The United Kingdom is home to several million hybrid fibre FTTC superfast broadband ISP subscribers but to date most of those have been forced to connect to the service by linking an existing router to one of BTOpenreach’s VDSL modems. Now a new breed of router has emerged that integrates VDSL and here are some of the options.
I don’t know about you but I’ve always liked my home network to be free from clutter and thus the fewer devices or cables strewn about the place the better. A clean setup is also more energy/space efficient and easier to diagnose or access when things go wrong. Plus giving the household dog or cat one less electrical cable to gnaw on should always be considered a bonus!
However until recently anybody who ordered an up to 40-80Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) “fibre broadband” service from their ISP was forced to access the service by plugging a separate Openreach VDSL Modem (e.g. Huawei EchoLife HG612 or ECI B-FOCuS) into an existing router.
On top of that Openreach’s modems come shipped in a locked-down state (i.e. no access to the web GUI or Telnet), which makes it difficult for advanced users to play around with the settings; at least not without risking damage to the device by attempting to unlock these elements through custom hacks or firmware.
Thankfully the introduction of a Self-Install (wires-only) solution for FTTC has encouraged a variety of changes, such as the ability for ISPs to ship their own VDSL modems or indeed a combined router with integrated VDSL. Some examples of pre-configured ISP routers with integrated VDSL include EE’s BrightBox 2 (here) and BT’s HomeHub 5 (here). Take note that existing BTInfinity customers can also purchase the HH5 separately for £129.
But what if you want to buy your own VDSL capable router and plug that into your connection? ISPreview.co.uk has shortlisted a selection of such devices below and summarised some of their key details to help you make a decision. Take note that we’ve mostly only included those that tend to cost under £200 (more expensive models are usually better for business environments).
Before we begin there are a few important points to make. Firstly, make sure you buy a router that’s built for the UK telecoms network because some countries have differences in their infrastructure that might cause performance problems or could even prevent you from connecting (i.e. don’t buy from an overseas store).