EE has announced the Bright Box 2, its latest wireless home broadband router that features next-gen dual-band technology and WiFi AC. 

Rolling out for the great price of free later this summer, the EE Bright Box 2 will also allow customers on fibre-based broadband connections to install everything themselves. Currently, customers who want faster fibre broadband need to arrange for a BT Openreach engineer to visit and set everything up. 

EE wants to liberate customers from having to be around at home for this. As with the previous EE Bright Box, the Bright Box 2 is small enough to be fit through most letterboxes. Sign up for EE broadband online and get everything you through the post. 

EE announces Bright Box 2 WiFi AC self-install wireless router: Hands-on pictures
The BrightBox 2 from EE is compact and light. iPhone 4 added for size comparison.

Sylvain Thevenot, marketing director for EE, explained to Recombu Digital that EE is working closely with BT on the current trials which are crucial for self-install to work. The EE Bright Box 2 contains a VDSL modem. Normally, the VDSL modem is set up by an Openreach engineer and is a separate white box that you plug in to your wireless router. 

EE Bright Box 2: No need to reach for an Openreach engineer

Setting up a VDSL modem can be difficult and if performed incorrectly, can see you getting a much slower broadband speed than you should. By offering an all-in-one plug-and-play solution, EE’s aiming to make things easier and remove this tricky element.

No fixed launch date has been given yet but EE is confident that the Bright Box 2 will be available by ‘late summer’.

As well a being a self-install ready solution, the EE Bright Box 2 is a dual-band router that makes use of WiFi AC. EE is saying that its the first WiFi AC wireless router available in the UK. This isn’t strictly true, as you can pick up WiFi AC routers like Netgear’s D6300 already. This is the first time we’ve seen a WiFi AC router on offer from a UK ISP however. 

EE announces Bright Box 2 WiFi AC self-install wireless router: Hands-on pictures
The EE Bright Box 2 is made by Arcadyan, which made the previous EE and Orange Bright Box routers

EE Bright Box 2: Dual-Band WiFi fun for all the family

In the image above you’ll see that on the back of this sample router there are two SSIDs; ‘EE-sswfpb’ and ‘5GHz EE-sswfpb’. You’ll be able to manually switch to either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz channel on your phones, laptops and other connected devices if you want a better connection. The 5GHz frequency is generally less congested than 2.GHz, so if you’re trying to do something like stream video then switching to this channel is a good idea.

EE says that the signal strength of the Bright Box 2 is double that of the previous Bright Box and will guarantee a solid wireless connecton up 250 metres away.

Not all of the technical spec (such as dimensions) were available at the launch event but here’s what we know so far:

EE Bright Box 2: Specifications

Ethernet LAN ports: 4 x Gigabit
Ethernet DSL: 1
WiFi: 802.11ac
USB 2.0 ports: 1

EE announces Bright Box 2 WiFi AC self-install wireless router: Hands-on pictures
The USB port on the Bright Box 2 can be used to connect portable hard drives and in the event your main connection is disrupted, act as a lifeline

A final point worth mentioning is that USB port. As with the previous Bright Box, you’ll be able to plug in a mobile broadband dongle and share your connection around the house should the worst happen and the fixed-line connection goes down. It happens occasionally, mainly when idiots try to steal copper cables

Thevenot told us that right now you can’t plug in a 4G mobile broadband dongle as there’s an issue with power supply. EE is working on an update for this right now and hopes to share some good news soon. In the meantime, you’ll be able to use a 3G mobile broadband dongle instead.