Sky has recently introduced their new broadband wireless router that is specially designed to work alongside the Sky+ HD box to unlock a whole host of extra features. Even if you are not signed up to Sky TV, the Sky home hub will provide you with a secure Wi-Fi connection and unlimited broadband starting from as little as £3.75 a month. All of Sky's previous routers were designed by Netgear and followed the standard black set-top model. The new hub has taken more than a little inspiration from the AirPort Express Base Station from Apple, and the white matte finish gives it a modern twist. As well as being infinitely sexier than its predecessor, the new hub features a more compact design with the PSU actually built into it which means no bulky power brick trailing behind the unit. The white lights and smiley face indicator are also a nice touch, but the lights can be a little distracting if you plan to keep it turned on at night. The hub is Sky's first attempt at designing their own wireless router, and this article takes a look at what you can expect from their latest offering.
Setting up the hub is incredible simple and even first time internet users should be able to complete the steps without too much trouble. A helpful guide is printed under the lid of the box complete with pictures informing you exactly where to connect the ADSL cable and microfilters. Once you have plugged in the power supply and connected the cable to your phone line you are ready to go, and your password and pin is provided on a separate card for safekeeping. The hub's simplistic design extends to its technical specifications, and the lack of USB ports and the fact that it is only a single bandwidth router may disappoint some users. It also lacks Gigabit Ethernet but makes up for these shortcomings by offering 4 Ethernet ports in case you prefer to receive your internet via cables. WPA/WPA2 and WPS wireless security are all built into the hub, but it is still important to change your password and pin immediately after setup to avoid other online users hijacking your signal.
Sky claim that the hub is their best ever wireless router due to its Smart Signal technology that ensures you always receive the strongest signal in every part of your home. It works by scanning for interference from other electrical devices in your home and will then automatically select the best Wi-Fi channel. A speed test by trustedreviews.com found that the hub gave download speeds of around 5.8MBps at a distance of 2 meters away, and this speed fell to 5.1MBps at a distance of 10 meters. Users that are in need of superfast downloads have the option of turning off the hub's Wi-Fi and using it purely as a modem to connect to a third party router with increased capabilities. One of the hub's main features is its ability to connect to a Sky+ HD box to give access to On Demand. Users can access catch-up TV services such as BBC iPlayer, 4 OD and ITV on Demand as well as rent entire TV series box sets and premium movies. Households that don't have Wi-Fi enabled satellite boxes can order an On Demand connector to access the service.
The Sky Hub costs £69 and does not require an engineer to install it. All of the equipment is sent by post, and your broadband signal will be active 2 weeks after your order has been confirmed. The Hub will also help you to reduce your carbon footprint as it automatically switches to a low energy mode whenever it is not being used and will return to full power as soon as you get online. The user interface is also extremely user friendly and offers detailed help and support options that will help you troubleshoot any setup issues in no time. Although the Hub does not offer greatly improved download speeds over its predecessor, it does make for a much more attractive piece of hardware in your home, and its white, modern design ensures it will blend in with your existing equipment much more seamlessly than the standard black models.