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Earlier today Google unveiled the $129 Google Wifi router that people will be able to connect with one another to create a mesh network to improve connectivity. One thing that wasn’t clarified is how setup and management will work. That makes sense given the device won’t be available in stores until December — but still, these things are important because they’re part of what will make the device so easy to use relative to older routers.
It turns out that there will be a Google Wifi app, Google senior product manager Ben Brown told VentureBeat in an interview at today’s Google press event in San Francisco. But rather than just launching yet another app in the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, Google will actually rename the existing Google On app for Android and iOS; it will be called Google Wifi instead, Brown said. The rebranding is not mentioned in Brown’s official blog post about Google Wifi; only the coming of the app is mentioned.
With the revamped app, people who own both OnHub and Google Wifi will be able to manage the use of both types of devices together inside one complete network, and the Google Wifi is meant to more effectively broadcast the wireless signal, Brown said.
Asus and TP-LINK introduced OnHub-branded routers last year. The rebranding suggests that OnHub hardware is taking a back seat to the new first-party Google devices.
Google has been working on its new Wifi routers for the past three years, Brown said — before the Eero routers started getting attention. But Brown credited Eero with getting the message out about networked routers.
Each Google router has a USB-C port for power — it takes about two minutes to power up, and you’ll know when the light comes on — and two Ethernet ports.
There’s no limit to the number of Google Wifi routers that can be deployed in a single home, Brown said. But as a conservative guideline, Brown suggests that people buy more than one Google Wifi for homes that are larger than 1,500 square feet.
Update at 2:26 p.m. Pacific to correct the name of the app; it’s called Google On, not OnHub, despite that the name of the router line is OnHub.
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