BT Home Hub replacement

parsonsm

Standard Member
Hi all,

I'm desperate to replace my BT Home Hub that came with the Infinity package and hoped you could suggest a decent, budget alternative. Am sick of the 2.4ghz band dumping every device off the wifi as and when it fancies it and now the 5ghz band has started requesting password authentication at random intervals. I've changed SSIDs for each band, been through various different channels and extended the DHCP lease for as long as possible and am still getting issues. I use powerline adapters on the 2.4 but the 5 is solely transmitted from the router.

I just want something that works permanently and doesn't disconnect devices randomly throughout the day.

Appreciate your help!
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
It's highly unlikely that it's your router that is "dumping everything off." Wi-Fi doesn't work like that. Thusly a new router might not make any difference if it wasn't the router that is causing the problem in the first place.

The symptoms you describe are a "classic" sign of an interference problem and it's just as likely an alternate would suffer the same problem. Changing routers is at best guessing.

You mentioned Powerline - are any of them the type with integrated Wi-Fi or arre they ethernet only. If the former then you esentially have a "cellular" Wi-Fi coverage pattern and it's very likely the coverage area of the cells overlaps and if you haven't tuned their radio channels to difference values, the cells could literally be tripping over each other. We can perhaps help you with defining a better radio channel plan.

However, if you are minded to spend money on a new router, I like a US based site called SmallNetBuilder. He reviews a lot of SOHO kit and does a better job than most of objectively and methodically testing it. He also tabulates his results by various performance metrics so you can home in on what is most important to you. Just bear in mind he's based in the USA if you are not from that territory, so exact spec. of kit may differ elsewhere (though often it's just the PSU and ISP compatibility.)
 

parsonsm

Standard Member
It's highly unlikely that it's your router that is "dumping everything off." Wi-Fi doesn't work like that. Thusly a new router might not make any difference if it wasn't the router that is causing the problem in the first place.

The symptoms you describe are a "classic" sign of an interference problem and it's just as likely an alternate would suffer the same problem. Changing routers is at best guessing.

You mentioned Powerline - are any of them the type with integrated Wi-Fi or arre they ethernet only. If the former then you esentially have a "cellular" Wi-Fi coverage pattern and it's very likely the coverage area of the cells overlaps and if you haven't tuned their radio channels to difference values, the cells could literally be tripping over each other. We can perhaps help you with defining a better radio channel plan.

However, if you are minded to spend money on a new router, I like a US based site called SmallNetBuilder. He reviews a lot of SOHO kit and does a better job than most of objectively and methodically testing it. He also tabulates his results by various performance metrics so you can home in on what is most important to you. Just bear in mind he's based in the USA if you are not from that territory, so exact spec. of kit may differ elsewhere (though often it's just the PSU and ISP compatibility.)
Hey and thank you for your detailed reply.

I hadn't thought about interference to be honest, I just assumed the hub wold be the issue as they're cheap pieces of kit that come from BT and are free with your broadband.

I've had a look at the config on the TP link AV600 Powerline extenders as they both transmit 2.4 wifi.

My router is on channel 11, 1 powerline is on ch 13 and the other is on ch 6. Do you see any issue with these?
 

neilball

Well-known Member
Providing you cannot “see” lots of neighbours wifi then just stick them on separate channels, and pick 1,6 & 11 so you avoid co-channel interference. They are the only channels that avoid interference in the 2.4GHz band in the U.K.
I also avoid going above channel 11 as some kit refuses to use channels above this number (not a common problem but I’ve got kit at home that will no see or use channels above 11).
 

parsonsm

Standard Member
Providing you cannot “see” lots of neighbours wifi then just stick them on separate channels, and pick 1,6 & 11 so you avoid co-channel interference. They are the only channels that avoid interference in the 2.4GHz band in the U.K.
I also avoid going above channel 11 as some kit refuses to use channels above this number (not a common problem but I’ve got kit at home that will no see or use channels above 11).
Thanks for the advice. I've changed the 13 to 1 and will see how I get on. I can't see any of my neighbours wifi so should be good on that front.

