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UPDATE2 UK ISP BT Reveal New Smarter Hub 4 Broadband Wireless Router

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 (12:48 pm) - Score 16,306

BT Retail has today unveiled a new Hub 4 wireless broadband router, which will be rolled out to replace its existing HomeHub3 kit from 10th May 2013. Key highlights of the new device are its concurrent dual band wi-fi wireless (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and upgraded Smart Wireless technology, which should improve performance.

The new kit, which measures just 116mm (high) x 236mm (wide) x 31mm (deep) and is thus apparently small enough to fit through most letter boxes (i.e. BT specifically claims that anybody who missed the delivery now won’t need to pick it up from the local mail depot), will be supplied to the operators new Total broadband (ADSL2+) and superfast broadband BTInfinity (FTTC/P) subscribers.

BT Hub 4 also includes the latest version of the operators Smart Wireless technology, which first showed up in their HomeHub3 and works by automatically checking for and selecting the best WiFi (802.11n) channel (i.e. one with the least interference). On top of that it also includes a faster process and two Gigabit Ethernet ports (WAN and LAN), which are designed to get the most out of the operators up to 80Mbps FTTC Infinity service. More details below.

John Petter, MD of BT’s Consumer Division, said:

This is our best ever home hub. We’re once again providing our customers with cutting edge technology to give them a better connection than any other major UK broadband provider. BT’s the first major ISP in the UK to offer such innovative smart dual-band technology that avoids interference for an ultra-reliable connection. It’s at the heart of our broadband packages.”

BT Hub 4 Specification

Ports and Sockets
ADSL network interface for BT Broadband
• 1x RJ45 Gigabit WAN interface for BT Infinity
• 4x RJ45 Ethernet LAN ports
• 1x Gigabit Ethernet
• 3x 10/100 Base T Ethernet
• 1x USB 2.0 master socket x1

Buttons
• Wireless: WPS
• Reset (Pinhole)
• Restart
• On/Off power button

LED
• Power
• Broadband
• Wireless

Weight & dimensions
• 301 (gms)
• 116 high x 236 wide x 31 deep (mm)

Wireless
• Dual band concurrent wireless
• 2.4GHz: 802.11n dual-stream 2×2 MIMO. Back compatible with 802.11 b/g
• 5GHz: 802.11n dual-stream 2×2 MIMO. Back compatible with 802.11a
• WPS wireless connection
• Smart Wireless – automated channel selection in 2.4 & 5GHz
• Wireless channel operation
• 2.4GHz: 20MHz (default), 40MHz supported
• 5GHz: 40MHz (default), 20MHz supported
• Up to 64 simultaneous wireless users supported

Wireless encryption
• 2.4GHz: WPA & WPA2 (default), WPA, WPA2 and WEP 64/40
• 5GHz: WPA2

Wireless Transmission speed
• 2.4GHz wireless: up to 300Mbps
• 5 GHz wireless: up to 300Mbps
• Up to 150 Mbps (20MHz)
• Up to 300 Mbps (40MHz)

Power consumption
• Latest intelligent power management; hub functions are monitored and individually put into power save mode when not in use.

Other features
• Packaging designed to fit through typical UK letter box
• Smart set up – new CD-less installation
• Support for BT Wifi
• Packaging is 100 per cent recycled card with non-petrochemical inks

ISPreview.co.uk understands that the new Hub 4 router has been in trial since the start of this year (we first heard about trials taking place in early February 2013) and will initially be offered to new customers. Meanwhile existing subscribers will be able to upgrade for free, albeit only if they take out a new contract. Otherwise the router can be purchased separately for £35 inc. VAT.

Sadly BT didn’t take the opportunity to build a VDSL2 modem into the Hub 4, although this would probably have been too expensive since not everybody will order the related FTTC service (i.e. easier and cheaper to keep supplying a separate Openreach VDSL modem with FTTC orders).

Separately there are reports that BT Retail may soon offer free access to its new sports channels, which will be showing live Premier League football matches, to customers who also take their superfast broadband BTInfinity service (here). Precise details and confirmation are expected to surface on Friday and alongside the operators latest financial results.

