BT has unveiled a new router for home broadband customers, combining the ‘UK’s most powerful Wi-Fi’ signal' with proactive smart technology to help optimise customers’ connections.
Dubbed the Smart Hub, the router features seven antennas, which is more than any other UK provider, for what BT is touting as ‘unbeatable wireless range’. According to BT, in tests when the signal was asked to pass through one wall users could get online with a tablet up to 350 metres away and with a laptop from 500 metres away.
It’s also home to AC Wi-Fi tech to better handle the demands of multiple broadband users and internet-connected gadgets around the home, as well as Advanced Interference Filters that cut out interference from other devices such as microwave ovens, baby monitors and cordless phones.
In a significant step up from BT's last-generation Home Hub 5 router, the Smart Hub features SmartScan technology. This actively monitors Wi-Fi performance and current usage and automatically makes changes to cut out interference and improve the quality of the connection.
The Smart Hub’s standard contract-free retail price is £129.99, but it's free to new BT Infinity customers as well as existing Infinity customers if they re-contract.
In the event Infinity customers don’t want to renew their contract, BT is currently offering the Smart Hub for a one-off charge of £50 with an introductory, time-limited promotion. New and existing BT customers who sign up to its standard copper broadband service are also being offered the Smart Hub for £50 as part of the same promotion.
Unlike earlier BT routers, the Smart Hub dispenses with a complex colour-coded system of various lights on the front that were intended to enable customers to discern the status of their connection and help them diagnose the reason why it was down. Instead the Smart Hub features a single light with a simplified diagnostic system to indicate connection status. The light can be turned off entirely or dimmed if wanted.
According to Andy Kirkpatrick, general manager of Connected Homes for Consumer at BT, the simplified system is in response to feedback from subscribers. “A lot of competitors’ hubs and our earlier hubs had an array of lights at the front. There was a light for broadband and a light for several different things. But customers’ said 'Look, we don’t know what your lights mean. We don’t know what the symbols mean’. And one of the things we’ve carried forward with this hub from our previous hubs is a very simple system where the light will reflect above and below the band and it’ll be blue when it’s on.”