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BT Broadband router round-up 2024

Hubs included with BT fibre, full fibre and ADSL deals

BT Smart Hubs promise seamless home networking and an array of advanced features. But which will you get bundled in with your broadband deal, and will it help you achieve a reliable internet connection? Join us as we explore the strengths, weaknesses, and overall value of BT’s flagship Wi-Fi routers.

What router do you get with BT broadband?

All BT Broadband packages come bundled with a Hub. The model you get will depend on whether you're signed up to a superfast fibre, full fibre or the 10Mb ADSL package. 

On this page, we’re going to check out the bundled wireless routers currently on offer for new BT customers, or existing customers who fancy splashing out on an upgrade. 

We’ll also give a brief review on whether we think the bundled Hubs are good enough to give you a reliable service, as well as some of their standout features.

Let’s dive in!

BT Broadband Hubs: a summary

  • New customers will either receive a Smart Hub 2 or BT Home Hub
  • Unless you are on a 'fibre with landline' package, using a third-party router is an option.
  • Hubs remain the property of BT. You'll be charged for missing or damaged devices.
  • BT Hub Wi-Fi and admin passwords are both unique to each router.

The router you will get sent will depend on the package you sign up to. The Smart Hub 2 is reserved for new fibre customers, or those being upgraded to a Digital Voice line. If you're on BT's 10Mb ADSL deal, a Home Hub 4 will be shipped out to you.

  • What does ADSL mean?

    ADSL stands for ‘Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line’. It's broadband technology that allows the transfer of data across regular telephone lines. You can make calls at the same time as being connected to the internet.

    An ADSL line will, at minimum, allow for a broadband connection of up to 8Mb. These days, that’s pretty slow and won’t allow you to do much other than emailing or basic web searches.

    ADSL2+ is now available at nearly all exchanges across the UK with slightly faster data transfer rates of around 10-11Mb.

 
Router Name Included with package:
Smart Hub 2 BT Fibre Essential (35Mb), BT Fibre 1 (50Mb), BT Fibre 2 (67Mb), BT Full Fibre 100, BT Fibre 250, BT Full Fibre 500, BT Full Fibre 900, those upgraded to 'Digital Voice'
Home Hub 5 BT Broadband (ADSL - 10Mb)

Your hub will be sent to you via Royal Mail, although if you've also signed up to EE TV (previously BT TV) as well, it will be sent using Parcel Force. You'll be able to check the delivery status by logging onto your BT app.

BT hubs are small enough to fit through the majority of letter boxes and won't need a signature.

BT Smart Hub 2 specifications

  • Wi-Fi: 802.11ac
  • Dual-Band Wi-Fi: Yes (1x 2.4Ghz, 1x 5Ghz)
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi: No
  • Ethernet: 4x gigabit LAN
  • Extras: USB 2.0 port, DECT wireless phone support, Complete Wi-Fi mesh networking

BT Home Hub 5 specifications

  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Dual-Band Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi: No
  • Ethernet: 4x gigabit LAN
  • Extras: USB 2.0 port

Is a BT Hub easy to set up?

Setting up a BT Hub is straightforward. The device will come ready to go out of the box, and you won’t need any technical knowledge to get online. 

You only need to plug in the internet and power cables, wait for the solid blue light on the front, then enter the Wi-Fi details from a removable card on the rear of the router.

If you’re getting broadband installed by an engineer, they’ll set up the Smart Hub for you, but it’s not a complicated process at all. If you do need help, there are guides and videos (like the one above) available online, or you can call BT customer support.

To help you get the most out of the Wi-Fi, the My BT mobile app offers Wi-Fi network management. This checks signal strength and provides recommendations for placement of Complete Wi-Fi discs.

For more help on this topic, you can read our guide: 'Where's the best place to put a Wi-Fi router?'

What’s the password for a BT Wi-Fi router?

The Wi-Fi password and admin password are both unique to each router. This isn’t always the case, which is why we often recommend changing these settings yourself. But there’s no need to do that here.

How can I improve the Wi-Fi signal of my BT Hub?

If you’re having trouble with your connection, there are a few ways you might be able to sort this to yourself.

Wi-Fi boosters (also known as ‘repeaters’ or ‘extenders’) are an affordable way to increase your Wi-Fi signal range, or you can spend a bit more on a whole home mesh Wi-Fi kit. Powerline wireless signal adapters can also be used to extend a Wi-Fi signal. 

For more information on how to improve sluggish Wi-Fi, you can check out our guide: ‘Intermittent or slow broadband? Troubleshooting connection problems’.

You’ll be able to purchase these yourself online, or you might strike it lucky and find one second-hand on eBay. If you’d rather purchase from BT direct, you can head straight to its ‘Whole Home Wi-Fi’ store.

  • BT Broadband extras

    EE TV (the new name for BT TV)

    EE TV is available as an optional extra with all BT Broadband packages. While it doesn’t have quite as many channels as a Sky TV or Virgin Media TV package, it does offer many of the most popular channels via flexible channel bundles. These bundles can be changed each month without penalty.

    TV and broadband bundles come with a TV box that combines Freeview broadcasts and internet TV. Everything is neatly integrated into one interface, so you can switch between live Freeview broadcasts and streaming services without leaving the programme guide.

    BT boxes also include a hard drive for recording, and live pause and rewind features.

