back to article BT scratches its head over MYSTERY Home Hub disconnections

BT has been left puzzled after some Infinity customers complained about being abruptly disconnected from the fibre broadband network when using the telco's Home Hub 5 wireless router. The Register heard from one reader who told us that the mysterious disruptions to BT's Infinity service had apparently begun to surface after …

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Anonymous Coward

Better still get a decent router.

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Anonymous Coward

Actually...

... BT Hub is very good indeed. Not only have I not experienced any problems with it (it's hanging off a non-describe white-box BT badged modem since the BT Hub can't handle Infinity2 natively, so I wouldn't know if it is the DSL modem part that is problematic), it is the only time to date that I have had a WiFi/DSL router that is fully configurable the way I want it without having to install OpenWRT onto it.

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Re: Actually...

Are you thinking of the Hub4, with ADSL modem and CAT5 WAN inputs?

I'm positive the Hub5 has a native fibre modem in it, and I can't imagine it being limited to 40mb.

I still tell mates to insist they keep the BTOR Infinity Modem though, so if they get a problem, they can try it on the WAN input of the Hub5, or they can simply use a third party router with CAT5 WAN input to see them through (or get better functionality etc).

I run 80mb fibre through a Draytek 2830, that does me fine, even if I barely use 2% of it's functionality...

Steven R

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FAIL

Virgin "Super" hub

the second I got it, I put it into modem mode, and used a real router. ISP provided routers are crippled and open to OTA "upgrades".

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Re: Virgin "Super" hub

Same here.

Never had a problem.

Hell, the same wireless router has followed me for nearly ten years now. I haven't had to change the config of a single PC even when I've moved house / moved ISP / moved from cabled to wireless to power-line. All my port-forwards still there and working, all the usual junk turned off.

Did the same at work. We were so annoyed by BT's business hubs that we bought our own ADSL modems and just did it the old fashioned way. Even load-balancing two connections was easier than peeing about with their kit. Eventually went leased-line with Virgin, though, as demand grew. But still (to my knowledge) have the same PC sitting behind that connection providing the REAL firewall / NAT / etc. setup.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Virgin "Super" hub

We were so annoyed by BT's business hubs that we bought our own ADSL modems and just did it the old fashioned way

Yup - I tend to use Drayteks. Also allows two fallback circuits, one of which can be a simple USB 3G stick (not for large offices, of course, but it keeps a small office going while someone shouts at the provider), also at home.

I gave up on provider supplied routing, WiFi and firewalls many, many years ago and from what I hear there is really no reason at all to change that. Oh, and no FON stuff either, thanks.

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Re: Virgin "Super" hub

Modem mode on the Virgin Media Super Hub 1 is all jolly fine if you're an ordinary consumer, but the business firmware is crippled and cannot be put into modem mode. So we have a TP Link wireless access point which gives a better signal through five brick walls than the Super Hub through two.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Virgin "Super" hub

You can simulate the Modem mode. It was provided as a workaround until the firmware was released that supported it.

Can't remember how, I think it involved forwarding all traffic to another network as if it's a DMZ?

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Re: Virgin "Super" hub

Maybe I'm unlucky but I've yet to find a home router that just works and keeps working.

The 'Super' hub was a joke. I did the same turned it into a modem, and added a TP-Link router that everyone seemed to think was the bee's knees. It needs restarting every couple of days, and for some reason Samsung devices regularly refuse to connect to it even though other devices are happily using it.

I've had numerous netgear devices and they've always been extremely painful. No one should be allowed to mention the word B3lk1n (I haven't bought one of these for at least 10 years but have continued to watch many others in pain).

I had a LinkSys WRT which started off fairly well but after a year started suffering disconnections and no amount of factory resets made any difference. I did look into put a different firmware on to that one but a certain amount of witch craft seemed to be involved and I never managed to get it to work following various tutorials.

I am curious ... why is it so difficult to make one of these things just work?!

Now a days I don't even do anything complex - I don't portforward or anything of that ilk, traffic going across the network is fairly minimal no torrenting etc...

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Re: Virgin "Super" hub

"added a TP-Link router that everyone seemed to think was the bee's knees. It needs restarting every couple of days, and for some reason Samsung devices regularly refuse to connect to it even though other devices are happily using it."

I put DD-WRT on my two TP-Links (the official firmware is OpenWRT based anyway) and they've been rock-solid ever since. Maybe worth a shot?

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Re: Virgin "Super" hub

> Maybe I'm unlucky but I've yet to find a home router that just works and keeps working.

Cue a million posts from people saying theirs is the best router ever...

I've got a Netgear DGND3700. It can do either ADSL or cable/fibre over Ethernet, it's never given me any trouble. Been bounced once in 6 months, and that was when the power went, and pulls 7.5 MB/sec off Usenet all night.

> No one should be allowed to mention the word B3lk1n

Yep, I had one of those too, mine was also a piece of crap...

> I am curious ... why is it so difficult to make one of these things just work?!

I don't think it is, but making one that works and is cheap enough that people will buy and/or ISPs give away perhaps is. A lot of people swear by Drayteks, but I can't justify spending £300 on a router - the Netgear cost me £50 second hand, and I thought that was a lot.

