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Nobody’s using your internet connection at 3am, so why shouldn’t you save some electricity and switch off your BT Home Hub – or any other router – when you go to bed?
Your devotion to the polar bears is admirable, but it’s actually not a great idea to unplug the router overnight. Here’s why.
First, repeatedly disconnecting your router could have a detrimental effect on your broadband speed. BT uses a system called Dynamic Line Management that is constantly monitoring the speed and reliability of your connection. If your line is showing regular disconnections, the software may automatically lower the speed of your line in order to achieve a stable connection. In short, your maximum line speed could plummet faster than Scotland’s chances of winning the World Cup.
There are other good reasons to leave the router running. Many devices – such as Sky+ boxes, Xbox consoles and others – quietly download software updates in the background, often in the wee hours of the morning when traffic is light. If you have your router switched off for eight hours a night, you could miss out on updates or slow your connection by having them delivered at peak times when the network is already clogged.
And while I’d never criticise anyone for shutting down gadgets that aren’t needed, the BT Home Hub doesn’t draw an awful amount of power, even when it’s firing on all cylinders. (Note: routers don’t actually have cylinders. Unless you get your broadband from TalkTalk…)
At peak usage, the BT Home Hub 5 will consume 14 watts – about the same as one of the brighter energy-saving lightbulbs. On standby with nothing happening, however, it draws a mere 0.1 watt. So if nothing’s happening overnight, you’re going to be a fraction of a penny down and the melting ice caps shouldn’t be on your conscience.