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ISP Sky Broadband UK Launch New WiFi 6 Max Hub Router UPDATE3

Tuesday, Jul 11th, 2023 (12:01 am) - Score 17,480
Sky-Broadband-Max-Hub-Router-and-WiFi-Max-Kit-2023-

Customers of UK ISP Sky Broadband may like to know that the provider has today officially launched their new WiFi 6 capable “Max Hub” router, which is accompanied by a new “WiFi Max” (mesh network / repeaters) system to help guarantee coverage around your home (i.e. the UK’s fastest WiFi guarantee, of any major provider).

Sky accidentally revealed the existence of the new kit yesterday, a little bit earlier than planned, when they released the latest version of their MySky app (v9.12.0) for iOS devices, which included an update note that made mention of both the new WiFi 6 capable router and their updated WiFi guarantee. The new kit is very much desired, particularly by those on Sky’s fastest FTTP broadband tiers.

NOTE: Sky’s WiFi Max uses Plume’s WiFi 6 capable mesh devices to support the guarantee.

What’s New – Version 9.12.0

Introducing WiFi Max from Sky Broadband with our most powerful hub yet. With WiFi 6 technology, you get a stronger, smarter connection and endless entertainment. WiFi Max gives you powerful WiFi in every room or money back. And keep everyone safer online with our most advanced security. You can also take charge of your home WiFi by adding, pausing or blocking devices and setting schedules for the kids.

However, the ISP followed that up today with the official release of both devices, although at the time of writing they haven’t provided a lot of detail on their full capabilities (we’re seeking more information) or confirmed whether the new router will be bundled by default alongside any of their existing packages (i.e. at present, you’ll have to pay extra for the new router and WiFi guarantee).

According to Sky, the new router and WiFi guarantee is available to add now for both new and existing Sky Broadband customers from an extra £10 per month. “It comes with a WiFi Guarantee of up to 25Mbps, meaning customers will be able to stream in Ultra HD, game and work in every room, or get their money back“, said Sky.

The new Max Hub will also use “intelligent cloud optimisation to give users the best and smoothest connection yet, adapting and evolving the flow of traffic to each device, offering stronger and more reliable WiFi coverage wherever customers are at home“, which is similar to what we’ve seen on other ISPs like Virgin Media.

Sky’s WiFi Max Feature Summary

Stay protected online with maximum security

WiFi Max offers advanced security, protecting every device connected to the network. From smart doorbells and cameras to your personal laptops and mobiles, everything is protected by the latest in artificial intelligence to detect and block threats. All connected devices are monitored in real time to alert customers to security threats as they happen via the MySky App. This is the UK’s most advanced network security from a major broadband provider.

More control over WiFi

WiFi Max offers customers more control over WiFi usage in the home. Devices can be organised on the MySky App, and WiFi access to individual devices instantly paused with the tap of a button, from anywhere.

For families, the intuitive MySky app allows parents to easily schedule in WiFi breaks to help with time away from screens, leaving more room for family time.

Built for Entertainment

Customers can stream and game with ease in Ultra HD in any room of the home, when combining WiFi Max with Ultrafast Broadband. Up to three free Max Pods are available that can, if required, extend WiFi coverage so that every corner of the house is covered.

As well as this, WiFi Max customers also get access to WiFi engineer visits where needed – meaning they can get a call-out at a time that suits them, even at evenings and weekends.

Max hubs are easily set up at home, with the MySky App allowing for easy connection to all devices.

Customers looking to adopt the new WiFi guarantee should note that there are a few catches. Firstly, existing customers with Sky Q won’t be able to purchase WiFi Max until later this year (i.e. it probably needs some extra work to ensure compatibility). Secondly, the 25Mbps WiFi guarantee is only applicable on Sky Broadband’s Ultrafast and upwards packages (i.e. for those on their “Superfast” plans, the guarantee is just 10Mbps).

Amber Pine, Sky’s MD of Broadband and Connectivity, said:

“A modern, busy household needs WiFi to be more powerful and more reliable than ever, so customers can stream, game, or use multiple devices at once without any hassle. With WiFi Max’s speed guarantee of up to 25mps in every room, customers can relax knowing time online will be seamless, safe and without stress.”

