Sky Hub and Sky Q Hub: What are Sky’s routers like?

Taking out Sky broadband lands you with one of two routers: either the Sky Hub, or the new Sky Q Hub. But what’s the difference? And which one should you get?

The standard Sky Hub has been around for yonks (well, since 2013), while the Sky Q Hub was released last year as a companion to Sky Q… and it has some serious upgrades to its tech. Here's the complete lowdown on the two routers.

What features do the Sky Hubs have?

The two Hubs differ in terms of specs and features, but they do have a few things in common. For a start, they've both got top security - including top Wi-Fi security (WPA2) and an in-built firewall, plus options to restrict access to the network at certain times of day and block dodgy URLs. They've also got smart power consumption, which means your router will switch to low power mode when you're not using it. That'll help you save on your energy bills and save the planet.

The regular Sky Hub has four ethernet ports with transfer speeds of up to 100Mb. It's also got Wi-Fi up to 'wireless n' 802.11n standard - and overall you can connect up to 32 devices at once.

The Sky Q Hub, however, is a little more advanced. It's got the most up-to-date wireless, 802.11ac, and it's dual-band, so you'll have less interference and clogged-up channels when you connect your gadgets. It's only got two ethernet ports, but they've got transfer speeds of up to a whopping 1Gb - enough to handle anything. If you need to connect more than two devices through ethernet, you can always get an ethernet switch or use your own router.

The Q Hub can also cleverly turn all your Sky Q TV boxes into Wi-Fi hotspots of their very own, so you'll get better Wi-Fi signal all over your home.

How do I get the Sky Hub?

When you sign up for a Sky broadband package, you'll automatically get the Sky Hub chucked in for free. You'll also have the option to pick a Sky Q Hub instead. Although that'll cost you a little extra, it could be well worth it, given the far superior tech that the Q Hub offers.

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*Average speeds are based on the download speeds of at least 50% of customers at peak time (8pm to 10pm). Speed can be affected by a range of technical and environmental factors. The speed you receive where you live may be lower than that listed above. You can check the estimated speed to your property prior to purchasing.

You can also upgrade to the Q Hub by calling Sky's customer service if you're an existing customer, though again you may have to pay an extra fee.

If you sign up for Sky Q and include broadband in your bundle, on the other hand, you'll get the Sky Q Hub thrown in at no extra cost.

What do the Sky Hubs look like?

Sky Hub

The regular Sky Hub looks like a square brick stood up on its side. A bit like this, in fact:

Sky Hub

One of the big square sides has the Sky logo on it, just in case you forget who your broadband provider is. On the front edge - one of the thinner sides - you'll see a bunch of lights and buttons. From top to bottom, they are:

  • Power light, to tell you if the router's switched on
  • Internet light, to tell you if it's connected to the internet
  • WPS, for quickly connecting your gadgets wirelessly
  • Wireless light, to tell you if the router is broadcasting Wi-Fi
  • Sky+ HD light, which tells you if your Sky+ HD box (if you have Sky TV) is online

On the back, meanwhile, you'll find:

  • ADSL2+ port, where you connect the router to your Openreach phone socket
  • Reset button, to restore it to its factory settings
  • 4 x ethernet ports, for connecting your gadgets with an ethernet cable
  • Power port, where you plug the router into the mains
  • All the info you need to connect to the Wi-Fi, log into your network, and change the router's settings

Sky Q Hub

The Sky Q Hub is a much flatter affair, looking a little bit like a small rounded slab and a lot like the Sky Q TV box. Like this:

Sky Q Hub

This time, the Sky logo is on the top panel as well as on the front. The front is also where you'll find (from left to right):

  • Power light, to tell you it's switched on
  • Internet light, to tell you if it's connected to the internet
  • Wireless light, to tell you if it's broadcasting Wi-Fi
  • WPS, for quickly hooking gadgets up to said Wi-Fi

The side edges are just for vents, but on the back you'll find:

  • ADSL2+ port, where you connect the Hub to the internet
  • 2 x ethernet ports, for connecting gadgets with an ethernet cable
  • Reset button, to restore it to factory settings
  • Power port, where you plug the router into the mains

So there's not really a whole lot going on - Sky has kept things simple and uncomplicated. Plug in the internet cable and the power cord, and that's it - your router is online.

Should I get the Sky Hub or Sky Q Hub?

If you're given the choice, we'd recommend upgrading to the Sky Q Hub, especially if you're going for fibre optic broadband. With the more up-to-date tech specs, it's better equipped to handle lots of devices and faster speeds - making it far more future-proof.

Of course, it does come with an extra fee, which you may prefer to avoid. And if you've chosen basic ADSL broadband (i.e. not fibre) or only have one or two devices to connect, the regular Sky Hub should serve you no problem. You may as well stick with it and save a few bob.

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