Thanks again!
 

parsonsm

Standard Member
Providing you cannot “see” lots of neighbours wifi then just stick them on separate channels, and pick 1,6 & 11 so you avoid co-channel interference. They are the only channels that avoid interference in the 2.4GHz band in the U.K.
I also avoid going above channel 11 as some kit refuses to use channels above this number (not a common problem but I’ve got kit at home that will no see or use channels above 11).
Sadly the channel change hasn't made a difference. I'm connected to the wifi and all of a sudden it drops and the only way to re-establish is to toggle wifi off and on.

I wondered if it's my device suddenly deciding that the signal from another transmitter is the better option but when I'm sat in the same room as the strongest signal and not moving around the house, I can't see that as the cause.

Any thoughts?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
By have a coincidence I have a laptop that behaves the same way: I live in flats and consequently have lots of interference from neighbours (whatever channels I choose) and if my laptop looses connection, it refuses to rejoin anything until flip Wi-Fi off/on again - in extreme circumstance it won't play until I sleep/resume it. Other kit is just fine, so I'm pretty the issue is with my laptop.

Anyway, if the SSID's of your router and Powerlines are different, clients will never automatically "roam" between hotspots - you have to tell them to move. If the SSID's (and passphrase) are the same, then client may roam automatically without user intervention, but beware of "Big Wi-Fi Myth Number 2" that clients are always "hunting for he best signal" - they do not and some need it to get pretty grotty before they initiate a roaming assessment. You could literally be say next to one AP, but if the client thinks it's getting "good enough" service from one further away it's already in session with, it won't roam.

However, failed roaming attempts can be a cause of the "lost my connection" symptom: Sometimes it goes wrong because a client tries to roam, fails to acquire the new AP for some reason, then tries to revert back to the original and sometime fails there too, then just gives up.

With a lot of clients there very little we can do about it as they offer little if any control. But some give a few options to play with such as a "roaming aggressiveness" control, preference for particular waveband (2.4 Vs 5Ghz,) preference for particular SSIDs - some clients rank them in order of preference you might want to make sure your's are at the top of the list.
 

sy278

Member
Sadly the channel change hasn't made a difference. I'm connected to the wifi and all of a sudden it drops and the only way to re-establish is to toggle wifi off and on.

I wondered if it's my device suddenly deciding that the signal from another transmitter is the better option but when I'm sat in the same room as the strongest signal and not moving around the house, I can't see that as the cause.

Any thoughts?
Have you checked if the router is rebooting when this happens? I had this exact issue and then discovered what was happening was the router (BT homeHub) was rebooting. It was doing this several times a day. Had lengthy argument with BT about it (they initially tried to tell me it rebooting multiple times a day was normal, they then tried to blame my UniFi APs) and eventually they replaced the router and no more issues.
 

parsonsm

Standard Member
Have you checked if the router is rebooting when this happens? I had this exact issue and then discovered what was happening was the router (BT homeHub) was rebooting. It was doing this several times a day. Had lengthy argument with BT about it (they initially tried to tell me it rebooting multiple times a day was normal, they then tried to blame my UniFi APs) and eventually they replaced the router and no more issues.
Sorry for the late reply. Yes, I know the router isn't re-booting as the 5ghz band doesn't drop at the same time as the 2.4ghz. I'm buying into the idea that somehow the devices connected to the 2.4ghz are deciding to try and switch to another AP despite the best signal coming from the immediate vicinity. Not sure how I get around that apart from trying to reduce the signal strength from the router itself which I think is an option. Pretty sure that doesn't exist as an option on the TP Link extenders though. We have a 3 storey house with the extenders on the top and bottom floor and the router in the middle so hopefully that small change might make a difference.
 

parsonsm

Standard Member
By have a coincidence I have a laptop that behaves the same way: I live in flats and consequently have lots of interference from neighbours (whatever channels I choose) and if my laptop looses connection, it refuses to rejoin anything until flip Wi-Fi off/on again - in extreme circumstance it won't play until I sleep/resume it. Other kit is just fine, so I'm pretty the issue is with my laptop.