As above, we’re currently seeking more detail on the router’s features and its wider availability, since restricting it to only those willing to pay an extra £10 per month for the WiFi guarantee risks Sky shooting themselves in the foot versus more capable competitors (WiFi 6 capable routers have become fairly common over the past year). We will update again later.

UPDATE 12:39pm

We are still awaiting more details from Sky on the router itself, but the T&C’s for WiFi Max do reveal some additional information. Firstly, the guarantee will enable customers to have up to 3 extenders (Plume signal repeaters) at no extra cost, as well as a free WiFi engineer visit. The offer of a refund also only appears to cover one month of broadband and WiFi Max service.

On top of that, subscribers who also take Sky Mobile will get 2GB of data credited to their Sky Piggybank for each full outage of 30 minutes or longer, capped at three credits per calendar month and 18 credits in any 18-month period (allowing 24 hours for a credit to be applied).

UPDATE 2:57pm

Sky has confirmed that the new router is currently ONLY being made available to customers who purchase the WiFi Max add-on, although we’d be very surprised if it stayed that way for long. The new router is also built on a different platform to that used by Sky Business Broadband, but it’s the same platform that Sky Glass and Sky Stream are built on.

We’ve also been given a rather grainy backside view of the router, which shows 4 x LAN ports (one of which also acts as a WAN), 1 x DSL port, 2 x phone ports (only one seems to be for the UK), 1 x USB-C port and a power port. But we suspect there’s also a WPS button somewhere, as that’s pretty much par for the course these days. We’re still awaiting a more detailed spec sheet from Sky.

Sky-Broadband-Max-Hub-Backside-View

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Mark-Jackson
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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
50 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Who Cares says:

    Not accident…. Watch it release tomorrow….. 🙂

  2. Avatar photo nick says:

    I heard from a sky engineer that they have had training on the new router and it should be released this week

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      You posted that just as I’d updated the story with the release info. 🙂 .

    2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      Sky and engineer, that is so funny.

    3. Avatar photo I don’t want 5G! says:

      Adrian & common sense, that is funnier.

  3. Avatar photo Gigabit says:

    Another router using Plume’s solution. They’ve really been getting a lot of deals, I was one of the original UK beta testers and they have a great product.

    1. Avatar photo Ad476uk says:

      What is Plume? I presume it is a system that allows the ISP to control the router and mesh that is added to it.

      That have been happening for years, BT and Plusnet have been able to update their routers and do other stuff. Saying that they have never been able to control as far as I know Wi-Fi and stuff like that.

      One of the reasons I decided to buy my own router is, so I have control over it, even updating it when I want to and not when my ISP want to.
      My old Plusnet router when I had to put it back on would not update as it was taken off the service for too long.

  4. Avatar photo Rainberg says:

    It will be bogged down by Comcast Xfi platform. Want to change WiFi password? Goes through the cloud to Comcast with config changes. Half the UI is greyed out. It’s stupid. And it’s not compatible with Q at launch – probably because of Q’s Airties Powerline implementation? Sky released this as a tactical solution. I bet they’re running out of SR203’s.

    This isn’t the first time a Sky Router is integrated with Xfi, it’s used in Sky Italia where they had the Plume for years. But the Ethernet ports don’t work on the Plume nodes there.

    Sky always cutting corners. The original router was supposed to look a lot like the Comcast Xfi Router which was an interesting shape. Then cost cutting measures came in

    1. Avatar photo Richard says:

      The Airties powerline has been deactivated for several years, so has nothing to do with any delays.

      They simply want to target the customers with Glass/Stream first as they’re the most affected by wifi issues.

    2. Avatar photo Jack says:

      I thought the powerline function was disabled years ago because it was a failure?

    3. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      don’t like the sound of that, ok for people who just want to plug in and forget it, like say my next door neighbour. It is about time providers stopped putting out routers as if they are sweets.

    4. Avatar photo x_term says:

      @Rainberg it’s really a mess cause some settings are inside the router’s webUI and some others are in the app, changing a setting basically requires you to look up in two places…
      Also, consumers in Italy are still waiting on Sky to launch 2.5G profiles, is the only one left without after 3+ years since introduction. I hope they will have a separate WAN port @ 2.5G at least, otherwise it’s just the same box with new WiFi… not even sure what’s in their minds, after investing in their own GPON network.

