Sponsored

BT Smarthub 2 - Full Fibre 900

Omico

Casual Member
I recently received a letter from Openreach advising that my property was now equipped for FTTP.
With a limited amount of service providers available, I chose BT, and have taken out their Fibre 900 package which claims to have 910mbps, with a stay-fast guarantee of 455mbps.

The install was pretty straight forward, however the engineer did say that the speeds didn't seem to match up to my 900 package. I gave the connection a few days to settle, before running a series of speed tests. On a hardwired connection from my Mac to my Smarthub 2, I can get anything from 37mbps, up to 780mbps. On a wireless connection, even when standing over the hub itself, I've yet to manage to exceed the 400mbps mark on any device.

When I've spoken to BT, they have acknowledged the issue, and have explained it's due to the Smarthub 2. Apparently the current firmware does not allow the Smarthub 2 to accurately record or report back the speeds associated with the Fibre 900 package (hence the variability). They have said that a new firmware is due in October which should sort this issue. Until October, no speed test will return an accurate result.

From BT's perspective they have informed me that I am receiving my full 910mbps speed service, with no errors on the line. From my own perspective, I cannot get any speed test to reliably return a decent speed - one minute I could get 780mbps, the next down to 180mbps (and everything in between). My regular WiFi speed in any room other than the hub is around 180mbps to 220 mbps. Again they inform me that this lack of speed showing is due to the hub being unable to record the speed properly.

Right now, as BT are aware that they are selling a service, which their own equipment cannot handle (or at least report on to demonstrate as a customer I am getting the correct service) - I feel they are mis-selling the service. I have registered a complaint with them, and keep escalating, as they aren't really offering much other than for me to cancel. I have asked them if there is any piece of equipment or device they could use or provide to let me verify the speed - they have said this isn't possible.

Can anyone please help with advice as to what I could do?
If they know it's a problem, surely they should have flagged it up before, and it's not really reasonable to just ask me to 'trust them' that I am getting my speeds?

Thanks in advance for any support
 

TTJJ

ULTIMATE Member
400mbps on WiFi is very normal - good in fact. I wouldn’t expect more than this

Wired should be more stable than you’ve reported.

You’re paying BT for the service - the router you can change to one you like. There’s plenty of significantly better performing gigabit routers you can purchase.
 

Omico

Casual Member
400mbps on WiFi is very normal - good in fact. I wouldn’t expect more than this

Wired should be more stable than you’ve reported.

You’re paying BT for the service - the router you can change to one you like. There’s plenty of significantly better performing gigabit routers you can purchase.

Thank you for replying - do you think it would be reasonable to ask BT to provide a router (or contribute towards one) which could accurately report the speed?
 

TTJJ

ULTIMATE Member
Thank you for replying - do you think it would be reasonable to ask BT to provide a router (or contribute towards one) which could accurately report the speed?
I definitely believe they should - and in the scheme of ISP routers BT generally provide ones on the more powerful side. That being said ISP routers generally aren't the most powerful of things. If BT are seeing on their end the connection is connected at 910mbps.

Your WiFi connection being no more than 400 is normal - I would say. Over WiFi on my gigabit connection I can only achieve between 200-300 and I have a fairly powerful router. You could try fiddling with the 5Ghz channel to see if you get any improvement. I believe the BT HomeHub 2 has 80MHz bandwidth on the 5GHz channel and not 160MHz.

You said you used a hard wired connection to your Mac - does your Mac have an ethernet port or is it running through an ethernet adapter? The adapter could be the issue if that's the case.

Other than the things I've suggested, I wouldn't expect much more performance as it's just a basic ISP router that serves the needs of the vast majority of their customers - it's not a powerhouse or anything like that. You can find your own router which is suitably powerful for maybe around 50 quid that'd do the job.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
When I've spoken to BT, they have acknowledged the issue, and have explained it's due to the Smarthub 2. Apparently the current firmware does not allow the Smarthub 2 to accurately record or report back the speeds associated with the Fibre 900 package (hence the variability). They have said that a new firmware is due in October which should sort this issue. Until October, no speed test will return an accurate result.

Hmm that's interesting, I'll do some checking to see if that's actually the case because it wouldn't be the first time that front-line support has fobbed somebody off with a cheap or misleading excuse.

But out of interest, which speed tests did you actually run? As I can't see how the router could screw up the results of a third-party service in a clean network environment with no other active users.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
Omico, I don't suppose you could share your BT account number with me (via private conversation on this forum)? I'm chasing the operator up to try and find out what the issue really is and need a practical example for them to check. So far I've been able to confirm that a problem does exist on the SH2, but there's conflicting information on the cause.
 

Netjet1980

Casual Member
Correct me if I am wrong, but this pretty much just sounds like standard WiFi limitations and really should not be the responsibility of BT. I would have thought as long as they supply the correct speed to the router, they have done their job and looking at the hardwired speed I would think it's pretty much there.

Wifi speeds and reliability varies by device (depending on interface and number of antennas, wifi standard connected, distances, walls, electrical interference). The problem is with gigabit internet coming in, the older wifi standards are not able to keep up (all those 1200 mbit/s on the package is just theoretical bandwith). On standard wifi 5 devices close to router I usually see around 300-400mbit depending on device.

I would only expect full line saturation with wifi 6 router and devices (taking into account that there are no large physical barriers between router and device).

