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back to article BT Home Hub 3 ADSL Wi-Fi router

Everything is wireless these days, it seems. It’s convenient, effective and liberating not to be tied down to a laptop or whatever with wires. But if you find your Wi-Fi behaves erratically, dropping connections or stuttering to a stop when you’re streaming video, say, you’ll know it’s not always plain sailing. And then when you …

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WTF?

More effort than it's worth?

Why on earth does it have 3 x ethernets and one gigabit ethernet? Surely it must have cost them more to do that? Usually you get 4 of one or the other, not a mixed bag.

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WTF?

More to the point...

WTF Does 1 GB connect to?

WIFI does not support GB

ADSL does not support GB

I'd use GB between PC and NAS thats 2 Ports.

So 1 Port is fucking Pointless!

Only reason I can possibly forsee is for plugging in a really cheap 1GB hub so that it can run at full speed on all connections but seriously why they didn't put GB on all ports.. just proves how stupid BT is.

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FAIL

Business customers in the stone age

The BT Business Hub has not been updated in years - obviously, consumers yeild more profit...

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Does it do ipv6?

Does it do ipv6, or is it limited to accessing only the "old" internet?

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Silver badge
Go

not as daft a question as you think

My new cable connection had an ipv6 address. It had me scratching my head as my router didnt support IPV6. Luckily asus do a cheap one that does.

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Anonymous Coward

Have you actually used it?

Ok, the hub looks pretty, it has a wireless key stored in the hub (not much use for me, when I hid the hub in a cupboard) but seriously.. What features does this hub have?

What settings can I change? what settings are forced upon me?. Does it still giveaway a bit of my broadband for bt Fon / free Wireless? What control do I have over these feature?. Can I port forward? Can I block ports? Is there a DMZ?

I feel this review is lacking in important details, still it looks pretty and appears to work for normal basic users.

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Happy

Fon is good, we like Fon

Activate your Fon account, and you get to use anybody else's BT broadband with your portable device.

Us Fon-router owners are very happy that BT still does Fon!

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QoS

Does it have Quality of Service functions on it?

This is the one aspect of previous version where it falls down.

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FAIL

A written down password?

And that's a GOOD thing?

What damn use is that little doohicky that slides out when the first thing most sensible people will do is change the name and password of the wireless connection?

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Whatever will we do with all that extra time?

Spend it on the phone to their customer services trying to get them to send an engineer out to fix the line fault?

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Happy

You know the best thing about BT Home Hubs?

Its that handy reset button that's missing from so many other ADSL routers. Its very handy given how many times each day I have to press it.

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IT Angle

LAN speed?

do you have any benchmark data on the performance of the LAN side of the router? I used to have a homehub 2.1 which was ok, but local data transfers were pretty sluggish, approx 4meg a second.

in the end i ditched it for a netgear router and gig switch

thanks :)

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ipv6 support?

Any IPv6 support yet?

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Fob?

What happened to the "fast setup" button?

Does it have one of those? Because I like those.

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Anonymous Coward

Good old BT. What about less visible features?

Does this one come with a pre-installed backdoor? Any other features added to improve interception for user tracking and behavioural advertising?

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Because they own the network...

...they know how it works and can put stuff on both sides to make it work.

Another nice little abuse of their power.

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FAIL

Who cares about pretty.

I had 3 phone calls from some BT call centre trying to flog me one of these, I called them back to ask them to stop and talked to a sales guy who couldn't answer my questions, I was put through to an Asian tech centre who didn't understand the simple facts when he failed to help me he tried to put me back to the sales guy.

I was helpfully told that I pay for 8 and get 4.5

Infinity which offers upto 40 could get me 23.5 (I live a mile from the exchange)

However he didn't understand the following :-

I wanted to change the password for the encryption key and not have it printed on the router

I wanted to change the broadcast name of the SSID

I use linux NOT fricking Windows (it is a requirement to use a windows machine or a Mac as the software needs to be installed, apparently) they don't support linux. (one woman said "oh, you a geek then?")

Couldn't tell me if I can port forward, setup my firewall rules which are a requirement for cod4 MW2 etc. etc.

I also don't want to completely rehash my internal network of fixed and floating IP addresses to suit some new router.

He didn't understand why anyone would NOT want to use a BT home hub.

Your review should include things like this. Then at least I might get answers because BT tech centres really need to sort their understanding out.

Needless to say I didn't take them up on their offer.

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Silver badge

It's not a requirement that you install the software

that is bundled with the HomeHub.

