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Introduction

Google is on a mission to reinvent the router, and we got our hands on their first foray into the home-networking market—the Google OnHub. With a sleek design, hefty price tag, and a whole host of unique features, we're excited to see what this router is rockin'. It's teardown time!

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Cette vue éclatée n'est pas un tutoriel de réparation. Pour réparer votre OnHub, utilisez notre manuel de réparation.

  1. OnHub Teardown, OnHub Teardown: étape 1, image 1 de 2 OnHub Teardown, OnHub Teardown: étape 1, image 2 de 2
    • Google has promised that the OnHub router will give you a new way to Wi-Fi, and with these specs, it looks like they might be onto something:

    • Dual-core 1.4 GHz CPU

    • 4 GB e-MMC flash storage

    • IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/ac

    • Dual band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 12-antenna array

    • Congestion-sensing radio and antenna

    • USB 3.0 port + Bluetooth 4.0

    • 1 GB DDR3L RAM

  2. OnHub Teardown: étape 2, image 1 de 2 OnHub Teardown: étape 2, image 2 de 2
    • No blinking router lights here; let's hope the constant status light isn't blinding in the dark (it's not).

    • This LED ring will change colors based on what state the OnHub is in. Blue means you're ready to begin setup. Orange is for, “Oh snap, something is wrong." Teal means you’re good to go!

    • This mysterious anomaly in the speaker grille is probably an ambient light sensor enabling dimming.

    • We also spy a small cutaway on the bottom of the cowling for the cabling.

    • A novel idea for cable management, but not great for ease-of-access. You've got to twist the cowling off to plug anything in.

  3. OnHub Teardown: étape 3, image 1 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 3, image 2 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 3, image 3 de 3
    • Luckily the outer cowling comes off with a simple twist. You can't plug any cables in without shucking that shield, it better be simple.

    • The rifling fins along the inside of the barrel cowling are perhaps there to encourage air circulation, as this tower has no fan to cool itself.

    • Under the hood we see the real branding on this guy. Google has contracted with TP-Link for the first iteration of the OnHub.

    • Smug TP-Link guy approves of this product. Let's see how he feels once the ASUS OnHub is on the table, "later this year."

    • We also get a peek at some components. Is that an antenna we see? We're itching with anticipation.

  4. OnHub Teardown: étape 4, image 1 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 4, image 2 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 4, image 3 de 3
    • The rubbery foot seems like a great candidate for hiding screws. Sure enough, we remove a couple. Did that actually accomplish anything? Nope.

    • Having been screwed (pun intended), we aim for the tempting seam along the sides of the tower.

    • Unfortunately,this doesn't seem to be the intended point of entry either. We wound up breaking some clips in the process.

    • This thing still won't open...

  5. OnHub Teardown: étape 5, image 1 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 5, image 2 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 5, image 3 de 3
    • We turn our attention back to what we thought was a solid top, it turns out this was the way in all along.

    • We really wish this thing came with a repair manual—this cap should have been the first to go.

    • We finally pop the top off this can of worms, and the first component we spy is the famed congestion-sensing antenna.

    • We can't quite remove it yet, so leaving that to dangle gently to the side exposes the LED board with some control hardware:

    • National Semiconductor LP5523 programmable 9-output LED driver

    • Ambient light sensor

  6. OnHub Teardown: étape 6, image 1 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 6, image 2 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 6, image 3 de 3
    • With the top panel neutralized, some screws are revealed.

    • Finally the two halves of the casing are ready to come quietly, revealing the first glimpse of the OnHub's shiny, antenna-filled insides.

    • That crazy disk antenna up top, responsible for sniffing out network congestion in the air, is finally free to leave the OnHub.

    • Looks like the OnHub intends to keep unbroken Wi-Fi on target with this bullseye shaped antenna.

  7. OnHub Teardown: étape 7, image 1 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 7, image 2 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 7, image 3 de 3
    • There are 12 cables across the top of the device (six 2.4GHz antennas and six 5GHz), plus the congestion antenna along the side, and a final coax cable along the other side.

    • Google seems to have some kind of color coding system, which might help for repair, but the board markings don't give us any hints just yet.

    • Peeling off the second half of the outer shell, we find an interesting antenna arrayed in a double diamond. More on this guy later.

    • The OnHub's antenna array is revealed in all its Lovecraftian glory, the antenna leads looking spookily like tentacles.

  8. OnHub Teardown: étape 8, image 1 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 8, image 2 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 8, image 3 de 3
    • With a dozen connectors dispatched, we can finally separate the antenna assembly from the motherboard.

    • Look at that enormous speaker. Alexa, why does Google's router need a 3-watt speaker?

    • Turns out, OnHub uses a loud tone to pair with ultrasonic tones to configure Android devices running Google's companion app—but will it feature sick beats in the future?

    • The hexagonal speaker enclosure has disturbing similarities to the Galactic Empire's logo.

    The audio setup isn't ultrasonic. This links to an old OnHub article of mine and it's wrong. The OnHub uses sound to pair the phone to the OnHub, but the setup tone is VERY audible—it sounds like a ringing cell phone. I updated the article just now. Sorry.

