Today we publish our third and probably final annual summary of home routers with integrated VDSL2 modems, which are designed to be used with superfast “fibre broadband” offering ISPs (BT, TalkTalk, PlusNet, Sky Broadband etc.) that use the FTTC / VDSL2 technology (FTTrN and FTT-Basement also use VDSL2).
Admittedly most of the big ISPs will give you a free bundled router or separate VDSL2 modem when you buy their service, but often these are low-budget models that come with restricted / locked feature sets or moderate to poor performance. In that situation you may prefer to buy your own third-party device and so we created this simplified guide to help summarise the options.
As usual we recommend that this be read in conjunction with our earlier guides (HERE and HERE), since many of the router models for 2014 and 2015 are still just as valid (choice wise) as those released in time for 2016. In fact there’s something to be said for buying a slightly older device that has had all of its bugs ironed out (e.g. the TP-LINK TD-W9980 (N600) has improved since last year).
So far in the past two guides we’ve covered the following routers: Technicolor/Thomson TG589vn v3, DrayTek Vigor 2760n (2860), Billion 8200N, FRITZ!Box 7390 – 7490 / 3390, Asus DSL-N66U N900, Billion BiPAC 8800NL, TP-LINK TD-W9980 (N600), ASUS DSL-AC68U AC1900, ZyXEL SBG3300-N and the Thomson TG789Vn v3 (Technicolor).
But this year there have been a couple of changes in the market. Firstly, BTOpenreach started to roll-out a new Fibre-to-the-Remote-Node (FTTrN) and Fibre-to-the-Basement (FTT-Basement) tech in order to complement their dominant Fibre-to-the-Cabinet. As a consumer you don’t need to worry about this because at present they all use VDSL2.
Secondly the new Gigabit capable 802.11ac Wi-Fi specification was still in its infancy last year, but this year all of the devices on our list support the AC spec. Just remember that you won’t be able to make use of such performance unless your other adapters and devices also support 802.11ac and even then Wi-Fi has its limits (See our article – 10 Top Tips for Boosting Your Home Wi-Fi Wireless Network Speeds).
Overall we expect that this may be our last summary of FTTC / VDSL2 routers because they’ve reached a good level of maturity and over the next few years BT will begin to deploy the next generation G.fast broadband technology, which will need new hardware (good third-party routers probably won’t show up for a while).
As with the previous roundups, we’re sticking to our rule that this summary should only include routers that we consider to be within a sub-£200 price bracket (ideally £150 or less) for consumer affordability. Anything more expensive than this is usually intended for business purposes or simply not affordable mass-market hardware and thus not a focus for us.