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EE Smart 5G Hub

18th August 2023

5GEE Router 2021 Review




One of the best 5G routers

Expensive compared to some rivals

High top speeds

Only a small upgrade on predecessor

64 simultaneous connections

Quite big


The EE Smart 5G Hub is among the best 5G routers offered by a UK network at the time of writing so it's an excellent buy, but it's no better than Three’s, and it's quite expensive.

EE Smart 5G Hub Deals

latest image

EE Smart 5G Hub

500GB Data
£45.00 a month18 month contractEESee Deal
latest image

EE Smart 5G Hub

Unlimited Data
£50.00 a month18 month contractEESee Deal
  • Full Review
  • Specifications

The EE Smart 5G Hub is EE’s replacement to the 5GEE Home Router, and used to be called the 5GEE Router 2021.

It’s designed to bring 5G internet to your home, so you can get all of your gadgets online at the same speeds as EE’s mobile network offers. Of course, whether that’s better or worse than the speeds you’d get with conventional broadband depends on a number of factors, which we’ll look at below.

We’ll also look at how the EE Smart 5G Hub compares to the old model and to rival devices, and ultimately decide whether it’s worth buying.


The EE Smart 5G Hub is essentially a white rectangle, though it curves inwards towards the top. The top and bottom edges are black, providing a nice contrast with the white, and there are also indicator lights on the top, an EE logo on the front, and the various ports hidden around the back.

It’s ultimately got quite a similar look to the old model, except that one was almost all white, so the contrast you get here with the black makes it slightly more stylish and eye-catching.

5GEE Router Lights

The EE Smart 5G Hub is a fairly large device at 227 x 133 x 133mm, so if space is an issue that’s something to consider. Given how tall this is it won’t fit on all shelves, for example – though ideally you want lots of space around a router anyway, so shelves aren’t often the best home for them.

Incidentally, the Three 5G Broadband is the same underlying hardware, so it looks identical, while the Vodafone GigaCube 5G is a more cylindrical shape, but similarly white and inoffensive.


As with all 5G routers, setup here is quite straightforward, and certainly easier than calling out an engineer for conventional broadband. There’s none of that here, just plug the EE Smart 5G Hub in, switch it on, and follow the simple instructions on the included quick start guide.

The advantage to this simplicity means almost anyone should be able to get it working without much trouble, and you can be up and running within minutes of your router arriving, so it’s a slick, seamless process.

There’s also no need for a landline here, which both simplifies things and could reduce your costs if you choose to ditch your landline as a result.

Performance and speeds

EE doesn’t state what the maximum speed available on the EE Smart 5G Hub is, but it does say that you can expect average speeds of 146Mbps.

Actual speeds will be largely dependent on the state of EE’s network in your area. Obviously if there’s no 5G coverage reaching your home then you’ll be limited to 4G, and triple-digit speeds will likely be out of reach.

If you have strong 5G coverage though, then speeds significantly higher than 146Mbps shouldn’t be unrealistic, as those are quite conservative speeds by 5G standards. There will be other factors though, such as how well the signal penetrates the walls of your home, how far you are from a mast, and whether there are other obstacles for the signal.

For what it’s worth this appears to be a rebranded Zyxel NR5103 (though EE hasn’t confirmed as much). In which case, it might theoretically be capable of speeds of up to 4.67Gbps, though that’s well beyond what you’d get on any UK mobile network at the moment, so EE’s 146Mbps figure is a more useful one to look at.

Features and software

5GEE Router 2021 ports

The EE Smart 5G Hub can get up to 64 devices connected to the internet at once, which is a fairly standard figure for 5G routers but still a good one, as we doubt many people need more than that.

It’s got a 30-metre Wi-Fi range, and it also has both two Ethernet ports (for wired connections) and external antenna ports, which can be useful for boosting your signal if it’s not already good enough.

It can also smartly switch automatically between 5G and 4G, depending on signal strength, though in most cases you’ll probably be leaving this in one place and ideally getting 5G all the time. Finally, the EE Smart 5G Hub supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax Wi-Fi.


There aren’t really any alternative options on EE. There’s the 5G WiFi, but this is a battery-powered mobile broadband device, so it’s designed to be taken with you when you’re away from Wi-Fi and sockets. It’s more compact as you’d expect being a portable device, and the specs are largely similar, including the same advertised average speeds, though you only get one Ethernet port here.

If you’re open to other networks, then there’s the Three 5G Broadband and the Vodafone GigaCube 5G. As we noted elsewhere the Three 5G Broadband is actually the same device as the EE Smart 5G Hub, so the specs are identical, and any differences will come in coverage, pricing, and available plans.

The Vodafone GigaCube 5G is a different device, but not dramatically so. It supports the same number of simultaneous connections and it also includes Ethernet ports.

Though if the EE Smart 5G Hub really is the Zyxel NR5103 as it appears to be then its maximum theoretical speeds are a lot higher, topping out at 4.67Gbps rather than 2.8Gbps.

So EE’s latest router likely has a slight edge over Vodafone’s, but they’re similar enough that you should mostly decide based on which network has the best 5G performance near you, and which plans look most appealing.

Of course the other option is conventional fibre broadband. Whether this is better or worse will depend on the speeds of fibre available in your area, and whether you have a good 5G signal.

At the top end of fibre there are things like Virgin Gig1, which advertises average speeds of 1,130Mbps, which is far higher than you're likely to get with the EE Smart 5G Hub. However, that's not available to everyone, and there's a high chance your fibre broadband options will average under 100Mbps, in which case EE's alternative could well be better.


The EE Smart 5G Hub appears to just be a small upgrade on the previous model. The change is small enough that we’re not entirely sure why EE bothered – perhaps it’s because it doesn’t want to be selling Huawei gear, given the controversy around the company, or perhaps this newer version simply made more financial sense for EE.

Either way, as it’s slightly better it’s also one of the best 5G home broadband devices you can get on a UK network at the time of writing, but if you have the old model – or a model on a different network – there’s not really anything to be jealous about here.

If you want to be on EE specifically then this is a very solid buy (and the only real option) but it’s definitely worth considering other networks too, with Three in particular offering better deals on the same underlying device.

EE Smart 5G Hub Deals

latest image

EE Smart 5G Hub

500GB Data
£45.00 a month18 month contractEESee Deal
latest image

EE Smart 5G Hub

Unlimited Data
£50.00 a month18 month contractEESee Deal


  • Dimensions (mm): 227 x 133 x 131
  • Modem: 5G
  • Colours: White
  • Ethernet ports: 2
  • Download speed: averages 150Mbps
  • Wi-Fi specs: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
  • External antenna: 4x antenna ports
  • Power: Mains powered
  • Launch date: Out now

Editorial Manager

James has been writing for us for over 10 years. Currently, he is Editorial Manager for our group of companies ( 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk) and sub-editor at TechRadar. He specialises in smartphones, mobile networks/ technology, tablets, and wearables.

In the past, James has also written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media, Smart TV Radar, and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV. He has a film studies degree from the University of Kent, Canterbury, and has over a decade’s worth of professional writing experience.

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