Zen

Multi-award winning broadband with outstanding reliability and support

  • Multi-award winning broadband
  • UK-based technical support staff who don't use scripts
  • 1 month rolling contracts with all standard broadband deals
  • Standalone broadband available - including fibre
  • Truly unlimited usage on fibre broadband and large allowances on standard
  • Rated the most reliable out of all suppliers on Broadband.co.uk

Go to site

Zen Unlimited Broadband with Line Rental
£16.99 for 6 months
£32.99 thereafter

No upfront cost

  • 6 months reduced price
  • Truly unlimited usage
  • N-rated Wireless Router
  • Static IP address
  • UK-based technical support
  • Top rated for reliability and service
  • Only pay for the calls you use
  • No activation fee
  • 12 month contract

Buy now

Zen Fibre 1 with Line Rental
£36.49 per month
12 month contract

£55.00 upfront cost

  • Up to 38Mb download speed
  • Up to 9.5Mb upload speed!
  • 50GB monthly usage
  • Static IP address
  • UK-based technical support
  • Zen line rental and calls
  • AC-rated Wireless Router
  • Only pay for the calls you use
  • 12 month contract

Buy now

Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 with Line Rental
£46.99 per month
12 month contract

£55.00 upfront cost

  • Up to 76Mb download speed
  • Up to 19Mb upload speed!
  • Truly unlimited usage
  • Static IP address
  • UK-based technical support
  • Zen line rental and calls
  • AC-rated Wireless Router
  • 12 month contract

Buy now

Reasons to choose Zen Broadband

  • Reliable - as a primarily business-focused provider, Zen prioritises reliability and technical support. As such, they're rated most reliable of all suppliers on Broadband.co.uk
  • Technical support - Zen's support staff are UK-based and work from technical knowledge rather than scripts
  • Fibre packages available - speeds of up to 76Mb download and up to 19Mb upload available in enabled areas
  • Standalone fibre packages - Zen are one of the few providers that don't require you to switch your line rental and calls to them for their fibre products
  • Rolling contracts on all standard broadband - for no additional charge, all ADSL-based products come with a contract with no minimum term; just give a month's notice to cancel at all time
  • Truly unlimited usage with no traffic management slowdowns available on fibre and ADSL
  • Phone bundles - all deals come with the option of line rental and pay for what you use calls. Anytime calls can be added by taking out Line Rental Plus
  • Award winning products and customer service - Ten year winner of PC Pro's Best ISP Award and Which? Magazine's recommended broadband and phone services supplier April 2013
  • Faster in the evenings - due to being a business-focused provider, Zen's network has a 'peak time' during working hours and actually sees a slight speed increase in the evenings
  • Static IP addresses included as standard

Possible downsides

  • No short contracts on fibre - however 12 months is among the shortest contracts any provider offers for this service
  • No inclusive phone calls - there is no evening or weekend inclusive calling period on Zen's phone bundles, you just pay for the calls you use, or pay an extra £6.31 a month for anytime calls
  • Premium service - Zen prioritises reliability and quality of service over offering the very lowest prices

Features at a glance

  • Up to 17Mb download speeds, up to 1Mb upload speeds - or up to 76Mb download and 19Mb upload with their superfast fibre optic service

  • 1 month contracts on ADSL, 12 month on fibre

  • Download allowances from 20GB to truly unlimited, or 50GB to truly unlimited on fibre

  • Free connection if switching from another supplier (£48 for new connections)

  • UK based customer and technical support

  • 11 email addresses with every account

  • Email anti-virus protection

  • Only pay for the calls you use with basic line rental, or opt for an Anytime package

4.3 stars
  satisfaction rating based on 655 customer ratings since 2016-10-23. See more Zen customer ratings and reviews.

