Feckin broadband

We’ve been with BT since we moved to our current house (over 10 years now). We’ve never been tempted to change provider, simply because our broadband service has been rock solid.

A couple of weeks ago, I negotiated a new deal with BT, which included upgrading our router from a Home hub 5 to a new BT Smart Hub. Smashin’…

Or not. Since installing the Smart Hub, our broadband connection has turned to total shit. Connection drops out every few minutes and reconnects when it feels like it. BT support (usually very good on the few occasions we’ve needed it) seem clueless. They’ve already sent me a new Smart Hub (no difference) and changed some settings at their end, all to no avail.

A quick google suggests the Smart Hub is a piece of crap and that I should ask BT to send me another Home Hub 5. Should I do that, or is there something else worth trying first?


Can you plug your old home hub 5 back in?

Nope - sent it back to BT for recycling.

BT support have just advised me to change the wireless channel and connection mode. They are sure this will fix the problem, but have kindly arranged to call me back tomorrow so I can tell them it hasn’t worked…

Very nice BT lady mentioned in passing that quite a number of customers are finding the Smart Hub ‘incompatible with their needs’ and were being given Home Hub 5s instead. So yeah, that probably translates as ‘we know it’s a piece of shit’.

We’ll see…

Is the problem one of the connection from hub to BT, or the WiFi in your house?

Not sure, but BT reckon the line tests fine. The previous Home Hub gave a really reliable connection, right up to the moment I unplugged it and put in the Smart Hub. My money’s on the Smart Hub (or its settings) being the culprit.

Have you got a PC connected to it via a cable rather than WiFI to confirm it’s definitely dropping the ADSL connection?

No - I’ll try that though.

Well, no dropouts since changing the settings, so looking hopeful.

Why it took five calls to support for them to try this solution is beyond me…

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It occurs to me that in an age where technology is increasingly becoming simpler to use, wireless networks remain stubbornly complex and unpredictable to those of us who aren’t experts in such things.

Ever tried boosting the range of your wifi signal with one of those plug in wireless extenders? I’ve tried three different ones, none of which would stay connected to my Home Hub for more than a few minutes. Plug and play? My arse. BT will refer you to the manufacturer of the extender, who will refer you back to BT. I tried a BT extender - BT support had nobody else to blame, so simply fell back on their own incompetence.

Jesus, how hard can it be?

These days, I prefer to hard wire everything. If I could do without wifi altogether, I would.


What do you mean, “changing the settings”?

If you meant trying a cabled connection, then the next thing is to troubleshoot the WiFi. Confirm this for me and I’ll post up some WiFi suggestions.

BT support changed the wireless channel (from 6 to 11, I think) and the connection mode from 1 to 2 (no idea…). Since then, all has been well - no dropouts. I haven’t yet tried hard wiring to the laptop.

Might be sorted now - will give it a couple of days.

Thanks for your help. I’ll give you an update tomorrow.

As a side note, BT have made some bold claims for the Smart Hub. It’s supposed to provide a much stronger wifi signal than the Hub 5 and handle more connected devices. Can’t say I’ve noticed any improvements of note so far.

Update: it’s all gone to shite again. BT have messed with every setting in the menu, but to no avail.

I’ve been refunded the cost of the shitehub and they’re sending me a Homehub 5 instead.

I almost (but not quite) persuaded BT tech support to admit the Smarthub is a piece of crap…

Homehub 5 worked perfectly for us before, so I’m pretty sure it will solve the problems.

I do wonder if a good third party router would be a good investment. I’d like a stronger wifi signal and better handling of multiple device connections.

Have you got a Chromecast audio? They have a bug that cocks up some BT and plusnet routers.

Google it, or see the piece in the Register from 29/11


No, it isn’t that - I do have a Chromecast Audio, but it’s been sitting in a drawer for months (no gapless playback, hence useless to me).

The all singing, all dancing Shitehub seems to enjoy randomly disconnecting from all wireless devices whenever it feels like it. The irony is that it always seems to remain connected to the internet (the big blue light on the front stays resolutely on). After about ten minutes (sometimes longer), everything will reconnect automatically.

Nowt wrong with the line. When it’s working, we’re getting decent speeds. It’s just the random disconnections that nobody can explain.

Our BT hub drops out quite a lot,but only when you tube is running.
Phoned BT and said that is very strange,which was very handy to know.
Had the hub around 3-4 years,don’t know which model.

There is mileage in buying a decent WiFi router, and consigning the supplied one to modem only duties (if you have cable), or the bin if you have ADSL. I use an Asus RT300 I think it is, and my connection has been rock solid since forever. That said, it still doesn’t reach throughout the house, so I have another router at the other end of the house, but that’s just a cheapie for when I want the network in the bedroom.

you need Virgin fibre

It’s a long way to the Big Smoke from here. We only got fibre broadband last year - it maxes out at 39 mb/s. That’s seen as witchcraft round our way. The Openreach guys live in perpetual dread of the Wicker Man.

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