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Are You Happy with Your Home Broadband ISP Router? Most Are

Monday, September 24th, 2018 (12:01 am) - Score 3,211

The latest online ISPreview.co.uk poll of 1,977 readers has found that most respondents (63.3%) got their broadband router from a UK ISP (e.g. as part of a bundle), while 36.6% opted for a third-party device instead (e.g. purchased in a shop). In either case the majority appear to be satisfied with its quality.

A decade ago the routers that ISPs supplied alongside their broadband packages were generally cheap, bottom of the range style rubbish. This reflects the kind of hardware that would often struggle to reliably deal with multiple devices and offered incredibly weak wireless (WiFi) connectivity.

Meanwhile modern ISPs, at least some of them, have long since cottoned on to the fact that routers can be a useful way to differentiate themselves and the standard of hardware has improved. Nevertheless if you really want the best kit and latest features then third-party routers are often still the best option, provided you’re comfortable with setting one up and your ISP supports it (always check first or use two routers, one for the broadband and one for your home network).

Where does your home broadband router come from?
63.3% – My ISP
36.6% – Third-Party (Shop etc.)

How would you rate the quality of your router and its Wi-Fi speed?
35.1% – Very Good
29.7% – Good
24% – Average
11% – Poor

How many of the router’s Ethernet (LAN) ports do you use on the back?
51% – 4 Ports+
16.8% – 2 Ports
15.9% – 1 Port
11.1% – 3 Ports
4.8% – None

Respondents were also asked whether or not they made use of their router’s Ethernet (LAN) ports, with 51% saying they plugged into all 4 ports. In the past some ISPs (e.g. Sky’s Q Hub) have supplied routers with only one or two ports and that isn’t enough for everybody. Using a wired connection, where convenient, also helps to get around the problem of poor WiFi performance.

Meanwhile this month’s new survey asks whether or not you support the Government’s aspiration to cover 100% of the UK with full fibre (FTTP) broadband by 2033? Vote Here.

NOTE: ISPreview.co.uk surveys are likely to receive a higher proportion of tech-savvy respondents than most, although the majority of our visitors are normal consumers (i.e. they come to this site for help and assistance with basic broadband problems / questions or when hunting for a new ISP).

Leave a Comment
20 Responses
  1. CarlT says:

    Unhappy with my business broadband router. The Hitron is horrible.

  2. Craig Richmond says:

    Vodafone router is cheap and nasty. Cannot cope with multiple connections.

    1. Mr White says:

      I hear you on that front! However, I think the router isn’t too bad, it’s the installed firmware that seems to cripple it

    2. Wujek Pawel says:

      I didn’t see that issue, but I did see other: It doesn’t support protocol 41 (not port) forwarding.

  3. GT says:

    Wouldn’t know. I’ve never used the Sky Q one.

    I use pfSense and that’s brilliant.

  4. Meadmodj says:

    They have improved but they are still made to a low price point with the apparent emphasis now on creating WIFI interference between neighbours. The sales of replacement DSL routers in large computer/electrical outlets and on-line has to be testament to the poor quality, positioning and advice regarding routers and home networks in general.

  5. Spiderpig says:

    Interesting stuff – although I guess the caveat needs to be that readers of ISPreview tend to be pretty clued up, and not necessarily representative of your average or low end user.

    There’s certainly been a switch to focusing on better quality routers, more specifically around Wi-Fi performance – you only have to watch Sky’s latest campaigns, or Ryan Reynolds dangling from a helicopter.

    As Wi-Fi becomes the primary means of connecting multiple devices, the focus needs to switch to how to solve the tricky in-home wireless environment – plug and play mesh networks are on their way. Most users aren’t aware of the restrictions around Wi-Fi, and often spend a great deal of time arguing with ISPs about poor performance when the actual connection may be rock solid.

    1. chris conder says:

      spot on answer Spiderpig. I think those stats are about right, over half the country are in small houses so the supplied router will be adequate, but often one router no matter how good can’t cover the whole house. I don’t see the point in using equipment that is too powerful as the noise interferes with neighbours, so I think a mesh is the way to go. Like a powershower in every room rather than an olympic swimming pool in one causing floods.