Anyway, if the SSID's of your router and Powerlines are different, clients will never automatically "roam" between hotspots - you have to tell them to move. If the SSID's (and passphrase) are the same, then client may roam automatically without user intervention, but beware of "Big Wi-Fi Myth Number 2" that clients are always "hunting for he best signal" - they do not and some need it to get pretty grotty before they initiate a roaming assessment. You could literally be say next to one AP, but if the client thinks it's getting "good enough" service from one further away it's already in session with, it won't roam.

However, failed roaming attempts can be a cause of the "lost my connection" symptom: Sometimes it goes wrong because a client tries to roam, fails to acquire the new AP for some reason, then tries to revert back to the original and sometime fails there too, then just gives up.

With a lot of clients there very little we can do about it as they offer little if any control. But some give a few options to play with such as a "roaming aggressiveness" control, preference for particular waveband (2.4 Vs 5Ghz,) preference for particular SSIDs - some clients rank them in order of preference you might want to make sure your's are at the top of the list.
Thanks again for your input and assistance and sorry for the late reply.

I've got the same SSID being broadcast from the router and 2 extenders so I do think you're right in thinking that the devices are trying to roam despite the best signal coming from a closer and stronger source. I think my router has an option of weakening the signal strength so will try that as it sits in the middle floor of our 3 storey house with the extenders on the top and bottom floors. Hopefully that should prevent significant overlap.
 

parsonsm

Standard Member
By have a coincidence I have a laptop that behaves the same way: I live in flats and consequently have lots of interference from neighbours (whatever channels I choose) and if my laptop looses connection, it refuses to rejoin anything until flip Wi-Fi off/on again - in extreme circumstance it won't play until I sleep/resume it. Other kit is just fine, so I'm pretty the issue is with my laptop.

Anyway, if the SSID's of your router and Powerlines are different, clients will never automatically "roam" between hotspots - you have to tell them to move. If the SSID's (and passphrase) are the same, then client may roam automatically without user intervention, but beware of "Big Wi-Fi Myth Number 2" that clients are always "hunting for he best signal" - they do not and some need it to get pretty grotty before they initiate a roaming assessment. You could literally be say next to one AP, but if the client thinks it's getting "good enough" service from one further away it's already in session with, it won't roam.

However, failed roaming attempts can be a cause of the "lost my connection" symptom: Sometimes it goes wrong because a client tries to roam, fails to acquire the new AP for some reason, then tries to revert back to the original and sometime fails there too, then just gives up.

With a lot of clients there very little we can do about it as they offer little if any control. But some give a few options to play with such as a "roaming aggressiveness" control, preference for particular waveband (2.4 Vs 5Ghz,) preference for particular SSIDs - some clients rank them in order of preference you might want to make sure your's are at the top of the list.
Hi again, I've just been on to my router logs and can see a hell of a lot of activity with devices disconnecting and reconnecting to the 2.4 band. In fact, there is specifically 1 device that keeps doing it which is my girlfriends Iphone. It is every 5 minutes, sometimes more regularly, constantly disassociating and associating. Also my XBOX one seems to be doing it every 20 mins or so. I've fixed them both with static IPs to hopefully give the router a rest and fingers crossed that has fixed it.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Mmmmm... I doubt fixing IP addresses with solve the problem. IP addressing doesn't "get in on the act" until a Wi-Fi link has completed establishment (Association) - the two are somewhat unrelated, though one (IP) depends on the other (Wi-Fi.)

If the link is dropping because of something affecting the radio environment, fixing IP addresses is unlikely to cure it.

Similarly, renewing an IP address (DHCP does this typically ever 12 hours or so) doesn't (or at least shouldn't) require the device to drop it's Wi-Fi link and re-establish it. Roaming between AP's should't require a DHCP refresh either, though I've seen a few devices that do non the less!

