Upgrade router and its power supply?

So I am pretty happy with my streaming setup - have a good streamer, DAC, cables, PSUs and am happy with my EE 8switch network switch (it fits my budget, I know I can do better). For a relatively modest (in hi fi terms at least) outlay, the one final thing I guess I could upgrade would be my router and its power supply. I’m in the UK and my router is a stock BT home hub 6 with original switch mode power supply. Has anyone upgraded from something similar and if so, to what? Also anyone upgraded the power supply of a router like the BT Home hub? Any recommendations and impressions having done so? I’m guessing at the very least, upgrading from the wall wart SMPS will reduce electrical noise in the circuit.

As you are already with BT, you will not do better than upgrading to BT Smarthub-2.
The supplied PS is good, you can try something like a iFi, but I couldn’t hear any difference on mine, so I went back to the BT unit.


I am with BT - I believe my router is not the very latest gen smart hub but one gen earlier - still a smart hub. It works well as a router, it’s stable etc., was just wondering if the cheap Chinese SMPS that BT supply was introducing unwanted electrical interference into my mains, but then I do have SMPS units dotted around the house for other things like answerphones etc, so maybe worrying about the one on the router is pointless, although I do note some folks do choose to replace these router SMPS units with ifi units or even linear supplies - I see MCRU makes one for BT routers for example

Is your system on a seperate circuit to the rest of your home firstly.
If it isn’t that’s where you should start.
Even BT have strict and demanding standards for sourcing products for use by their customers on their networks, there’s often a universal “cheap/Chinese” catchall applied to switch mode supplies without really having measured if a given supply performs well or poorly including if it produces unwanted noise during use.
If you assume the supply is introducing noise, is that noise reaching your system and degrading the performance of what comes out of your speakers?
In my case, also as a UK BT customer, I have a seperate Modem → Router → Ethernet Switch → Wi-Fi AP’s setup. This is all my own replacement kit to that supplied by BT.

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The ‘Smart’ word is just marketing spin. But I have to say after using the HH5 & HH6, the Smarthub-2 is at another level. It’s powerful & simply works better, plus it’s designed to partner with the SH black extender disc’s, it makes for an easy foolproof non-techie friendly setup.
Yes the Smarthub-2 is purposely designed to be somewhat limiting in tweaking features, a no-no for techie geeks, but they consider anything ISP supplied to be not worthy anyway & pay many times more for something to fiddle with that is probably no better in performance.

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Power supplies aside, you make an important point here. The equipment BT supply is managed centrally/remotely by BT using a mechanism commonly refered to as TR-069, more recently evolved in to TR-369 or USP (User Services Platform).
These specifications, widely used by Telco’s around the world, are developed and maintained by the Broadband Forum. This is a hidden feature to end users which is constantly and proactively monitoring multiple parameters to ensure optimal functionality. Their Wi-Fi Mesh “disc” system also uses this feature to optimise setup and operation and do so in a way that is manageable for all end users, technical or not.
BT don’t restrict end users to connect their own modem if they wish, but in doing so, they lose the monitoring benefits of the equipment BT supply.
Making any equipment changes is primarily about flexibility and configurability rather than improving performance. Changing power supplies on any CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) I can’t talk to the benefits of, having never replaced the supplied ones, I do know from my work at an equipment manufacturer (we supply BT, Virgin etc) that things like power supplies are measured for noise and interference and specified within certain tolerances that under normal use would not see any issues.
Replacing the stock PSU is not likely to break anything or make it any worse, whether it improves the performance of your Hi-Fi will come down to personal bias rather than any measured conclusion I expect.
I’d certainly be cautious of assuming that all Linear supplies are good and all Switch Mode supplies are bad, what is the most suitable depends on multiple factors.

But is hifi ‘normal use’?

Given that in digital streaming reducing various forms of EM noise is one of the main ways to improve SQ.

