Similar to their Nexus program, Google is working with outside hardware companies to actually build OnHub routers while contributing specifications and software. The sleek devices are made to be displayed, out in the open, in part because hiding routers in a closet means worse WiFi quality.
The first OnHub device was from TP-Link; reviewers praised the signal quality put out by its array of 12 antennas. They also liked the quick setup and ease of use – everything is configured by a simple smartphone app – but thought power users might miss advanced settings and having more than one Ethernet port.
Google’s blog post on the Asus OnHub suggests the new device, which is slightly conical compared to TP-Link’s cylinder, won’t be that different in terms of features than the TP-Link version. There’s one exception, though — a gesture control feature called Wave Control.
“By waving your hand over the Asus OnHub, you can prioritize sending Wi-Fi to a specific device in your home, like your Chromecast while watching a movie,” the blog post said.
It’s unclear how this will work, but a simple way to prioritize one device over another could prove valuable.
Another new feature, Smart Antenna, will be included with the Asus OnHub and pushed to TP-Link OnHub users via a software update. This new feature aims to improve signal quality.
“OnHub will now intelligently select the best combination of antennas to send Wi-Fi to your devices, based on their location and orientation,” said the announcement.
The TP-Link OnHub costs $200; the Asus OnHub will cost $20 more at $220. You can pre-order it now, if you’re interested.