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Boffin

pip pip pip pip...

The punters are obviously too young to know that when the pips sound, you have to put more money in.

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Boffin

Re: pip pip pip pip...

you joke, but back in 1984, I worked on a terminal emulator for a Spectrum, and borrowed an acoustic coupler to use in my digs with an old style payphone.

It worked too. I could log into the Uni PR1MEs at the breathtaking speed of 300 baud (look it up, youngsters). Although I was never sure why, since I couldn't actually do anything productive (I'm sure there's a point to make there somewhere).

Any followers I have (!) will now know why I mentioned the plethora of RS-232 connectors and cables ....

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Re: pip pip pip pip...

Ahh 300 baud. I also miss prestel at 1200/75. Tell that to the youth of today and they won't believe you.

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Re: pip pip pip pip...

Prestel on a ZX Spectrum via phone coupler....it's the future! Granted the Trim phone was a bugger to mate up

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Re: pip pip pip pip...

That's right kids. 1200/75 bits per second.

And if you think the download was bad, then putting up content to Vampire for Micronet 800 at 75 bps whilst on the road with a BBC model B redefined the term.

But it worked!

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Re: pip pip pip pip...

I remember spending all night trying to download a megabyte from the USA on a 9600 modem

Eventually I did it in 60KByte chunks..

these days its what - about 2 seconds? even on a rubbish DSL link.

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Gold badge

Re: pip pip pip pip...

when the pips sound, you have to put more money in

Or bluebox it? Been a while, sorry :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: pip pip pip pip...

We had original Prestel terminals at college. They were just BBC Micro's in a box with different ROMs.

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Re: pip pip pip pip...

9600??? You were lucky... In my day....

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: pip pip pip pip...

We had original Prestel terminals at college. They were just BBC Micro's in a box with different ROMs.

They weren't original Prestel terminals, then. Prestel predates the BBC micro...

We were playing with it in the '70s. The potential was immediately obvious - but the product was doomed to failure on account of BT's pricing.

France did viewdata rather better with its Minitel system - it was affordable for yer average types. It is rumoured that Minitel's success was one of the main reasons for slow Internet uptake in the country...

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Had the occasional problem on Infinity at my previous place, but nothing that a re-boot of the router didn't fix.

Not quite as impressive as the 4 week wait I've had to get my phone line restored after moving house - despite me getting them to do a line test done in advance, which they said indicated that it was all working.

Yet upon finding out it wasn't connected when I arrived, they now mysteriously can't find any record to say the line test was done or even requested. So one month later, we are now waiting for permission from the council to put in temporary traffic lights, so that they can dig a trench to re-connect my house. But they won't stop requesting payment for a service that they aren't providing - apparently I have to request a refund after the work is completed...

No-one else offers a phone line to my house so can't find an alternative provider. Suffice to say there will be no BT hardware anywhere near anything when I'm done.

EDIT: Sorry for the completely off at a tangent rant - just needed to vent...

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Anonymous Coward

Swapped out the orange box for an Asus. I haven't touched or rebooted it for a year!

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Anonymous Coward

Having worked for a subsidiary of BT, I have to say it is a wonder they are able to bill anyone correctly or deliver anything to the right place.

Our X.25 connection was disconnected because BT sent the bill to a hospital, who had nothing to do with the the X.25 connection. Unsurprisingly the hospital refused to pay. When we phoned BT to say our X.25 connection had died, the answer was "oh yes, we know about that, we didn't know who was using it so we turned it off to see who would complain. You'll have to pay the outstanding bill and a reconnection charge before we can switch it on again".

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My surprise disconnection

I recently switched from Sky to BT and whilst it's a definite improvement I've also had an unexpected disconnection. Rather than send me my first bill (or any warning that they were due a payment) BT very helpfully just cut off my broadband. Nice.

Also the "engineer" who installed it left with the broadband partially working and no phone. "Not my area of expertise. Maybe it'll work better tomorrow."

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Silver badge

Line Test- Pah!

I'm not sure what the line test actually does.

We were having problems with our phone and tried the BT line test from there website(from work obviously) . It informed us there was nothing wrong and if we called out an engineer and no fault was found we would be charged a call out fee.

When the engineer arrived he quickly found the telephone line had become disconnected from the house, so lord knows what the test was testing

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Anonymous Coward

If you have to reboot, it isn't fixed

>occasional problem on Infinity at my previous place, but nothing that a re-boot of the router didn't fix.

You haven't "fixed" the problem by rebooting, all you have done is re-establish the connection. Whether it is a memory leak, poor implementation of the protocol or some other issue that is causing your occasional problems you still have it and the reboot has not fixed it.

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Re: Line Test- Pah!

Basically it tests the exchange line card and line capacitance after a fashion. A dead short, or sometimes disconnected at the exchange, will show up. If they happen to test to a pair that ends in a cabinet, or a DP, it'll test normal (the wire-wire capacitance looks for all the world like a phone socket with nothing plugged in).