I use mine with both Windows and Linux (wireless and wired), and have not installed any of BT's software, as the web-based frontend (bthomehub.home) works fine.

The bundled software is hand-holding bloat, that no one needs (my mother-in-law has it on all of here PCs/laptops, and it is slow and useless, and has never acheived anything).

Still, I wouldn't expect the BT sales droids to understand this - I've had one explaining to me that I really should go for their Infinity package (only £1.64 extra per month!), despite the fact that a) they'd need to tear a hole in my house just to replace the phone socket and b) I'm moving out (I'll probably get a much better deal when I become a new customer again).

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Stop

It's not for the likes of you...

There's plenty wrong with this box for the "technical" among us - the single GigE port, the lack of configurability, it probably doesn't do IPv6, if it's anything like the last one you won't be able to specify your own public DNS servers, etc....

*But* it's not for us technical minded people. It's for your granny. So she just plugs it in, switches it on and the wonder of the interweb comes into her house.

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What's beneath the shiny?

It does look reasonably nice, but my main experience with Home Hubs is that they're incredibly unstable; I've been through several Home Hub 2.0s (they pop up regularly in the local ads, as BT seems to give them away like candy); the wireless bandwidth was poor - to the point where I couldn't stream media on the internal network - and the wifi network quite often either locked up (necessitating a reboot of the router) or the router would decide to spontaneously reboot itself. Two or three times a night, at times: you could watch the lights flicker as it went through post.

Oh, and the HH2 had another nice feature: if you wanted to check what IP addresses were in use (e.g. so you can VNC into a DHCP'd machine), you had to log into the router, navigate to "Advance Settings", agree that "yes, advance settings can be dangerous" and then drill down several more clicks to find the data. At least on the HH1, the details were just a click or so away...

After a while, I gave up, bought a Netgear router and watched the Wireless-N speeds jump up to a nice, consistent 3mb/s - without any of the reboot problems that I had on the HH2.

Back to the HH3, here's some questions:

1) Is it stable over prolonged periods

2) Is network information easily accessible

3) How fast is the network (wired-wired, wired-wireless, wireless-wireless)

4) What is this newfangled BT Infinity thing? (I know, I know: fibre-optic, 40mb. S'not mentioned in the review, though)

5) What can you use the USB port for? On previous HHs, you could connect a printer, or mount a HDD on the network

6) Can you set up the router to act as a repeater (one of the more interesting features of the HH1)

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What about USB Printer sharing support?

And yeah, a single GigE network port does seem totally pointless - you'll be communicating at Fast Ethernet speeds with everything else connected to this router.

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Anonymous Coward

Backbone

The BT HH is not alone in having a single gig port and a few years ago you would have found a handful of 10Mb ports and a single 100Mbit port. The reason for these ports is to uplink to something like a switch with a gig port for the backbone. Or maybe a NAS box likewise equipped, where it's all about contention. Got three PC's in the house streaming stuff from a single NAS box, with a 1Gbit link to the NAS you can get close to 100Mbit to each of your PCs. With a 100Mbit port you'd only be getting 30Mbit each.

You'll notice a lot of proper network kit comes with something like 24 100 Mbit ports and a couple of Gb ports or mayber 24Gb ports and a couple of 10Gb ports. Same principal on a larger scale.

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Re: Backbone

Yes, proper network kit comes with 24 or 48 10/100 ports plus a couple of gigabit ports, but the gig ports are usually for uplinks to a network core. I'm not yet managed to acquire a network core in the house....

Ok HD streaming could be a little bandwidth hungry, but are you really streaming that much content to three devices concurrently?

IMHO the best use for GigE in the home is for backups, where you won't necessarily want to leave your kit on all night to do so. A quick blast during working hours would be much more helpful, but for that you would need at least 2 GigE ports for the most benefit.

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WTF?

standard ?

When did 'N' become a standard ?

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Anonymous Coward

N...

...has been standard on most kit for quite a while now. Sure existing kit is G, but most laptops come with N these days and most ISPs supply N routers.

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FAIL

Is this a review?

This press release has no information in it.

What are the actual range measurements with WiFi? BT HomeHub2 doesn't reach 20m inside my house and barely works in the room directly above the unit.

What is the sustainable B/W through the interfaces?

Is the USB port usable for printserving? storage? not usable?

Why is 1 GigE port useful? If the user can't connect two computers at GigE, then it's a useless feature. The upstream connection is <100Mbps.

