back to article BT fixes home hub drop-out glitch ONE YEAR after denying flaw existed

BT has finally fixed a snag in its Home Hub 5 more than 12 months since customers began complaining about mystery disconnections that were hampering the wireless router. When The Register reported on the technical cockup in February 2014, BT was quick to dismiss the gripes by telling us it was "not aware of any issues" with …

  1. Joe 48

    Fixed it ages ago.

    Purchased an OpenReach modem and separate router was my 'fix'. The only thing the homehub 5 is good for is the AC wireless, which it still does.

    Reliability wasn't my biggest issue with the Homehub 5 though, its inability to allow me to change to my own DNS servers was its big downfall for me. Its a great plug and play device for most people but anyone who wants some customisation look elsewhere!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Joe 48

        Re: Fixed it ages ago.

        Not 100% sure about FTTP as its different to my FTTC connection. How is your FTTP presented? RJ45?

        Your should be able to connect straight into pfsense which can do the connection with FTTP. For reference I run as follows.

        OpenReach Modem, ECi Model (Either versions work ok on FTTC)

        IPfire (pfsense alternative)

        Sophos UTM (Because I'm paranoid)

        Connected like this

        Wallsocket>OpenReach>IPfire>UTM>LAN

        I also run a blue (Guest Wifi) connection off the side of IPfire. Double NAT can cause some odd issues, my xbox hates it so lives on the Blue Wifi connection.

        Loads of option out there. Good luck.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. I Am Spartacus
      Thumb Up

      Re: Fixed it ages ago.

      My fix was to replace the HH5A with a TP-LINK TD-W9980 N600. It was a £66 pound fix, but the reduction of grief from the family made it worth it.

      It was simple to install and get going. I took all the documentation and the provided CD mini disk and through them away. Install the hub, navigate to the suggested URL (http://tplink.local I think) and turned on the network. You need a username and password. The username is btbroadband@btinternet.com and any password will do. Add a password for the 2.6G and 5G wifi networks and your done.

      This plugs directly in to the wall socket, mines next to the master socket.

      And now, for the first time, I can have DHCP with a set of DNS resolvers that I choose, not which BT force on me. I wish I had this hub years ago,

  2. Uberseehandel

    Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

    Now they have that problem fixed, please can they get on with fixing my Infinity 2 service.

    Infinity 2 is "up to 80 Mb/sec". At this distance i am located from the cabinet, I get better than 72 Mb/sec, which is fine.

    However, almost all the time it is artificially throttled back to little more than 42 Mb/sec. Allegedly this is to ensure that all users whose service is routed through the same cabinet that my line is connected to get "the best possible service". This is complete tosh and nonsense. I am paying for a high speed service, BT are deliberately giving me a lower speed service. On the very rare occasions when I do receive a 72Mb/sec connection, I have checked the line quality, and it is fine, so it isn't a quality issue. Fixing another customer's connection problems by trashing my service is wrong, however you look at it. Nine times out of ten, when the connection works at the specified speed for a few hours, a technician has worked at the cabinet earlier in the day.

    I have written to BT's various customer service channels, explaining what is wrong and explain that I have carried out a statistical analysis of the upload and download throughput speeds achieved and that I can demonstrate that the line speed is being artificially regulated, and that if they won't cease from this practice, I would like to speak to an engineer. To date, all communication is ignored.

    BT is still handing out shoddy service and not even acknowledging correspondence about problems, although they are quick enough to send me an invitation to complete a questionnaire about how great BT service is.

    In order not to make life complicated for BT, I have decided to wait until my line speed issue is resolved before trying to discover who is artificially restricting download speeds from the BBC iPlayer site.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

      I've not read the small print on your contract, but I'd be surprised if there wasn't a clause basically allowing them to restrict your connection to whatever they feel like.

      Presumably you've ended up sharing bandwidth with everyone else in your area who's connected to the same cabinet, which as far as BT is concerned is perfectly normal.

      1. Uberseehandel

        Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

        So why do I sometimes get 72Mb/sec plus? What happens is, new user added to cabinet, speed increases for a few hours.

        Actually the contract is so generalised that any action against BT would probably be best taken under the terms of the Sale Of Goods Act (or whatever its successor is in England now).

        Its hard to envisage a network of any sort whereby one is not sharing bandwidth with other users, when it comes to the internet....

        Fundamentally, its a question of honesty.

        1. Bronek Kozicki

          Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

          "regular" FTTC is capped by BT at 40Mbps, you might want to fork for "premium" to fully utilize the bandwidth. No idea what's the market-speak at BT for this option.

          However, instead I suggest that you simply switch to an ISP who is honest about this 40Mbs cap, see here http://www.aa.net.uk/broadband-premium.html. Yes, you still need to pay extra to have the cap removed, since it applies to BT wholesale.

