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TalkTalk Plus Fibre router review

Gordon Kelly

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Reviewed:

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TalkTalk Plus Fibre router
  • TalkTalk Plus Fibre router
  • TalkTalk Plus Fibre router
  • TalkTalk Plus Fibre router
  • TalkTalk Plus Fibre router
  • TalkTalk Plus Fibre router
  • TalkTalk Plus Fibre router
  • TalkTalk Plus Fibre router
  • TalkTalk Plus Fibre router

Summary

Our Score:

5

Pros

  • Simple, thoughtful design
  • Easy setup
  • USB 2.0 port

Cons

  • Cannot hit advertised fibre speeds
  • No Gigabit Ethernet
  • No IPv6 support
  • Schizophrenic UI

Key Features

  • 802.11bgn 2.4GHz WiFi
  • 4x 10/100 Ethernet ports
  • WPA / WPA2 & WPS security
  • Fibre & ADSL2+ ports
  • USB 2.0
  • Manufacturer: D-Link
  • Review Price: £45.00

What is the TalkTalk Plus fibre router?

It is the premium router TalkTalk supplies to customers signing up for its 38Mbps and 76Mbps fibre broadband packages. Like the Sky Hub and PlusNet Fibre router, TalkTalk's Plus router is a single band 802.11n 2.4GHz model, which raises concerns it may struggle deliver Wi-Fi speeds that match the fastest connections - an issue the BT Home Hub 4 and Virgin Media new Super Hub dodge by supporting the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands.

Is the TalkTalk Plus fibre router up to the tast of delivering proper fibre speeds over Wi-Fi, or is it another underwhelming effort from a UK ISP?

Note: TalkTalk uses two suppliers for the Plus router, D-Link (model number 'DSL-3780') and Huawei (model number 'H533'), but claims both perform very similarly and look identical. We received the D-Link edition of the Plus router so will refer to it as the 3780 in this review.

Want to upgrade? Head to our best routers round-up for our top picks.

TalkTalk Plus fibre router - Design

Out of the box things look promising. TalkTalk has previously spoken of its desire to provide customers with a more stylish router and the 3780 is a marked improvement on previous models. Out goes its predecessor's glossy white finish, large garish TalkTalk logo and boxy angles to be replaced by a smaller, subtly branded, curvier, matt black unit. Admittedly we are still a long way from the stylish design seen in the sector's flagships like the Linksys EA6700 and D-Link DIR-848L, but it is no eye sore.

It is also well-built. There are no creaks or squeaks and while we aren't in the habit of throwing routers on the floor, it feels capable of withstanding a few drops. A moulded base stand means the 3780 can only sit bolt upright though and while this isn't a major issue it does mean it cannot be wall mounted.

The 3780 also has 11 front facing activity lights (power, ADSL, Fibre, Internet, WLAN, WPS, LAN1-4 and USB) and while all of these won't be flashing at once you would be advised not to place it in a common eye line.

TalkTalk Plus fibre router – Features

While the look of the 3780 causes no offense, much of its feature set does raise concern. The aforementioned limitation of 802.11n 2.4GHz WiFi is the most obvious talking point, but it doesn't even come with the fastest implementation of 2.4GHz. As such it uses a 2x2 antenna array when a stronger 3x3 array is common in many single band routers including D-Link's own excellent DIR-645.

In addition to this the 3780 fits four 10/100 Ethernet ports rather than the more common Gigabit (1000Mbps) Ethernet standard. This will be an instant deal breaker for users running NAS boxes as it creates a fixed bottleneck even for wired connections. IPv6 is also missing, though D-Link confirms the hardware is capable of being updated to support it in future.

Elsewhere we are pleased to see the 3780 supports WPA/WPA2 and WPS security and there is also a USB 2.0 port on the back for sharing a printer or USB storage across the network.

Interestingly, the 3780 packs both ADSL2 and Fibre internet ports. This adds flexibility but, like the PlusNet fibre router, really only shows that this is a bridging product (ADSL2 reaches just 16Mbps) rather than a router purely intended to do justice to the speeds of fibre optic broadband. Still this is better than the PlusNet Fibre router which had to commandeer one of its Ethernet ports just to support Fibre – a real botch job.

