How to choose the best 5G router
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Last updated: 07 December 2020
5G delivers enough speed and lag-free downloads that it makes mobile
broadband a viable alternative to fixed-line connections. To harness 5G for your home internet, you’ll need a 5G router, which creates a WiFi network much like your standard broadband router.
5G is a relatively new technology, launched in the UK only in 2019, so there aren’t many 5G routers on the market yet. In fact, the three networks offering 5G home broadband in the UK—EE, Three and Vodafone—all use the same router, Huawei’s 5G CPE Pro. Fortunately, it’s a good one. But if you want to take your 5G internet on the go, there are also portable alternatives.
Look for more 5G routers to be launched as the technology evolves and the networks expand.
Huawei 5G CPE Pro
EE calls it the 5GEE router, Vodafone has dubbed it the GigaCube and Three labels it the Three 5G Router, but it’s all the same device: the Huawei 5G CPE Pro. This is the router you’ll receive when you sign up for 5G home broadband and fortunately, it acquits itself well.
The 5G CEP Pro supports maximum speeds of 2.33Gbps downstream and 1.25Gbps upstream. The UK’s 5G isn’t hitting those speeds yet, averaging between 100 and 200Mbps on all networks, but it’s predicted to accelerate in the future and the 5G CEP Pro will be ready for it.
You can connect 64 devices to the 5G CEP Pro simultaneously, so everything from your laptop to your smart refrigerator can hop on. You can also directly connect devices through two Gigabit Ethernet ports, which is useful for console and PC gaming. The WiFi network it broadcasts has a range of 100 metres, meaning you can connect to it from anywhere in your home.
- Maximum supported speed: 2.33Gbps download and 1.25Gbps upload
- Number of devices: 64
- Range: 100 metres
- Ethernet ports: 2
HTC 5G Hub
If you want to take your 5G broadband out and about, consider the portable HTC 5G Hub. It plugs in for home use but can also be picked up and toted elsewhere, packing a 7,660mAh battery into a slim 340g body.
It also has an eye-catching 5-inch 720-pixel touchscreen, displaying signal strength, upload and download speed and the number of devices connected to its WiFi network.
The HTC 5G Hub is available from EE but you can also buy it from a third party and pop a 5G ready mobile SIM into it.
- Maximum supported speed: 2.63Gbps download
- Number of devices: 20
- Range: 30 metres
- Ethernet ports: 1
Huawei 5G Pocket Hotspot Pro
If the HTC 5G Hub is too cumbersome, you might consider the ultralight Huawei 5G Pocket Hotspot Pro. It weighs in at just 280g, little more than today’s smartphones, and, at just 148mm x 72mm x 18mm, can easily slip into pockets and bags.
And don’t let its diminutive size fool you. The 5G Pocket Hotspot Pro supports download speeds of up to 1.65Gbps and packs an 8000mAh battery, charged with a Type-C connector.
It’s available through O2 but you can also buy it from a third party and pop a 5G ready mobile SIM into it.
- Maximum supported speed: 1.65Gbps download
- Number of devices: unknown
- Range: unknown
- Ethernet ports: 0