          1. Uberseehandel

            Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

            Bronak Kozicki

            pointed out that "regular" FTTC is capped by BT at 40Mbps, you might want to fork for "premium"

            Well, thanks, I am paying the premium for 80Mb/sec, with no volume cap.

            I cannot get over all these people who think BT is behaving reasonably, like overselling is reasonable!

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Ian 62

      Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

      To quote from btbusiness support page: Your line may well be getting 72Mbps as far as the green box at the end of the street, but you're sharing the national infrastructure with everyone else.

      "Although BT Business Broadband is a contended service, it’s no longer contended at the exchange level by the previous 20:1 and 50:1 ratios. However, this doesn't mean that you'll receive a one-to-one contention. The contention now happens at the national level and only at busy periods.

      BT plans the whole network to provide good performance and shares its national infrastructure between all users. This works well, as consumer use in the business day is low, which gives a very good performance for business customers. An analogy would be the roads near your house. There’s enough capacity to keep traffic moving well at most times and sometimes there’s a bit of a slow-down. If everyone used their car at the same time, there would not be enough capacity."

    3. Joe 48

      Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

      @Uberseehandel

      Same here. I'm currently chasing for a refund and downgrade to infinity 1 as they, despite the line being good enough, can't give me the speed I'm paying for and never have!

    4. batfastad

      Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

      Yep. You don't think they have access to anywhere near the bandwidth they actually sell to their customers do you? I'm fine with the principle of overselling, I totally get it. But there's overselling to make sure users have a fair service, then there's BT's overselling to maximise profit while being able to trumpet "X number of properties have access to super-fast broadband*"

      * but only at off-peak times. In a vacuum. At close to 0K at which point the home hub is transformed into a Bose-Einstein Condensate and only then able to shift packets at the advertised speed.

      You've probably guessed... I wouldn't p*ss on BT even if it was on fire.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

      I have always found that iPlayer doesn't produce the best download speeds, maybe BT need more caching at local levels, I have no idea how that works, but I'm willing to bet most BT customers have fairly similar usage patterns, IE - Get home, fire up iPlayer/any other VOD type service. My Infinity slows down for sure in the evenings, but it still streams from iPlayer and Netflix perfectly well.

      Victim blaming? No, you can squarely place the blame on me. I regularly get 8MB/s on my Infinity 2 connection - As long as it isn't over port 80 or 443. Newsgroups are my main source of high bandwidth activity, although i haven't renewed my server for a few months so I won't shoulder all the blame.

      BT has always been BT but i've had Infinity for 3 years and can't complain, probably because i set iPlayer to download rarely, and when it does, i do it before bedtime. Back vaguely on topic, my HH3 blew up about 1 day after i got it but it was swiftly replaced with a Sophos/Astaro UTM VM and never looked back.

    6. Bunbury

      Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

      @uberseehandel

      Infinity 1 has both uncapped and 20GB capped versions.

      Dropping from 72 down to 42Mbps will of course be caused by something. But it doesn't sound like a restriction to the lower speed service because that is 40 and no more and you're getting 2 mbps more. If it's doing that in busy times (say mid evening in the week) then it may be contention. But if it's literally flip flopping between two speeds then that's unlikely. The going up to 72 whien they do an install at the cabinet sounds like a coincidence to me. Is this same device, same connection mechanism? I take it you've hard cabled into the BT Hub with whatever you're testing the speed on?

      1. Uberseehandel

        Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

        @Bunbury

        Dropping down from 72 to 42 (ish) is caused by BT deliberately capping my throughput, despite having paid for 72Mb/sec.

        There is no coincidence about the speed increasing when a fresh install is done at the cabinet, it happens consistently,

        I have a gigabit connection between my router and my computer. Nothing changes between 72 Mb/sec and 42 Mb/sec.

        If I go into the router I see that the rated line speed is 72 Mb/sec.

        It doesn't matter whether i am on the computer at 5 in the morning or any time, the performance cap and iPlayer download speeds are capped.

        1. Bunbury

          Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

          Hmm. Interesting. What could have happened is that between you and the cabinet there is something causing errored packets. Probably between your home and the cabinet but sometimes it's actually in the home (star wiring, broken filters and so on can do it). Sounds like when a provision is done, your line is being reset (not entirely sure why) and so synchs at 72. But then the line management algorithm picks up the packet errors and backs it off to 42 ish.

          No doubt you've checked out the in home stuff. I would think the next logical step would be to get an engineer out to check the line, if they'll do that (surprised if not given the speed disparity).

          On the iplayer throttling specifically, I have a very vague recollection that the BBC sets a maximum download rate to ease the network load at its playout centres - might be that?

