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UPDATE2 Super Slow Broadband Bug Hits UK BT Infinity FTTC ISP Subscribers

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 (1:59 pm) - Score 7,829
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Some of BT’s superfast broadband (BTInfinity) customers are reporting that an intermittent bug with either their HomeHub 3 (HH3) router or VDSL modem device is causing service speeds to crash, in many cases falling from upwards of 70Mbps (Megabits per second) to sub-1Mbps levels.

The situation, which appears to be affecting both new and old customers alike, only seems to show itself when the end-user is using a wired network and does not affect Wireless (wifi) setups. A quick reset of the HH3 or port switch usually resolves the problem, but only for a few hours before it returns. The situation is being covered by this topic on the ISPs support forum, though several other threads may also be related.

A BT Customer, Saece, said:

Had exactly the same problem, wireless worked fine, wired speed drops. Clearly it’s the HH3 and not the connection or both would be affected.

Have a new HH3 on the way hopefully it’s better, my speeds been decreased by 16mb on my ip profile, india call centers not understanding the problem too strong!”

Another BT Customer, mavelica2109, added:

Mine is doing this too, anyone have a solution yet? We only recently got infinity in our area and i was one fo the first, no problems at first but now its terrible. I am having to reset the hub 2 or 3 times a day to get the right speed and sometimes then its not as it was when first put in.”

Curiously BT has so far been resolving the problem by dispatching a BTOpenreach engineer to replace the HH3, VDSL modem and reset the customer’s line profile. It’s unclear why both the router and modem would need to be switched, although a BTOpenreach spokesperson unofficially suggested to ISPreview.co.uk that the problem might be “the residual effects of the previous over-heating issue“.

Regular readers might recall that BT was forced to replace some of its older VDSL modems (Huawei EchoLife HG612) in January 2012 (here) after discovering a serious overheating fault that could cause “total loss of service“, yet so far the above issue appears to be centred on BT’s HH3 and not Openreach’s modem (supplied for all FTTC subscriptions).

Similarly many of those affected also have the latest (v3 or later) modems, which are supposed to have resolved the overheating issue. It’s worth remembering that all hardware can suffer faults and an ISP with hundreds of thousands of FTTC subscribers is bound to have a few of those. We will report back once BT has finished looking into the matter.

UPDATE 22nd June 2012

BT has told ISPreview.co.uk that a firmware fix for affected HomeHub3 routers is on the way (here).

UPDATE 25th July 2012

A firmware fix is now being deployed HERE.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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22 Responses
  1. Avatar Deduction

    People in significant numbers have been reporting the slow down issue on BTs own forums for over a month. Glad this site has finally picked up on the news.

    Personally i think its more than overheating this time. The newest version of the HG612 that ive seen runs pretty cool (especially compared to other modem/routers ive used).

    If its the home hub overheating thats a far bigger issue for BT as that in theory should not only be affecting the FTTC users but ADSL ones also.

    Both those things combined is why i doubt its overheating.

  2. Avatar adslmax

    HH is junk. Get a proper router.

  3. Avatar telecomengineer

    That spokesman has obviously never done a days fault finding in his life, hope this doesnt become a rumour leading to inaction “just left over gremlins from previous issues no need to do anything..”. Engineers changing everything means they do not know what is causing issue so just doing blind swaps. If it doesnt affect wifi obviously the modem is supplying the speed and so is the back end, blame thus lies squarely with the router!
    No issues on my hh however.

  4. Avatar Tom

    First thing I did was dump the HH3 😉 DDWRT thanks!

    A BT customer came into BE IRC the other day with speed issues similar to the news item.. I suggested plugging computer directly into the VDSL modem and using Windows PPPoE… performance was vastly improved and does point towards a problem with some HH3’s.

  5. Avatar nredwood

    It’s definitely the HH3

    Seen the issue on BT Infinity 100Mb too

    Also had the ethernet ports lock up completely and the DHCP server crash

  6. Avatar Tom

    Which HH3 do you have? (there are two different versions)
    One is made by Huawei and the other by Sagem iirc.

  7. Avatar Deduction

    Theres 2 models of the HH3 commonly referred to as type A and type B.

    Type A had an earlier firmware, type B has a later firmware. Anyone given a type A model on infinity should report it to BT as its firmware does not have all the features for infinity (unless they have updated the firmware on them). Type A models also seem to suffer from poorer wireless performance and had a quirk (though this was some time ago) where its LAN ports would default back to 10Mbs, that should had been fixed a while ago though, and is unlikely the issue infinity people are having as many on ADSL2+ get more than 10Mb and would had also noticed problems.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      I’ve had that 10Mbps issue, don’t think its fixed yet. I don’t think this is that problem though. IMO the HH3 is better than previous hubs but still has problems as we can see

  8. Avatar Deduction

    Ideally ditch both the HH3 and the modem they supply, configuration in both is sparse and both items have a long history of issues, be they reliability or security related.

    I dunno even why they are supplying 2 boxes STILL, not only that but they have had to replace many of them already (not only with infinity). It may have been cheaper for them initially but surely it makes more sense both financially and for users benefit now to supply something decent rather than keep replacing things?? Maybe they buy the things for literally pennies each.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Do you mean you think they should supply a combined modem/router? No thanks I would rather not have that. I’d prefer a standard modem and to choose a router myself

    • Avatar Deduction

      Then you are more likely have some type of issue at some point. Its rare you get 2 pieces of equipment that work flawlessly together and by flawlessly i mean ZERO issues EVER. The BT situation makes even less sense as im pretty sure the chipset in the HH and the chipset in the Modem are not even made by the same company.

