BT Home Hub 2.0
BT is the first UK ISP to launch a Draft-N wireless router.
You can buy it for £90 including VAT if you're not a BT customer, but new sign-ups can get it free with BT Total Broadband Option 3 or Option 2 orders made online. Existing customers can buy it for £45 including VAT.
BT has listened to users' complaints about the previous version, and addressed many of them. We like the curved, glossy black design and the sleeker look that comes from using internal antennas. Around the back is a removable cover that hides the ports and keeps cable mess to a minimum.
We were pleased to see four Ethernet ports. There's also a standard phone socket plus a USB port, which can be used to share a USB hard disk on your network. On the side are buttons for restarting the router, finding BT handsets and wireless association, which is for linking such handsets with the Hub.
Setting up the Home Hub is fast and easy. No username or password is required for BT Broadband accounts. WPA/WPA2, rather than WEP, is the default wireless security. A card in the box has the Hub's SSID and password on it, so you can connect to the Hub wirelessly from the off.
You'll need Draft-N-capable devices to take advantage of the Hub's faster speed. Currently, BT doesn't sell matching adaptors, so we tested the Hub with our usual Centrino 2 laptop. Speeds weren't as good as we were hoping for, and considerably slower than D-Link's DIR-855 (opposite) when used with matching adaptors. Still, there was a relatively quick and stable connection at 25m.
The web interface is the cleanest we've seen on a router. It's easy to view and change common settings, and the home page shows which devices are connected. A particularly useful option is the Power Save mode, which turns WiFi on and off at the times you set. There's also a handy access control feature, which lets you block internet access between certain times; these can be set independently for each connected computer. Port forwarding is called Application Sharing, and you simply select an application from the list and the computer to which it relates in a separate list. You can add services in the Advanced Settings section. The only feature missing is QoS.
BT's Home Hub 2.0 is a great-value upgrade for existing BT Broadband customers. Even if you're with another provider, this is a good router that's far easier to use than most.