TalkTalk Plus fibre router – Setup

For technophobes TalkTalk supplies both a CD-based setup wizard and a manual which includes step by step graphical guides for Mac OS X, Windows XP, Vista, 7 and (impressively) Windows 8. Users will also be able to simply plug the 3780 in and connect to its Wi-Fi using the key printed on the back of the router.

Happily, WPA2 security is enabled default, but slapped wrists are in order for setting up the default username and password for the router's settings as admin/admin. We thought we had long passed the days of this aged and easily guessed combo and they should be changed immediately... something we doubt many mainstream TalkTalk users will do.

For those who do dare to fiddle with the 3780's settings, they will find not one but two UIs. By default the 3780 loads a simple TalkTalk status screen (shown above), but clicking the 'advanced' tab sees it open D-Link's standard router UI in a new window (below).

We weren't expecting the smoothness of Linksys or D-Link's premium Cloud platforms Smart WiFi and mydlink, but the effect is jarring and akin to jumping between the desktop and touch-friendly modes in Windows 8.

YouViewUpdate.co.uk

August 15, 2013, 11:16 am

This review seems to be completely misleading to me.
I'm not sure what router you reviewed but it certainly isn't the same as my Huawei HG533.
(Maybe there really is a model H533?)

All your pictures look like my router.
But mine certainly doesn't have a "Schizophrenic UI" - when I enter the Advanced settings the pages are formatted just the same and bear no resemblance to your D-link screen shot.

Your description says "Manufacturer: D-Link".
My unit is very definitely manufactured by Huawei.

You also say "Want to upgrade? Head to our best routers round-up for our top picks."
If you talk to TalkTalk they will tell you that this is not a good idea, there are various features required for their TV service to work correctly and the HG533 is of course set up to do this. Other routers may not be able to be configured to work with the TalkTalk TV service.

This all seems very strange - I'm not sure that I would trust this review.

DSL Slaphead

August 15, 2013, 11:35 am

TalkTalk have used 2 suppliers for routers for the last few years, the split the supply between Huawei and D-Link. The routers might look the same externally and internally but they have different firmware and model numbers.

Pbryanw

August 16, 2013, 12:32 am

I think TR calling it H533 must be a typo and they meant HG533. As for the schizophrenic UI, I assume that's because your version is running Huawei firmware and so uses a different advanced interface. As TR noted in the review, they're looking at the D-link version of this router but Huawei also make an identical looking version.

As far as TalkTalk TV goes, I thought they just used a re-branded YouView box, with access to more online services? In that case, unless TalkTalk have modified the way it works, all it needs is an internet connection provided via ethernet to get it working. However, it would be good to get clarification on this, as what's the point of being forced to use TalkTalk's router for TV if you get notably inferior wireless.

EDIT: According to this TalkTalk page, "If you do not use a supported router then you may not be able to watch the TV Boosts you subscribe to in the TalkTalk Player". The wording is a bit ambiguous so I wonder if you can use a 3rd party router and still use all the features of TalkTalk Plus TV?

David Waine

August 16, 2013, 7:42 am

I have this router (the Huawei version). It sits on the windowsill in the living room downstairs and communicates wirelessly with my Mac upstairs - at a consistent 13Mbps on copper wire, while also running my YouView box (connected via homeplugs) without any buffering or pixelation - and it will do both at the same time. Are you telling me that these figures won't improve if I switch to fibre optic? Or could it be that your review sample was faulty?

YouViewUpdate.co.uk

August 16, 2013, 1:15 pm

There are important settings for port forwarding and IGMP. Various people who have tried to use routers that are not supported by TalkTalk have hit problems particularly with using TV boosts on their YouView boxes.

Gordon Kelly

August 18, 2013, 11:17 pm

It would depend on the distance to your router and the thickness of the walls and floors between it and your computer, but yes I'd be surprised if you got much more with a fibre connection than 13Mbit. It is the limitation of 802.11n 2.4GHz WiFi not of the Fibre connection which is why ISPs should always supply dual band routers with fibre broadband services.