    5. Avatar photo jack says:

      Seems they have launched a router that isn’t even fully functional yet. The Sky Max Hub doesn’t support DMZ or Port forwarding at the moment.

      https://www.sky.com/help/home/broadband/sky-broadband-equipment/sky-hub/my-wi-fi-password/articles/change-wifi-max-hub-settings

    6. Avatar photo david jtrick says:

      If they want to test systems I’m willing to let them I’m my house. It’s not just Sky Glass that have WiFi issues. Every time I test when I’ve an issue, Sky say ” all looks good” yet I know different. I’ve a booster on the lower floor, not great and WiFi upstairs is spasmodic. I’m limited to the old BT copper cables and unless I go to Virgin then the best I can get is 36Mb Ping plotter recently said min 37 max 3400 and average of 1088 yet Sky said all ok

    7. Avatar photo x_term says:

      @jack yes, it’s not present in the app, you still need to go in the Hub settings as usual and you can do it, see my previous comment, in Italy it’s been like this for a while. It’s a huge PITA to have to look in two different places, I guess the integration with the comcast system is not 100% ready.

    8. Avatar photo Jack says:

      @X_term is the new hub also only 1gig? I guess sky wanted to grab the headlines by being able to say major isp with wifi 6

    9. Avatar photo Terrafish says:

      What features does it not have that people actually want and use?

    10. Avatar photo Jack says:

      Absolutely amazed Sky launched it locked to WPA3 with no option in app or browser to change to WPA2 etc

      They really were desperate to get the hub out half finished

  5. Avatar photo Anon says:

    Can’t we just upgrade to the Wi-Fi 6 hub with a one time fee without paying monthly for all the extra stuff?

    1. Avatar photo AndyK says:

      Don’t be ridiculous, this is Sky! You’re not allowed to own anything and you’re certainly not allowed to only subscribe to one individual thing if you want a reasonable price!

    2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @AndyK, yes, long gone are the days when you could just have a single service from Sky without them wanting to push everything else onto you. when I had Sky many years ago, it was a simple box that connected to a dish and my TV for about £20 a month, can’t do that now. Sadly, others are doing the same.
      the closest thing Sky got to it these days is not even under the Sky name and that is Now TV and you still need broadband

  6. Avatar photo Stanley Jones says:

    That’s funny! Virgin Media’s Wi-Fi guarantee is also called Wi-Fi Max and it’s free on their top tiers! Virgin will pay out £100 for not hitting their guarantee. Sky is only offering one month’s free broadband (minus discounts). I hope Sky customers do the maths on this one!

  7. Avatar photo Ryan says:

    25Mbps guaranteed? WiFi 6 for extra? What?/.+-

    I mean it’s better than the old like 5mbps but these days with this new equipment we should be getting close to the full speed in every room for no extra. This is the reason I moved to BT.

  8. Avatar photo Si says:

    Oof. ‘Cloud optimisation’. No Thankyou. I tried this with Vodafone’s 6E offering and ultimately what this meant for you was less than zero options you can change yourself, not even the wifi channel as it’s all managed in the backend.

    When you have problems, like the Vodafone one has in absolute spades, if you call up for assistance and their cloud system doesn’t show a big red light saying there’s an issue then they have no real option to help as ‘everything’s working as it should’

    I’d avoid this like the plague.

  9. Avatar photo nick says:

    “full fibre broadband” (good wifi £10 a month extra!) lol – comical! I believe sky should take their face and introduce it to their palm!

  10. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    So sky is trying to grab more gullible people and make even more money from them. I am going to set up a mesh system for someone this week. Took my advice, got a nice TP-link router and got a couple of TP-link mesh extenders.
    They got the Archer AX55, which is the one above mine, for £75, down from £130 and a couple of RE700X mesh extenders, they ordering them today, on prime prices at the moment at £55 each, normally they are around £90, but they can be picked up cheaper at other times.

    So may sound a lot to pay out at once, but once you have it, you have it and yes it may only be Wi-fi 6, but that is fine.
    The other benefit is, you change providers and you still have it and it is in your control.

    At that price for the mesh extension I may get one now, I was thinking of it to get the signal outside in the back garden

    1. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      what’s “gullible” about offering a service that (probably) works and ensures the devices continue to receive software and security updates? Last time I owned a TP Link device they basically dropped support once the new shiny model came out.