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Anonymous Coward

Probably Not the Hub

"BT HomeHub2 doesn't reach 20m inside my house and barely works in the room directly above the unit."

When I was with BT I had a couple of home hubs a v1 and a v2. Both of them had good coverage throughout the house and indeed down to the bottom of the garden. So it's likely that either you have a lot of interference in the area or your house is impenetrable to wireless signals.

A friend of mine was told by her brother that the slow internet connection she experienced in the evening was down to poor contention ratios. I took a look and noticed that the performance dropped suddenly, not gradually as you'd expect with a contention issue. Sure enough the wirless rate dropped from 48Mb+ to 1 or 2Mb. It took some tracing, but finally I traced it to a very dodgy RT2500 PCMCIA card in a laptop next door. As soon as that laptop powered up the WiFi speeds went through the floor. I advised the neighbour to buy a new card and she was very pleased that what she thought was apalling broadband was actually down to a tenner's worth of WiFi card.

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Silver badge
FAIL

A poor "review" indeed

Port forwarding?

IPv6 support?

Dynamic DNS support?

DMZ?

Firewall features?

Request filtering?

Apart from being easy to set up and looking pretty, what does the thing actually *DO*

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MAC filtering

Who DOES NOT enable this? Yes I have the key available, however it does not help much as I have to first add the MAC address into the box - and yes I picked my own key :-)

And yes if you are doing aproduct reiview on a technical web site, some details beyond the PR blurb would help.

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Alert

MAC filtering isnt secure

I can configure any MAC I choose on my Linux laptop when this is running Aircrack-NG.

So I for one don't configure MAC filtering on my network gear as it takes time to setup and gives me no extra security. My understanding is that the MAC addresses of clients are transmitted unencrypted when establishing a connection with the access point.

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@MAC filtering

> Who DOES NOT enable this?

I don't enable it on my own routers or any router I've set up for friends and family.

MAC address filtering is a complete waste of time, simply don't bother enabling it - any script kiddy can spoof one of your MAC addresses without any effort whatsoever.

MAC Address Filtering as a means of security is a complete fallacy.

This feature should be removed from all home routers as it provides a false sense of security that is easily defeated. It is of no benefit whatsoever, much the same as choosing not to broadcast the SSID - another waste of time/false sense of security measure for the naiive user.

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Silver badge
Go

plus

since ipv6 tells you the mac it is recognised as being a silly thing.

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IPv6

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/story/2011/02/07/isp-bt-retail-uk-reveals-new-homehub-3-broadband-smart-wireless-router.html

ISP reviews report that it does support IPv6

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Stop

Does it work with Apple AirTunes?

I could never get my Infinity HomeHub2 to work with an Airport Express. Swapped it out for an Airport Extreme plugged into the seperate BT VDSL modem. That works fine. Think I'll stick with what I've got.

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Thumb Up

@Channel hopping

Living in a suburban apartment building, WiFi (g or n) is practically useless for all but the most basic surfing.

And these BT Hubs don't help matters much by each broadcasting 3 different SSIDs on the same WiFi channel - BTFON and BTOpenZone SSIDs (both open networks) and then the users own BTHomeHub-xyz personal WiFi network (usually closed if they've got a braincell, many haven't). I can see 6 of these SSIDs right now, suggesting two of my neighbours have BT Hubs.

I don't actually like the idea of this channel hopping though, I'd grown quite accustomed to these clowns leaving their routers on default (or at least sticking to a single channel) so it was quite easy for me to avoid whatever channels they are on but now they'll most likely be screwing with what signal I can eke out of the air by automatically switching to whatever channel I had identified as being the least congested. It might be great for them, but it's unlikely to be good for everyone in the near vicinity.

For everything else though (streaming etc.) Homeplug Ethernet wins the day every time (unless you are lucky enough to be able to run Cat5 all over the gaff, of course!)

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Alert

But does it backup ??

We use the BT Business Hubs in the Office and imagine our surprise when having set port forwards for remote support tools, wifi passwords etc. we went to back up the Hub and; no backup option....

So if on occasion we've had to reset the hub... we have to shout arond the office what's your machines IP as we recreate our settings..

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Vic
Silver badge

Bet it's still shit at VoIP

The earlier models of HH do nasty things with SIP packets. I'm sure that's just an accidental error in some sort of SIP ALG, and not a TelCo trying to protect its core business.

What's the betting this box is just as wank?

Vic.

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Boffin

So in short

That review was well received then!

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