UPDATE 1:11pm

Here’s a picture from the back of the Hub 4.

bt hub 4 backside

UPDATE 6:08pm

In case anybody wants to know. The BT Hub 4 is based on a Lantiq ARX368 which provides the main gateway functions and the 5GHz radio. The 2.4GHz part is a Lantiq Wave 300.

Leave a Comment
15 Responses
  1. Avatar Kyle says:

    I’ve had hubs break on me without any interference at all; not sure that dropping it through a letter box is the best option!

    Nice to see that for those who want the upgrade, it’s more reasonably priced than the HH3, which was £100.

  2. Avatar Tom says:

    Nice to see they have returned the restart button to a really tedious place that will be easy to accidentally press while moving the HH a bit. Also seems likely that people with disorganised desks may find that their HH is restarting because they have placed something on top of the router and pressed the button.

    The HH2 had this “feature”… so many accidental reboots… *argh*.

    1. Avatar Kyle says:

      Well, that’s the BT helpdesk staff’s lives made easier! No searching for buttons when they repeatedly advise you to restart the thing!

  3. Avatar foureyes says:

    probably crap as usual like the bt network as they lie when they say unlimited and wont slow you down . lol pathetic .

  4. Avatar Phil says:

    Still rubbish. 2.4GHz wireless: up to 600Mbps would be better
    • 5 GHz wireless: up to 900Mbps would be better

    1. Avatar Kyle says:

      It can easily be replaced!

  5. Avatar keith says:

    Good and bad…

    Good
    Price if you want to err upgrade (though what is the difference between this and a HH3b?) is very reasonable
    Superb if the other news about its sports channels turns out to be true (Im guessing it wont and there will be a reduced fee). If it does turn out to be free than kudos to BT (let us hope its not just a ‘for new customers’ thing either).

    Bad
    Shame they did not build a VDSL modem into it. Ok like the news item says probably due to cost, but why, oh why, oh why, have they decided to still only give the thing 1 single Gigabit port???
    Placement of the restart button right on top is utter stupidity. I as already alluded to, can see that accidentally being pressed every time you plug a cable in, reach behind to plug in a USB device. Or if you are my Mrs, move the thing to do some dusting.

    At least it has 2 proper feet now see it wont topple over as easy.

    1. Avatar Keith says:

      Shocker FREE sport thing unless im reading new info wrong is indeed only for new customers or for those that take out yet another 12 Month contract. BT predictable as always with initial hype announcements which turn out to be watered down dross.

    2. Avatar Stu says:

      Surely it would be easy to make another version of this (in the same case) that has a VDSL modem built in?? a real drag having to have a modem and router taking up 2 power sockets.

  6. Avatar cyclope says:

    Does it support incoming imcp requests on the WAN port ? probably not this is BT we are talking about here, they don’t want customers to be able use things such as thinkbroadbands ping monitor or the f8lure one , but there again CGN will stop that anyway,lol

  7. Avatar Rob says:

    Luckily just seen this review, I have upgraded to BT Infinity and its being installed next week. Just called BT to have this hub instead of my current HH3, the only way is to cancel current order and re-order immediatley adding the HH4 onto the order. Will call them back on Friday when hub is released to discuss further.

  8. Avatar RD says:

    Pfft Rob what a hassle…I would of said look just send me one or cancel my order and i go to talk talk and watch how fast your HH4 comes in the post!

    To be honest if they gave me one for nothing i might stay with BT.Now that Infinity has live sport and espn im very very happy with it.

    £26 per month for 70mb down.I just wish there was access to HD football and shows on thier wb not through the TV service and i would be taking out another 24 month contract asap.

  9. I just ordered my BT Broadband last week and they are telling me that new customers can’t get the HH4 on their order until June. So that would mean cancelling and re ordering On June 1st. Very annoying seen as though the press release for the HH4 states it will be available from May 10th.

  10. Anyone know if one can tell it to stay on your chosen channel for good because some internet appliances such as the Logitech Squeezebox Radio will never reconnect to a WiFi hotspot if it moves to a different channel without changing it’s MAC address.

  11. Avatar mike cook says:

    bt homehub 3 came with a support disc but homehub4 has no support at all ??? come on bt we pay enough for your poor service already do some work and give the newhub4 some support

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