      Use your own equipment by all means, but it’s not necessarily a better solution. Especially when (according to your other comment) you don’t seem to like ISPs being able to push software updates. To me that reads that you could be using something that is insecure or not as optimised as it should be, if you’re not keeping up with TP Link’s updates.

    2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      People are gullible, not the companies, the companies or the people that run them are rubbing their hands with glee. I have a Tp link router that is 9 years old and would still be fine, and I would use it now, if it could handle the amount of Wi-fi devices I have, don’t really need 5ghz Wi-fi.

      How many people have routers hacked? I mean normal joe blog, most criminals are not really interested in the router, there are better ways to get people info hack into different accounts people have.

      I prefer to have things update when I want them to be updated, I just don’t like it happening when without me knowing. i think it comes from the time when Windows updates used to muck things up, so I am careful about updates. even my phone is not on auto update, not that the OS itself will be updated now I doubt.

      My router did have an update a couple of days ago, after I looked to see what it did I allowed it

    3. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      recently, actually

      https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/hackers-infect-tp-link-router-firmware-to-attack-eu-entities/

      There is probably a valid point in delaying major upgrades (eg when the new android or iOS comes out) but it is virtually never a good idea to do so for security updates.

    4. Avatar photo Grant says:

      It is exceptionally difficult to use a third party router with sky internet.
      I have a TP Link Archer AX50 and i have never been able to get it to connect to sky internet. ive read the MER network they use is very awkward. so plug and play doesn’t seem to be a go for using your own kit. i find it shocking they are charging people for a router that is up to date with current technologies (soon about to be out of sate when wifi 7 comes out next year)

  11. Avatar photo Bob says:

    £10 a month for nothing much more than WiFi6 which in any case will be replaced by WiFi7 soon

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      Then you will get people saying, I must have Wi-Fi 7 as it is the latest, I got nothing to work with it, but it is the latest so must be the best and I must have it.

    2. Avatar photo AndyK says:

      Not that WiFi 7 will realistically mean anything for anyone or anything for years upon years….

    3. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @AndyKm, I doubt most of them will notice the difference between Wi-fi 5 and Wifi 6.

  12. Avatar photo Jono says:

    Gave up with supplies routers a long time ago. I’m on Skys 900mbps package and use two Ubiquiti – AmpliFi Alien Routers. It was a big investment but never have any connectivity issues throughout entire house and garden.

  13. Avatar photo Jason Roberts says:

    So as of today BT & EE group are the only company in the mainstream that do not have a Wi-Fi 6 router that customers can currently use. I know they have recently released details of one called SmartHub3 however all the information from BT and people in the know on here suggests that this will not be available for customers to order until at least late September but maybe as late as November.

    Where as all the other providers can get one sent out to you this week if signing to a FTTP Ultrafast package today would you choose BT or EE I would say No

    1. Avatar photo K says:

      To tell you the truth i get at least 150meg throughout my house on BT and wifi discs, which is faster than what sky are offering today. So yes you would pick BT over Sky if you wanted fast wifi everywhere. And then in a couple of months the wifi discs will come out that provide 600meg or so throughout the house. Wifi discs currently are £3 a month for a set, so it is worth it and thats even before wifi6 ones come out.

    2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      All through the house my phone will do about 250Mb/s, that is just from the router, no mesh system. It did go through a stage of around 100Mb/s, not sure why.
      My Mac on Wifi will hit 400Mb/s, the router is in the room below me. But houses are different from each other. the place I am going to stick a mesh system up, have awful Wi-Fi for some reason and yet the house is not much different to mine, just have three bedrooms instead of two it is on the same estate so was built more or less at the same time.

  14. Avatar photo Jack says:

    Those yellow ethernet ports suggest they’ve stuck with 1Gig ports. Ouch that means no faster speeds when Openreach launch faster speeds

    1. Avatar photo K says:

      Actually BT Smart Hub3 uses four 2.5gbe ports.

    2. Avatar photo Jack says:

      @K I didn’t mention the BT hub? Was commenting on the Sky router.

