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Broadband Router Options for UK FTTC ISPs – Integrated VDSL Modem

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 (1:29 am) - Score 227,088
fttc_vdsl_broadband_modem_routers

Secondly, we’ve tried to list routers that also include an ADSL / ADSL2+ modem (standard copper broadband) because VDSL/VDSL2 is still young and you never know when having the ability to connect via the old system might come in handy again.

Finally, make sure you’ve got the correct VDSL router settings for your ISP BEFORE you install the device because most will usually ask for them during the setup routine (e.g. VDSL settings for BTInfinity).

technicolor_tg589vn_v3

Technicolor (Thomson) TG589vn v3

Cost (Est.): £60
Wi-Fi Type: 802.11n (2.4GHz) – 300Mbps claimed
Ports: WAN RJ-11, 4 x 100Mbps LAN, USB 2.0 (plus support for 3G dongles)
IPv6 Ready: Yes
ADSL2+ Support: Yes
VDSL2+ Support: Yes (up to Profile 17a) + G.Vector and G.INP support

The TG589vn v3 is by far the cheapest VDSL/ADSL combo router we have listed here, which is largely down to its lack of Gigabit Ethernet ports or 5GHz WiFi. On the other hand it supports all of the latest VDSL standards, IPv6 and looks like a truly lovely piece of kit (style). Just remember that if you buy a budget model then you’re going to get budget performance but this is still very impressive for the money.

NOTE: If this isn’t enough then there’s also a premium TG789Vn model that adds Gigabit Ethernet ports and some other extras, although it costs nearly twice as much (£110).

draytek_vigor_2760

DrayTek Vigor 2760n (2860)

Cost (Est.): £140
Wi-Fi Type: 802.11n (2.4GHz) – 300Mbps claimed
Ports: WAN RJ-11, 4 x 1000Mbps LAN, USB 2.0 (plus support for 3G and 4G dongles)
IPv6 Ready: Yes
ADSL2+ Support: Yes
VDSL2+ Support: Yes (up to Profile 30a)

The Vigor 2760n, which is designed for home users (a more advanced 2860 model is also available with 5GHz wifi), looks quite expensive next to the cheaper Technicolor/Thomson router above and isn’t as stylish but there are a few key differences. Firstly, DrayTek are one of our favourite brands and have a good reputation for quality. The router also supports Gigabit Ethernet on all its ports, which means that the on-board chipset will be fast and capable. On top of that it also supports VDSL’s 30a profile (the UK currently uses 17a), which is handy if BT ever decides to upgrade.

billion_8200n

Billion 8200N

Cost (Est.): £100
Wi-Fi Type: 802.11n (2.4GHz) – 300Mbps claimed
Ports: WAN RJ-11, 4 x 100Mbps LAN
IPv6 Ready: No
ADSL2+ Support: No
VDSL2+ Support: Yes (up to Profile 30a)

The quality of the router that you get for £100 is somewhat of a mixed bag next to the others. Crucially it doesn’t support ADSL2+, IPv6, USB and there aren’t even any Gigabit Ethernet ports. It does however include Profile 30a support for VDSL lines but on the other hand we think it looks a bit retro and should be a lot cheaper for what you get.

Past experiences have also made us dislike Billion due to performance woes and other annoyances, although so far we haven’t heard of too many gripes about this one.

fritzbox_7390

FRITZ!Box 7390

Cost (Est.): £200
Wi-Fi Type: 802.11n (2.4GHz and 5GHz) – 600Mbps claimed
Ports: WAN RJ-11, 4 x 1000Mbps LAN, 2 x USB 2.0 (plus support for 3G dongles), 2 x Phone Ports, 1 x ISDN Port
IPv6 Ready: Yes
ADSL2+ Support: Yes
VDSL2+ Support: Yes (up to Profile 30a) + G.Vector (FRITZ!OS 6.0 Firmware)

I think we’ll just nickname this little puppy “THE BEST” because it’s an absolute monster in terms of performance and features.. oh so many features. As well as the best bits of all the above routers (Gigabit Ethernet ports, IPv6 etc.) it also supports the latest 5GHz WiFi standard at up to 600Mbps speeds (much faster over shorter distances), VoIP, VPN, can handle two analogue lines and an ISDN line, acts as a DECT base station, doubles up on USB ports and even offers 512MB of integrated network storage.

