Google launches wi-fi router for homes

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Google launches wi-fi router for homes

Pushes into smart residences.

Google today launched a wi-fi router in an effort to propel itself into the connected home market and draw more users to its services.

The cylinder-shaped router, named OnHub, can be pre-ordered for US$199.99 at online retailers including the Google Store, Amazon and Walmart. It is unclear whether it is available in Australia.

The router comes with 13 in-built antennas that will scan the airwaves to spot the fastest connection, Google said in a blog post.

Users will be able to prioritise a device so that they can get the fastest internet speeds for data-heavy activities such as downloading content or streaming a movie.

OnHub features AC1900 802.11ac wi-fi that provides a theoretical maximum speed of 1900 megabits per second for clients that support the feature. It provides signal in both the 2.4 and 5GHz frequency ranges.

The router can be hooked up with Google's On app, available on Android and iOS, to run network checks and keep track of bandwidth use among other things.

Google said OnHub automatically updates with new features and the latest security upgrades.

The router is being manufactured by Chinese network equipment maker TP-LINK, Google said, hinting that Asus could be the second manufacturing partner for the product.

The product launch comes days after Google restructured itself by creating Alphabet, a holding company to pool its many subsidiaries and separate the core web advertising business from newer ventures like driverless cars.

Making products for the smart home is one such venture.

Google last year bought Nest, a smart thermostat maker, for US$3.2 billion, aiming to lead the way on how household devices link to each other and to electricity grids.

The global market for "Internet of Things", the concept of connecting household devices to the Internet, will nearly triple to US$1.7 trillion by 2020, research firm IDC said in June.

Technology firms including Intel, Cisco Systems, Samsung Electronics and telecom giants Vodafone and Verizon are betting heavily on internet device-connected homes for future revenue and profit.

Google has also been working on providing faster internet with its Google Fibre service in some US cities.

It also aims to expand the reach of the internet through Project Loon, under which it is floating balloons 20 kilometres above the Earth's surface to beam internet connections to rural and remote areas.

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