While it’s not specifically marketed to schools or education, the new Google OnHub router looks like it might just be the best education technology hardware innovation in a long time. After all, what good is a classroom of Chromebooks or a rollout of Apple iPads if the wi-fi is mediocre? Too often have I seen schools where a BYOD or 1:1 environment is set up only to have reliable wi-fi in only a part of the physical classroom.
So that’s what drew my eye to the all-new solution from the folks at Google. It’s called the Google OnHub router and it’s incredibly easy to use, offers a ton of features useful to classrooms, and is about $200 give or take.
Here are the key things to know:
It’s billed as a router that ‘speaks human’ because it doesn’t make you learn what IPv6 means in order to simply connect your device to the Internet. It uses the Google On mobile app which shows you a ton of information and tells you about alerts in easy-to-understand language.
The handy Google On app manages the router and shows you who is using it for wi-fi. This is great for IT administrators who want to quickly grasp the load, peak times, and other useful data.
The OnHub has a circle of antennae that are designed to offer 360-degree wi-fi range that stretches for a very long distance. That’s because one of the antennae has a single job: to identify which band is clear and to switch your device over to that. So it’s basically an adaptive router – meaning your connection speed will likely get BETTER as you continue to stream that YouTube video. Nice, eh?
It’s about $200. That’s about the same price a typical router would cost if you’re getting a higher-end model that has a similar feature set.
Going on Summer break? You can use the app to disconnect the wi-fi remotely or to monitor if anyone is using it. Great for IT admins who are home sick or working remotely.
It uses both Bluetooth and the latest connection options. From Google: “OnHub connects with your laptop or tablet through 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, and includes next-generation technologies like Bluetooth® Smart Ready, Weave, and 802.15.4, so that over time it will support a growing number of “smart devices.”
You can wave your device in front of the router to get priority connectivity. Great for presentations that require a little extra ‘oomph’ in front of the classroom!
The actual physical router is not ugly. It’s not a ‘bear claw’ as described in the below video. It’s designed (literally) to be placed in a prominent place that lets you grant the best possible wi-fi connectivity to all nearby devices.
You could probably run your entire school off a group of these routers. For the price of a single Chromebook, you could have a single OnHub in each classroom, supplying top-notch connectivity that you can actually manage. Would be curious to see if this happens in schools around the globe.
Want To Learn More?
There is a lot more information to check out – so be sure to click here to visit the official OnHub site on google.com.
A Quick Note on the Google OnHub Router
I haven’t actually used an OnHub yet but will be sure to get one soon. I am just offering this post up as a chance to discover something new. It strikes me as a highly useful tool for schools that are trying to figure out how to integrate education technology. That’s a lot of schools right now. Best of luck!