Suffice to say the FRITZ!Box is extremely fast, while the User Interface (UI) remains smooth and clear; although you’ll need to be an advanced user to get the most out of it. Broadly speaking this is a top dog piece of hardware and it’s definitely recommended for experienced users with access to a fast fixed line connection and very deep pockets.

NOTE: If a 7390 is too much router for you then the FRITZ!Box 3390 (£130) is another option, with faster wifi, but you do sacrifice some of the more advanced voice / DECT features.

asus_dsl_n66u_n900

Asus DSL-N66U N900

Cost (Est.): £130
Wi-Fi Type: 802.11n (2.4GHz and 5GHz) – 900Mbps claimed
Ports: RJ-11, WAN 1000Mbps, 4 x 1000Mbps LAN, 2 x USB 2.0 (plus support for 3G and 4G dongles)
IPv6 Ready: Yes
ADSL2+ Support: Yes
VDSL2+ Support: Yes (up to Profile 30a)

Now this is an interesting router as not only does it support all of the best primary features, including being the only one here to offer ultrafast 802.11n wifi support, but it also houses dual CPUs (processors) that split the workload for your wired and wireless networks. As a result it’s extremely fast and the fact that it looks reasonably stylish doesn’t hurt, not to mention having an attractive User Interface (UI).

On the other hand we’ve seen some reports of slower performance on older ADSL2+ lines and a few people have complained about connection problems with the wifi.

Conclusion

Generally speaking most integrated VDSL/ADSL routers tend to offer good specifications and a few, such as the TG589vn v3, are now pushing down into the mass market affordability bracket. So it boils down to this, if you’re on a budget then the TG589vn v3 is best but if you’re more of an advanced and wealthy user with a hunger for features then it’s hard to put a foot wrong with the FRITZ!Box.

But for everybody else we’d say it’s a toss-up between the good reputation and price/feature balance of DrayTek’s 2760n or Asus’s cutting edge but unrefined DSL-N66U N900. Given the choice, the slightly lower price of the Asus combined with its fast wifi support and dual CPU’s would probably tempt us just that little bit more, although we have less experience of its ADSL/VDSL performance and would rather pay extra for the DrayTek’s familiar quality (though you need the 2860 for 5GHz wifi). On the other hand the FRITZ!Box 3390 is cheap enough to be of equal interest.

The odd one out is of course Billion, which suffers due to a weak feature set and the fact that the TG589vn v3 is capable of a whole lot more for significantly less. In closing it should be said that new VDSL routers are coming out all the time and thus more options will soon follow.

Meanwhile the FTTC standard itself is also expected to get a performance boost from Vectoring technology in 2014. But so far the only router that appears to tout clear support for G.vector is the cheapest TG589vn, although it might still be hidden somewhere else on the others (we did look) and the FRITZ!Box recently got it via the very latest firmware.

IMPORTANT: Since writing this article we have also published a second piece, which effectively represents an update to the above one and looks at a new batch of FTTC routers for the coming year of 2015 – Broadband Router Options for UK Superfast FTTC ISPs – 2015 UPDATE. Both articles are best read together as the above 2014 hardware is still relevant.

UPDATE 7th January 2014

Correction the Asus does not support 802.11ac wifi.

UPDATE 30th January 2014

The new FRITZ!Box 7490, which has just been released, also adds 802.11ac wifi support at up to 1.3Gbps.

UPDATE 30th December 2014

Added a link for the 2015 update article to this one – Broadband Router Options for UK Superfast FTTC ISPs – 2015 UPDATE.

UPDATE 11th January 2016

Added a link for the 2016 update – 2016 UPDATE – VDSL Router Options for UK FTTC “Fibre Broadband” ISPs.

UPDATE 11th June 2018:

Added a link for the 2018 update – 2018 Update – VDSL Router Choices for UK FTTC Fibre Broadband ISPs.

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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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