I can look at this from multiple perspectives. As a consumer and as an engineer working for a device manufacturer that designs and develops a range of products for both residential and commercial/industrial settings.
The products that we supply to operators like Virgin Media as a UK example, are built to comply to standards first and foremost and to operate safely. I’ve never seen a network operator specify any expectations with respect to audio playback quality. Environmental tollerance isn’t defined by specific usecases, beyond a product supporting specific codecs or standards to support target usecases, the components handling those tasks are defined by price rather than performance typically.
So you have options at this point, take the stock consumer grade products and use as is, replace some parts of those products like their power supply, or spend more money on an alternative built to higher tollerance for more demanding environments or built with a specific usecase in mind, what you’d probably label an audiophile varient.
I’d suggest if you want to optimise how those products interact with an audio system that it’s preferable to start with something already designed to a higher specification whether that’s one intended for audio use specifically or for use in a demanding industrial setting.
Trying to tweak anything built for retail/domestic use seems a poor use of funds when a similar investment in something designed to a higher specification from the start is a better investment.
I’m fortunate to have access to Ruckus equipment at work but comparing that to a Netgear/DLink/Linksys type product will easily show the difference in build quality and performance, as it should given the relative price differences.

I fitted an ifi ipower2 to my Sky Q Router. Not good!


I changed my sky q router / hub and that made a massive difference both in sq and operation.


Well i took a gamble and got hold of a MCRU linear power supply for my BT SMart hub. Was a hell of a job finding the right DC tip as the hub one is non-standard. I have bedded it in and I have to say there is a noticeable improvement in sound, mostly in terms of dynamics, noise floor and detail. I imagine the BT bundled SMPS was possibly introducing some electrical noise into my hi fi rig.



I tried the iFi PS on my BT SH2 & it made no difference that I could detect.

Fair enough.

Bear in mind my BT router is situated close to my hi fi rig and plugged into an adjacent electrical outlet to my main hi fi rig so this could be a factor - if your router is not in close proximity to your hi fi rig and potentially on a different electrical circuit or at least not a nearby electrical outlet, I could theorise that the benefits of switching out the bundled SMPS for something better may be reduced. Similarly, if you already have expensive power conditioning gear such as high end Isotek, Audioquest, Titan Audio etc, then maybe you will benefit less. I think it’s a case of suck it and see and buy a power supply from a supplier with a decent return policy

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My BT hub is close to the NDX streamer, aprx 1 metre physically & 5 metres over ethernet.
There is no way I would have a power ‘conditioner’, however I suspect it might be something to do with how & have the BT hub connected; it’s powered (plus phone & network switch SMPS’s) from an APC (UPS) outlet which incudes an internal isolation transformer & a C&D mode filter.
I should add (PS) that this supply & the individual SMPS’s are loaded with the correct frequency ferrites on both AC & DC.

There you go, I think that probably explains why you found no benefit from the ifi

I can vouch for the benefits (including health) of improving the power supply to a router;

Years ago I upgraded our TalkTalk router, which unfortunately is situated in the lounge and is also WiFi. All hifi was cable-connected but the WiFi was needed for laptops in other rooms.
Streaming music sounded cloudy and muddy. We also noticed feeling lethargic and getting headaches in the evenings.

So I did some research on the negative effects of EMI and RFI, both on hifi performance and on health. It was a shocking wake-up !

I invested in a Puritan distribution strip (it was recommended by the dealer as they are mains ‘purifiers’ rather than ‘conditioners’) and shielded / insulated mains leads, and plugged in an SBooster power supply for the router.

There were very noticeable improvements - no more headaches, and streaming music was much clearer and cleaner to the point of actually hearing timbre and texture.
IMO a very worthwhile project overall.


Thanks for sharing your experience - I have heard good things of Puritan mains products

Are you pleased with the new PS? I found MCRU very helpful and knowledgeable when I contacted them.

I find as well as improving individual aspects of SQ, reducing the mains noise also takes away the digital harshness and glare. The music sounds smoother and easier to listen to.