    2. Meadmodj says:

      Mesh is not new, my SONOS has used it for many years. However by their nature consumer network devices are manufactured as cheap as possible. Just as Powerline adaptors freeze and require a factory reset (made more difficult as some don’t have reset buttons) cheap Mesh devices can also give similar problems. Nothing worse than someone turns off their curlers upstairs and a mesh unit at the same time as people are watching the latest BBC drama downstairs. Even if the majority of consumers are happy with their ISP router its performance depends on how it is used. I despair at some of the advice given (including a leading computer/electrical store) and the amount of money wasted on solutions that don’t address network problems correctly. Effective and resilient home networks don’t need to be expensive if approached properly.

    3. spurple says:

      @meadmoj could you offer a few specifics on what you mean? For example, some effective and resilient kit to buy for your chosen value of affordable. If you need a suggestion, I’d suggest £120.

      Some of the advice you despair at would be nice to see as well.

    4. Spiderpig says:

      Meadmodj – you’re right, Mesh isn’t new, but how many ISPs currently offer it as a standard feature or upgrade?

      It’s becoming far more relevant to more households as the Wi-Fi environment gets increasingly busy.

    5. Meadmodj says:

      @spurple. I despair at solutions such as suggestions of Powerline, WIFI extenders or changing ISP routers without any understanding of what the underlying issue is. Its like the AA saying you need a new engine without looking at the car.
      I could fill a book so instead I am still building a web site. Resilience isn’t just the kit its the ability to turn off/reset part of the network without taking the whole thing down. All homes are different so there is not a single solution and some users are special cases. If I am going to use Powerline or WIFI/Mesh, I always survey the house first which always exposes unexpected results. £120 may be OK for a flat but its modest for a large house that would probably require £250 however that would be fairly future proof. How complicated you make a home network is a personal choice but I just think we need to increase awareness in this plug and play world.
      Mesh displays the same issues as multiple Powerline, there is a finite throughput capacity and each device can only do so much so it depends on quality of the Mesh product and the load you are going to make on it.
      Best place for specific advice is the Forum on ISPreview. For concepts and ideas please see http://getthis.co.uk/Rechomenetwork.pdf

  6. Nick says:

    I was unhappy with my talktalk router speeds so replaced it, I am now happy with my connection speed.
    I would be interested to see if there is any correlation between people happy with their speed and those using an ISP router, also have any of those using an ISP router tried using a 3rd party router?

  7. Lee Gilbert says:

    Nope, Sky broadband router does not allow custom DNS that’s a pre-requisite if you want to leverage OpenDNS to protect your family.
    Whilst Sky has its own UI, it’s not as good or wider covering of sites I wish to block

  8. Paul says:

    Were there no Virgin customers in your review group? Their hubs are notorious for firmware that barely works and is rarely upgraded (despite having millions of customers on the same hardware).
    After I put my home hub 2 in modem mode and used an external router, all my problems ended.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      There were lots but not everybody will be aware of or experience the same issues.

  9. Richard says:

    I current use a third party modem and router (ubiquiti)to connect to an fttc service and it works really well. The problem I have is that I’d like to use gigaclear who offer an fttp service to my house but they insist I use their gear.. if I want to use my own gear I need to opt for a business service with the cheapest being £85 per month!!!

    This is actually stopping me buying the fttp service as I don’t want to use their (probably) crappy gear.

    I understand why isps do this but it really annoying!!! Couldn’t they just offer limited support for people using their own gear?

    1. spurple says:

      Is there a modem mode in their gear? If so then why not use that?

    2. Meadmodj says:

      OTN Router. No bridging. Not a lot you can do. Very restrictive but just turn off WIFI and use your own router/AP for WIFI. Issue is long term when Gigaclear supplied devices will become long in the tooth. Note not all FTTP is the same.

    3. Meadmodj says:


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