Tech Alert (No. 1211)

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Yes, it’s that time again! – technology marches on, and I’m looking to replace my ageing BT router – the ‘Homehub 4’. It might only be around 6 years old, but that’s a lifetime these days for this sort of tech!

Our ageing ‘Homehub 4’

Why change? Well, normally, it would be simply down to more whistles and bells, but this time, things were different! Oh yes! Not only was the replacement going to have to have more whistles and bells, but it needed to be a lot more reliable too! Not that its unreliability was the router’s fault, as I’ll explain later.

As things were to turn out, I got all my whistles and bells, plus a few more AND the total price of our broadband package actually went down! ๐Ÿ˜Š

If I was to prioritise, the promise of a more stable wireless capability was the main aim, as this was desperately in need of improvement, especially for some of the radios and mobile phones here.

Why? Well, not surprisingly, we tend to push the router hard in this house – and that’s what was causing the unreliability. Not content with just the ‘normal’ typical family connections; say, a couple of phones, tablets, laptops etc, we’ve got so much more ‘talking’ the current router – see the list below.


The result being in many cases, devices were randomly losing their connection and the speed-per-device was sometimes horribly slow. And no-one was surprised, not even BT when I told them how many bits of kit were connected!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

After a lot of research, we simply settled on the latest router from BT – their so-called ‘SmartHub 2.0‘. Additionally, they promised no increase in the price of our contract (apart from RPI) at the end of the contract, but also a free techy visit if needed, and perhaps more importantly, ‘guaranteed strong wifi around the home‘ (using ‘mesh‘ technology). There’s quite a useful comparison between the various BT ‘Hub’s HERE.

Crikey! even Which liked it!

We had high hopes for the BT Complete Wi-Fi, and it definitely lived up to its bold claims. The Smart Hub 2 on its own is the highest scoring router we’ve tested, and with the added disc it’s one of the best mesh systems we’ve seen. It can give you excellent coverage and fast transfer speeds, even with lots of devices connected”.

Check out their full review HERE.

I must admit, even though the reviews of this replacement were glowing, I tend to treat all the hype with some caution these days – even from Which.

BT’s ‘shiny new’ SmartHub 2.0

“That’ll be interesting” I thought, “we’ve got close on 40 devices all needing to talk to the router, and I’m sure that’s well in excess of what’s recommended”

Our shiny new toy arrived a few days later. There was now even an app to help you set it up! ๐Ÿ‘

Long-story-short: It was a breeze to get up-and-running – and more importantly, after some thorough stress-testing, every device in the house was rock-solid in terms of its connection. I guess this ‘mesh‘ technology-marlarkey does the trick!

BT’s ‘Disc’

And just to be sure, I located a complementary piece of kit known as a ‘disc’ on eBay (half the price than direct from BT) that works with the router to boost the signal even further (some 15% apparently). That now lives upstairs and although not strictly necessary, it could only make things even better.

Time will tell over the coming weeks as to whether it lives up to the hype – we’ll see!!!

Tech Spec:
1 x Analogue phone port
2.4GHz 3 x 3 MIMO 11n, 5GHz 4×4 MIMO 11ac
4 x gigabit LAN ports
2 x USB 3.0 ports
Serves as a DECT base station
7 x Wi-Fi, 2 DECT antennas
1 x USB 2.0 port


Update: Well, three weeks later, I’m happy to report that the internet is vastly improved. Downloads are a tad faster (although I wasn’t expecting that!) and every device has enjoyed a 100% connection since the router’s installation. Thanks BT!!

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