Details last checked on 2017-10-13

Scroll for More
Package    
Speed    
Usage    
Contract    
1st Year Cost  (Sorted)  
Monthly Cost    
Zen Broadband More Info

No activation fee

up to
17Mb
20GB 1
month
£185
plus line
rental costs
£15.40
Separate line rental required

Go to site
Zen Unlimited Broadband More Info

No activation fee

up to
17Mb
truly
unlimited
1
month
£257
plus line
rental costs
£21.40
Separate line rental required

Go to site
Zen Unlimited Broadband with Line Rental More Info

Special offer: 6 months reduced price + no activation fee
Add unlimited inclusive anytime minutes for an extra £6.51 a month with Line Rental Plus

Phone CallingLine Rental

up to
17Mb
truly
unlimited
12
months
£300 £16.99
£32.99 after 6 months

Go to site
Zen Broadband with Line Rental More Info

Add unlimited inclusive anytime minutes for an extra £6.51 a month with Line Rental Plus

Phone CallingLine Rental

up to
17Mb
20GB 1
month
£324 £26.99

Go to site
Zen Fibre 1 More Info

Keep your existing line rental and calls deal

802.11ac Wireless Router

up to
38Mb
50GB 12
months
£354
plus line
rental costs
£24.90
Separate line rental required

£55.00 upfront cost

Go to site
Zen Unlimited Fibre 1 More Info

Keep your existing line rental and calls deal

802.11ac Wireless Router

up to
38Mb
truly
unlimited
12
months
£444
plus line
rental costs
£32.40
Separate line rental required

£55.00 upfront cost

Go to site
Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 More Info

Keep your existing line rental and calls deal

802.11ac Wireless Router

up to
76Mb
truly
unlimited
12
months
£480
plus line
rental costs
£35.40
Separate line rental required

£55.00 upfront cost

Go to site
Zen Fibre 1 with Line Rental More Info

Add unlimited inclusive anytime minutes for an extra £6.51 a month with Line Rental Plus

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingLine Rental

up to
38Mb
50GB 12
months
£493 £36.49

£55.00 upfront cost

Go to site
Zen Unlimited Fibre 1 with Line Rental More Info

Add unlimited inclusive anytime minutes for an extra £6.51 a month with Line Rental Plus

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingLine Rental

up to
38Mb
truly
unlimited
12
months
£583 £43.99

£55.00 upfront cost

Go to site
Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 with Line Rental More Info

Add unlimited inclusive anytime minutes for an extra £6.51 a month with Line Rental Plus

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingLine Rental

up to
76Mb
truly
unlimited
12
months
£619 £46.99

£55.00 upfront cost

Go to site
  • ICON KEY
  • Wireless Router
  • 802.11n Wireless Router
  • 802.11ac Wireless Router
  • Phone Calling
  • Television Service
  • Line Rental

Details last checked on 2017-10-13

Customer Reviews

Sometimes the best way to get a feel for a broadband provider is to read what those who are already customers think of the service they're receiving. Below are all the reviews we've received for Zen.

Customer Ratings Summary

  • Satisfaction
    4.3 stars
  • Speed
    3.8 stars
  • Reliability
    4.1 stars
  • Customer Service
    4.4 stars

Based on 655 customer ratings since 2016-10-23

Show all time ratings

Add your own review of Zen

Ratings are left by users of our speed test as well as by reviewers. Recent star ratings summarise the last 12 months of ratings or the last 100 placed, whichever is largest.

Reviewer Location Reviewing Date Ratings
Rubbish services from day one. stay away from them and save yourself the hassle.
London Zen  
BY far the worst internet provider I have ever used. I had problems from day one and it just continued to impress me. network down every so often, slow connection and this is just few of what I have experienced. I'm extremely surprised that some customers rates them a a good provider and those kind of inaccurate reviews are very misleading. stay away and give yourself some peace of mind. I decided to post this review to make sure others are fully aware and not mislead by those good reviews.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
UK Zen  
I have been with Zen for 9 months now, it has been a solid , reliable connection (fibre 2) running at speeds that are quicker than my former BT broadband.
I have used the customer services twice and both time they have come up trumps(faulty cable and a router reset that went wrong), its good to get a uk call centre that answers the phone quickly!
The changeover from BT went supersmooth. These are not the cheapest ISP I have had but to date they have been the best..
  • Satisfaction
    5 stars
  • Speed
    5 stars
  • Reliability
    5 stars
  • Customer Service
    5 stars
Southampton Zen  
Rubbish everything!! Had trouble from start to finish, it was only when I said I wanted to cease service that they mentioned they had replaced the hub as it was not up to standard..why didn't I get a new one then???
PONTYCLUN Zen  
Strange how the reviews are either fantastic or dire! We moved from Talk Talk because they positively lied to us about the reasons for our poor speeds and intermittent availability. Zen took over the line and with some great support from their call centre have resolved the intermittency issues and stabilized the speed at a quite acceptable 6Mb (we are not on fibre). We have found the support to be first rate, the information given to be realistic and honest and the solutions practical. They don't provide a great deal of whistles and bells but do provide solid service. Our opinion is that they do deserve their position as one of the better suppliers certainly after our experience of some of the others in the market.
  • Satisfaction
    4 stars
  • Speed
    5 stars
  • Reliability
    4 stars
  • Customer Service
    4 stars
Walsall Zen  
Staggeringly bad customer service.