  3. TechicallyConfused
    Meh

    Shocker. . . well no, not really.

    So I have had a BT HH 5 Type A since January 2014. Initially I had all kinds of issues with it dropping and restarting but this stopped after a month or so with the BT chaps in India claiming it was the line speed adjusting.

    Since then it has been relatively stable but does have period where if the land line rings then Infinity connection drops and a restart is required. During my due diligence checking all the phone sockets I noticed that in fact the damn internet connection was dropped when my mobile phone rang as well. This was linked to a sure signal which made for a good laugh.. . .mobile connects to sure signal, sure signal connects to home hub to off load mobile call across the interweb, mobile phone rings, I answer, the internet drops, so does my phone call.

    I have never gotten to the bottom of this problem but since it is now only occasional I have decided it is less stressful to suck it up than try and deal with BT Customer Support who made me want to end my life on any number of occasions.

    I have just checked my router and the last software update: BT Home Hub 5 (Type A) | Software version 4.7.5.1.83.8.204 | Last updated 11/01/15

    I've not had a problem for a number of weeks so it'll be interesting if they break it when the "new" update is applied.

    J

    1. Busby

      Re: Shocker. . . well no, not really.

      If losing connection every time you landline rings are you sure you're using a filter?

      Had that happen to me after last install took me a while to realise that was the cause and since plugging the filter back into the wall socket the problem has disappeared.

      1. TechicallyConfused

        Re: Shocker. . . well no, not really.

        Yes, all filtered up. I tried different filters as well. There is no way it is a signalling issue on the line because it exhibits the same behavior when my mobile phone rings in the house, as noted in my initial post.

        Anyway, short of the HH catching fire and burning down the house I can't be arsed to ring BT again to try and sort it out. Not worth the additional health insurance premium going down this route carries.

  4. groovyf

    Good timing...

    Back end of Jan I moved to BT Infinity, and received the HH5. Doddle to setup, etc. A couple of weeks ago I got home to find the hub constantly rebooting. Unplugging the power didn't make a difference after it powered-up again.

    After a call to BT, and performing a full reset, it stabilised.

    A week later it happened again, and after going through the same trouble-shooting steps (this time a full reset didn't fix it), they decided to send me a new HH5.

    After I'd ended the call to BT, I tried another full reset which seems to have worked again as not had a problem in the intervening days.

    I now have a brand new, unopened HH5 sitting doing nothing as I wasn't going to replace it until things went pear-shaped again. By the sounds of it, I may not need to, if they're rolled an update out.

  5. Uberseehandel

    One of the people who has responded to what I posted has pasted a load of self0-excusing boilerplate from a BT website, trying to suggest that my poor service is for the benefit of everybody else. i am speechless. Its as if i went to Mini and paid for a new John Cooper Works Mini and got given a bog standard diesel, because its better for all the other people on the road. That is also unspeakable nonsense.

    BT is bad, it knows its bad, it treats customers as mugs. I can't downgrade my service to an Infinity 1 contract because that is capped and I exceed the cap each month.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You're more than welcome to pay to run your own cable to each and every datacenter and server in the UK.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Although you could, if you have passed the minimum contract term, migrate your FTTC to someone who doesn't cap Fibre 1 service. An example of an ISP that provides this is Zen, there are probably others.

      If you have Fibre 2 from Zen (at 78Mbps) then they state that their own infrastructure guarantees 40Mbps throughput, although it can be higher if there is spare capacity. Zen has PoPs all over the UK so they take their customers' backhaul data out of the BT network as early as they can. In my case this is at the main exchange in the area which is a few miles away, the fibre to my cabinet doesn't go anywhere near my actual exchange with the twisted pair copper line.

    3. Joe 48

      There is an unlimited BT infinity 1 package by the way.

    4. Ebec

      100% agree to you comments about bt as I've had a 14mth + problem with them ,

      they've tried lying to my face/ over phone/ email and onsite engineers and every time I've proven its them and not me ...

      I even now have a folder of apologies from bt after they admit they lied on more they a few times

      and even now after admitting they are at fault they can't give me my compensation as they can't find my account on they system ....Again

  6. Yugguy

    HH5 is utterly SHITE

    In fact it's beyond shite.

    I'm on my 3rd cos the first 2 simply refused to ever release or renew dhcp leases, and as we have several devices that come in and out of the house and got a new lease each time that was never released, every 2 or 3 weeks the dhcp pool filled up requiring a reboot.

    We are stuck for the short term as BT have only just laid the cable so noone else can provide, but once that restriction is gone we'll be off like a shot.

  7. Uberseehandel

    Somebody suggested that I check out Zen - well I can't find any line speeds they are prepared to quote and they display a cute message along the lines of "Crumbs! - we don't recognise your phone number" - I also supplied my postcode, which is specific to the building.

