Question Looking to upgrade ISP's router (BT Smart Hub) with 802.11ax router

King Mustard

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Mar 17, 2010
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We have a BT Smart Hub (sometimes called the Home Hub 6), which was released in 2016.

The BT Smart Hub Wikipedia article tells me the modem is "VDSL2".

I am looking to replace it with something more capable and future-proof.

I don't want to pay over £100.

I believe these are my options:
Does anyone have any thoughts?
 
What do you mean upgrade ?

Do you plan to keep the homehub device as a modem.

Your first big problem is if you plan to replace the bt home hub box you must have a VDSL modem in the router you purchase.

The speed limitation is going to be the VDSL connection. The current device you have is many times faster than the VDSL so buying a even faster router will make no difference.

Wifi6 really has little to no advantage over 802.11ac. This is even more true when you buy the cheaper wifi6 devices. They only support 80mhz channels rather than 160mhz. This is the key feature that makes them run faster. It is not just your router your end devices must also support 160mhz. Most phones if they have wiif6 only support 80mhz also.

There is not a huge difference in performance between 802.11ac running 80mhz and wifi6 running 80mhz.

In addition all the routers you linked are only 2x2 mimo. This is very common for wifi6, it seems it is hard to get it to run more. The bt hub device support 3x3 mimo so if you would have a 3x3 802.11ac it would run faster than 2x2 wifi6 on 80mhz.

BUT all this does not really matter. The DSL is the bottleneck so there is very little you can upgrade. If you really consider doing this you need to check the list of routers that work on the ISP system. Most with VDSL2 modems will work. There is a very limited selection of routers that have modems and even fewer that have wifi6
 
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King Mustard

Distinguished
Mar 17, 2010
183
1
18,695
2
What do you mean upgrade ?

Do you plan to keep the homehub device as a modem.

Your first big problem is if you plan to replace the bt home hub box you must have a VDSL modem in the router you purchase.

The speed limitation is going to be the VDSL connection. The current device you have is many times faster than the VDSL so buying a even faster router will make no difference.

Wifi6 really has little to no advantage over 802.11ac. This is even more true when you buy the cheaper wifi6 devices. They only support 80mhz channels rather than 160mhz. This is the key feature that makes them run faster. It is not just your router your end devices must also support 160mhz. Most phones if they have wiif6 only support 80mhz also.

There is not a huge difference in performance between 802.11ac running 80mhz and wifi6 running 80mhz.

In addition all the routers you linked are only 2x2 mimo. This is very common for wifi6, it seems it is hard to get it to run more. The bt hub device support 3x3 mimo so if you would have a 3x3 802.11ac it would run faster than 2x2 wifi6 on 80mhz.

BUT all this does not really matter. The DSL is the bottleneck so there is very little you can upgrade. If you really consider doing this you need to check the list of routers that work on the ISP system. Most with VDSL2 modems will work. There is a very limited selection of routers that have modems and even fewer that have wifi6
I appreciate your response!

If the router would also need to include a modem, ax will be out of my budget and I really don't want to keep the BT router in play, even in bridge mode.
 
The modem is going to be the problem. It is going to increase the price of any router. I am not sure you can get a "better" router with a modem in your price range. The only ones I have seen actually are not as good as your current router.

You have to not get caught up in the hype. Unless you are buying the high end 802.11ax and your end devices also support this form of 802.11ax it is not a lot better than 802.11ac. Many people buy hi end 802.11ax routers only to discover that their phone does not support all the high end features.

I guess it depends on why you think a different router will be a upgrade. The speed is being limited by the DSL connection. You are not going to get better wifi coverage, the 802.11ax signal goes the same distances since the radio power is still subject to the same government restrictions on transmit power. Many people think that ISP routers are always worse. Used to be the ISP used a cheaper wifi chipset. This has not been true for years. You will find that the radio chipsets are exactly the same as many of the more well known name brands. There is a lot of misinformation being spread including many fake review sites that are actually paid advertising.


Note wifi6 is not "future proof". It is already obsolete. This is the perfect example of why people should not buy into the "future proof" concept.

Wifi6e is coming to market and is going to be a much larger difference than going from 802.11ac to 802.11ax because of all the extra radio bandwidth on the 6ghz radio frequencies.
 
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