Called up on moving into a new home. 2-3 weeks and we'd be set, they said! Then booked an engineer appointment in a month's time. Engineer never showed up, no call or email. Then they said we didn't need an engineer after all, the line had been activated. Line didn't work. They thought about it, and suggested... an engineer callout! In a month's time! For £130! And STILL no broadband of any description. Absolute joke. Avoid like the plague.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
North London Zen  
Switched from BT Infinity 2 to Zen's equivalent. BT was constantly 60-70Mbps, even in the evenings. Zen is less than 10Mbps during the evening which is making the internet unusable for us. Very annoyed at paying a significant amount for such dire speed - might as well have gone with Talktalk. Going the formal complaint route to try and escape them.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
London Zen  
I had very high hopes for this service based on good reviews, including ' Which'. I ignored my reservations on the high cost plus the expensive router which I was assured would provide better speeds. The service worked okay for 4-6 weeks. Since then I've had consistently slow speeds of 3, 5 and 7 - yes really. The slow speeds usually happen after 8 pm and weekends when the call centre is closed. Even on a 'good'day the speed is mediocre at best. The high monthly cost cannot justify the poor service. Unfortunately I can't cancel my contract without penalty until April 2018. Would not recommend.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
Stirlingshire Zen  
Been with them for last 6 months . service is top notch . never had any downtime and speeds are constant even during peak times . Customer service is spot on . no complains here .
  • Satisfaction
    5 stars
  • Speed
    5 stars
  • Reliability
    5 stars
  • Customer Service
    5 stars
Luton Zen  
I chose Zen as they appeared to have good reviews on local websites. However, their provision is beyond bad. We have unlimited fibre but it is pointless as the speeds are so slow it makes all but the most basic Internet browsing impossible. The one thing they have given me is a new found ability to live life without TV,or much use of the net. Our contract is up in december and we will be leaving. They have never offered an apology or tried to really 'fix' our problem, but continue to take £48 (yes you heard correct) per month off us for the privilege of zero Internet. BUYER BEWARE!
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
Todmorden Zen  

Loading...

Sky Q Hub

Why getting a new router can speed up your broadband

Posted on 2016-11-22 11:35 in News Features Virgin Media Origin TalkTalk Zen EE Vodafone Plusnet Sky BT

If you find broadband speeds confusing, you're not alone. What speed broadband providers advertise and what you actually get are rarely the same thing. The ASA has recently announced that it will be taking steps next year to bring clarity to the entire issue.

But that's a way off. In the meantime there are steps you can take to ensure you achieve speeds closer to what you were expecting.

You may not know that your Wi-Fi router can have a massive impact on the internet speeds you get throughout your home. Since the provider supplies the router we tend to assume that they're automatically good enough. But that isn't always true - sometimes they're old or slow, and not capable of handling a superfast broadband connection.

In these cases, upgrading to a more powerful router can help speed up your broadband dramatically.

How a new Wi-Fi router can help

Let's start with the technical bit.

The performance of a router is determined by the wireless standard that it uses. The best modern routers use the latest standard, called 802.11ac. It's the fastest available, and it runs on the 5GHz band which is clean and interference free.

