Dan Howdle | July 12th, 2023
Sky has today begun offering its new 'WiFi Max' add-on. With it comes a new, upgraded router with the latest WiFi 6 technology (explained in this blog), a 'WiFi Guarantee', advanced security and the ability to pause and set schedules and limits on specific devices – very useful for managing your kids' screen time. Sadly, this wifi upgrade bundle doesn't come free. Let's take a closer look at what you get, whether you can get it, and what it will cost you.
Before we get stuck into the individual aspects of this Sky Broadband add-on, it's important to understand that Sky has had a product like this for a few years now, called Sky Broadband Boost. Sky WiFi Max is a replacement for that add-on, but more than just simply renaming it. There are some important differences and improvements. Let's take a quick look at how they compare.
|Sky Broadband Boost
|Sky WiFi Max
|Yes: Sky Max Hub
|Yes: Up to three Max Pods
|£5 per month
|£7.50 per month, £9.95 router postage
|Free anytime engineer visits
Let's be clear, the Sky's Broadband Hub router was already decent enough. And it's still the router you'll get as standard with any Sky Broadband deal if you don't choose this add-on to go with it. The main feature offered by the Sky Max Hub – by the way a not at all confusing name considering Sky has a TV channel called Sky Max (sarc) – is that it can converse with devices using the latest WiFi 6 technology.
Sky is yet to, at the time of writing, release a full spec sheet for the Sky Max Hub, but typically with WiFi 6 routers you will tend to get faster, less laggy wifi that's happier when routing to and managing many more devices than its predecessors. But before you get too excited about that, bear in mind only the very latest and highest-end phones, tablets and laptops can make use of WiFi 6 at the moment. There will be plenty of people then, if failing to establish if their devices can use it, that will pay for this add-on and experience wifi that's no faster than it was before – it will still work, but on the older protocol. Don't be one of those people. Check what your devices can handle.
This is actually quite confusing, because Sky's WiFi guarantee isn't the same as its 'Wall to Wall WiFi Guarantee'. But that's what we're here for. Wall to Wall WiFi Guarantee, which you'll get as standard, without any add-ons, promises you'll get at least 3Mbps over wifi in every room and failing that you'll get a month's broadband subscription price credited back to you. But you're only allowed to claim this once across the span of your 18-month contract, so it's unclear what exactly it's guaranteeing.
With the new Sky Max WiFi Guarantee, these minimum guaranteed speeds in every room increase substantially, with up to a 25Mbps minimum guaranteed speed applied to its fastest packages, but less the slower the deal. 25Mbps is enough to stream in 4K, which is among the most taxing tasks commonly found in the home these days when it comes to wifi speed.
To be perfectly honest, you should expect to get great wifi throughout your home regardless, but these guarantees do at least offer some recompense should it not reach the further reaches of your home and at a decent lick.
Wifi extenders can be useful if you live in a particularly large, long, awkwardly shaped, or thick-walled home. Their basic function is to act as a relay for your wifi signal. Placing an extender within range of your router, but closer to the part of your home your wifi is struggling to reach, will relay the signal further than the router on its own could otherwise manage.
The Sky WiFi Max add-on offers up to three of these extenders – called Sky Max Pods – based on necessity. In other words, you will need to ask for them if you find out you need them, you won't be sent them automatically. They are, however, free. And, as they're designed to marry to the router, they're going to be simpler and easier to set up and run than your typical third-party booster. Along with the Max Hub router and its WiFi 6 capability, we'd say this is the other main feature that make the additional monthly cost worth it to some.
Compared to its predecessor, Sky Broadband Boost, you'll be paying £7.50 per month on top of the price of your broadband package for the duration of your 18-month contract. That's £135 for a better router and up to three Max Pod extenders which, honestly, isn't too bad at all. But there are some caveats.
Firstly, the monthly fee for Sky WiFi Max goes up to £10 when your contract ends. At that point we'd say it's edging into the territory of not being particularly good value for money. So be aware of that. Secondly, if you're an existing Sky Broadband customer and you want to upgrade to Sky WiFi Max, Sky may restart your contract term on that basis. Be sure you understand you may be reentering a new contract with Sky if this is the case.
Surely any engineer visit is free, right? Your broadband broke down and Sky should fix it? Well, yes, and no. Any engineer visit within normal working hours Monday to Friday is free. But if you can't be there and need a weekend or evening appointment, normally Sky would charge you for this, because they have to pay their engineers overtime, presumably.
Not so if you take out Sky WiFi Max. With this add-on, it's free to book an engineer anytime. This was the same with the previous add-on, Sky Broadband Boost so nothing new here, just consistency.
Sky WiFi Max is very much worth the money if you have home wifi range issues and can use its extenders, and if you have a lot of new or new-ish devices that can make use of WiFi 6. Beyond that though, £7.50 per month is a hefty premium to pay if you're not intending to make use of those things, and we'd advise therefore to steer clear.