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BT hubs: what are smart hubs and which one do you have?

BT hubs
(Image credit: Future)

BT Hubs are a feature that come with all of BT broadband deals, offering an intelligent router to pump your internet connection around your house...but are they any good?

BT has two hubs available right now and a host of older models that you might still have if you have an older plan. The two options in use are the BT Smart Hub and the Smart Hub 2.

While the large majority of people will find themselves with the BT Smart Hub, those who upgraded to BT Plus with Complete Wi-Fi will have the BT Smart Hub 2 (or you can buy it from the BT Store (opens in new tab)).

While those are the two options that BT still offers, there are a number of older BT hubs. You could well have one of these still if you signed up with broadband deals from BT a while ago.

Below we've broken down each BT router so you can figure out which one you have and what the benefits of each one are.

Which BT hub do I have?

BT hubs: specs at a glance
BT Smart HubBT Smart Hub 2BT Home Hub 3BT Home Hub 4BT Home Hub 5
Complete Wi-FiNoYesNoNoNo
Number of antennas77245
2.4GHz or 5GHzDual next gen Wi-FiDual next gen Wi-FiSingleDual Wi-FiDual AC Wi-Fi
Built in 4G filtersYesYesNoNoNo
USB PortsYesYesYesYesYes
BT Smart wireless and scanYesYesYesYesYes
On/Off light controlYesYesNoNoNo

Currently available routers:

BT Smart Hub (opens in new tab)
This is what comes with all of BT's Superfast fibre broadband plans. As you'd expect from a brand like BT, the Smart Hub is a super powerful router - the most powerful in the UK claims BT. 

It will work well in a big household with multiple devices and a lot of room to cover. Like the hub below, this uses 7 antennas, four gigabit ethernet ports and features dual ban using both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, 

BT Smart Hub 2 (opens in new tab)
BT has a second more powerful router available. However, while there are two ways to get it, both will involve a decent boost in costs. You can upgrade to BT Plus with Complete Wi-Fi or, you can simply buy the router from the BT Store. 

As for why you should upgrade, the BT Smart Hub 2 monitors your connection and reboots if there's a problem, works through an app to monitor performance, provides 7 antennas to maximise power, filters out interference and more. In essence, while this won't be an upgrade many need, those who really care about good internet will be looking to make the upgrade.

Legacy routers:

BT Home Hub 3 (opens in new tab)
BT no longer uses this hub but if you took out an older BT plan, you could well have this one. It uses smart scan tech, has four ethernet ports and has USB slots. However, it is only single band W-Fi so there is no support for 5GHz bands. This isn't the end of the world but it does mean it won't always be as fast for certain devices with 5GHz connectivity.

BT Home Hub 4 (opens in new tab)
This router came with BT's ADSL plans (slower than fibre), an option BT quietly removed at the end of 2019. It has four antennae, dual band Wi-Fi, four Ethernet ports and smart scan features. Because this came with BT's ADSL plan, it seems to be one of the weaker routers available from BT. 

BT Home Hub 5 (opens in new tab)
BT's Home Hub 5 is similar to the other home hub's in terms of features and design. It comes with 5 antennas, Dual AC Wi-Fi, 4 giga ethernet connections, USB Ports and like all of the other hubs from BT, Smart Wireless and Smart Scan. While it no longer comes with any BT broadband deals, many people will have one from older plans.

Alex is a journalist who has written extensively about all things broadband, SIMs and phone contracts, as well as scouring the internet to land you the best prices on the very latest in gadgets and tech. Whether that be with the latest iPhones and Android handsets, breaking down how broadband works or revealing the cheapest SIM plans, he's in the know, and will help you land a bargain.