A simple router, but a fast one, the BT Home Hub 5 is a great choice for BT Broadband connections, particularly Infinity
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
The BT Home Hub interface is refreshingly clean and simple, as the router doesn’t have that many advanced options. You get the basic options, such as port forwarding, dynamic DNS and UPnP, but everything else is locked down. That means that you can’t change DNS server settings for your entire network, which means that you can’t get US Netflix with a Chromecast. It also means that when BT has DNS issues, preventing you from web browsing, it’s more of a pain to fix the problem. Still, this isn’t a massive problem for most people, and the uncluttered interface is likely to be seen as a good thing by many, as it’s free of the overly-complicated options that litter other router’s interfaces.
A USB port at the back is used to share printers and external storage devices. Anything plugged in is shared on your network automatically, and you can’t configure security for the devices. Printer support can be a bit hit-and-miss, and you’re better off with a printer that has built-in networking. USB drive support is better, although we found that the BT Home Hub wasn’t particularly fast when accessing shared storage this way. As such, the option is a handy one for rare occasions, but you’re better off with a dedicated NAS.
Where the BT Home Hub 5 really shows it colours is with its performance. Testing with our test laptop we got speeds of 23.1Mbit/s at 10m, and 6.5Mbit/s at 25m, using the 2.4GHz band; in a less-congested area, the Home Hub will do better. Switching to the uncongested 5GHz band and we saw speeds jump to 146.8Mbit/s at 10m and 114.5Mbit at 25m. Using an 802.11ac network adaptor, running at 5GHz, we saw speeds go even higher, with 279.9Mbit/s at 10m and 233Mbit/s at 25m. That’s impressive for any router, but even more so for an ISP-provided model.
BT Home Hub 5 versus other ISP routers
The BT Home Hub 5 is undoubtedly one of the better ISP routers out there, and is genuinely useful for non-BT customers. However, if you’re looking to switch ISP it’s worth knowing what sort of performance you can expect from some of the better-performing rivals. The Huawei-made TalkTalk HG635, for example, is a worthy contender. In 2.4GHz testing it was a lot slower than the BT Home Hub 5, but when it came to 802.11ac performance on the 5GHz band it did a lot better, managing an excellent 279Mbit/s at 10 metres and 233Mbit/s at 25 metres. That’s a nearly identical score to the Home Hub, making TalkTalk’s offering a tempting one if you want a fast Wi-Fi network at home.
Virgin’s SuperHub 2ac, meanwhile, is a high-performance router made by Netgear, supplied with fast Virgin Media cable. At 2.4GHz things were relatively lethargic, but in our tests with a Netgear Wi-Fi adapter we saw scintillating 802.11ac speeds of 326Mbit/s at 10m and 181Mbit/s at 25 metres. In the real world, you’ll probably see lower speeds unless you’re using a Netgear adapter on all your devices, but it’s an impressive result.
Amongst these other ISP-supplied routers, BT’s Home Hub 5 is still very competitive.
If you’re happy with a router that has only basic settings, and can run most of your devices on the 5GHz band (or live somewhere with little 2.4GHz interference), and have a BT or PlusNet connection, the Home Hub 5 is an exceptional wireless router and a great upgrade from the BT Home Hub 4. If you want a router that’s fast, but has more options, and will work with fibre, ADSL and cable internet connections from any provider, the Asus DSL-AC68U is the model for you. Buy the BT Home Hub 5 now from BT Shop or See all of the best BT Broadband deals deals on uSwitch.
|Print sharing, NAS
|Price including VAT