If you have a device that is "jabbering" as we used to call it back in the ethernet-over-coax days, maybe that's upsetting everything else. I'd be interested to see what happens if you turn off the "5 minute bandit" for a few days - does it stabalise for everything else...? Though I could empathise if you don't think there's much chance of persuading a GF to not use her phone on Wi-FI for a few days!
 
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parsonsm

Standard Member
Well, you were absolutely correct, the fixing of IPs did nothing to help the situation. Still getting disconnects. And you were also right in thinking that persuading my gf to ditch her phone for a few days isn't going to happen!

So upon checking the logs again, the sequence of events that leads to a disconnect is this:

LANIPv6 Neighbour Discovery Events : NEIGHBOR_SOLICIT
Receive a DHCP request
DHCP device disconnected: "IP xx.xx.xx.xx MAC xx.xx.xx.xx.xx.xx Device xx"
DHCP device connected: "IP xx.xx.xx.xx MAC xx.xx.xx.xx.xx.xx Device xx"

This repeats over and over, sometimes for multiple devices at once

Another thing I've noticed on the router logs is that a physical port has been dropping. And upon checking, it is indeed the port serving the extenders. Not as often to coincide with the disconnects I've been experiencing but could be as a result of what's happening?

I've moved the ethernet cable feeding the extenders to my spare port to see if that makes any difference as otherwise I am at a total loss :-(
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Sounds reasonable - you might want to change the cable on the suspect ethernet port if it's possible on case it's got broken or dirty.

However, technically, dropping an ethernet link should not cause devices not directly connected to refresh their DHCP leases - stuff downstream of the port won't even know it's happened.

Technically, a client in possession of a DHCP lease is entitled to keep using it until the lease time expires (typically 24 hours, though lease time is a configurable parameter, but not in most SOHO kit,) irrespective of whether the link is up down, the network is present or not, across power cycles and if the world ends! However a lot of kit will do a DHCP refresh whenever it power cycled or the link goes down/up - some of them just can't be bothered to "remember" their DHCP lease across power cycles, some will kick off a DHCP release/renew whenever the link goes down/up as a precaution - especially Wi-FI kit in case you've just roamed between networks.

You could also try disabling IP V6 - most SOHO users have no need for it (IP V4 is the one we are all familiar with) - though that's something of a forelorn hope and I'm basically just guessing. But if eliminating IP V6 doesn't make any difference, at least that's one less tranche of messages in the system logs to worry about.
 

parsonsm

Standard Member
Sounds reasonable - you might want to change the cable on the suspect ethernet port if it's possible on case it's got broken or dirty.

However, technically, dropping an ethernet link should not cause devices not directly connected to refresh their DHCP leases - stuff downstream of the port won't even know it's happened.

Technically, a client in possession of a DHCP lease is entitled to keep using it until the lease time expires (typically 24 hours, though lease time is a configurable parameter, but not in most SOHO kit,) irrespective of whether the link is up down, the network is present or not, across power cycles and if the world ends! However a lot of kit will do a DHCP refresh whenever it power cycled or the link goes down/up - some of them just can't be bothered to "remember" their DHCP lease across power cycles, some will kick off a DHCP release/renew whenever the link goes down/up as a precaution - especially Wi-FI kit in case you've just roamed between networks.

You could also try disabling IP V6 - most SOHO users have no need for it (IP V4 is the one we are all familiar with) - though that's something of a forelorn hope and I'm basically just guessing. But if eliminating IP V6 doesn't make any difference, at least that's one less tranche of messages in the system logs to worry about.
Once again, thank you for your advice and suggestions.

I'll try changing the cable and disabling IPv6 to see if that makes a difference. I doubt any addresses have been issued in anything but IPv4 so shouldn't have an effect other than to reduce the load on the router.

Here's hoping I report back with some progress soon.....not holding my breath!
 

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