While you join broadband, your ISP (Web Service Supplier) will provide you with a modem router at no cost, and these are normally low-spec gadgets that do not have the options you may get from (costlier) third-party corporations corresponding to Netgear and Belkin.
With the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub, TalkTalk is making an attempt to problem the notion that for one of the best Wi-Fi speeds you must use a third-party router, promising the improved Wi-Fi efficiency and options you normally see on extra superior routers, corresponding to beamforming and a number of Ethernet ports.
And, whereas the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub is designed to ship a efficiency increase for TalkTalk clients, it may also be purchased individually and used no matter your ISP.
Worth and availability
The TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub sells for £120 within the UK. It is a good bit cheaper than the extraordinarily quick and feature-packed TP-Link Archer C5400 v2, and cheaper than mesh Wi-Fi gadgets such because the Netgear Orbi.
Maybe its largest competitor is from TalkTalk’s rival ISP, BT – it gives the BT Sensible Hub, which it payments as providing ‘the UK’s strongest Wi-Fi sign in comparison with routers from different main broadband suppliers’, and which retails for £129.99.
The TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub is available for purchase proper now, and for those who’re an present TalkTalk buyer, otherwise you’re pondering of signing up, the value drops to £30.
Design and options
The design of routers has improved dramatically in recent times, with producers making efforts to supply models that look good sufficient that their clients don’t really feel the necessity to conceal them away (which might doubtlessly have an effect on their Wi-Fi efficiency).
The TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub continues this development, with an unobtrusive design that will not look misplaced in a lounge. It’s a easy design, with no protruding antennae, and encompasses a gray physique lined in perforations, displaying bronze materials beneath. It seems good, and whereas it doesn’t compete with Google Wifi relating to design we actually recognize the understated aesthetics.
The TalkTalk branding is delicate, with a barely darker gray color that makes it solely seen when considered from a sure angle. It’s a pleasant distinction to the BT Sensible Hub’s loud and proud design, which features a distinguished BT emblem on the entrance.
There are 4 gigabit Ethernet ports on the rear of the gadget, which is an enormous improve over the ports which are equipped with TalkTalk’s older routers, and it means it is a nice router for networks with loads of wired gadgets.
There’s additionally a broadband port, which is used when the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub is performing as a modem, and which connects to your cellphone line through a equipped micro filter. There’s additionally a WAN port for those who’re utilizing the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub as only a router, which can join it to a separate modem.
We like that the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub has a modem in-built, as in case you have a appropriate fibre connection it means you solely want one field (relatively than a separate router and modem), whereas the inclusion of the WAN port permits for some flexibility, for instance in case you have cable broadband.
There’s additionally a WPS (Net Protected Setup) button on the again of the router, which lets you shortly and securely join gadgets to the wi-fi community. It’s a handy function, however it’s positioned in an inconvenient place, proper on the backside of the router’s rear, which implies that, relying on the place you place the router, it’s possible you’ll battle to achieve it.
A pleasant contact, nevertheless, is that the Wi-Fi identify and password are written on a detachable plastic tag, which implies you don’t must manoeuvre your self behind the router when including a brand new gadget. There’s additionally area so that you can write your personal community identify and password for those who change it from the default.
Other than the position of the WPS button, it is a very nicely-designed router, particularly in comparison with the fundamental modem routers we’re used to getting from ISPs.
Function-wise, the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub comes with 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi, which is at present the quickest type of wi-fi networking, and in response to TalkTalk it makes the brand new router two instances quicker than its earlier fashions.
It’s additionally twin band, with 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands for retaining your wi-fi community from getting too clogged up, and it has a three x three antenna array for the two.4GHz and four x four MU-MIMO for the 5GHz.
The TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub contains options we’ve seen in different superior routers, however which not often include ISP routers, corresponding to beamforming (which focuses the Wi-Fi sign to higher attain your gadgets) and the flexibility to routinely select one of the best Wi-Fi channel to cut back interference.
Set up and efficiency
The benefit of putting in the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub will range a bit relying on whether or not or not you are an present TalkTalk buyer. If you’re, and also you improve to the hub by way of TalkTalk, then the method ought to be so simple as swapping out your present modem and router for the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub.
You’ll want so as to add your gadgets to the brand new Wi-Fi community, nevertheless, or you may change the identify of the brand new community to your earlier one, which can be quicker in case you have a lot of wi-fi gadgets, and which may be accomplished through the router’s net interface (extra on that in a second).
If, like us, you’re not a TalkTalk buyer, the setup is barely extra concerned. If the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub goes to exchange your modem and router, then you definitely’ll have to get particulars out of your ISP about your username and password. These are completely different credentials to those you employ to connect with your Wi-Fi, or to log into your router’s admin web page, and a few ISPs are reluctant handy them out, however protect and you’re going to get them.
If you happen to’re simply utilizing the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub to behave as a router – and never a modem – then you definitely simply have to plug your modem into the WAN port of the Hub.
To arrange the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub you must go into its admin web page, which is accessed by typing 192.168.1.1 into an online browser, then getting into within the admin username and password, which is printed on the reverse of the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub (not on the detachable Wi-Fi username tag, for safety causes).
The online-based interface is evident and easy, and you may increase most sections to see superior settings that you should utilize if you understand what you’re doing.
Throughout our checks the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub did a very good job of delivering quick and dependable Wi-Fi all through a three-storey constructing. In the identical room because the router we bought 74.1Mbps obtain from a line able to 80 Mbps, which is a reasonably first rate rating, with a ping of 11ms.
Shifting to the ground above the router, there was a drop in speeds, however not a major one, with 73.9Mbps obtain, with a ping of 10ms.
Shifting as much as the highest flooring the speeds remained regular with 73.7Mbps, and a ping of 10ms. Whereas the speeds we skilled whereas utilizing the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub diverse relying on what a part of the home we had been accessing it from, general we had been very impressed with the pace and the protection of this router, particularly contemplating it does not have exterior antennae.
If you happen to’re a TalkTalk buyer and need to increase your Wi-Fi protection, you need to positively take the prospect to improve to the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub, because it actually does ship with improved efficiency. Speeds had been spectacular and protection was superb, whereas we additionally fairly like the brand new design.
If you happen to’re not a TalkTalk buyer you should still have an interest on this gadget, however be warned that the setup process is extra difficult. Nonetheless, it’s doable to make use of it simply as a router in case you have one other ISP.
The Wi-Fi Hub actually an excellent effort from TalkTalk, and it’s all the time good to see ISPs providing extra highly effective to their clients.