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First Pictures of EE’s New WiFi 7 UK Broadband Router Emerge

Thursday, Feb 22nd, 2024 (3:22 pm) - Score 18,200
EE-WiFi-7-Broadband-Router-Preview

Mobile operator and UK ISP EE (BT) has today given a first sneak peek of their next generation Qualcomm-powered and Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be – Extremely High Throughput) capable home broadband router, which was first hinted at in 2023 (here) and is set to launch sometime this year (possibly by around mid-2024).

In case anybody has forgotten, Wi-Fi 7 introduces a number of new and important features, such as using the extra 6GHz channel with 320MHz of channel bandwidth for much broader capacity (Wi-Fi 6E is 160MHz), as well as Multi Link Operation (MLO), which allows data to be sent over multiple bands simultaneously, and 4K QAM, which offers up to 20% increase in peak data transmission performance (plus other enhancements).

NOTE: In theory, Wi-Fi 7 can achieve theoretical peak data speeds of up to around 40-46Gbps (Gigabits per second) within your local network, but real-world experiences will probably fall considerably below that (real-world peaks of 5-6Gbps are more realistic).

Last year EE stated that the earlier than usual adoption of Wi-Fi 7 is necessary because of their faster FTTP broadband packages (1.6Gbps), as well as services such as cloud gaming, immersive AR/VR and 4K/8K video streaming and the average home doubling the number of WiFi connected devices in the next 5 years. In short, data demands are going up, and our wireless networks need to keep pace.

The new router itself will effectively be akin to the Smart Hub 4 (we don’t yet know if they’ll use that branding), although other than adding Wi-Fi 7 support, the new device is predicted to have a rough feature parity with the existing Smart Hub 3 / Plus devices that launched last year. BT / EE are known to be developing their own in-house Operating System (OS) and Firmware for the router – called Project Indigo.

However, outside of all that, little else is known about what the final device will deliver. But today’s pictures (credits to the Express) do give us our first real glimpse of the new hardware. The router is widely expected to form part of a new premium package from EE, although the details for that remain a closely guarded secret. But it’s probably not worth rushing to adopt WiFi 7, since it won’t matter much until the other devices on your home network can harness the same technology.

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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
31 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Jonny says:

    They’ll get no prizes for looks will they

    1. Avatar photo ISP User says:

      Looks like a fly catcher

    2. Avatar photo Winston Smith says:

      Looks like a washroom soap dispenser.

  2. Avatar photo Jack says:

    So strange to have the figure 8 socket so high up, should be in the base so the cable is out the way

    1. Avatar photo David says:

      Isn’t that an illuminated EE logo though?

    2. Avatar photo Sam P says:

      Hahaha I hope that was a joke, well it made me laugh anyway.

    3. Avatar photo Anon says:

      HaHaHa

  3. Avatar photo Michael V says:

    Looks like a hand soap dispenser we see on the wall…

    1. Avatar photo Jimbo says:

      NHS will buy these around their hospitals.

      EE hand sanitizer

  4. Avatar photo AM says:

    I have the EE 1.6Gbps service, and the smart hub + mesh are truly awful. Can never get above 750 Mbps via WiFi, so < 50% of 1.6Gbps. Service runs consistently at 1.6Gbps wired direct in to ONT and connecting with PPPoE to test.

    1. Avatar photo drevilbob says:

      Speeds over Wifi are never high speed, 700Mbps sounds about right for WIFI6, I’ve seen 900 on an extremely expensive set up.

    2. Avatar photo Sam P says:

      I get my full 900mbps on my £45 Xiaomi AX3000 router.
      I was going to keep it in place when I upgrade to 1.8gbps to see what it can really do, if it can’t reach 1.8gbps then I’ll move over to Unify Wifi 7.

    3. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      so 750Mbps over wifi combined with up to 940ish over gigE, that’ll get you up to the max speed.

      it’s a clunky way to do things for sure (why did it not have a 2.5G LAN?) but “truly awful” seems like a bit of a stretch. I suppose there is an argument that most stuff still does not have 2.5G, especially games consoles.

      wireless never beats wires, no matter how much money you throw at it.

