Telecommunications giant BT is continuing its one-upmanship in the home broadband stakes with the announcement of a new router, the Smart Hub, which it claims boasts 'the UK's most powerful Wi-Fi signal.'

Designed to replace the BT Home Hub 5, the BT Smart Hub concentrates on improving wireless performance in the home: as well as dual-band 802.11ac technology, in common with its predecessor, the Smart Hub boasts seven antennas in total. The 2.4GHz band is given a 3x3 multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) array, while the 5GHz band gets a 4x4 MIMO array. The result: a claim that the router can broadcast its signal around 500 metres without difficulty.

Sadly, other areas of the design remain unchanged: the upright low-footprint box still has only four gigabit Ethernet ports to the rear for wired devices, alongside a single USB slot and BT's trademark pull-out tab containing the default login details for both the Wi-Fi network and the administrative interface. Better news is that the router now provides the option entirely disable its status lights, a feature missing from earlier models.

'Customers want a quality connection throughout their homes and the new BT Smart Hub delivers the UK’s most powerful Wi-Fi signal, so customers can enjoy Wi-Fi in more places,' claimed BT's Pete Oliver of the impending launch. 'It’s packed with the latest Wi-Fi technology and is the only router from a major UK broadband provider to offer seven antennas which offer unbeatable Wi-Fi range,' he added, in an apparent effort to squeeze the term 'Wi-Fi' as many times as possible into a short sound-bite.

The Smart Hub is due to go on sale some time this summer, priced at £129.99; new BT Infinity subscribers and those renewing their contracts will be given one free of charge, while those on BT Broadband ADSL connections will be charged a £50 fee. Those part-way through their contracts or unwilling to sign up for another fixed term period can also pay a £50 upgrade fee, the company has confirmed.
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