If you want the freedom to be online and move all around the house you'll need to connect your broadband to your device wirelessly using a wireless router – this connection is usually known as Wifi. Wifi works by using radio waves to connect your wireless router to your laptop, smartphone or tablet. Sometimes interference can disrupt the Wifi connection, which could make your broadband connection less reliable and prevent you from having a great online experience.
We compared routers provided to new broadband customers (by BT, Sky and TalkTalk), considering technical specifications and wireless performance within different environments. We discovered that no other major 16Mb provider’s router has a more reliable wireless signal than BT’s Home Hub 4.
|Router||5GHz capability||Simultaneous dual band||Smart Wireless|
|Talk Talk HG533||No||No||No|
|BT Home Hub 4||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Description of technical features:
5GHz capability - Most WiFi routers use the 2.4GHz spectrum – "spectrum" is just a way of talking about the part of the air the radio waves are travelling through. The 2.4GHz spectrum is now heavily congested and susceptible to interference. But there is more space available for WiFi on the 5GHz spectrum. The 5Ghz spectrum is less congested because there are currently fewer devices using it and there are more main channels available for the radio waves to travel down. The BT Home Hub 4 is the only router provided by a major ADSL 2+ broadband provider that uses the 5GHz spectrum, which means if you've got the latest devices at home, you can get more reliable Wifi, particularly at busy times.
Simultaneous dual band - The BT Home Hub 4 switches between the two different Wifi spectrums, selecting the best one for WiFi usage, which means you get the best possible performance and coverage for each device connected.
Smart wireless - This means that if interference is detected on the (2.4GHz spectrum) wifi channel that is being used, the router will switch to another channel to where there is less interference.
We tested the performance of the routers listed below, in our testing laboratories, to compare performance within a controlled and standardised environment. The tests and results were as follows:
i. Wifi performance in an environment congested with overlapping wifi
We compared performance where there was a single wireless network in the test environment, with 3 additional networks overlapping on the same channel - which is what we know the average UK household experiences. We found that once the additional wifi networks had been introduced, the Sky and the TalkTalk routers both saw wireless bandwidth decrease by more than 50%. The BT Home Hub 4 maintained its wireless bandwidth at 5GHz, at the same level as when there was no congestion.
ii. Wifi performance in an environment congested with non-wifi devices
We compared performance where there was interference from non-wifi devices that are found in typical UK households. The Sky & the TalkTalk routers lost all wireless connectivity during these tests. The BT Home Hub 4 maintained wireless connectivity.
When comparing wireless signal reliability, the data above demonstrates that no other major 16Mb provider's router has a more reliable wireless signal than BT's Home Hub 4.