Sky Q Hub review: Finally, Sky makes a router that doesn’t suck
Sky Q Hub review: Wi-Fi performance
The first signs, however, are promising – very promising indeed. As I’ve already highlighted, the Sky Q Hub is a dual-band router and one that supports 802.11ac, which is a good start.
However, Sky ships the router with its 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks on the same SSID. That isn’t helpful if you want to keep your high-demand network devices, such as your TV, connected to one, and your low-demand stuff, such as internet radios and smart-home devices, hooked up to the other to keep them from interfering with each other. Still, it’s comparatively simple to separate the two.
Here’s how to get the fastest speed out of your Sky Q Hub:
- Log on to the router’s admin pages via a web browser: type 192.168.0.1 into your web browser’s address bar
- Go to the Wireless Settings page, pop the username and password in (they’re admin and sky by default)
- Untick the Synchronise Settings tickbox, give the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks different names, and click the Apply button
With that little hurdle overcome, performance and range are good. I didn’t have a Sky Hub 2 to compare it with, but even compared with the mighty Netgear Nighthawk X4S, the results are good.
The first tests I carried out were a site survey of both the ground floor and the first floor of my tiny Victorian terraced house. As you’d expect, the reach of the Sky Q hub isn’t as good as the Netgear Nighthawk X4S, either on the 2.4GHz or 5GHz networks – you wouldn’t expect that. But it isn’t far off.
Sky Q Hub signal strength over 2.4GHz
Sky Q Hub signal strength over 5GHz
Note that in the diagrams above, the colours equate to signal to noise – in other words, the relative strength of the signal, and not the actual throughput. Here, blue is poor, green is acceptable and yellow represents a strong signal. For these tests, the router was placed on the ground floor near the left wall in the middle of the lounge.
You’ll see that nowhere in the house is shaded dark blue for the Sky Q box, and in the kitchen – a notorious Wi-Fi black spot in my house –there’s still a usable signal across both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks.
Next I tested the throughput rates using the iperf command-line utility, and the news is good once again. In the same room, I saw transfer rates of around 40MB/sec on the 5GHZ 802.11ac network, while in the kitchen two walls away I was able to get throughput of 27.9MB/sec on the 5GHz 802.11ac network and 10.3MB/sec over 2.4GHz.
Those are great numbers on their own, but what’s really impressive about these figures is that over 5GHz at long range, the Sky Q Hub performs at a faster rate than the Netgear, which gained a throughput of 23.6MB/sec.
Sky Q Hub: Verdict
So the Sky Q Hub is an improvement for Sky, and a big one at that. And that’s even if you’re only looking at it from the point of view of a standard wireless router.
It isn’t as good as the best third-party routers on the market and it doesn’t have the same spread of features either. Those twin Gigabit Ethernet ports are the biggest limiting factor, so it won’t be the answer to all of Sky broadband customers’ Wi-Fi woes.
But with the powerline networking enabled (whenever that happens) and your Sky Q boxes working as wireless extenders, it’ll be a force to be reckoned with. I’ll report back with my findings on those functions next week.