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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Orange LiveBox wifi

livebox 1.
Orange - please tell your staff that this thing does have wi-fi

I’ve just spent the night at a friend’s house. She “doesn’t have wi-fi“, apparently. Well, she didn’t. Now she does.

She’s using Orange for her internet and her LiveBox never gave her wifi. She contacted Orange over a year ago and was told that her connection was “wired only” and that she couldn’t get it. Strange, then, when I looked at the router and it had a nice green light next to the wifi icon on the front and another button at the back with a wifi icon next to it. Pressing this made the light on the front flash for a bit.

Long story short, she does have wireless. She always had it. It’s just that nobody had told her how to use it or provided her with information on how to configure it.

So, here’s what you do:

  1. Look on the label on the router – you’ll see a long code on the bottom line made up of seemingly random letters and numbers. This is your wi-fi key.
  2. Press the button on the back of the router next to the wi-fi icon. You have about a minute to make the connection from now – basically while the light on the front is flashing.
  3. On your computer, go through the usual routine for adding a new wireless network. Enter the wi-fi key from step 1 without spaces between the characters.

You should now have a working connection. This was done on the Orange Livebox Thomson D700.

Yes, it was as simple as that. Over a year with no wi-fi because Orange either lied to her, or the several people in the call centre simply didn’t know what the hell they were talking about when she called.

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