One thing that is easily missed when comparing broadband deals
is the router that comes with the package that you choose. The technology and visual appeal of routers have come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and although they simply just do their job in most cases, they often come packaged with different features depending on the provider and package that you choose. This guide will help you break down the various options for routers on offer so that you can find the best broadband deal
What is the best all-round router?
The recent Sky Q Hub, which comes packaged for all new Sky broadband deals, includes a number of nifty features. On top of the sleek exterior, it supports the most up to date dual-band 802.11ac and Multiple In Multiple Out (MIMO) connections. In testing, it came to around sixteen times faster than its predecessor, the Sky Hub.
On top of this, it uses Powerline technology, which means that it transmits data using the electrical wiring in a household to other devices such as Sky Q Mini TV boxes. While increasing connectivity and performance of the devices, it also creates automatic local Wi-Fi hotspots, meaning that the connectivity and range of the Wi-Fi in your home gets a noticeable boost.
It can also connect up to 64 devices at one time, which should be more than enough for most household’s needs. The Sky Q Hub can also help you save money on electricity, as it automatically switches to low power mode when not in use, which helps to use less energy and helps the environment!
The Virgin Media Hub 3.0 also offers dual-band 802.11ac connection, meaning that it can theoretically handle speeds of up to 1,300 Mbps. This is faster than the speeds the quickest broadband package on offer can give you, which will allow room for any future increases in speed.
Virgin Media say that the Hub 3.0 can handle up to 20 devices being connected to the router while still performing at fast speeds, which is less than the Sky Q Hub. However, it has four wired Ethernet ports in comparison to the Sky Q Hub’s 2, which means that if you have multiple desktop computers in your home, this may be the router for you.
Best Broadband Router for Connection Speed
BT’s new Smart Hub is compatible with ‘next generation’ ac connection, which means that it is the joint-fastest available router. In theory, it can support lightning fast speeds of up to 1,773Mbps. On top of this, it also has four Gigabit LAN ports, although if you have fibre-optic connection directly to your home, you will have to sacrifice one of these ports because it does not come with a WAN Ethernet port.
The Smart Hub only comes with the Superfast Fibre package, whereas for those on the cheaper broadband
deals receiving the BT Home Hub 4. This is not as fast as the Smart Hub, supporting the 802.11b/g/n protocols, meaning it can reach speeds of around 300 Mbps.
TalkTalk’s Wi-Fi Hub, which comes with the fibre-optic Faster Fibre broadband packages, can also reach speeds of up to 1,773Mbps. On top of this, it can support up to 50 devices being connected to it wirelessly at one time, as well as having four Gigabit Ethernet ports. What is unique to the Wi-Fi Hub though, is the Beamforming technology, which automatically adjusts the level of signal that is put out to devices which demand a higher signal, making it more efficient.
Broadband Routers for Cheaper Packages
TalkTalk’s Super Router, which comes with the non-fibre standard broadband deals, unlike most others in a similar range, is 802.11ac compatible, meaning it can reach speeds of up to 1,300 Mbps. Made by the Chinese tech company Huawei, it also has 4x100Mb Ethernet ports. Although it is more than capable for non-fibre broadband packages, it does come with the fastest wireless connection for those looking for cheap broadband.
EE’s Smart Hub 1, which is included with their non-fibre packages, supports the 802.11n protocol, making it capable of transmitting speeds of up to 300 Mbps, as well as having four 100Mb Ethernet ports.