TalkTalk Super Router - Performance, Value & Verdict

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TalkTalk Super Router – Performance

So does this inauspicious, yet powerfully specified router live up to its name tag? Sadly no. What we actually have is the ‘TalkTalk Pretty Decent Except At Long Range Router’. So let’s break our test results down.

At our usual test distances of 2m and 10m line of sight, and 15m behind two standing walls the Super Router delivered 802.11ac speeds of 42.5MBps (340Mbps), 36.5MBps (292Mbps) and 5.45MBps (43.6Mbps). The standout result is obvious: the collapse at long range. For an 802.11ac router this is the worst 15m result we have seen and half and one third of what the EE Bright Box 2 and BT Home Hub 5 achieved respectfully under exactly the same test conditions.

This is a shame because the Super Router’s 2m and 10m performance is strong. It doesn’t beat the peaks achieved by its rivals at 2m, but it isn’t far off and then successfully closes the gap at 10m.

It is also a massive step up from what you could achieve on the TalkTalk Plus Fibre router’s 802.11n 2.4GHz-only band which managed 8.67MBps (69.36Mbps), 8.55MBps (68.4Mbps) and 3.2MBps (25.6MBps) at 2m, 10m and 15m respectfully. But then again, so it should be.

It was a similar story with the Super Router’s 802.11n 5GHz performance (graphs in the Photo gallery above). Speeds of 29.5MBps (236Mbps) at 2m and 20.9MBps (167.2Mbps) at 10m are again within touching distance of the Bright Box 2 and Home Hub 5. But once again it dramatically fades at maximum distance achieving 5.43MBps (43.44Mbps), compared to twice that rate from its two rivals.

And the story was complete with 802.11n 2.4GHz performance. Predictably that hit a respectable 9.73MBps (77.84Mbps) at 2m and 6.91MBps (55.28Mbps) at 10m but again collapsed at 15m, this time to a barely useable 0.355MBps (2.84Mbps) with plenty of drop outs along the way. The Home Hub 5 and Bright Box 2 managed 3.24MBps (25.92Mbps) and 2.38MBps (19.04Mbps) under the same conditions.

As for USB speed, the Super Router trots along at a perfectly respectable 5.02MBps (40.16Mbps) which won’t win any awards but is enough to comfortably stream media content from external drives.

Should I buy the TalkTalk Super Router?

Here’s the kicker: you won’t have to. TalkTalk is supplying the Super Router free to all new users and plans to give all its existing fibre customers the router as a free upgrade in exchange for signing a new 18 month contract. The £124.99 price tag in this review comes from the value TalkTalk places on it, but it won’t ever be sold.

As such this makes rating the Super Router difficult. The adoption of the latest wireless standards means it is a vastly better router than its predecessor, but on its own the Super Router is nothing special. Its close range and line of sight wireless ac speeds stay in the same ball park as the two other 802.11ac routers ISPs supply (we still await Sky, Virgin and others to join the party) but its long range performance is woeful.

So should you get the Super Router? Of course. It is a substantial and free upgrade for TalkTalk users. But is it a good 802.11ac router in its own right? No, it is one of the worst we have tested and yet that still makes it better than all 802.11n ISP-supplied routers out there.

Verdict

TalkTalk has taken a giant leap forward with the Super Router, but that is set against its dreadful predecessor. It’s free, which is great, but the BT Home Hub 5 still reins supreme among ISP supplied routers.

Next, see our pick of the best routers

Score


Score in detail

  • Performance 5
  • Value 9
  • Build Quality 7
  • Usability 7
  • Design 6