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BT Home Hub 5 review - the fast router for BT Broadband

David Ludlow
5 Feb 2016
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
BT Home Hub 5 Three-Quarters
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
129

A simple router, but a fast one, the BT Home Hub 5 is a great choice for BT Broadband connections, particularly Infinity

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Specifications

Modem: ADSL2+/VDSL2, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac, Stated speed: 1,300Mbit/s, USB ports: 1x USB, Wall mountable: No. Buy the BT Home Hub 5 now from BT Shop or See all of the best BT Broadband deals deals on uSwitch

If there's one thing that could be relied on, it was that ISPs would send out a slightly rubbish router to go with their broadband connections. Typically, the router wouldn't be able to deliver the Wi-Fi speeds to match the internet connection. With the BT Home Hub 5 this changed, and it was the first ISP router to ship with fast 802.11ac wireless networking, which should enable users to get the full speed of their BT Infinity connections.

With plenty of other 802.11ac networks available now, we decided to come back to the Home Hub 5 and find out if it's still the best router for BT Broadband. Before we start, it's important to note that even though you can buy this router standalone, it only works directly with BT internet and PlusNet connections. If you're with another ISP and are interested in this router, read our guide on how to use the Home Hub 5 with any ISP. And, this router has now been superseded by the BT Smart Hub, which is even faster and should be the model that you choose, particularly if you've got BT Infinity.

Looking for another third-party router? See our Best Routers buying guide

Setup and ports

Getting the Home Hub 5 running is surprisingly easy, as it comes pre-configured to work with BT Broadband connections. It's surprisingly stylish for a router, although its thin body means that it's a little unstable on its spring-out feet.

Plugging it in depends on the type of connection you have, as the router has two internet WAN ports. The Gigabit Ethernet WAN port lets you plug the router directly into your OpenReach modem if you have BT Infinity. You can technically get rid of that modem, though, as the Home Hub 5 has a VDSL WAN port, which plugs directly into your phone line. This port doubles up for ADSL2+ connections, too.

Once it's connected to your internet connection, it's a simple matter of powering the router on and it will connect to the internet. At this point, you can plug a computer into any of the four Gigabit Ethernet ports, or connect to the Wi-Fi using the details and security key printed on the pull-out card at the back of the router. It means that the router is already secure out of the box and you'll never end up with an open network.

BT Home Hub 5

 

Configuring the router

While this will get you up and running quickly, the problem with the basic configuration is that BT uses the same network name for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. That means that you have no control over which network your computer connects to.

Given that the faster 802.11ac standard only works on the 5GHz band, BT's configuration means that you can't ensure the fastest throughput speeds. For this reason, it's worth splitting the two networks apart and giving them separate names. The option's in the Advanced Settings menu, but our BT Home Hub settings guide tells you the exact steps to take.

BT Home Hub 5 Wi-Fi sync

A second step that you might want to take is Smart Setup. When a new computer first connects to the Home Hub, Smart Setup steps in and displays a web page advertising the features and applications that are free to download for BT customers. We've found that it breaks some network devices, as Smart Setup prevents them from connecting to the internet. It's also fairly annoying. Going to Advanced Settings, Smart Setup and disabling the feature makes everything better. Continues on Page 2 ...

BT Home Hub 5 Smart Setup