    Is this level of uselessness normal these days, on any technology related issue?

    1. Nelbert Noggins

      I think you'll find it's a Zen thing.

      I've had to find a fixed line internet provider. Unfortunately when I tried the Zen online checker I got a message saying I needed to phone them because I didn't have a phone number. Hadn't had a land line for 2+ years.

      Zen were the only ISP out of the ones I was looking at who didn't seem to be linked up with the Address Checker. Everyone else let me enter postcode and house number because I didn't have a phone number.

      That ruled Zen out for me, why do I need waste my time and money phoning up some sales bod to find out something all your competitors can do online?

    2. Bunbury

      Sounds like a glitch to me; just tried their site and it gives me speed quotes having entered telephone number and postcode.

      1. Nelbert Noggins

        @Banbury, now do the same thing using house number and postcode only.

        If I had an active land line and telephone number the Zen checker would have been fine.

        Zen stated because I had no phone number I needed to call their sales team, I've just looked again and the site has change. I can't even find the link for 'I don't know/have a phone number', so with Zen it's only possible to find out what they can supply online if you already have an active phone line.

        What they don't support is checking if you can get fibre without a telephone number, unlike all their competitors. Openreach have an address checker (house number + postcode) as well as a phone number checker which all the other ISPs I was looking at had integrated for people who don't have an active land line or even any landline to check with.

        Everyone else I looked at, including the big brands, not just the technically focused providers, was able to indicate expected line speeds and during checkout identified there was already an inactive phone line into the house so could quote me the correct setup costs.

        1. Bunbury

          could be one of several reasons:

          - they've not bothered to develop their systems to do a postcode check or it's broken

          - they've realised that a postcode check is less accurate than telephone number so have decided it gives more problems than it's worth

  8. David Nash

    Maybe you're not getting what you're paying for and I sympathise, but 42Mbps isn't too shabby and there are plenty of people stuck on <10Mbps or even 1Mbps out in the sticks who can only dream of the speeds you are getting.

  9. Franco

    BT wouldn't even give me an HH5 - I had an HH3 from when I signed up and despite telling me that there were issues with the HH3 and BT TV I would have had to pay for the upgrade.

    Given that I don't trust BT at all to not have backdoors in their routers, I bought a Draytek 2860n. Yes, it's expensive but it's a single box that does everything I need and I've had much better performance, particularly from the dual-band WiFi, since purchasing it.

    "Is this level of uselessness normal these days, on any technology related issue?"

    Sadly normal IME. Displaying any sort of tech savvy to a helpdesk instantly means getting ignored, regardless of whether or not you are right.

  10. Ebec
    FAIL

    BT are just an Epic fail

    As someone who's had to wait for 14mths for bt to fix on my fibre in my pc shop in London

    ( witch worked for 2yrs without problem before the storm's at the start of 2014)

    I don't believe the update bt as I've been lied to by them in writing to many times ,

    as I've got over 500+ emails from bt with even one when I pointed a 500 server error means its problem with your server and not my pc

    also I've been asked by BT to do tap3 test's when they've known their own server was broken and wouldn't be fixed for 7 more weeks so you couldn't do it to start it with

    and now at the point were they've agreed to give me compensation ,yet they now seemed to have lost my billing account type and number but they can post a bill twice in one day with the number on it

  11. Mike Smith
    Trollface

    Weasel words!

    The droid said:

    "The recent issue where customers were experiencing dropped connection is completely unrelated to the reports mentioned by The Register in the article a year ago."

    In other words, something else is still broken.

    1. Bunbury

      Re: Weasel words!

      Or fixed perhaps. Or praps that Schrodinger chap has come a calling again?

    2. Lee Duckworth

      Re: Weasel words!

      What they say is true, one of the 2015 updates caused HH5s with one or both wireless bands disabled to restart every 2 or 3 minutes. Enabling 5 and 2.4GHz solved the issue temporarily but this seems to be the real fix. About 10 days since the bug appeared so not bad at all.

  12. ukgnome

    This sort of router issue also occurs on the 3 and the 4 but try telling that to BT

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And suddenly

    Our Samsung Smart TV and BlueRay player will not connect to the Internet, through our HH5, tonight.

  14. Nightgaunt

    BT are total liars. This has been an issue for well over a year. I worked with them on the issue for some three months and after I got bumped to another team who did everything in their power to annoy the hell out of me and fob me off I fought them to the point they banned me from their forums. Strange how after leaving them over a year ago and still on the same Openreach line I get higher speeds and I've never had an issue at all regarding dropped connections or re-syncs.

    If BT were the last telecoms supplier on the planet I'd still not go back to them.

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