Review Price £45.00
TalkTalk Plus fibre router - Performance
At our test distances of two metres and 10 metres line of sight plus 13 metres behind two standing walls the 3780 hit speeds of 8.57 megabytes per second (69.36 megabits per second), 8.55MBps (68.4Mbps) and 3.2MBps (25.6Mbps) respectively.
The immediate point to note is even at two metres the 3780 won't achieve the 76Mbps fibre speeds TalkTalk advertises. There isn't a massive shortfall like the Sky Hub's 5.8MBps (46.4Mbps) and it is over the 62.7Mbps Ofcom claims is average for 76Mbps customers, but it does mean you will need a wired connection should you be lucky enough to receive real world broadband speeds in excess of 70Mbps to your door.
Furthermore the 3780 is outstripped by the aged PlusNet fibre router's 9.63MBps (77.04Mbps) and 8.82MBps (70.56Mbps) at two and 10 metres, though its 13m performance of just 2.2MBps (17.6Mbps) falls well short as does the Sky Hub's woeful 1.3MBps (10.4Mbps) at the same distance.
That said any victories here are hollow are all three routers falling well short of providing satisfying fibre optic speeds once walls come into play which highlights the limitations of 2.4GHz WiFi.
By contrast the BT Hub Home 4 (while actually more sluggish than both the PlusNet and TalkTalk routers at 2.4GHz) hits speeds of 13.5MBps (108Mbps), 13.1MBps (104.8Mbps) and 4.92MBps (39.36Mbps) at 5GHz. Meanwhile the Virgin Media new Super Hub's 5GHz performance achieves 17.5MBps (140Mbps), 11.5MBps (92Mbps) and 4.3MBps (34.4Mbps) and even its 2.4GHz performance reaches 10.1MBps (80.8Mbps), 8.5MBps (68Mbps) and 3.2MBps (25.6Mbps).
One slightly brighter spark is the 3780's USB performance, which peaks at 3.02MBps (24.16Mbps). This batters the 1.42MBps (11.36Mbps) of the PlusNet fibre router and inches ahead of the BT Home Hub 4's 2.79MBps (22.32Mbps) while the Sky Hub has no USB port at all.
Still the new Super Hub comes out on top here as well managing 3.2MBps (25.6Mbps), though USB remains a poor medium for file transfer until routers significantly boost the power of their chipsets.
Should I buy the TalkTalk Plus fibre router?
As with the single band routers supplied by PlusNet and Sky, the answer is a straightforward 'no'. Of course new customers get the 3780 free and existing customers can upgrade (TalkTalk says the router is worth £45, subject to your haggling) so avoiding it may be easier said than done.
Despite this we would argue any TalkTalk customer receiving decent fibre speeds and living in more than a single room studio should ditch the 3780 even if they got it free. And upgraders should put their £45 towards the circa £100 RRP of the excellent dual band D-Link DIR-845L, whose 5GHz speeds hit 7.1MBps (56.8Mbps) at 13m and even its 2.4GHz performance reaches 5.5MBps (44Mbps) at the same distance.
Going further, those who are prepared to pay around £150 should opt for a next generation 802.11ac router such as the superb Linksys EA6700, D-Link DIR-868L and Asus RT-AC66U. All offer blazing 5GHz speeds and their wireless ac performance universally tops 24MBps (190Mbps) at 13 metres. For those pushing a lot of traffic over local networks in particular they're a whole new ball game.
For more options, head to our best routers round-up.
In supplying its fibre customers with a single band router TalkTalk falls foul of the same errors as Sky and PlusNet. In itself the 3780 isn't to blame, it is a reasonably good-looking, basic, 2.4GHz router which performs as it should, but it is the wrong standard to supply with fibre optic broadband. The pre-fibre days have made many ISPs lazy in the routers they supply. Fibre is now showing this up and it needs to stop, quickly.
Scores In Detail
- Build Quality