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UPDATE2 UK ISP TalkTalk Prep New Broadband Super Router with Ultrafast WiFi

Monday, November 4th, 2013 (8:28 am) - Score 10,763

Broadband and phone provider TalkTalk appears to be preparing to take on rival ISPs by upping its game with the forthcoming launch of a new “Super Router“, which will be based off the latest Huawei HG635 hardware and appears to feature the most recent Gigabit (1000Mbps+) capable wifi wireless networking specification (802.11ac).

So far the only one of the big broadband ISPs to launch an 802.11ac spec device has been EE with its impressive BrightBox 2 Router, which is sold alongside their fixed line superfast “Fibre Broadband” (FTTC) packages (here).

The reason others haven’t done the same is because the 802.11ac standard won’t officially be finalised until “early 2014” and it always costs more to add support for bleeding edge technology, which rarely suits the cheaper-end approach of mass produced / bundled ISP routers.

Never the less a recent Interoperability Certificate, which has been seen by ISPreview.co.uk, appears to confirm the existence of TalkTalk’s new Super Router. The certificate doesn’t reveal much other than to confirm that it will support the usual n spec (802.11n) wifi, dual-band 2.4GHz / 5GHz frequencies and that 802.11ac appears to be present (based on the near-final draft 3.0 specification).

TalkTalks Super Router 802.11ac Capabilities
Tx 3 tested Spatial Streams 5 GHz
Rx 3 tested Spatial Streams 5 GHz
Rx MCS 8-9 (256-QAM)
Rx Short Guard Interval
Tx STBC 2×1
Tx Beamforming

ISPreview.co.uk is currently seeking clarification about the device from TalkTalk. In the meantime some additional information we have suggests that the Super Router might shortly enter a closed trial at the ISP but we probably won’t officially see the kit itself until next year.

Similarly it’s a fairly safe bet to say that Sky Broadband and Virgin Media will both be looking towards 802.11ac technology for their own kit during 2014/15 (note: BT has already announced the HomeHub5 with ac support). But some of those ISPs may well prefer to wait until the specification is finalised, especially since most have only recently launched new kit of their own.

UPDATE 4:17pm

Sadly TalkTalk said they could not provide any further information, which is fairly normal practice for any not-yet-officially-announced products.

UPDATE 27th May 2014

The new kit has been launched (here).

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

    Im pretty sure the BT HUB 5 has 802.11ac,

  2. Karen

    “Similarly it’s a fairly safe bet to say that Sky Broadband, Virgin Media and BT will all be looking towards 802.11ac technology for their own kit during 2014/15.”

    Afraid not the Homehub 5 from BT is not AC wireless. Likewise its only been a few month since Virgins latest hub release. Sky of the bunch are probably the only ones due to release new equipment for their ageing breeze block like device.

  3. Karen

    Actually i stand corrected the homehub 5 is apparently AC capable, wonder why my trial unit was not?

  4. BT officially says it does support ‘ac’ but we haven’t had a final go-live announcement from them about it yet (i.e. just an “end of 2013” kind of launch PR). I know some customers have recently received it but others haven’t.

    • New_Londoner

      It seems to be available from Dabs.Com at £129, does indeed feature AC in the spec list, as well as 4 GigE ports.

  5. Karen

    I had a HH5 as part of the trial but the AC wireless never worked with the AC receiver dongle i had. Replaced and returned the HH5 with a new Asus router and all works fine. May had needed a firmware update or compatibility is just flaky. Im sure it will be sorted for the final product… Hopefully anyway.

  6. Marc

    The HUB 5 i have does have AC and it works i was also part of the same trial karen, and it did indeed need a firmware update to appear in settings and be active. I think the ones they sell now online have it available for use

    • Karen

      That would explain it then Marc. I guess i never got the update for whatever reason. It was nice having a single modem/router device though, things were a lot neater.

      Im not sure i would pay £129 which New_Londoner kindly points out the HH5 is available for on dabs. I liked the device and the convenience of a single box, but every Homehub iteration i have had from HH2 right up to HH5 has had some quirks. HH2 would drop connections, my HH3 regularly defaulted to single band or only G wireless, had the 2Mb need a reboot issue (which to be fair they did finally solve) and the interface is not configurable enough. The HH4 was pretty much the same as the HH3 just in a new chassis.

      HH5 was the best i had used though, apart from the wireless AC not working for me personally. If nothing better than FTTC is available in my area when the HH5 gets released officially and you can get one free from BT if you extend your contract i may do that, then use my asus as a separate switch and AC repeater 🙂 No point paying £129 if you can eventually end up getting one for basically free.

  7. JC

    According to BT’s website, the new BT Home Hub 5 is now available (with Infinity packages) – http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/consumerProducts/displayTopic.do?topicId=36894
    Looks like a “soft launch” at the moment.

    • Karen

      Hmm think i will pass, if i upgrade/restart contract to get a HH5 ill lose my free evening calls, looks like thats free weekend calls only now.

  8. Darren

    You sure it’s a HG635? The FAQ says HG533.


    Trial is due to end 16th February 2014 so their a bit behind BT. Good to see the kit progressing though, this ISP provided stuff might be worth using one day.

  9. No the HG533 is a different piece of kit that has no AC wifi. The certificate is for an unannounced HG635 that has just passed testing and is clearly marked for TALKTALK’s use under the “Super Router” branding. It’s possible the second source might have got the HG533 trial confused with the HG635 one though but the HG635 itself does exist.

    • Karen

      No you are correct Mark The HG533 trial is nothing to do with the new HG635.

      If you look through Talk Talks various pages you will find they have had various trials for various equipment and Firmwares. The most recent trials seem to have been for a HG523a firmware and a HG533 router. The HG635 will indeed more than likely now be their next piece of supplied gear and is totally different spec wise.

    • Darren

      Fair enough Mark, looks like TT have mislabeled the FAQ then as the dates listed are current.

      “The first phase will start on the 9th Oct and the last phase will end 16th February 2014”

    • Karen

      No their FAQ is entirely correct, and makes perfect sense, you just have not read enough.

      Talk Talks current trial l is indeed for the HG533. Most of Talk Talks trials last around 3 months. Each round waiting up to a week to receive the item and given something like a week or two to return it once the trial is over. That would make the current HG533 round a 3 month trial. (Excluding time to send out and receive items back). You are just wrong the HG533 is nothing to do with the HG635 or its future.

  10. There’s a recent official post in the TalkTalk forum that says:
    “The router is currently in a trial phase, but as yet, no dates have been confirmed for release.”
    Can’t find any info of a trial by the users so this must just be an in-house trial.

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