What is Sky WiFi Max and is it worth the extra cost?

Dan Howdle | November 1st, 2023

Sky WiFi Max

Sky WiFi Max, not to be overly confused with Virgin Media WiFi Max or BT Complete Wifi – more on that later – is Sky's peace-of-mind broadband add-on. In essence, you'll pay an additional monthly fee for a number of benefits which will be more or less beneficial to certain customers.

When it comes to paying extra each month you have to establish whether it's something you actually need – why would you pay for something you don't? And to do that you're going to want to know the fine details of what's on offer and indeed when and how those benefits come into play. And that's precisely why we've written this guide.

What is Sky WiFi Max?

Sky WiFi Max is a bolt-on service you can add to any Sky Broadband package that's either fibre or full fibre (speeds between 36Mbps to 900Mbps). At its most basic level it offers a guarantee that you'll get a minimum speed wifi in every room in your home.

Sky will send you a new router (the Sky Max Hub), run a bunch of tests for you to find out where your household wifi notspots and if necessary send you up to three Sky WiFi Pods (mesh router extenders) to reach any parts your router alone cannot. Furthermore, if it fails to deliver the promised speed to every room (well, they say every room, but that has limits too, more on that later), you will get a month's worth of broadband for free. Sky says 'fast wifi or your money back' essentially, but as with most things in life, it's not quite that simple.

Pros and cons

Here's a quick look at the headline pros and cons when it comes to the Sky WiFi Max broadband package add-on:

Pros

  • Upgraded router
  • Wifi guaranteed in every room
  • Free evening/weekend engineer visits

Cons

  • Adds a fair bit to your bill
  • Wifi guarantee has limits
  • Some features not needed by majority

Here's an at-a-glance look at everything offered by Sky WiFi Max:

  • New router with up to three Sky WiFi Pods: Whether you're signing up as a new customer or upgrading your existing package to include Sky WiFi Max, you'll get Sky's new, upgraded router: The Sky Max Hub. If its wifi doesn't reach every room in your house you'll also get up to the WiFi Pods (range extenders)
  • Sky's Enhanced Wall to Wall WiFi Guarantee: Which guarantees wifi of a minimum specified speed to every room in your home. Refer to the table further down this guide for the finer details
  • Advanced Security: Activated via your My Sky app, you'll be able to activate an extra layer of your security only available to customers with the Sky Max Hub (so WiFi Max subscribers). You can also set up alerts for incoming security threats and more
  • Engineer visits when they suit you: If you need to call an engineer out to fix something, Sky WiFi Max means you won't pay the £15 Sky normally charges for an evening or weekend appointment (weekday appointments are free to everyone)
  • Free mobile data for Sky Mobile customers during broadband outages: Only relevant if you're a Sky Mobile customer – Sky won't charge you for your data when your broadband's down (up to 2GB)

Sky Max Hub router specifications

When you upgrade to Sky WiFi Max, you'll get the Sky Max Hub, an exclusive, beefier router not handed out to the riff-raff. And it's good. Very good. After all, Sky doesn't want a slew of people claiming money back on their wifi guarantee.

Let's take a look at the Sky Max Hub specs:

Feature Specification
Wi-Fi Dual-band Wi-Fi radios, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, 4x4, MU-MIMO, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11 a/n/ac, ax), ADSL2+, VDSL2, and FTTP
Bands Tri-band
Ethernet 3x 1Gbps LAN ports, 1 dual LAN/WAN 1Gbps
Extras USB-C, 2 RJ11 ports, parental controls, downtime scheduling, OpenSync, DFS

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How to get Sky WiFi Max

Sky WiFi Max will cost you an extra £7.50 to £10 per month (at the time of writing) so it's not exactly small beer. Here's how it works for new and existing customers:

Sky WiFi Max for existing Sky customers

  • Check your speed: Sky WiFi Max is available to all Sky Broadband customers barring those on ADSL broadband connections. You'll know if you're on ADSL because your broadband speed will be 17Mbps or less (10Mbps avg.). If you're on ADSL you'll have to upgrade your speed before you can get Sky WiFi Max
  • Call Sky: If your broadband is fast enough, you'll need to call Sky to upgrade your package. You can call Sky directly on 0333 7591 018
  • Wait for new router: Sky will post you a new router, the Sky Max Hub, along with instructions on how to set it up
  • Set up your new router: Basically, plug it in and go. Setup of the Max Hub is a doddle
  • Tell Sky about your notspots: If your shiny, new Max Hub isn't reaching every part of your home with decent wifi, you'll need to call Sky. They will have a series of questions for you which will determine how many WiFi Pods (extenders) you'll be sent

Sky WiFi Max for new Sky customers

  • Pick a fast Sky Broadband package: As a new customer, picking any Sky Broadband or Sky Broadband and TV bundle with at least 36Mbps (fibre and up), will unlock the ability to add on Sky WiFi Max during the checkout process
  • Wait for installation: Sky will post you a new router, the Sky Max Hub, along with instructions on how to set it up, and you'll get an activation date for your new services
  • Activate your Max Hub on the given date: Setup is very easy. You'll need to plug in your new router once your services are switched (Sky will tell you the day)
  • Tell Sky about your notspots: If your shiny, new Max Hub isn't reaching every part of your home with decent wifi, you'll need to call Sky. They will have a series of questions for you which will determine how many WiFi Pods (extenders) you'll be sent

How Sky WiFi Max compares to Virgin Media and BT

You may not be aware, but Sky isn't the only major provider to get in on the whole 'pay us more and we'll guarantee great wifi' game. Bt's been offering it's 'Complete WiFi' option longer than anyone else, while Virgin Media hasn't even bothered to disguise the the fact it's offering a very similar product with its 'Virgin WiFi Max' add-on.

