 up. A few devices like my laptops and desktops are getting over 200mbps sec down and 10-15 up!!!

Plus, every inch of my 3876 sq ft house, yard, and neighbors’ houses(lol) are covered! My network must be covering at least 10,000 square ft! I recommend this to anyone looking to get the most out of their internet.” …. Read More

Google WiFi Router TP-Link - OnHub AC1900 Customer Reviews

 

Video – Google OnHub: Unboxing & Review

 

Google WiFi Router TP-Link – OnHub AC1900 Review Verdict

 

The Google WiFi Router TP-Link – OnHub AC1900 does its job with no fuss or attention needed from me. Like most appliances, the router is supposed to be invisible, do its job, and stay out of your way. For the first time, I can say my router does just that — I don’t have to worry about whether or not my Wi-Fi is working with the OnHub because it just does. Google has a grander ambition for the OnHub and its followup products, but even if that never comes to fruition, having usable Wi-Fi anywhere in my home is worth the asking price to me.

Google’s OnHub is missing some of the advanced features found in similarly priced routers, but it makes up for that with excellent, powerful hardware that looks good in your home and a great app that makes setup, maintenance and troubleshooting easy. The trade-off should be worth it for most consumers — if you’re tired of dealing with the horrible software and ugly hardware that most routers feature, the Google OnHub is an excellent option.

 

Google WiFi Router TP-Link - OnHub AC1900 (Managed Google WiFi APP)

$124.99
20 new from $99.00
14 used from $ 59.99
Free shipping
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as of November 16, 2018 4:14 am

Features

  • The companion Google Wifi app makes setup simple and lets you to control your network from your smartphone
  • Super fast Wi-Fi speeds up to 1900 mbps to help with smooth streaming, gaming and downloading
  • Helps eliminate dead zones with 2.4GHz and 5GHz Band1/2/3/4 Wi-Fi antenna-13, 2.4GHz Bluetooth antenna- 1 & 2.4GHz Zigbee antenna-1. Reliable coverage for most homes up to 2,500 square feet
  • Supports 100+ connected devices, so everyone can get on at once and signal rate- Wi-Fi 5GHz is Up to 1300Mbps,2.4GHz is Up to 600Mbps, Bluetooth is 4.0&HS
  • Supports 100+ connected devices, so everyone can get on at once and signal rate- Wi-Fi 5GHz is Up to 1300Mbps,2.4GHz is Up to 600Mbps, Bluetooth is 4.0&HS

Video – OnHub Wireless Router from Google and TP-LINK Interview

 

 

Video – Google WiFi Setup | Add WiFi Points to a Google OnHub Router

 

 

Video – Google OnHub: Port Forwarding Tutorial