Before Google Wifi was announced alongside the original Pixel phone, Google a year earlier released OnHub-branded routers from Asus and TP-Link. In late 2022, Google will end support for OnHub routers that will be seven years old at that time.
In August of 2015, Google unveiled a router manufactured by TP-Link ($199.99) running its software and featuring a “front-facing antenna reflector that acts like a satellite dish” to deliver the fastest possible speeds to everything in that direction. This was followed by an Asus model ($219.99) later that October with a physical gesture/wave over the top starting device prioritization, while OTAs added various new features. After Google Wifi launched, both often saw simultaneous updates.
Meanwhile, Google offered shells to customize the TP-Link version, including those from designer studios. It was quite wild, and could vaguely be seen as a precursor to the interchangeable bases that the first-generation Home speaker offered.
At six years old, currently, Google said “a lot has changed” in the router landscape, and that it will end support for them on December 19, 2022. This is according to emails that customers (via Droid-Life) have been receiving and a new support document.
Until that date, “your OnHub router will continue to work as normal,” but without security updates for new software features. The last combined OnHub and Google Wifi update came in October of 2019, while Google and Nest Wifi have had several OTAs since then. That said, a year later, the Google Home app added support for managing OnHub hardware ahead of the Google Wifi companion client getting deprecated.
Google recommends you “upgrade to a new Wi-Fi setup today” and emailed a 40% off Nest Wifi offer to existing OnHub router users that will be available until March 31, 2022.
After December 19 next year, the OnHub router will continue to “provide a Wi-Fi signal” but no longer be manageable through the Google Home app, which is the downside of routers that are entirely managed via the cloud/companion app and do not offer local controls. Specifically:
You won’t be able to update things like Wi-Fi network settings, add additional Wifi devices, or run speed tests.
Google Assistant features like “Hey Google, pause my Wi-Fi” will stop working.
OnHub performance can’t be guaranteed.
While OnHub routers will continue to work and not disrupt existing networks, Google’s decision to remove the ability to change basic settings is quite aggressive. Hopefully, the 2016 Google Wifi will see a longer support period.
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