Gordon Kelly

August 18, 2013, 11:18 pm

Yes, I mention this at the very start of review.

Gordon Kelly

August 18, 2013, 11:19 pm

I explain very clearly at the start of the review that TalkTalk uses 2 router manufacturers: D-Link and Huawei. We received the D-Link version.

Gordon Kelly

August 18, 2013, 11:23 pm

It was a typo yes, but thanks for explaining things to YouViewUpdate.

I agree the wording is ambiguous about Plus TV - we didn't have the service to check. That said I'm sure you could disable the Wifi on the TalkTalk router and connect a third party router to its LAN port at worst.

Gordon Kelly

August 18, 2013, 11:24 pm

See my reply to this above.

YouViewUpdate.co.uk

August 19, 2013, 4:03 am

I'm not sure what the purpose of this review is.

You say "Should I buy the TalkTalk Plus fibre router?" and then you don't recommend buying this because it's performance is inferior to dual band routers.

But as far as I can see most people wouldn't consider buying this router in the first place.

Where would you buy it? As far as I'm aware it is only available from TalkTalk, with one obvious exception. That exception is of course eBay. This is not surprising as many people will have received a free HG533 router as part of their broadband deal and may already have a satisfactory router or may have chosen to upgrade. There is one supplier on eBay offering a "buy-it-now" deal at £21.88 including postage, and if you were to choose the bidding option you'd probably be able to buy one for less than this.

Thus in real world terms the going rate for this router is about £20 and that seems to me to be pretty good value for money - surely worth more than 2.5 stars?

So the real starting point of this review should be to say "Many of you will have received an HG533 from TalkTalk as part of your broadband package - is it worth upgrading?"

To which the answer is probably "yes" if you've chosen a fibre connection.

But who might be thinking about this? I think TalkTalk appeal to two categories of users. The first is people who simply want the cheapest deal, and these people are not going to spend another £100 on a new router. Secondly there are those who want a broadband package that includes a YouView box. At present there's only one other ISP offering this so an important question about the HG533 is "How does it compare with the BT Home Hub?" More details would have been useful here.

Having said all this the review does have an important conclusion. "The pre-fibre days have made many ISPs lazy in the routers they supply."

And the message for TalkTalk is that the HG533 "is the wrong standard to supply with fibre optic broadband."

One final minor point for Mr Kelly - your review would be easier to read if you just stuck to one method of describing speeds - Mbps not MBps.

Brian James

September 25, 2013, 1:58 pm

I have a TalkTalk Huawei HG533 router firmware version v1.14t which is causing a big issue with myself and many other TalkTalk customers. It won't allow me to use AirPrint from my ipad to my HP photosmart 7520 wireless printer. I understand that this has been an ongoing problem for the last few months. TalkTalk say that they are working on new firmware to solve the issue but they have no time scale. This is very frustrating as I bought this printer specifically to use AirPrint. Any suggestions would be welcome!

GD

October 25, 2013, 9:45 am

If only their service was as good as their adverts! From scouring the internet the you will get a general feel that TalkTalk customers just aren't happy with the service they receive, due to poor customer service and Internet connection speeds. From my experience TT provide a polar opposite when comparing the big 3s' providers Q&S.

I cant wait for my TT contract to expire, a shoddy experience its been at best, and would advise you all to pay the extra £3-£15 pcm and receive a decent service!

Lexi

November 3, 2013, 10:20 am

I have a Belkin G Plus Mimo ADSL Router. Was emailed by Talktalk to tell me my router wasnt picking up the best signal and my connection would be impaired??? Really? I was watching Internet TV on my new Smart TV with no problem. But I agreed to *Upgrade* to theirs. OMG what a nightmare. My TV froze and stuttered frame by frame. If I connected with MY laptop my partner could not connect to the internet with his. I rang TalkTalk and so resulted in lots of calls from them, including text, saying they needed to fix my phone line at a £50 charge to myself. Eh?? There is no problem with my phone line, I have never had problems making/receiving calls....and my line had been checked 2 years previous by BT.
After a week of texts from them, many phone calls from me. I finally think I have got it across that it was the new TALKTALK router that was the issue. She said she would send me an upgrade.....at a cost!! My response is not repeatable on this forum (and i dont swear normally).
Finally she agreed to send me one free of charge.
Meanwhile.....I unhitched the Talktalk Router and reconnected my Belkin Router......strange the problem has gone away......just like I will once my contract finishes with Talktalk next March. I was paying quite alot less until this new contract jumped up.....so I may as well Talk with my feet and walk away from Talktalks poor service.....I couldnt even understand whom I was talking too......erm must have been the line or accent not very clear.