      Even more insane is the fact BT are selling a 100Mb Fibre based product and keep rattling on about wild possible 150-300Mb (depending on what story you read or the time off month BTs PR menstral cycle is on) future products yet and COPRRECT ME IF WRONG…. The LAN ports on the router they supply are only 100Mb???? WTF sense does that make, if they ever get FTTC running over 100Mb they are gonna have to start offering YET ANOTHER stupid new box.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Sorry Deduction but that is rubbish (your CAPSLOCK its going crazy btw). Virgin have for years issued Motorola modems only and “sort yourself out with a router” (later they supplied Netgear routers) and now the Superdud.

      The same goes for the big cable telcos in the states, they have for years supplied modems only, no problem with that.

      Why does the chipset in the HH3 have anything to do with the one in the modem? The HH3 just uses the Ethernet WAN port to connect to the modem it isn’t “training/syncing” with anything when used with the modem, they don’t need the same chipset.

      Agreed on the LAN port speed though, although there is a gig port on it you could connect to a switch I guess

    • Avatar Deduction

      When virgin were issuing Motorola stuff you didnt even get a separate router. Just the modem. Ive no idea what they use now, i imagine its Netgear based which i think is what their router is also. IE same manufacturer. So no that situation is different.

      Out in the states now for FIBRE cable services (what they call fios) many of the companies supply a combined unit rather than separate modem and router like on their older cable products. If you have your voice over fibre also then Verizon i think you will find an all-in-one unit with a phone handset built in also. Visual design of it is horrid.

      The HH obviously does do something weird if it sometime gets stuck at 10Mb.

      Oh and port 4 (IE the so called gigabit port) on the HH3 also has issues when using other ports on it or the red infinity port apparently, atleast according to a few posts ive read. (wouldnt shock me if that problem and the problem of it getting stuck at 10Mb on the ports is related in some manner).

      Basically its LANDFILL JUNK!

    • Avatar FibreFred

      That is what I’m saying to you, Virgin used to supply just the modem and it was up to you to supply your own router, then they started to bundle a Netgear router with their own locked down firmware to connect to the motorola. So at this point (which has been the case for 10-20yrs) there has always been a mix of vendors, the router you attach doesn’t care what the modem is, it just sends and receives out its Ethernet port, it doesn’t matter.

      And now Virgin have a DOCSIS modem/router (rebranded Netgear) that they supply the Hub and Superhub

      Your point is like saying I need to have an Intel network card in my laptop talking to an Intel router or switch, its not relevant.

      You’ll find a lot of people prefer to use their own router, ever since Virgin launched their hub / superhub their customers have been crying out for a “modem only” feature in the firmware so they can hook up their own router, which is now at long last available.

      Mixing a different brand of modem and router is not a problem, the router doesn’t care what it is connected to, its just a.n.other Ethernet device

    • Avatar Deduction

      The difference there is before you were not dealing with speeds in excess or approaching the limits of what ports etc on a lot of retail router equipment could handle.

      Its kinda like when ADSL2+ first came along and many still only had speedtouch 330 frog type devices and wondered why things wouldnt sync faster than around 8Mb.
      Except in this case its a port limitation. General concept is the same though, dated equipment that cant handle a new product.

      Which brings us to another interesting point………
      On real fibre connections right this minute to the lucky few that can have FTTP from BT, what devices do they supply when doing a retail install of that????
      Please tell me they dont use a HH3 for that, surely not? OR even more insane they supply a HH3 and a thid box in the shape of a gigabit switch???

  9. A lot of those affected have the HHB3B.

    • Avatar Deduction

      Hmmm thats interesting Mark, sounds like they have a serious problem on their hands again then.

  10. Avatar Slavo

    I had a similar issue before. Looking at the log files ethernet port was coming up and down on the router. It usually went away after swaping to another one until even that did not help any more. Opened the router up to find out blown capacitor. Most likely overheated and affected power into the router switch ports causing dropouts. WiFi was OK. Awapped the capacitor for new one and all started to work fine.

  11. Avatar zemadeiran

    Lets all chant together…COPPER!…COPPER!…COPPER! Oi Oi Oi!

  12. Avatar nredwood

    HH3B here

    My experience is very similar to Slavo’s

  13. Avatar Rob Fletcher

    So, any news of the timescales for a rollout of any fix to the HH3 firmware???

    Would be nice to have some communnication from BT.

    Rob

    • Avatar Rob Fletcher

      guess what, after my system being completely stable and fast since 17th May, I too find that it has been poked bt BT in the early hours

      02:21:48,29 Jun. WAN connection WAN4_TR069_INTERNET_R_ETH1 disconnected.[ERROR_ISP_TIME_OUT]

      and now my speed has dropped to around 1 meg … This drop is absolutle and definitely associated with that remote poke.

      My firmware is still V100R001C01B031SP09_L_B and has not been updated, so what was this poke all about???

      Also, my IP Profile which has been stable at 65 megs since 17th May has dropped to 49.92 … I guess I need an engineer visit to get on the phone to get it reset?

      Rob

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