No way can they tell that the line is in fact terminated in a working socket in YOUR house. I just wish they'd tell the people doing these tests from India that!

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Anonymous Coward

Similar telephone story here. Down from Xmas to late January.

Do they employ anyone who actually knows anything?

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Re: Line Test- Pah!

Thank for explaining that @Martin-73.

Of course the more obvious question is why the graphic on their website clearly indicates it is testing the the entire line and not the line only to the exchange. This is further exacerbated by the accompanied dire warnings of death, pestilence and the sale of your 1st born into slavery if you dare to call out one of their engineers.

Still good to know for next time...

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Unhappy

@AC ..off tangent rant

Why does this sound so depressingly familiar!

Last house was so called connected when moved in but took a month to locate the three separate faults on the line before it worked and each time they fixed a single fault they said it's now fixed without any checking or phoning to verify. Eventually got a magnificent 1.5 Mbps connection in an area rated as 12Mbps on average.

Recently had a 20 day period of worsening line speed until nothing not even a phone connection with all kinds of crap "fixes" such as not meant to turn the router off over night. Eventually traced to a disconnected wire in the street cabinet which had magically managed to disconnect itself! Obviously Open Breach had nothing to do with it!

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Obvious problem, obvious solution

If you buy cheap internet with a free router you're going to get a pile of shit.

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Thumb Up

Re: Obvious problem, obvious solution

Have an upvote to cancel that stupid downvote.

Pah! You just don't get the same class of troll these days.

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Re: Obvious problem, obvious solution

BT Infinity, despite the ads, doesn't strike me as particularly cheap. Which expensive provider with no free router would you recommend?

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Re: Obvious problem, obvious solution

We've had Infinity (in a village) for almost two years and it's been rock solid; well it would be if it weren't for the 10 power cuts a year we tend to get, but even I can't blame BT for that one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Obvious problem, obvious solution

"but even I can't blame BT for that one."

Try harder?

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Re: Obvious problem, obvious solution

AAISP

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Re: Obvious problem, obvious solution

Although the last time I looked, AAISP were sending out the godawful TG-582N as their home router. Whilst they had nobly hacked the one sub-version of the firmware where the developers had forgotten to remove IPv6, getting it to remember a firewall rule appears to be a genuinely impossible task.

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Re: Obvious problem, obvious solution

Does it happen to be HTTP or HTTPS that its forgetting? I had the same problem. The rule was already bound to the router WAN side. On the AAISP wiki for the router is a telnet command to remove this binding. It then works fine from the GUI.

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Anonymous Coward

Its a BT hub, do you expect any more from it than failure?

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Yes actually, I don't expect it to try catching fire! Yet, amazingly, the engineer that came to install my internet connection told me that that's what happened in one house where their Infinity modem was on the floor and it got covered over by something!

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Silver badge

"Yes actually, I don't expect it to try catching fire! Yet, amazingly, the engineer that came to install my internet connection told me that that's what happened in one house where their Infinity modem was on the floor and it got covered over by something!"

Sounds highly unlikely. These things are all 9V DC - there isn't enough wattage to set anything alight. At most you might get a bit of smoke from a blown electrolytic.

He could have been talking about the power brick but even then it seems unlikely. Probably some kid did something stupid with some matches and the family decided to say it happened "spontaniously" so they wouldn't have to pay for a new one.

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Callam that's a bit unfair - very little electrical equipment can be left switched on & completely covered up, they need to be able to cool somehow. Throw something like a winter coat over any router so heat can't escape and it will get hot enough so it either stops completely, or actually catches fire.

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I appreciate that, I was more making a joke at BT's expense. Then again, unlike Virgin Media, they haven't combined the modem and router into a single device that you HAVE to use and the BT modems are pretty damn reliable.

I can't speak for their routers though as I don't use them!

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Trollface

Virginmedia hardware

Once the Virginmedia hardware is in passthrough mode there is no problem. The router is as good as off. I've had one running for over a year now without a hiccup. I have my own router sitting behind the modem. Rock solid.

Have also been running some industry test kit here which sends me montly reports that keep telling me that my average downstream throughput is generally around 60-62Mbps.

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Re: Virginmedia hardware

I've not tried modem mode, but I have had to set a friend's network so that it all works with the superhub in factory configuration. I set it up with a different IP range, guest wireless, all the goodies - and it stopped working a few weeks later, when it had a firmware upgrade. The upgrade process seems to factory reset the router, and they don't restore your config. When this happened again I had to admit defeat and reconfigure everything else around the factory settings. No guest wireless, which was a pity as he's a consultant who had the occasional customer visit.

If you're in modem mode, does that get preserved across firmware upgrades?

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FAIL

Re: Virginmedia hardware

No

After a firmware update or if they just decide to reset it for you; it wakes up in factory reset mode

Why on earth they can not do basic easy stuff is beyond me - if you Virgin (and BT are worse) decide to reset my router; why can't I bill you for setting it up properly again ?

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Anonymous Coward

"This is what happens when you use Linux"

Can you recommend a router that runs windows?

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Happy

In fact-

Can you recommend anything that runs windows?

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