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BT Home Hub 4

Gordon Kelly

By Gordon Kelly

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

6

BT Home Hub 4 - Performance

5GHz PCWe decided to test the Home Hub 4 with both our regular test laptop and the provided BT dual-band dongle across 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. This was done in the same residential environment we test all routers with measurements taken at identical spots: two metres and 10 metres away from the router with line of sight; and 13m away behind two standing walls.

After the heroics of the Virgin Media new Super Hub and the disappointment of the Sky Hub, we found the BT Home Hub 4 sits somewhere in the middle.

Using our laptop at 5GHz wireless n the Hub 4 achieved speeds of 13.5 megabytes (108 megabits per second), 13.1MBps (104.8Mbit) and 4.92MBps (39.4Mbit) at 2m, 10m and 13m respectively.

The dongle achieved 12.9MBps (103.2Mbit), 11.1MBps (88.8Mbit) and 3.16MBps (25.3Mbit) - a small but unsurprising drop-off since USB antennas tend to lack the range and power of an integrated wireless chip.

Compared to the Virgin new Super Hub’s 17.5MBps (140Mbit) and 11.5MBps (92Mbit) at 2m and 10m the Home Hub 4’s peak performance struggles, though it's noticeably faster than the Super Hub’s 4.3MBps (34.4Mbit) at 13m.

2.4GHz PCAt 2.4GHz the Home Hub 4 managed speeds of 7.61MBps (60.88Mbit), 7.45MBps (59.6Mbit) and 2.79MBps (22.3Mbit), which are behind the new Super Hub’s 10.1MBps (80.8Mbit), 8.5MBps (68Mbit) and 3.2MBit (25.6Mbit), but far better than the Sky Hub’s 5.8MBps (46.4Mbit), 5.1MBps (40.8Mbit) and 1.3MBps (10.4).

That said all these figures only reinforce that 2.4GHz wireless n is not up to the task of delivering fibre broadband speeds widely around the home, and 5GHz should be a prerequisite on any ISP-supplied router for fibre optic broadband.

Meanwhile USB network transfer speeds remain disappointing on most routers due to a lack of horsepower. The Home Hub 4 stuck to this theme hitting 2.74MBps (22.3Mbit), which means USB storage, while convenient, is merely a back-up to wired Ethernet. (Graphs for all tests are in the photo gallery tab at the top of the page)

BT Home Hub 4

Should I buy the BT Home Hub 4?

It all depends on circumstance. New BT Fibre customers get the Home Hub 4 free while existing customers can get it for a £35 upgrade free, making it a welcome and reasonable update. That said, buying the Home Hub 4 at its exorbitant full price (£109) from the BT Shop is too much for the features and performance on offer.

It is also worth noting that BT, Virgin and Sky’s routers are all substantially slower than the routers from the best third-party manufacturers. By comparison the fastest dual-band wireless n router we've tested, the D-Link DIR-845L, is up to 30% faster on the 5GHz band (top speed 152.8Mbit) and up to 28% faster (84.8Mbit vs 60.88Mbit) on the 2.4GHz band. It retails for roughly £100.

Meanwhile 802.11ac routers (circa £150) push these 5GHz and 2.4GHz speeds even faster and their next generation wireless ac standard can reach speeds of nearly 30MBps (240Mbit) at 13m. So unless you’re getting a cheap upgrade there is little point in paying full price for the Home Hub 4.

For more alternatives, read our best routers round-up.

Verdict

The BT Home Hub 4 is undoubtedly BT’s best yet and it is both stylish and simple to setup. It's essential if you're on one of BT's fastest fibre packages, and over its 5GHz band it's fast enough to deliver these speeds over a wireless connection.

Overall Score

6

Scores In Detail

  • Build Quality 7
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6
  • Value 6

TerFar

August 9, 2013, 10:26 am

How do the pings compare? WiFi suffers poor ping compared to gigabit CAT6 and ping is often more important than raw speed.

ByeLaw

August 9, 2013, 10:31 am

You mean latency right?