802.11ac superceded the 802.11n standard. This is much slower - perhaps half or even a third of the speed - and it commonly runs on the 2.4GHz band which is much more prone to interference from other electrical devices in your home. As a result, the signal is not just slower but it gets much weaker the further it travels.

The router as a bottleneck

Many broadband providers supply an N-rated router with their packages, and it may not be up to the job. Tests show that 802.11n routers have a real world top speed of 50-100Mb, at close range. At a distance of 20 metres, and with a few obstacles like walls and floors in the way, that speed can be slashed in half - or worse.

So, if you've got a high-end fibre package and are getting speeds of 50Mb or more, then an N-rated router simply won't cut it. Your broadband is faster than your router, and the router becomes a bottleneck. Even on an entry-level fibre deal, with speeds of 25Mb, you'll be pushing it. You might find you get good speeds downstairs, but that they fall off sharply in the bedrooms.

In both cases, upgrading to an AC-rated router is likely to give you a major speed boost. The exception is standard broadband. Here, the speeds top out at 16Mb, and in practice are usually somewhat slower. An N-rated router should be able to handle this.

An easy way to check if you're affected is to use our free Speed Test tool. Stand next to your router and run the test on your laptop. Then head to the furthest corner of your house and run it again. If there's a major discrepancy in your results then it could be a sign that you need to upgrade your router. (Or it could mean you need to find a better position for your router.)

Do you need a new router?

You can see why a slow router can mean you don't get the broadband speeds you were expecting. So do you need to upgrade?

When you're shopping for broadband deals, all our comparison tables have icons to show what kind of router you're getting. Click the More Info button to see whether there's an option to upgrade to a better router when you sign up.

What router do you get?

  • Many of the major providers now supply AC-rated routers with all their packages. This includes TalkTalk, Vodafone and Virgin, while Sky also provides the new Sky Q Hub if you are a TV customer.
  • BT, Plusnet and EE supply 802.11ac routers with their fibre packages, and N-rated routers with standard broadband. BT offers a paid upgrade for standard broadband customers, but the other two don't.
  • Origin customers get an N-rated router, and need to pay at checkout to upgrade to a faster AC-rated unit.

If you've been with a provider for some time it's possible you're still using an older N-rated router and aren't getting the fastest possible speeds from your broadband. In this case it's worth checking with the provider to see if they'll swap your router for a newer model for free. Some may give you one in exchange for you signing a new contract. Just make sure you know exactly what you're getting, and that you aren't charged or placed on a new contract without knowing.

Lastly, a handful of providers, including Plusnet, Zen and Origin, allow you to use own router, so you can shop around and check independent reviews to get the best model for your needs.

The router is a frequently overlooked part of the broadband service. It's natural to assume that broadband problems are the fault of the provider, but the reality is that if your router is too slow you can easily be cutting your internet speed in half without even realising.

Give your router a quick check now to see if you would benefit from an upgrade.

Comments

Zen Buyers Guide

Can I get Zen Broadband?

Zen's standard ADSL-based broadband is only available in Zen network areas. Their fibre service is restricted to exchanges that have been upgraded to support fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) broadband. This currently applies to about two-thirds of UK households although this is growing as more and more exchanges are being upgraded to enable fibre every month. You can discover whether or not you live in a fibre-enabled area with our postcode checker. In addition to having a fibre enabled exchange, your street cabinet also needs to have been upgraded to support the technology (BT generally place advertising posters on these once they've been enabled).

What packages are available?

Zen Broadband offer two ADSL-based broadband packages and three fibre broadband packages covering a range of speeds and download capacities.

The Zen Broadband ADSL-based broadband packages are:

  • Zen Broadband - up to 17Mb, 20GB download cap
  • Zen Unlimited Broadband - up to 17Mb, no download limits

Both packages are essentially the same deal but with different download caps. All ADSL-based broadband packages with Zen Broadband have a one month rolling contract, allowing for flexibility in your contract duration. You can get these packages without line rental for an extra £5.40 a month.

