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ISP BT Set to Trial New Faster Smart Hub 2 Broadband Router

Thursday, September 27th, 2018 (7:10 am) - Score 13,419

BT’s Consumer Test and Trials team has begun inviting a select few of their UK home broadband subscribers to take part in a new beta trial of their forthcoming “Smart Hub 2” (SH2) wireless router, which is naturally promising to deliver “even better performance and new features“.

The original Smart Hub launched in 2016 and at the time it was quite an impressive piece of kit for a bundled device (here). Since then we’ve also seen a couple of different variations, such as the recent Smart Hub X for their G.fast users (here) and a slightly different model for their “full fibreFTTP customers.


Historically BT has usually allowed a few months for testing before launch, which means that this one will probably drop sometime during early 2019. At the very least we’d expect it to support the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 WiFi specification like TalkTalk’s new Wi-Fi Hub (here) and they’ll almost certainly be adding full VoIP (phone port) support due to the new SOGEA (standalone broadband) service.

On top of that there’s an outside chance that they might include support for the bleeding edge 802.11ax WiFi standard (10Gbps capable), as well as WPA3 wireless encryption (here), although we’ve heard it won’t (too early for those). The new router is otherwise expected include support for their latest G.fast and FTTP based “ultrafast broadband” packages.

BT like other ISPs has often tried to claim a WiFi performance lead on their rivals, which is at risk after TalkTalk launched the new Wi-Fi Hub and Vodafone announced their impressive Gigafast Broadband Router (here). Meanwhile Sky Broadband will imminently launch a new router to help support their FTTC and future G.fast/FTTP packages and Virgin Media are also gearing up to do the same.

We hope to learn more once the new routers start to be distributed.

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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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27 Responses
  1. Remo says:

    Is there any way I can get on the trial list?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      I believe this old post is still valid, although the invites they send out are still selective so you don’t have a lot of choice in what they may offer:



  2. BuckleZ says:

    I got asked this months ago…


    Old news

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Good to know, although the one last year may have related to a different variation of the Smart Hub (e.g. the X or FTTP version) rather than a true SH2. In any case please do email me next time you see something like that as I won’t know unless people tell me.

  3. Meadmodj says:

    I can only see a benefit for those taking the higher services and they will probably get them free. For the rest of us it won’t make the line any better so best keep your ISP Router locked down and buy you own router/AP or wait until these newer devices become widely available and fall in price.
    If at all possible we really need to minimise the number of discarded routers at the recycling centres as there is no value to them.

  4. chris conder says:

    Won’t really matter how powerful the wifi is if the feed isn’t going into it. Not sure powerful wifi hubs are the answer anyway, in urban areas they just end up congesting all the channels and nobody gets a decent service. It is far better to use the router as a stand pipe and plumb your own house in properly with access points, preferably mesh. The bt whole home mesh is really good, and easy to set up. Bit like a powershower in every room.

    1. Joe says:

      I’m using a mesh btween my outside buildings but tbh though it works fine i’m not sure the tech is that mature and it can still fail in non ideal configurations.

      Mark: Whats the checkable diff (serial numbers?) between the SH and the SH for FTTP? How long has the latter been in public distribution? Could you clarify exactly whats different (if its performance)

      So the Sh2 does away with the VOIP secondary box with the FTTP install then just as the hh used to have a seperate ONT

    2. Mark Jackson says:

      Hi Joe.

      I don’t have the model numbers, but I believe the FTTP model swaps LAN Port 4 for a WAN port. Meanwhile the SmartHub X is the version that features an internal G.fast modem and on this they also added an additional port for telephone connections (next to the RJ11 port).

    3. Joe says:

      My FTTP install came with the SH with 3 LAN 1 WAN so clearly they have been doing this a while. You nrv know with BT – sometimes you’re in a trial area other times you get the left over stock!

    4. IainH says:

      You’re right as usual, Chris, in blowing a hole in BT corporate propaganda and their astroturfing gangs.