  15. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    It seems that some routers from providers are trying to cut down the ethernet ports, must be a cost thing, the Sky one is the same, while it does have four, one of them is used for a Wan, so only three if used for fibre. One of the reasons I did not use the Icotera supplied by my provider is because of the lack of Ethernet ports, it has two. Who makes a router with two Ethernet ports? There is a 2.5Gb/s port on it I presume that is backwards compatible.
    Sure I could use a switch, but my Tv, Voip, android box already goes through a switch and it is not a good idea to put a switch though another switch

    1. Avatar photo XGS Is On says:

      A switch through another switch is fine as long as you aren’t congesting the uplink port between them.

    2. Avatar photo Chris says:

      Why is it not a good idea to put a switch through another switch?

      Stupid to daisy chain hubs but a few switches is no problem

    3. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      to add to the pile on:

      daisychaining is a bad idea in a large, busy network (you wouldn’t do it that way on a campus or office building) but at home it’s going to make no difference at all.

      in very ye olde days there would have been issues in daisychaining hubs/repeaters (eg the 5-4-3 rule) but not with switched networks.

    4. Avatar photo XGS Is On says:

      Yeah you wouldn’t daisychain like for like switches but three layer networks with smaller access switches going into aggregation switches then into routers is a thing on busy networks.

      My home network does this due to the need for no visible wiring in between rooms and a ban on drilling. It might well work better for some going forward: it’s replacing cabling with hardware really. One cable in between the switches, all the kit plugging into those switches.

    5. Avatar photo XGS Is On says:

      Plugging into those switches via other switches even. Have fibre running under the skirting between the rooms. It works really well, just need switches with an SFP+ port on the outside layer and SFP+ ports on the main ones. Those have, thankfully, become cheaper though not as quickly as you’d think.

  16. Avatar photo Gareth Grundy says:

    As an early adopter, I can confirm this service is an unmitigated disaster. Very few Sky support agents know anything about the router or the (plume) pods. Initially, either you couldn’t change your SSID at all or the change reverted to default after several hours.

    Administrative configuration must be carried out through a combination of a buggy poorly designed app and the traditional web management. Neither can independently carry out all admin tasks. Which is a source of much frustration.

    There is no independent management of the pods (as opposed to the previous WiFi Sky extenders)

    You cannot see which devices are connected to the pods at all. The auto negotiation of roaming devices moving from the router to the pods does not work at all. You must manually disable WiFi on your device and reconnect to connect to the pod.

    Although the router supports WiFi6 the pods do not. I have raised over 15 support requests and none have been resolved by support or project teams. The community of users who also have the misfortune of ordering this product in an alpha state have been more combined help than the entire of Sky support. Promises of call backs regarding issues with the service do not occur. Sky believe it is acceptable to begin charging us for a product that is in an early alpha state and shouldn’t even be in production available for end users.

    The influence of Comcast dumbing down of the router settings is clear and another unappealing feature. Poor market research or a lack of care for the preference for the end users. Particularly those of us who are Sky VIP members.

    The default SSID password is rated as poor and can be easily cracked.

    There is a wall of silence from Sky about the support for this product.

    If you also have the Sky Protect product and are instructed to keep the SSID provided as according to support “no one changes their SSID’s these days” you have to remove and re-add every single security device.

    The effect of Comcast on Sky is one I can only describe as consistently poor.

    The customer service is the worst it’s ever been. And I think people will abandon Sky in their thousands for competing services from BT and Virgin.

    I will be returning my WiFi Max devices. And as I’m out of contract on my previous broadband product, considering moving to BT.

    DO NOT ORDER THIS PRODUCT.

  17. Avatar photo Sam says:

    Not impressed at all. No doubt it still doesnt support modem only mode! Had Plusnet installed and using a Openreach Modem and gaming router, i have full control of my Wifi and network. Download speeds much faster. Cant wait until Feb when the Sky Broadband line contract ends and shall cancel that line!

  18. Avatar photo Mark says:

    Wireless 802.11ax wifi 6 is a good idea but watering it down with wifi 802.11ac is a poor idea on the Sky Pods.

    I’ve found that older routers that don’t support WPA3-T/WPA3 get attacked with the crack key exchange issue in WPA2-AES, so moving as much traffic onto the WPA3-T or even WPA3 and encrypting some or all of the key exchange is a must for better wireless reliability and security.

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