They all work in similar fashion, so if you've read this far you'll have a fair idea of what to expect. Nevertheless, the offerings from the three do differ. Here's an at-a-glance comparison:

Feature Sky WiFi Max Virgin WiFi Max BT Complete WiFi
Upgraded Router Yes No No
Extender Pods Up to 3 Up to 3 Up to 3
Engineer Visits No charge evening/weekend Free without add-on Free without add-on
Speed Guarantee Yes Yes Yes
Minimum Speed Guaranteed 10Mbps fibre, 25Mbps full fibre 30Mbps, every package No speed specified
Coverage Guaranteed Up to 5 bedrooms or 12 rooms total Whole home Whole home
Free Mobile Data 2GB during outages on Sky Mobile No No
Compensation One month free broadband £100 £100
Additional Internet Security Yes No No

The Sky Max WiFi guarantee (small print)

As we mentioned earlier on, this guarantee isn't quite as simple as Sky would have you believe. Indeed, Sky says in multiple locations in its advertising of Sky WiFi Max that it's essentially guaranteed great wifi reception across your whole house or your money back. The fact is though, that there are a lot of 'buts' hidden within the small print. Let's take a look at what Sky is less keen to tell you than its simple product headline:

Whole home might not mean your whole home

Sky's WiFi Guarantee covers up to five bedrooms or 12 rooms total in your home. That's still a lot, and most folk won't have to worry about exceeding that. However, it is limited. If you live in Buckingham Palace, Sky isn't going to keep throwing WiFi Pods at you till it all works. You'll get up to three and that will be your lot.

You're not guaranteed your full wifi speeds

Sky WiFi Max guarantees a minimum of 10Mbps over wifi for fibre connections (36Mbps to 61Mbps broadband deals), and a minimum of 25Mbps for all of its full fibre packages (100Mbps to 900Mbps). That's actually quite slow relative to the connection your package actually has to the internet. And that makes it even less likely you'll ever be able to claim the compensation the guarantee promises. Oh yeah, and about that…

If Sky fails on its speed promise you get one month free broadband

Sure. If you're not getting the speeds you'd hoped with Sky WiFi Max, you'll get a month of Sky Broadband for free. But you'll only get it once. You're not going to keep getting free months as your minimum speeds continue not to be met, and you continue to pay extra for Sky WiFi Max.

Now, it's going to be extremely rare that Sky isn't able to fulfil it's promise, but still.

Other benefits of Sky WiFi Max

You may have seen in the table above that Sky WiFi Max doesn't just offer a wifi speed guarantee, unlike its two main competitors in this space who focus on that and little besides. There are other benefits. Whether you'll be able to take advantage of any of them however, well, that's another matter.

Advanced Security

Sky is rather non-specific about what it means by offering 'Advanced Security', so speaking as experts we're going to give you our take. It is likely, though by no means certain, the 'Advanced Security' on offer here is simply a bi-product of having a more advanced router. Sky is welcome to get in touch and tell us otherwise.

Free out-of-hours engineer visits

If something goes wrong that Sky Broadband can't fix remotely, you're going to need an engineer visit. And Sky will normally charge £15 per visit if it occurs outside of normal office hours (evenings and weekends). If you're a Sky WiFi Max customer, Sky will waive this charge. But then, ideally, nothing goes wrong in the first place, right?

Free data during outages for Sky Mobile customers

Again, this is of very limited use. Sky Mobile has a very small markets share, meaning the number of people who can benefit from it is small. And then there;'s the fact you only get a free additional 2GB during outages of your Sky Broadband, you'd also have to be pretty hard up for data to care. There's probably one person in the UK that's excited about this, and good for them.

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What we think

At face value, Sky offers the most among similar products from both Virgin Media and BT. However, on closer examination, outside of the router upgrade, the extender pods and the wifi speed guarantee, there's very little most folk could make use of.

But let's not underestimate what Sky does offer here. Because as many times as we might have rolled our eyes a little, we actually reckon Sky WiFi Max is pretty good. Look at it this way, Sky is the only provider of the three offering a new router literally no one else gets to have (the Sky Max Hub). Likewise, what appear to be limitations on what's guaranteed and where wifi speed-wise, looked at from a slightly different angle, these limits provide reasonable expectations where Virgin Media and BT, who simply promise 'whole home', are perhaps more likely to fail in their promise.

At £7.50 to £10 per month (it varies), that money does mount up. But if you've got a large home, that really is money very well spent. A good mesh wifi system will set you back hundreds, and Sky is offering one for a lot less.

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