Victor

November 16, 2013, 8:59 pm

I had two faulty Huaweis before TT sent this one; it has lasted more than the 2 weeks of the others, but suffers from constant drop-out and has to be rebooted every time the phone is used or a second computer goes online. I have spent hours on the phone to their support people and had to suffer their denials and bluster, so I am going to buy something better, which this article has pointed me to.

Justin

December 20, 2013, 1:16 pm

I am talking with talk talk now and I challenged on this and have been told router to be fitted is dual band

Philippe

January 5, 2014, 9:09 am

I have just had a look at the Dlink Web site search for the tecnical details of DSL-3780L.

http://www.dlink.com/uk/en/hom...

Is it different than this one?

Richard

January 6, 2014, 2:28 am

I'm not really sure why anyone should care what any of these devices look like or why the reviewer should open his review with such puerile nonsense. Seems to me a "boxy" router, like the older DSL-2680, tucks away in a cupboard or on a shelf out of sight more easily never to see the light of day until it needs rebooting.

As well as the Airprint issue this router (and incidentally the Huawei HG533 and HG523 too) won't passthrough DHCP requests to at least wifi and for the HG533 across the LAN ports too, so if you run your own DHCP server on your LAN you simply cannot use this device at all. This is despite the DSL-3780 router help wrongly telling you that it will, and how to configure the router should this be your network configuration. There are documented vulnerabilities with these routers and I've just had three TT routers fail within a week.

Then, should TT issue a firmware update to fix their Alpha test devices, they are not making it available for direct download, rather only updating via the TR069 protocol. There are reports of people waiting weeks to get their update plus how one gets a firmware update for a router that you cannot actually use on your network is beyond me.

How this garbage even makes it off the development test bench, let alone into production and rolled out to customers simply beggars belief. These ISP provided devices are simply not fit for purpose.

Gavla

January 15, 2014, 8:13 pm

I found setting a different DNS server speeded up openning web pages. As there was a noticeable time between typing in a web address, and webpage opening. Even though my internet connection was 15Meg and seemed to have not problems with downloads.

Berora

January 17, 2014, 12:09 am

I honestly envy anyone who can get double-digit broadband speed. After the recent rains mine has gone down to 0.8Mbit download and 0.4Mbit upload (yes, both speeds below 1Mbit). I am just over half a mile from the exchange, TT claim everything is fine their end and there is the familiar offer of an engineer coming to mix my 'set-up issues within the house'. What a lot of nonsense. I am torn between opting for their fibre, hoping it will make things much better (and it is cheap at £10/month) and walking away despite having just paid for another 12 months line rental in advance. NB. they tried to tell me that it may be my house alarm slowing the broadband (????) or the problem was with my laptop - when I have a brand new, super-fast Toshiba! Grrrrrrrrrr!

Nia

January 28, 2014, 6:08 pm

I was having the exact same issues with them. Upload and download speeds at 0.8. Upgraded to fibre and it made no difference.

Alexandra Crawford

October 23, 2015, 2:50 am

I bought a Huawei WS550 a dual core 1GHz processor dual band wireless N with a stated 450MBps throughput. It certainly solved my Archos WiFi instability problem and so far everything appears fine with download speed to mine and others laptops comfortably fast.

TheDashboard

December 1, 2016, 5:11 pm

Security researchers found that TalkTalk's D-Link DSL-3780 routers is vulnerable to the Mirai malware.

TalkTalk customers have reported disruption to their internet service over the past days.

A spokeswoman from the firm confirmed that its "DSL-3780 routers were affected" but said "only a small percentage of its customers used them."

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