The online world is a fast-moving one, to say the least. As a consumer, therefore, it can be difficult to keep track of which is the best router to opt for when you’re planning on upgrading your internet at home.
Here, we take a look at the top five routers for 2013. While there are some new developments in the pipeline, these five are certainly ahead of the pack when it comes to performance right now.
Virgin Media SuperHub
If you’re mulling over prospective broadband providers and speed is the quality that you desire most, then look no further than the Virgin Media SuperHub.
In an independent 2013 study, conducted by the University of Bristol and Farncombe, findings showed that when set on the 2.4GHz frequency, the Virgin Media SuperHub supported average download speeds of 80.8Mbs, which makes the SuperHub around 30 per cent faster than its nearest competitor.
And when it comes to raw speed, Virgin Media continues to dominate its competitors, with the SuperHub returning download speeds of 128.9 Mbs when set to a 5GHz frequency.
BT Home Hub 4
In the same independent study, the BT Home Hub 4 didn’t perform too shabbily either, although the average download speeds that the Hub returned were around the 62Mbs mark. And even when the BT Home Hub 4 was tested on its 5GHz frequency, the measured download speeds, 78.2Mbs, were still unable to challenge Virgin Media’s download speeds on its lowest frequency setting.
BT is, however, committed to challenging Virgin Media’s dominance in the broadband provider space. Even though they only launched the Home Hub 4 in May 2013, plans for the Home Hub 5 are already afoot, with BT already confirming the introduction of 300Mbs FTTP for its users. What BT manages to deliver, however, remains to be seen.
While the drop-off in performance between Virgin Media’s SuperHub and BT’s Home Hub 4 may be around the 30 per cent mark, we notice an extremely sharp drop when we start looking at other providers, like TalkTalk.
TalkTalk’s Hub only delivers download speeds of 44.3Mbs on its 2.4GHz frequency, with no option to increase the frequency of the setting on the Hub. This represents a service which is almost 50 per cent slower than Virgin Media’s. So, if you’re frequently online and tend to stream or download a lot of content, TalkTalk may not be the service provider for you.
For all of Sky’s positives in terms of the television bundles they offer to their customers, their ability to provide quick and reliable broadband access is a real issue for those who consume a lot of content online.
In the independent tests carried out by the University of Bristol and Farncombe, Sky’s Hub delivered average download speeds of just 13.5Mbs, a staggering 498 per cent slower than Virgin Media’s SuperHub. There’s no 5GHz frequency option either.
EE BrightBox 2
While Virgin Media may lead the broadband provider market, as a consumer the EE BrightBox 2 maybe one product to keep an eye on. Currently in production, the BrightBox 2 is purported to provide users with downloads speeds of up to 76Mbs and comes with the latest 802.11ac technology. At present, however, this is all speculation, but, if you’re thinking about changing broadband providers in 2014, EE’s technology looks like a sound proposition.
The decision mix
Choosing the right broadband provider doesn’t always come down purely to who provides the fastest download speeds. There are other factors to consider, such as customer service and the attached entertainment package.
If you are online the majority of the time, however, the speed of your router is certainly going to be a priority when it comes to making the ultimate decision. While at present, Virgin Media seem to be dominating the broadband provider marketplace, the pack is certainly chasing – and chasing hard.