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BT's Smart Hub router promises stronger, more reliable WiFi

Engadget Engadget 20/06/2016 Nick Summers
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While it's possible to buy and install your own router, most people stick with the one supplied by their Internet Service Provider (ISP). Most are drab and generally underwhelming, both from a design and performance standpoint (please Google, bring your OnHub routers to the UK). BT's Home Hub 5, however, is considered to be better than most. Now, the company wants to build on that reputation with the Smart Hub, a new router that promises a stronger, more reliable WiFi signal at home.

It boasts seven antennas, which trumps most routers supplied by UK broadband providers. They've been set up to support the 2.4GHz WiFi band with a 3x3 array and the 5Ghz band with a 4x4 array. Together, BT says they can stretch a WiFi signal to 500 meters, covering every black spot in your home. (Whether they actually can is another matter, of course.) If you prefer to use a wired connection, there are four gigabit-ready ethernet ports on the back. You'll also find a USB slot and a removable tab that contains your default network and password details.

The new Smart Hub will officially launch this summer, however BT says a few have already been sent out to some of its favorite customers. It'll be free for new subscribers taking out one of its superfast "Infinity" broadband packages, as well as existing customers who are happy to sign a new contract. Otherwise, you're looking at a £50 upgrade fee. (The router's recommended retail price is £129.99, but no one will actually pay that.) Furthermore, anyone on a BT copper connection will need to pay £50.

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