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    The Quality of an ISPís Bundled Broadband Router Does Matter

    This is a discussion on The Quality of an ISPís Bundled Broadband Router Does Matter within the General Computing and Internet forums, part of the Community channel category; The Quality of an ISP's Bundled Broadband Router Does Matter - ISPreview UK The latest survey of 2,725 ISPreview.co.uk readers ...

    1. #1
      Scubbie's Avatar
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      The Quality of an ISPís Bundled Broadband Router Does Matter

      The Quality of an ISP's Bundled Broadband Router Does Matter - ISPreview UK
      The latest survey of 2,725 ISPreview.co.uk readers has found that the quality of the router that big broadband ISPs bundle with their Internet access packages does have an impact on whether consumers choose a particular provider, with 36.9% saying it was important to their choice. But most would also like more choice.

      As a rule most ISPs that bundle a router with their broadband product will only include hardware based off a cheaper chipset with fewer advanced features, although the recent addition of Gigabit Ethernet (LAN) ports and 802.11ac WiFi by many of the largest ISPs is beginning to change that (e.g. BTís HomeHub 5, TalkTalkís Super Router, EEís BrightBox 2 and Virgin Mediaís SuperHub 2AC).

      Never the less many consumers still prefer to buy their own, usually more advanced, kit in the shops and as a result 69.8% support the idea of consumers being given an option for whether or not to take the ISPs bundled router or save money on the sign-up by using their own kit.

      Is the quality of an ISPs bundled broadband router/modem important to your choice of provider?


      Yes Ė 36.9%
      No Ė 35.1%
      Donít Know Ė 27.9%

      In your view, which big ISP has the best bundled home broadband router?


      Virgin Media
      Ė 37.5%
      TalkTalk Ė 26.8%
      Donít Know Ė 16.2%
      BT Ė 10%
      Sky Broadband Ė 6.8%
      EE Ė 2.4%

      Should big ISPs offer an option to save money by not forcing you to take their bundled router (i.e. use your own device)?


      Yes Ė 69.8%
      No Ė 30.1%

      The results are interesting, although ISPs could face a difficult task in weighing the desire for more choice against the fact that bundled routers also make providing support for end-users far easier, not least by offering a common platform and fixes via remotely managed firmware updates.

      On top of that itís clear that some providers, such as those like Sky Broadband and itís somewhat dated SR101/102 router, could be missing a trick by failing to offer kit with Gigabit ports and more capable WiFi (e.g. Sky has yet to add 5GHz support). Others, such as PlusNet, have a similar problem and even their latest Hub Zero (Sagemcom 2704n) seems to fall behind the times (here). On the other hand one advantage of lower spec kit is that the energy usage remains minimal, which is good for electricity bills.

      Finally, for a bit of fun, we also asked our readers to vote for which of the big ISPs they thought had the best hardware and Virgin Media came top. In fairness itís actually quite difficult to judge this one because many providers will often ship several different models of router, which makes it tricky to do a simple like-for-like comparison. Itís also perhaps more likely that people voted through the viewpoint of perception rather than experience, since itís unlikely that all of the respondents would have been able to test the latest routers from each ISP.

      Elsewhere this monthís new survey asks what is the minimum broadband speed you would accept when buying a new house and would you pay more for a home that supported superfast broadband (24Mbps+)? Vote Here.


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    3. #2
      pete.i's Avatar
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      Re: The Quality of an ISPís Bundled Broadband Router Does Matter

      I think that one of the problems that I can forsee if ISPs povide routers with offering Gigabit ports is that there isn't a lot of point in offering that sort of upgrade without blowing a trumpet about it. 99% of computer buyers buy bog standard computers without Gigabit ports and the trumpeting would/could include the benefits of a faster network which will not happen unless your other devices also support Gigabit so I could forsee lots of complaints from users that do not understand this. Similarly with 5GHZ. Most of the low end computers do not support it and that is what most of us buy.