Tom

August 20, 2013, 12:18 pm

I've been using this router for about a month now and I'm very impressed.I didn't experience any disconnections yet.I play a lot of games using PS3 and I have no lags or any other problems with it.I had quite a few routers before and I do recommend this one to anybody.The thing is I would never pay £109 for it.It is worth about £50

MikeX

August 24, 2013, 2:42 pm

Just be warned there are some issues with DLNA support with this router! The BT forums are full of reports on compatibility problems, which were not present with the HH3. I have experienced issues with this router related to both the wireless and wired DLNA support. The wired problems can be largely overcome by assigning a short name to the devices in the DHCP table of the HH4, especially when this already contains a name which includes the MAC address. The wireless issues can't be overcome and only using another Wi-Fi router seems to fix the issues.
I suggest any future reviews test for proper DLNA functions using a range of devices (Blu-ray players, music streamers etc.), using both the wired and wireless connections.

mike

August 28, 2013, 10:05 am

Very poor performance if you have any Apple products, constantly drops wifi connection, there is obviously a major conflict between the hub and Apple protocols. Have reverted to our old Netgear router and wifi has been completely stable since. if you have iPads or iPhones don't bother life is too short without additional hassles.

Ketchupcol

September 3, 2013, 7:53 am

I have had a nightmare with the Homehub 4. Totally agree with you mike; I was iPhone/ iPad/ iMac and they all drop the hh4 wireless , ALL the time.
I tried lots of things including splitting the 2.1 and the 5 ghz signals, but still have problems and timeout connections.
So frustrating as I was expecting all my Internet problems to be over paying a lot of money for bt infinity 2.

The router is the biggest let down. It's like having Jamie Oliver in the kitchen and Norman wisdom bringing you your food.

Going to go back to my old router for now .

Timbo

September 15, 2013, 10:07 am

I have used the Hub 3 version a, then went to version b and I must say the version b was very good. I had excellent wireless all over the 3 story house, but alas when my contract was over, and been with bt for 7 years I decided to go to o2. The switch over to o2 was fantastic and what excellent service too. But o2 sold out to sky so I thought I would return to bt. The biggest mistake of my life. Despite having spending 1 hour in a phone box trying to find somebody that cared at bt, I decided to sack them. In-between bt & sky the internet was terrible on the Hub 4, on one pc I could not get a connection, nor could I do so on my smart phone or the B&O TV. I had to email bt to inform them that the hub 4 was basically USLESS & not fit for purpose. I went to sky BB and the connection is faster than bt and all my wireless items now work a treat. I also emailed bt to take the hub away, seems they are not interested lol..

thegrahamp

October 29, 2013, 5:41 pm

So wish I had search reviews before changing from Sky to BT - the Sky router was slow but I've had no end of problems with the BT HH4 - not been able to download a film to my iPad since switching and running my iPhone on the 3G just so it works.
Looks like I'm going to have to buy another router.

climor

November 18, 2013, 2:44 pm

Already on my second BT HH4. Constantly drops out and restarts its self when it pleases.
Very disappointing with this Bad Boy! It certainly behaves like a bad boy. Perhaps I should just turn it off and put that Bad boy over there in the corner.

Nikie Lima

January 28, 2014, 7:10 am

It looks huge. I have a RavPower filehub and it's a small gadget that could perform as a WIFI hotspot and battery charger. Love it!

Xman

January 29, 2014, 10:34 am

It works when you have direct sight but fails and the connection to gadgets drop when the are obstacles - in my home specially behind 2 standing walls in a similar way to the tests from trusted reviews. Did try splitting the 2 and 5 networks but range is an issue on the 2.4ghz frequency. Considering a separate all in one router and if that fails then I think I will have to relocate the master socket.

Barry

February 3, 2014, 8:17 pm

Ipad 2 and bt hub 3 nightmare always drops signal, fed up with BT can't watch anything in hi def on ipad without wifi outing

TerFar

August 18, 2014, 9:19 am

Yes.

muskangul

October 22, 2016, 1:42 pm

Dear I am using BT Home Hub4 but it is showing 300MBps speed at 5GHz.
but my Home hub 5 shows 1300 at Home Hub5

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