Virgin Media announces its first Wi-Fi 6 router

Virgin Media O2
(Image credit: Virgin Media O2)

Virgin Media has just announced its new Hub 5 broadband router, which is the Internet Service Provider (ISP)’s first to come with Wi-Fi 6, the latest generation of wireless technology that brings faster and more reliable speeds.

An increasing number of devices, including almost all modern laptops and smartphones, now support Wi-Fi 6, so it’s good to see a popular ISP embrace the tech. According to Virgin Media, the Hub 5 will come with more antennae than the Hub 4, which should help your Wi-Fi network reach further parts of your home, while also allowing for more simultaneous connections.

This last part is pretty important, as our homes are filling up with an ever increasing amount of smart devices all vying to connect to our Wi-Fi networks, and that can lead to older, or cheaper, routers struggling to manage all the traffic.

The Hub 5 will also come with a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port alongside three additional 1Gbps ports. This will ensure that any wired devices have access to super-fast network speeds, and if you’re lucky enough to have gigabit internet (that’s over 1GBps), then you’ll be able to make full use of that speed.

Virgin Media is aiming to deliver gigabit speeds to its entire network of 15.5 million homes by the end of the year, and it’s also launched “next-generation 2,200Mbps broadband speeds” in Edinburgh and Birmingham.

The Hub 5 will also be built from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic as part of the company’s commitment to reaching net-zero carbon operations by the end of 2025.

We’re not sure how much any Virgin Media plans that include the Hub 5 will cost, but there will be a phased roll-out with existing customers being offered the new router for no extra cost, according to Virgin Media, and a wider launch is planned for 2022.

Image of the Hub 5

(Image credit: Virgin Media)

Analysis: Finally an ISP router worth keeping?

When you sign up for a broadband connection, your ISP throws in a modem and router to get you going, but these are often budget or outdated models that lack many modern features.

For people with big demands on their wireless network, which these days is most of us thanks to our homes filling up with smart devices, these free routers just aren’t good enough.

Instead, investing in one of the best routers, or even best Mesh Wi-Fi systems, made by the likes of Netgear, Asus and Linksys, are a great move, as they bring advanced features such as Wi-Fi 6, and offer wider, more reliable wireless, than the ISP freebies.

However, with the Hub 5, Virgin Media might have made a router worth keeping. As more Wi-Fi 6 devices come out, Virgin Media customers will start seeing the benefit of having a Wi-Fi 6 router. It’ll also save you money (as routers can be pricey), and sticking with the router your ISP installs is a lot less fiddly for many people.

Hopefully we’ll get a chance to try the new router out soon.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops in our best laptops guide - and since joining TechRadar in 2014, he's reviewed over 250 laptops and computing accessories personally.