Getting BT fibre-optic broadband

BT Home Hub 3
Don’t use one of these…

Hint for anyone planning on moving to BT‘s fibre optic broadband – forget the packaged HomeHub3 and go for a router capable of 300Mbps throughput on the wifi. We’ve gone for a NetGear though there are plenty of alternatives.

Reason being that most areas have 40Mbps (max) broadband speed with a quoted rise to 80Mbps within a few months, peaking at 300Mbps. Some areas already have 300Mbps.

The HomeHub3 is only capable of transmitting a wifi signal of 130Mbps. Therefore, even though it could theoretically be yanking 300Mbps up the “pipe” from the internet, it can only get it to your computer at less than half that speed. In other words, the kit BT are shipping is already out of date. Find a solution tailored to your needs at

The WNR2200 we went for is small, white (therefore colour-coordinated to please my other half) and sits perfectly on top of the supplied BT fibre modem. It’s also only about £50 if you pre-purchase via PCWorld’s (*spit*) website and collect it in store – saving you £60! Though there was another option, even cheaper – £25, from a manufacturer I’ve not heard of before.

If you have an existing ADSL modem router… pass it on to someone else. It’s useless with fibre. You need a cable modem, i.e. one with a “WAN” input socket on the back, not an ADSL one. OK, technically you don’t need the “modem” part of it as BT supply that, but that’s what to look for on the boxes.

Confusingly, lots of retailers started labelling all of their ADSL kit as appropriate for “BT Connections”. Obviously, this is no longer the case as it depends on whether you’re using ADSL or fibre now.

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BT Home Hub 3.0 – one major annoyance

BT Home Hub 3
BT Home Hub 3

We just “upgraded” to a BT Home Hub 3.0 after having some problems with the old version 2 which kept losing settings (including the password). It looks nice, but don’t believe the press that it’s the “most sought after router on the market” or however they worded the hyperbole. If I was shopping for a router off my own back, this is not one I’d buy.

Don’t get me wrong. Setup is simple, but it’s still rather tied down as far as configuration goes despite the extra features available with the new firmware. A few points to ask include:

Why is there only one Gigabit Ethernet socket and three 100Mb/s ones?

Why do you claim it doesn’t get as hot as the v2 when the one we have would comfortably warm the tortoise’s run?

Why is there still no wireless bridging functionality?

Why is it still branded as a hub when it’s actually a router (OK, it just niggles)?

My main issue at present, though, is down to a series of dropped connections that we traced to a missing microfilter. Not, therefore, a connectivity problem related to the router but to an upshot of it – the redirection of failed connections to a “holding page” on the router which causes a ton of problems and solves none.

If the broadband connection drops and you try to access a web page, the browser redirects to “bthome.home”, an animated graphic of the front of the router which flashes to say that there’s no connection at present. All well and good – but what’s happened to the URL I was trying to get to?

The answer is that it’s now malformed, filled fill of “%” space-fillers, pre-pended by the aforementioned “.home” domain and with a SQL-style query suffix on the end.

In other words, if I was in the middle of some transaction when the connection dropped I’d not be able to get back to my intended target once it came back up. Prior to the v3, I’d simply wait and hit “refresh” a lot. Now hitting refresh just reloads the “your connection is down” page – even once the connection is once again live.

After all the lyrical waxing regarding automatic wireless channel-hopping and smaller footprint, it would have been nice if someone has actually got some users to check the flipping thing before they shipped it. Don’t get me wrong, it works well when the broadband’s ticking over, but when your connection goes down that’s a bad time to be further aggravated by poor software design.

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