Their speed is given as ‘up to 17Mb’ because 90% of customers are likely to get a lower speed owing to factors beyond Zen Broadband’s control that can affect the speed of your service, such as the quality of the wiring in your home, your distance from the local BT telephone exchange and whether the exchange has been upgraded from the older up to 8Mb technology. The further you are away from the exchange, the slower your service is likely to be. You can find out where your local exchange is, and how far away you are from it, with our postcode checker. Factors including time of day can also affect your broadband speeds, with speeds being slower at peak times due to the higher demand on the service from a greater number of people all being online at once. As Zen is primarily a business-focused ISP, their peak period is during working hours and their speeds actually get slightly faster in the evenings, when other providers are likely to be experiencing slowdowns.

The Zen Broadband fibre broadband packages are:

  • Zen Fibre 1 - up to 38Mb, 50GB download cap
  • Zen Unlimited Fibre 1 - up to 38Mb, truly unlimited
  • Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 - up to 76Mb, truly unlimited

Unlike with the ADSL-based packages, all fibre and phone package contracts with Zen Broadband have a duration of 12 months. You can also get these packages without taking out line rental with Zen for an extra £5.40 a month.

Fibre services are also likely to experience some slowdown with copper line length, but thanks to using fibre-optic from the exchange to the street cabinet, it's only the much shorter distance from that cabinet to your home that causes any slowdown. FTTC products are also based on the faster VDSL technology over the copper cable segments, so the lowest speeds to be experienced from the longest lines are still likely to be as high as 15 or 20Mb when ADSL-based products might be experiencing 0.5Mb.

Which package should I choose?

Zen Broadband offer different kinds of package with their fibre and phone deals as opposed to their ADSL broadband deals, but the main factors are still speed, download capacity, phone service, contract length and overall expense.

When deciding between fibre and ADSL, your main concern should be speed. Fibre can be a lot faster and it is tempting, but the stated headline ADSL speed of 17Mb (available to at least 10% of users) is more than enough for the majority of Internet uses, allowing not only casual browsing and email usage, but also watching videos, using Skype or downloading music. If you're on a budget then there could be little point paying extra for speed you won't necessarily need.

However, the faster speeds that fibre provides do suit some people better - especially if you're a regular heavy Internet user, and if your connection is shared with other heavier users, or just a lot of other people. The speed of the connection will be divided by those using it any one time, and so larger households including student flats and large families will benefit from having a fibre connection. This applies even more with the Zen Unlimited Fibre 2’s even higher speeds of up to 76Mb. People living far from telephone exchanges might also benefit from fibre if they can get it, as their ADSL speed is likely to suffer.

However, Zen Broadband’s deals are also tied to contract length. The short 1 month rolling contracts offer a great deal of flexibility, so are ideal for those whose living circumstances are likely to change in the next year, such as young people and students. The flexibility also means you are less tied to a single package (and provider). However the 12 month fibre contracts are still relatively short compared to many providers' fibre offerings which commonly have 18 or even 24 month minimum contract lengths. At the time of writing, the only fibre contracts shorted than 12 months offered are 9 month student-only offers from BT and Virgin that are only available around the start of the academic year.

Those who would like a home phone line provided with their broadband should opt for the packages with line rental and calls. The basic line rental package with only pay for the calls you use costs £16.99, and the Line Rental Plus package costs £23.50 a month and comes with anytime calls. If you want to keep your existing provider for line rental and calls, you can select the no line rental option for all of these packages for an extra £5.40 a month.

Finally, you should decide on a download cap, if any. Zen's basic ADSL broadband's download cap of 20GB is fairly low, although it is more than enough for most single casual Internet users who don’t do a lot of gaming, downloading or watching streaming video. Those who do engage in these activities on a regular basis might benefit from one of the unlimited packages. This is especially the case where the connection is being shared, as it in practice divides the download cap between the various users of the shared broadband connection.

All of these factors must be weighed against each other in relative importance to you because you can only pick and match to a limited extent - all 1 month rolling contracts come with ADSL-based broadband, for example. The bottom line is to remember that you shouldn't have to pay for more than you require, as much as possible.

Points to consider before you choose

  • Do you need the flexibility of a 1 month minimum contract term or is the speed of fibre a more important factor?
  • How many people will be using your broadband connection at any one time, especially for heavy downloading, HD streaming or online games?
  • Would the expense of the faster speed or larger download capacity be worth it for you?
  • How far do you live from a BT telephone exchange, and will this be a problem for your ADSL speeds?
  • What are your main priorities out of speed, download capacity, contract length, phone service and cost?

