Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Google’s insistence on cloud-based controls for its networking products has occasionally caused problems, although it was intended that life with OnHub routers should be easy. Now it will be a reason to force anyone still using the OnHub to find a replacement by the end of next year, when Google’s apps no longer allow owners to change settings on their devices. An email has been sent to users and a support page revealed that the switch is slated for December 19, 2022 (via droid life).

When it seemed unusual for Google and Amazon to make their own hardware, Google teamed up with TP-Link and eventually Asus to build OnHub routers that blend in seamlessly with the rest of your home. They had slick mobile apps to simplify setup and operation, plus a style that blended together so people were more likely to place them in a central location, which could improve Wi-Fi coverage.

Google Support:

Before December 19, 2022

Your OnHub router will continue to operate normally, but will not receive any new software features or security updates. We recommend that you upgrade to a new Wi-Fi setup today. A special discount code has been emailed to OnHub users only, for 40% off Nest Wifi in the Google Store. This promo code is available for a limited time.*

After December 19, 2022

Your OnHub router still has a Wi-Fi signal, but you can no longer manage it with the Google Home app.
It’s not possible to update things like Wi-Fi network settings, add additional Wi-Fi devices, or run speed tests.
Google Assistant features like “Hey Google, pause my Wi-Fi” no longer work.
OnHub performance cannot be guaranteed.

The idea was that by styling them to match interior decor, people would be more likely to place them in a central location, improving Wi-Fi coverage. They even had slick mobile apps to control them so you didn’t have to dig through ugly menus, but now those apps are gone, with the settings merged into Google’s Home app.

Google Nest Wifi

Google Nest Wifi
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / Best Fitness Bands

After the shutdown date, the routers will still work, but you won’t be able to adjust their settings, get updates, or really troubleshoot. For its part, Google is offering owners a 40 percent discount on a Nest Wifi unit, which should save quite a bit on prices that currently start at $149 for a base unit alone or $189 for a base and one extender.

At least for routers that are several years old now, that doesn’t feel like an unfair offer to get a replacement we called “even faster and more capable than before.” Still, this doesn’t change the feeling that buying one of these routers means you only “own” it as long as Google is willing to support it. How many of your supposedly smart devices will quickly turn into bricks and electronic waste if someone flips a switch on the back?

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