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Asus Builds the Second Wi-Fi Router for Google. Actually, for Alphabet.

The device, from the Google Fiber team, is consistent with its guiding philosophy.


So, it appears that Alphabet is serious about getting into the router business. Two months after releasing OnHub, its first wireless router for the home, Google’s parent company has released its second. The first was built by TP-Link, the Chinese manufacturer; this one comes from Asus, the Taiwanese manufacturer that also makes Chromebook laptops for Google.

This second model, released on Tuesday, comes with a new feature called Wave Control. Wave your hand above the 5.2-inch device and it boosts the Wi-Fi speed on your connection, through some technical machinations with which I am not familiar. As of now, the OnHub routers don’t have Google Now, Google’s personal assistant, installed inside — so it’s not meant to be a rival to Amazon’s Echo, the always-listening home device.

Still, there are some new software features coming with the Asus model, including what’s called a “smart antenna algorithm.” Trond Wuellner, manager for OnHub, explains it in a blog post: “Phone in the kitchen? Laptop in the living room? OnHub will intelligently select the best combination of antennas to direct Wi-Fi to your devices, based on their location and orientation.”

Wuellner posted that on a Google blog, but you shouldn’t let that confuse you. He works for Craig Barratt, who has led Google’s access and energy initiatives and is now, technically, the CEO of Google Fiber, a separate Alphabet company from Google Inc. So any sales of OnHub will fall, beginning in the fourth quarter, under the broad “Other Bets” segment in Alphabet’s reporting, not Google’s.

That said, the conglomerate probably isn’t expecting massive hardware sales. Instead, the impetus for OnHub — much like the one behind Google Fiber, its broadband service — is to eliminate as many barriers as possible between Google (Alphabet) and its consumers. Routers can slow Internet connections and media streaming. Now Alphabet controls that.

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