That unassuming little box in the corner of your living room might not look like much, but it’s pretty important. Get one that’s forever going wrong and it can be a frequent source of irritation.
We surveyed 1,258 members of the public to find out what their experiences were of owning a router sent out by a broadband provider. And we found some big differences in the responses. In our survey, more owners of TalkTalk routers had to get a replacement model after complaining of a fault than with any other brand.
Wireless router reviews – find out how all the big brand routers got on in our lab tests
What did TalkTalk customers tell us?
The responses from TalkTalk customers in our survey suggest that TalkTalk routers are more likely to develop a fault than those sent out by other broadband suppliers. A worryingly large 17% of TalkTalk router owners received a replacement router after reporting a suspected fault with their original one. That is nearly double the average for the routers sent out by the other broadband brands covered in our survey.
In order to better understand the issue, we asked what problems the TalkTalk customers we surveyed were noticing. Of those who experienced issues that they attributed to the router, a greater-than-average number told us they suffered intermittent signal, very slow speeds or no signal at all. All of these problems can be extremely frustrating, especially if you’re in the middle of a Skype chat with friends or catching up on the latest episode of your favourite programme.
A broadband brand to depend on
At the other end of the scale is Plusnet. Of the Plusnet customers included in our survey, just 4% were sent a replacement router after complaining to the company about a fault with the original.
In the past Plusnet has impressed us with their customer service and the company makes no exceptions when it comes to its routers. When customers reported problems with their internet, they were more likely to be satisfied with the way in which the problem was handled that customers’ of other broadband providers.
Changes to our router tests
In the past, we’ve heard from Which? members who told us their experience at home with their routers didn’t match our test lab results. So to ensure that we can really understand how a router will behave in your home, we’ve added an extra element to our testing.
This year, not only have we subjected each and every router to our challenging lab test regime, but we also surveyed members of the general public to see how the biggest broadband suppliers’ routers fare at home. We asked our survey respondents if they had experienced any problems with their internet that they believed to be down to the router, whether they contacted their provider and if so, how the provider responded. We combined this information with our tests results to reveal how routers behave outside of the lab in a home environment.
To find out how the routers got on in our lab where they were tested for qualities such as signal strength, speed of data transfer and security levels, click on the links below.