    Ron Amadeo - Réponse

    Thanks for the heads up =) We updated the teardown to clarify.

    Sam Goldheart -

  9. OnHub Teardown: étape 9, image 1 de 2 OnHub Teardown: étape 9, image 2 de 2
    • With a flick of the spudger, the remaining antenna connectors come free—releasing what we theorize to be a miniature Stargate. That, or the omnidirectional antenna array.

    • Each of the six PCBs is a pair of antennas. The smaller boards are 5 GHz, and the larger are 2.4 GHz, alternating around so that each antenna pair is 120° offset from the other two pairs of the same frequency.

    • Some engineer was probably pretty excited to design antennas in an arrow shape. Looking snazzy!

    • That one extra-long cable runs a bit lower on the motherboard, where it connects next to a ZigBee network co-processor—hello 802.15.4 (coming soon).

  10. OnHub Teardown: étape 10, image 1 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 10, image 2 de 3 OnHub Teardown: étape 10, image 3 de 3
    • Remember that diamond shaped antenna a few steps back? Turns out that's the directional antenna, for boosting the signal in a specific direction.

    • The heatsink serves as a reflector dish, pushing that extra bit of Wi-Fi to the far corner of your house where you need it most.

    • The components in this thing have been pretty big so far, and the heat sink is no different. Prying up the metal mass reveals some equally hefty thermal pads.

    • It looks like the heat sink actually draws heat through the motherboard—we spy the real heavy hitters heaters on the reverse.

    • The plastic base and port cover slides off and the motherboard is free!

  11. OnHub Teardown: étape 11, image 1 de 1
    • With the heat sink off and the chips deshielded, we can get to the meat of the matter:

    • Qualcomm Atheros IPQ8064 quad-core Internet Processor with 2 Krait 300 CPUs clocked at 1.4 GHz

    • Micron MT41K256M16HA-125:E 4 Gb DDR3L SDRAM

    • Qualcomm Atheros QCA8337-AL3C seven-port gigabit ethernet switch

    • Qualcomm Atheros QCA9882-BR4A 802.11ac/a/b/g/n Wi-Fi SoC

    • Qualcomm Atheros QCA9880-BR4A dual-band 3x3 MIMO 802.11ac/abgn WLAN SoC

    • Silicon Labs EM3581 SOC network co-processor for ZigBee

    • Skyworks SKY66109-11 2.4 GHz ZigBee/Smart Energy front-end module

    Is it Zigbee or Thread? I thought the OnHub was to support Thread and Weave, but not zigbee, despite them using the same radio.

    Randy Hammons - Réponse

    Thread runs on 802.15.4, the same as ZigBee.

    Morten Norman Lund - Réponse

    Right, but that's like saying that TCP/IP runs on 802.3y, same as IPX/SPX. It's quite possible for Google to include a software stack for Thread without including a software stack for ZigBee. 802.15.4 means the hardware can support both, but that doesn't mean the device will support both.

    Paul K -

    Contradiction on this page. It lists 4Gb DDR3L SDRAM but step 1 identifies 1Gb as does the micron product page.

    Graham Scholton - Réponse

    2 x 4Gbit = 8Gbit = 1GByte

    zareekjb -

    +1 Point to zareekjb! (or +1,024 points)

    mattshu67 -

  12. OnHub Teardown: étape 12, image 1 de 2 OnHub Teardown: étape 12, image 2 de 2
  13. OnHub Teardown: étape 13, image 1 de 1
    • OnHub Repairability Score: 4 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

    • The speaker is replaceable.

    • The device is mostly assembled with clips, which are better than adhesive but can break during disassembly.

    • With all ports on a single board, fixing a loose USB port means a soldering repair.

    • Tiny antenna connectors are fragile and prone to breaking during disassembly.

    • This is a fairly complex device—and with no repair documentation available, disassembly and reassembly are especially difficult.

Evan Noronha

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6 commentaires

Those "arrow" antennas are a type of fractal antenna. With 2.4 GHz ~= 12.5 cm, full size antennas would be 2/3 the height of the entire unit, and would need more shielding from the motherboard.

Brad Hansen - Réponse

Great writeup. I have but one question.

Where's the no-way-to-identify mystery chip that routes all of your data back to NSA? And where is the other no-way-to-identify-except-with-rainbow-color-paint chip that sends your traffic data to Google for targeted ads while you browse the Web?

revelated - Réponse

Did you notice anything that could at certain angles obstruct a portion of the lights at the top of the unit? Trying to figure out if I have a light that is going bad or if there is an antenna infront or behind it causing it to look dark in one small area. Thanks

Shawn Thor - Réponse

Any chance of getting the ASUS Onhub Teardown?

Justin S - Réponse

It's sad there's no microphone on this device. It would make a great Google Home device. Some people even have Google Assistant working on it, however, it requires an external microphone​. Especially since it's rumored Google is releasing a Google Home with built in router functionality..

Caleb - Réponse

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