True cost of leaving your Wi-Fi on but never switch off your router

Broadband has become an integral part of our properties with millions of us now using the internet to work from home, stream movies, play games and keep gadgets – such as smart speakers and cameras – connected. Having decent Wi-Fi is now more vital than ever but have you ever wondered how much it costs to keep that flashing black box that sits in the corner of your living room running and what energy it munches through each day?

The team ISPreview have been crunching the numbers and it appears some equipment supplied by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) is more efficient than others. For example, according to ISPreview’s energy stats, TalkTalk’s standard Hub 1 costs £17.02 per year when idle and £26.93 per year when actively running. Meanwhile, ‘s Smart Hub Plus costs £26.57 per year when idle and £58.43 when being heavily used.

Hub 5 will munch through £34.27 when idle and £39.40 per year when downloading endless files and the typical cost for Sky Hub customers is £25.40.

ISPreview is keen to point out that all of the figures above are based on the January to March energy prices so things will be slightly cheaper now that the lower energy price cap has come into force.

The broadband experts also say that routers have become much more efficient in recent years – even BT’s most power-hungry Smart Hub Plus will cost less than 15p per day to have running.

Want to know how much your router costs? You can see the full report here.

If those costs have got you concerned and you’re now considering turning off your router at night then don’t.

Almost all ISPs recommend leaving their equipment on 24 hours a day as hitting the power button can do way more harm than good. That’s because endlessly switching on and off the router can start sending signals to your provider that there is a fault on the line. When this happens, ISPs often place emergency speed restrictions on the service to make sure the customer stays connected. 

“Constantly switching off the hub makes the line look unstable, meaning that your speed may be automatically reduced to improve the reliability of your broadband connection,” BT explained.

Along with downloads getting slower, vital security updates might not be received during the night if the power is off.

Explaining more about the issues with broadband routers and why it’s a good idea to keep them on, Aman Bhatti, Director of Propositions, Sky Broadband told “We know our routers are put through their paces during the day – whether on video calls, streaming the latest show, or online gaming. That’s why our routers run firmware updates during the night, to avoid any unnecessary disruption during the day.

“Switching off your router overnight can affect automatic software updates and optimisations which in turn can impact the overall performance, speed and stability of your Broadband. Other connected devices in the home that are connected to your router will also be disrupted by the delayed updates. All our current hubs are EU Eco Design Regulation approved, meaning no excessive energy consumption is being used.”

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