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ISP Sky Broadband UK to Launch New Sky Hub SR101 Smart Signal WiFi Router

Thursday, October 4th, 2012 (9:04 am) - Score 10,031

Sky Broadband (BSkyB) customers will soon be able to get their hands on the new Sky Hub (SR101) wireless router, which will feature a number of new features like Smart Signal Wireless technology and a uniquely branded design. Sadly existing members will have to pay extra for it. Details follow.

The Sky Hub, which will be free to new subscribers, is certainly no secret and has been in testing for several months; that means we already known a lot about it. The router itself was originally expected to launch in September but appears to have slipped by a month and will now surface around 18-20th October 2012 (possibly later if Sky changes its mind again).

Sky certainly needs a new router because many of its older models suffered from a slow User Interface (UI) and average-to-poor WiFi performance (speaking from personal experience), which is a problem for any ISP that intends to offer up to 80Mbps speeds via the latest FTTC superfast broadband technology.

By contrast the new router UI will be familiar to existing customers, although it’s now significantly more responsive and features a much cleaner style. It’s believed the device will use a Broadcom 6362 chipset, feature a built-in PSU (power supply) and should also include the usual 4 x 100MB Ethernet / LAN ports (the apparent lack of Gigabit ports is disappointing). It will be supplied alongside both Sky’s standard ADSL2+ based broadband service and its latest superfast packages (FTTC).

But the main selling point for the Sky Hub will be its improved wireless networking capabilities, which includes support for WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup). It will also feature the latest N spec wifi standard (with 4 built-in MIMO aerials for top speeds) and Smart Signal wireless tech, which automatically scans for interference and select the best wireless channel (similar to BT’s HomeHub3). Apparently these days you can’t be a big ISP and call a router a router without also having to add the obligatory “hub” networking term on the end (e.g. Sky Hub, BT HomeHub, Virgin Media SuperHub etc.).

Lastly there’s the ever tricky aspect of price. Naturally the Sky Hub will be supplied free to new subscribers but existing customers who want to upgrade will need to fork out £39 (plus a small delivery charge). Furthermore there are also indications that this may only be an introductory price, with the cost expected to rise by around +£20 in the future. That’s quite expensive given some of the arguably better equipped alternatives on the market.

Sadly Sky Broadband told us that they were “unable to confirm specifics” ahead of their official announcement, although they did agree that the launch was now “imminent“. We must stress that the final details and prices remain unofficial and could still be subject to change.

UPDATE 9:51am

We forgot to mention that some new subscribers have already begun to receive the router and the late-October date is more for the official launch/PR campaign and existing customer availability.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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