Google will shortly release its first WiFi router and has made automatic updating a frontline feature.
The new "OnHub" is designed to offer a rather more pleasant experience for home users, starting with a cute coffee cup form factor and extending to an app-driven user interface. Google's even banished blinking lights [Heresy! - Ed.] and instead equipped the device with a glowing ring that changes hue to report its status.
Of more interest to Reg-reading types, however, is the auto-updating firmware. Home router security is a festering sore because while manufacturers do permit upgrades, the interfaces they offer to make them possible are far from obvious or easy to use.
Even when vendors bother to release patches, many take many months to do so even after severe flaws are found, few do much more than post them to support forums because they lack a mechanism to advise users the upgrade is a fine idea.
That neglect has lead to a stream of brutal vulnerabilities that expose end users to a wide variety of attacks and enslavement into denial of service attack botnets.
OnHub therefore represents a welcome change in router design.
The OnHub app
The device also has a decent spec, boasting 13 antennas beaming 1900Mbps of invisible internet over AC 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands, and includes support for internet-of-things protocols Bluetooth Smart Ready, 802.15.4, and Weave. Google has also harnessed its Android platform with an app that serves as a management system for OnHub. It helps users set up, troubleshoot, and manage remote connections for the device.
The coffee cup design means the six 2.4Ghz and six 5Ghz antenna are arranged in a circular pattern that Google says helps with speed. The last antenna is dedicated to identifying traffic congestion. ®