Review: Sky Hub SR101 broadband router
On the Buttons: Sky's latest broadband helper is stylish and easy to set up - and it's free to new Sky subscribers
Tuesday 05 March 2013
It's just a wireless router, right? Well, yes, but it's a pretty cool one.
Sky used to insist that its broadband subscribers used its own router (a dull, grey but efficient model from Sagem) to connect. It meant that the company could ensure that if you're downloading a TV programme as part of its on-demand offering that the TV connection could be prioritised over the internet so the streamed programme shouldn't stutter to a stop.
Now, though, you can use any router. But Sky's router is efficient, good-looking and easy to install, so new users would be wise to go with it. After all, it's free to new subscribers.
Existing customers will need to pay £69 to upgrade to it. To be honest, there's nothing wrong with the old one, so there's no desperate need to upgrade. But the design improvement is noticeable.
For a start, there's no separate power brick, it's built into the box. It's a small white-and-grey plastic square with rounded corners. It's emblazoned with the Sky logo front and back.
On one end are elegant white lights to show you how it's working and the lights are cute: the traditional power symbol tells you when it's on, there's an aerial image to indicate wireless is on and a dear smiley face lights up when you're connected to the internet. There's also a Sky+ HD symbol and in the middle a WPS button – the one that lets you securely connect without a password to some wireless gadgets.
Setup is a breeze, helped along by a simple guide. More importantly, signal strength is good, at least matching that of the older router if not beating it both in terms of speed and distance the signal carries.
There are extra Ethernet ports on this new machine, which may be a reason to upgrade for some.
Mostly, though, you'll want to upgrade just to get a better-looking box. And new subscribers will enjoy a stylish, effective and simple-to-set-up router for nothing.
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