      The last BT “Smart Hub” turned out to be a lemon anyway. Significant drops in DSL sync speeds, security weaknesses and instability, despite the newer ARM core, and presumably newer DSP code.

      In October 2014, we started out with a new FTTC copper-bodge, returning a lacklustre 52/8 Mb/s sync speed. We are on a 1000 metre loop hooked to one of the dreaded ECI DSLAMs which the penny-pinching misers at BT inflicted on the nation.

      Four years later and sync has dropped to a pitiful 23/4, little more than we got with ADSL!

      That speed slump is “due to cross-talk”, we’re told, as more and more FTTC subscribers pile-in to escape the even greater horrors of BT’s ADSL.

      BT didn’t even bother with an upgrade path for its ECI plant. So there’s no vectoring, no G.Fast. Just an ever worsening copper fudge.

      Why should this one kludging company hold the nation to ransom with its endless bodging?

      Bring on Full Fibre Now!

  5. Stewart says:

    Might be interested of they could offer me faster than the 80meg top speed they currently do in this area.

    1. Joe says:

      If you can get 80 you’ll get Gfast or Fttp as an offer in the near term.

    2. Stewart says:

      Joe but that’s why I’m not in a rush to switch from Virgin who currently give me 200Meg

    3. Joe says:

      Ultimately OR will probably offer you better speeds (real world) than VM but at a higher price. You pays your money and takes your choice on that one.

      There are various lists of the Gfast rollout areas but not afaik for fttp areas.

  6. Marion Bradley says:

    I’m a bit customer I can’t even get fibre in my grove where I live my internet is terrible for what I pay my house hold is a very busy household for the internet I wish it was better than what I have .

    1. Joe says:

      I’m assuming you have ADSL/FTTC. Have you checked your local BDUK site for upgrades in your area.

  7. ComicBookAssassin says:

    After 7 engineers and them telling me that is the maximum speed the line could ever get. Openreach have finally agreed with me that my line had a problem. So a swap to an un-used pair has seen the speed go from 44Mbps to 67Mbps, By simply checking the connections in the ground for dodgy crimps/cable from the cab to my house, who would have thought that testing in a methodical manner instead of relying on there big box says no approach would yelled results!

  8. Stu says:

    Any news on whether this Mk2 version will have inbuilt 4G/5G LTE backup??

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Good question, particularly in light of the new “all-ip” approach and convergence between fixed and mobile on BT/EE. The plan was to have that a couple of years ago but it got shelved due to various challenges, although I could easily see it coming back after more development time. No word yet though.

      Sadly BT’s PR people are notoriously coy.

    2. Joe says:

      Microcells have proved difficult. So don’t hold out your breath.

  9. JW says:

    Cynical me wonders if they will use a Broadcom Chipset, or whether they will use Lantiq again to encourage people to sign up to FTTP?

  10. joe says:

    Hopefully it will be more reliable than all the prior generations of homehubs.

  11. K freeman says:

    Ah yeah they send this to my old email

    just filled in it and i should i get one sent to me soon

    i’ll post some pics on the forum when i get it.

  12. Mark says:

    The only thing a Smart Hub 2 needs to do is properly work with and support IPV6, because the Smart Hub 1 sure as hell doesn’t and BT don’t really care. I have since moved onto better kit not from a provider due to that issue!

  13. bob says:

    It looks like the new smart hub will work as a mesh as the order includes smart hub 2 and a Wifi disc

  14. BT Complete WiFi says:

    Hey, the confirmed release is a BT Smart Hub 2. This also includes a WiFi disk (similar to that of a whole home WiFi setup). The aim of the new hub is to “guarantee full house WiFi coverage” and this will be done by providing a maximum of 3 extra wifi disks. If this still doesn’t work then you are given a £20 rebate off your bill. With this, there is also a new package coming out called the BT Complete WiFi package. It essentially is BT Plus but with an added factor (covering the WiFi, remember they guarantee coverage, not speed). Coming on/around 27th November

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