    BT Complete Wi-Fi

    Complete Wi-Fi guarantees wireless signal in every room, using a mesh Wi-Fi networking kit with three Wi-Fi boosters. It includes a £100 money-back guarantee if you can't get Wi-Fi throughout your home.

    BT Hybrid Connect

    Hybrid Connect is a 4G backup connection. If your broadband connection goes offline, Hybrid Connect automatically takes over until the fault is fixed.

    BT Halo

    Halo is a bundle of extra support, guarantees, and features for your home broadband. There are two options:

    Halo 3

    • Home Tech Experts. Free in-home technical support. Also includes annual visits to check your broadband is working.
    • Keep Connected Promise. Free 4G Mini Hub to keep you connected in case of broadband faults, or during a house move. Free unlimited data boost for BT Mobile during broadband outages.
    • Price promise. Never pay more than a new customer when renewing your contract.
    • Double mobile data. Mobile data boost for all BT Mobile customers in your household.

    Halo 3+

    All of the above, plus:

    • Hybrid Connect.
    • Complete Wi-Fi.
    • Smart Hub 2 Wi-Fi router.
    • Full Fibre promise. Free upgrade to Full Fibre 100 when it’s available in your area.

Are the BT Smart Hubs good value for money?

The BT Smart Hub 2 is included with all BT Fibre packages. So for new customers of those deals, value for money is strong. It’s a decent freebie.

The picture isn't as rosy for ADSL subscribers who get the less capable Home Hub 4, or existing customers with older models. For them, there’s a £200 charge to upgrade to the Smart Hub 2.

That’s not an unusual amount to pay for a router. You can easily spend a lot more if you opt for the latest and greatest models. For the money, though, we’d expect a few more features, perhaps even some that could be described as cutting-edge. There’s better value to be had in this price range. 

If you’re a current BT subscriber interested in upgrading, it’s worth investigating the many, many options available when you buy your own router. Alternatively, hold off until your contract ends and sign up for a new BT deal that includes the Smart Hub 2. As part of the PSTN switch-off and the closure of traditional copper phone lines, BT phone users will need the Smart Hub 2 router to make use of Digital Voice and an upgraded router will be part of the switchover. For this reason, we recommend customers sit tight on paying for an upgraded router. 

Dynamic deal panel

What are the stand-out BT Smart Hub features?

The BT Smart Hub 2 modem router supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi (also known as WiFi 5). This is a standard that’s now a few years old and delivers reasonably fast connectivity. But some other ISPs are offering the newer 802.11ax (WiFi 6).

You’ll get gigabit ethernet and a USB port on the rear. The Hub 2 also supports DECT phones, so you can use the router as a base station for compatible cordless landline handsets.

When it comes to coverage, the Smart Hub 2 has seven internal antennas, so flats and small houses should not need any additional equipment. If that’s not cutting it, there’s Complete Wi-Fi, BT’s whole home mesh Wi-Fi service. This is a key feature of the Smart Hub 2 that’s not supported by any of the older models. 

By adding a Complete Wi-Fi ‘disc’ to your home, you can expand wireless coverage far beyond the reach of the router. For many homes, a single disc will be enough. If you sign on to Complete Wi-Fi for £12 per month, you can claim up to two additional discs at no cost if you can’t successfully get Wi-Fi in every room. And if it’s still not enough, BT will hand you a £100 bill credit as compensation.

You don’t need to sign up for the subscription to get Complete Wi-Fi, but a standalone disc will set you back £100. That’s not out of the ordinary for mesh Wi-Fi gear, though there are cheaper kits available elsewhere.

Round the back, you’ll find four gigabit network ports for fast wired connectivity. Alongside that is a USB port for sharing devices over your home network.

Can I still use my BT Hub if I have to move home?

The BT Smart Hub, BT Home Hub 5 (available as a paid upgrade), Hub 4 and Hub 5 all work with ADSL broadband. This means, if you move to an area that hasn’t been hooked up to fibre, you’ll still be able to use the same device.

Can I use my own router with BT broadband?

BT encourages you to use its Hubs. You’ll definitely need to do this if you want a Fibre with a Digital Voice line, as this only works with the Smart Hub 2. Otherwise, you shouldn’t have a problem connecting your own third-party device. Just be aware, support and information for this is very limited.

BT Router Review: Expert Summary

Combining reasonably fast wireless connectivity, ease of use, and excellent coverage when used with the optional Complete Wi-Fi, a BT Smart Hub is a safe bet for many homes. If you’re mainly concerned about getting online and having a reliable connection with minimal fiddling about, then the Smart Hub 2 is the best choice of the lot.

Don’t expect the latest technology, though. There are faster and more secure Wi-Fi options out there. Cost may also be an issue. If you don’t get it for free, it’s a pricey upgrade.

Interested in finding out more about BT? Check out our full BT Broadband review.

We also have tips on what to do with your BT router after your contract is over in our guide: 'How to recycle a Wi-Fi router'.

Do you get better router options elsewhere? Find out with these other round-ups:

Meet the author:

Online Editor

Broadband Genie's Editor, Emma Davenport, has been contributing to the site since 2007. She has 20 years of experience writing articles, guides and tutorials on consumer technology for magazines and online.


Specialist subject: Broadband advice for vulnerable people

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