      I do think though that for what we pay we should expect the best equipment available or at least the most up to date which, as you have pointed out, is most certainly not the SR101 or the SR102

    4. #3
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      Re: The Quality of an ISPís Bundled Broadband Router Does Matter

      Whilst I agree that most computers purchased have adapters that only support 100mb LAN and 2.4GHz WiFi, more and more now do have 1Gbit LAN ports and some also have 5GHz ability. Some also support speeds in excess of the 144mbps on the singe channel, that the Sky Hubs support.

      Remember too that those that support 150mbps actually need a router which support a paired channel, not the single channel that the Sky Hubs work with.

      Also many mobile phones and tablets also now support the 5GHz band.

      But it isn't just about what people are buying today, it is also about what they will be buying tomorrow.

      I don't believe that the cost different between supporting just the 2.4GHz bands and both the 2.4 & 5GHz bands is that much today.

      The same I suspect would be true for the components used to produce a 1Gbit port.

      Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro: Connected at 80,000 kbps / 20,000 kbps
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      Speedtest: 17.15MB/s 0.97Mb/s Ping 31 ms

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      Re: The Quality of an ISPís Bundled Broadband Router Does Matter

      Quote Originally Posted by Scubbie View Post
      Whilst I agree that most computers purchased have adapters that only support 100mb LAN and 2.4GHz WiFi, more and more now do have 1Gbit LAN ports and some also have 5GHz ability. Some also support speeds in excess of the 144mbps on the singe channel, that the Sky Hubs support.

      Remember too that those that support 150mbps actually need a router which support a paired channel, not the single channel that the Sky Hubs work with.

      Also many mobile phones and tablets also now support the 5GHz band.

      But it isn't just about what people are buying today, it is also about what they will be buying tomorrow.

      I don't believe that the cost different between supporting just the 2.4GHz bands and both the 2.4 & 5GHz bands is that much today.

      The same I suspect would be true for the components used to produce a 1Gbit port.

      Agreed but to be fair to Sky and other ISPs (and I am usually critical of most of them) they are a business having to make a profit. If people are not buying the inovations now businesses are not likely to incorporate innovations in their products. Bottom line is that most businesses will do the minimum that they have to do sell a product. I think that most businesses do not see innovation as cost effective and Sky and other ISPs are no exception.

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      Re: The Quality of an ISPís Bundled Broadband Router Does Matter

      Quote Originally Posted by Scubbie
      But it isn't just about what people are buying today, it is also about what they will be buying tomorrow.
      That's an excellent point.

      I'm one of those low-tech customers who really just needs a router to be up to scratch & reliable.
      I joined sky broadband in october 2011 & am still using the same sagem 2504n that i started with.
      Although it's true that i don't know any better, after 3Ĺ years the sagem has never let me down so i'd call that a success.

      However, had i joined just a month or two earlier i'd have been supplied with either a 2304n (which was unreliable & isn't proper 'n') or a D-Link DSL-2640S which is wireless g.
      Most folks in that situation would probably have bought their own router by now.

      I also believe that, rightly or wrongly, the quality of router supplied will always reflect on a customers' lasting perception of an isp.
      With that in mind, i think it would be best for sky to offer an option for new customers, like one price with router included & another without.

    7. #6
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      Re: The Quality of an ISPís Bundled Broadband Router Does Matter

      As much as many of the contributors to this forum might be tech-savy, many Sky's customers just want a product that can be plugged in, switched on and expect it to work first time and all the time. That is Sky's main target market.

      As more and more products are using the Internet, the demand for a better performing router is getting higher. More people are becoming to realise that their old WiFi g router just isn't up o the task and that they need to think about a faster connection too.

      I know that Sky send out 10s of thousands of routers each month. I suspect all the UK ISPs do this too. So any small cost saving here and there is going to be noticed.

      However the cost of the better components is reducing all the time, so hopefully the next router from Sky will be much better than the current crop.

      Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro: Connected at 80,000 kbps / 20,000 kbps
      Previous ADSL2+ Speed 19999 kbps 1153 kbps, Line Attenuation 17.5 db 6.9 db, Noise Margin 7.5 dB 8.7 dB
      Speedtest: 17.15MB/s 0.97Mb/s Ping 31 ms

     

     

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