    4. Avatar photo James says:

      I’ve been able to get 1463mbps on my Macbook Pro over Wifi, 1400mbps consistently. The real need for the new Wifi 7 hub isn’t even for Wifi 7, its for 2.5gbps LAN.

  5. Avatar photo Mat says:

    Looks like a concept design which should not have gone into production!

  6. Avatar photo Jordan says:

    hopefully it has 10gb ports with some 2.5 ports.. future proof this router for years.

  7. Avatar photo MattBoothDev says:

    I’ll stick to my aftermarket routers.

    Last time I spoke to EE for a home broadband problem the rep noted that she couldn’t access the modem router.

    It wasn’t an issue. I said I use my own kit and the was fine.

    But the fact they can access your router doesn’t sit well with me, even if it’s just for connection data (they shouldn’t need any remote access to see that anyway)

    1. Avatar photo Jack says:

      BT / Sky all the big ISP’s have remote access to the router. They can view everything you can logging in locally.

      Data about you is everything these days so they can build the profile on you.

    2. Avatar photo Stu says:

      Imagine a pensioner who doesn’t know much about the Internet calls through and, through whatever went wrong, they needed to change some internal setting in the router. Imagine if the company who supplied it couldn’t help fix it. What a laugh that would be for the paying customer.

    3. Avatar photo Anon says:

      It isnt anything to worry about, its normal in the industry
      They use a specification known as CWMP or TR-069 to configure routers
      As its an open standard, it doesn’t allow them to “spy” on clients, its only for updates and configuration

    4. Avatar photo unknownquantity says:

      Being able to access the router is essential for tech support. It helps troubleshoot problems and gives a lot of insight – from uptime to configuration, how many devices are connected and how etc. Without that you’ll have a lot of tech support that can’t help or spend insane amounts on engineers going out just to reset a router.

    5. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      the use of encryption on everything and MAC address randomisation on most portable devices also limits what little an ISP could get out of the router – if they even cared

      i think you’ll find that apart from wanting to identify trends (eg why does a specific device not work correctly) they really don’t care

      besides – if they want to snoop, why would they do it inside the router and not within their core network? it’s nonsense.

  8. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    An alcohol hand sanitizer dispenser you see on a wall 🙂

    1. Avatar photo Saddler says:

      Pensioner here. I know what internet calls are and how to configure a router. Our goddaughter has no idea. It’s a technical skill and has nothing to do with age.

  9. Avatar photo Sam says:

    “BT / EE are known to be developing their own in-house Operating System (OS) and Firmware for the router – called Project Indigo.”

    Does the EE Smart Hub Plus not already have the new in house firmware running on it?

    1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      Well I hope it’s better than the early firmware in the first smart hub. It was absolutely dreadful. The router was so unstable it was virtually useless. Took months of updates until it was usable.

  10. Avatar photo Anon says:

    I bet Project Indigo is just a fork of OpenWRT
    They wont go to the effort to build something custom – they will probably just reskin something

  11. Avatar photo SteveFromReading says:

    Way to tank your ISP, rename yourself needlessly to a lower rated name, then introduce a soap dispenser shaped router. Who is doing the marketing for them – fired.

    1. Avatar photo BeeTee says:

      Why would someone in marketing be fired for a design choice that likely was made elsewhere, possibly by the company that makes the devices rather than BT Group? It’s fine for what it is, something that will sit on the shelf somewhere and likely not often thought about.

  12. Avatar photo Daminous says:

    Only just got the WIFI 6 Smart Hub 3 from EE installed fibre today and here we are already out of date, and WIFI 7’s on the way with a new design while BT’s side of things is still sending out Hib version 2’s to people’s homes.

    This looks like the X-box X’s reject desgin concept Ods on by the time this comes out they’ll be announcing WIFI 8, 9, or even 10. They seriously need tyo slow down, as I seen with Micorsoft they are now going fully NANNY state on the future of Microsft, Google, Apple and it’s stating all ISP’s to have everyone a digital ID for usage and will have their AI now spy on people PC’s and have it enforce censorship and lock out your usage of company products.

  13. Avatar photo MRLeeds says:

    Meanwhile Vodafone still giving out wifi 5 routers on gigabit packages…

Comments are closed

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