Compare all Zen Broadband deals

What do I get when I sign-up?

It's always good to know upfront what you'll get when signing up with an ISP so you know what you can enjoy for free, or to budget for any extras you may want.

  • Zen Customer Portal - The Zen Customer Portal allows you to manage your connection, including showing you how much data you have used so you know if you are approaching your download cap (if you have one).
  • 2GB inclusive web hosting - If you want to start your own website, or host files online, you may find this an attractive feature.
  • Zen Webmail - Closely linked to the Zen Customer Portal, Zen Webmail provides up to 11 POP3 email accounts per Zen Broadband account, and comes with Zen’s regularly-updated antivirus email protection to catch any threats before they reach your mailbox.
  • UK-based customer support - Unlike some other providers, Zen’s customer support is entirely UK-based, and do not use scripts. Calls to them are at local rates, which is not as good as freephone customer service, but still better than some other providers’ premium rates.
  • Broadband Voice - Zen Broadband’s Broadband Voice service allows Zen Broadband customers with a VoIP-compatible router and telephone to make telephone calls over the internet, providing an extra outgoing phone line for a fraction of the cost of a landline at £5.10 per month for 1000 inclusive minutes.
  • ADSL Move - Zen Broadband’s ADSL Move service helps you transfer your home broadband connection when you move house. Zen Broadband will help manage everything free of charge, and will waive the usual activation fee for setting up their broadband connection at the new home. This does not apply to Zen Fibre customers however - indeed, it is not currently possible to move your Zen Fibre connection with you and you might end up paying for two houses’ connections at once (however this may be the case with any BT Wholesale fibre to the cabinet service).
  • Static IP addresses - Zen Broadband offer free static IP addresses as a matter of course, which can be a great benefit to customers running servers.

What are the benefits of Zen Broadband?

The benefits offered by an ISP may be what seals the deal in your decision to buy a package from them.

  • Award-winning - Zen Broadband have a number of accolades to their name, including having won the PC Pro Best ISP Award ten years in a row, and being named Which? Broadband recommended provider. These awards are good signs that a provider delivers on its promises and provides a quality service. Zen Broadband’s customer service team are particularly praised in this regard.
  • UK-based customer support - Unlike some other providers, Zen’s customer support is entirely UK-based, and do not use scripts but are instead staffed by technically proficient technicians.
  • Short rolling contracts - While Zen Broadband offer 12 month fibre contracts which can be helpful for those who like to manage their accounts on an annual basis, they also provide short rolling one-month contracts on their various ADSL packages, which can be of great help to those with uncertain living circumstances or short tenancies who may need to move within the next year, such as students. It also provides greater flexibility in your broadband service, not consigning you to a contract for the foreseeable future.
  • Truly Unlimited fibre - Zen Broadband’s fibre and phone packages are truly unlimited, meaning that they are not only free of download caps and fair usage limits that would curb your internet usage per month, but they are also free of traffic management, meaning your fibre broadband service will never be artificially slowed.
  • Premium features - As a business-focused provider, Zen offer extras like static IP addresses, web space, truly technical support and exceptional reliability. Having majority business users also means that their network is slightly faster in the evenings when most other providers would be experiencing peak network congestion.

What are the drawbacks of Zen Broadband?

Let's face it, not everything can be perfect, and even the best deals may have a downside.

  • No inclusive routers on ADSL packages - Unlike almost all other providers, Zen Broadband do not provide free inclusive routers with their ADSL contracts, necessitating you to get your own. There is the option to purchase routers from Zen Broadband with £6.95 delivery, however this still adds up to an extra cost, unless you already have a compatible router.
  • No freephone tech support - Calls to customer support are charged at local rates. This isn't as bad as some providers' premium rate lines, but may become a significant additional expense.
  • Premium pricing - Zen is rarely the cheapest option available. They've chosen to invest in stability, performance and excellent technical support, rather than offering the cheapest possible prices.
Broadband.co.uk