Sky Broadband Sky Hub pictures and hands-on

Sky has announced the launch of a new broadband hub which it hopes will increase where you can use its Sky Go and Now TV services in the home, but is it that simple? Pocket-lint installed the new Sky Hub to find out.

Open the box and the simplicity starts straight away. Installing the router is incredibly easy - thanks to a simple step-by-step guide - and, aside from plugging in the router to provide power and connecting it to your Sky Broadband phone line, there is little to do.

The design this time around is a big white box rather than trying to emulate the Sky+ HD box design, and it looks better for it - not that you'll be putting it on display: there really is no point.  

Plug it in - the plug has the Sky logo on it so you can spot it quickly later, a nice touch - and a couple of minutes later and the lights on the front of the perhaps overly large box start to blink. There are four key lights on the front: Power, Internet, Ethernet and Sky HD.

READ: Sky Anytime+ review

Unlike usual routers there is no setup required. The Sky Hub automatically connects to your Sky Broadband account, and automatically signs you in. It also automatically creates a Wi-Fi network and a password to protect your connection, which you can of course change.

READ: Sky 1TB set-top box review

Within 5 minutes we were up and running, surfing on Pocket-lint as if we were on the old Sky router. If you are thinking that Sky knew our account details and therefore made the whole experience easier, it didn’t.

Once you've got online all that's left to do is surf the web. The concept of the new Sky Hub is that it promises the "best wireless range of any major provider" in the UK.

We have to admit we were dubious of the claims, however in a series of quick tests around our house we've been impressed, especially over the performance of the original Sky router.

For us that is a win, win. By installing the new Sky Hub we've now got Wi-Fi and therefore the internet in places around our house were we didn't have

The Sky Hub achieves this by including two MIMO aerials inside the box and then automatically scanning for potential interference in the home before selecting the best wireless channel, to give the strongest and most reliable connection available. 

How, where and why isn't really important. What is important is that it works, works as it says it does and we've seen a vast improvement on both the range and speed front over the previous Sky router in various rooms in our test house. 

Those not relying on Wi-Fi will get 4 x 100mb Ports with activity LEDs around the back so you can plug in most of your kit such as your Xbox 360 or your PS3. Those plugging in the Hub to their Sky HD+ box will also activate the Sky HD+ light on the front to let you know you are getting that benefit too.

We didn't think we would say this, but we like the Sky Hub a lot.

The new Sky Hub, will come as standard for those customers joining or switching their broadband to Sky from 18 October.

The Sky Hub costs £69 and is available on an exclusive offer to all existing Sky Broadband customers for £39 for a limited period.