For such a beefy internet connection, I would suggest at looking at hardwiring the devices that need the speed.
 

kommando828

ULTIMATE Member
On a hardwired connection from my Mac to my Smarthub 2, I can get anything from 37mbps, up to 780mbps.

The original poster has tried hardwired connection and gets varying speeds.
 

TTJJ

ULTIMATE Member
On a hardwired connection from my Mac to my Smarthub 2, I can get anything from 37mbps, up to 780mbps.

The original poster has tried hardwired connection and gets varying speeds.
Most macs don’t have Ethernet ports which is why I asked about the use of an adapter just in case it’s that. I find adapters not to work great.
 

Omico

Casual Member
I definitely believe they should - and in the scheme of ISP routers BT generally provide ones on the more powerful side. That being said ISP routers generally aren't the most powerful of things. If BT are seeing on their end the connection is connected at 910mbps.

Thank you for getting back to me. BT tend to be getting a top speed report of around 780 on their end, however they have also seen it drop down to 200-300. They have explained that the test they run will be affected by the same firmware issues on the Smarthub 2 as a home test. Frustratingly it keeps coming back to the fact that until the Smarthub 2 has its firmware updated - no-one, including BT, will be able to get a reliable speed test. This is based upon what they are currently telling me.

This is where I believe it has become more of a consumer or miss-sold service issue. From my limited understanding, they are currently selling a service which has it's price decided by speed. If they don't have a way to accurately measure this speed, then I'm not sure how they can charge for it? (If that makes sense?)

BT's current position is that because the line isn't reporting any faults, with all other metrics they have access to - there is no fault. They are using this as evidence to confirm the speed is there, even though no-one can test that accurately.

I'm trying to decide if it's worth deadlocking and registering a complaint with the Communication Ombudsman - or accepting some sort of good will gesture. Without sounding flippant, the money aspect doesn't bother me as much as the fact they know there is a problem, but continue to sell the service. Do you think that is unreasonable or I might be missing something?
 

Omico

Casual Member
Omico, I don't suppose you could share your BT account number with me (via private conversation on this forum)? I'm chasing the operator up to try and find out what the issue really is and need a practical example for them to check. So far I've been able to confirm that a problem does exist on the SH2, but there's conflicting information on the cause.

I really appreciate you taking the time to look into this Mark.J
I have sent you my customer number via PM, I hope this helps to provide BT with an example.

I have my Mac (which has a built in ethernet port) directly connected to the Smart Hub 2. I was originally running speed tests on fast.com, and it can return anything from 100 - 700, and during the test fluctuates greatly. BT sent a cube(sp?) engineer, who swapped the Smart Hub for his own test unit, and confirmed he also had speed issues, getting around 200 - 300 max hard wired to his laptop.

Since that appointment BT sent me a text message asking me to use their portal https://speedtestmi.btwholesale.com for future speed tests.
On this site I've had a range of speed results from 36mbps at the lowest and 687 at the highest. I ran 10 tests back-to-back the average of which was 484mbps. Interestingly while on a call to one of their agents they asked me to try a wifi test on my ipad, which returned a speed of 1400mbps, which should not be impossible on the line. The call handler confirmed this inaccurate result was again due to how the Smarthub 2 records/reports speed.

When a speed test of of above 455 (their guarantee) is achieved, they use this as confirming evidence that I am receiving the service I'm paying for. When the test reports back a lower value, they explain this away as the inaccuracy of the Smarthub. Ultimately I don't see how any values from the speed tests can be used to evidence anything in relation to my service - if they are flawed, then they are flawed entirely. Do you think I might be missing something or misunderstanding?

Thanks again for your help - I really want to be able to understand the issue as fully as possible, so that I can move forward in an informed and reasonable manner
 

Omico

Casual Member
Correct me if I am wrong, but this pretty much just sounds like standard WiFi limitations and really should not be the responsibility of BT. I would have thought as long as they supply the correct speed to the router, they have done their job and looking at the hardwired speed I would think it's pretty much there.

Wifi speeds and reliability varies by device (depending on interface and number of antennas, wifi standard connected, distances, walls, electrical interference). The problem is with gigabit internet coming in, the older wifi standards are not able to keep up (all those 1200 mbit/s on the package is just theoretical bandwith). On standard wifi 5 devices close to router I usually see around 300-400mbit depending on device.

I would only expect full line saturation with wifi 6 router and devices (taking into account that there are no large physical barriers between router and device).

For such a beefy internet connection, I would suggest at looking at hardwiring the devices that need the speed.

Thanks for the information on Wifi Speeds Netjet1980. From your information would I be right in assuming that an average wifi speed of 200mbps is about right for this service?

I can get 400mbps on my Samsung S10, if I'm standing directly over/beside the router. Is this also about right for the max speed I can expect to receive?

If I did want higher wifi speeds, do I need to purchase a separate wifi router?

I'm not sure if it's relevant to speed, but I also have the 2.4ghz channel switched off on the Smarthub 2, and my devices all connect to the 5ghz channel.
 

Omico

Casual Member
Most macs don’t have Ethernet ports which is why I asked about the use of an adapter just in case it’s that. I find adapters not to work great.

My Mac has a ethernet port - so there's no adapter involved. Thanks for the info though, it's good to know that could be an issue with other connections
 

ngnfzu

Casual Member
My Mac has a ethernet port - so there's no adapter involved. Thanks for the info though, it's good to know that could be an issue with other connections
Are you sure Wi-fi is disabled when you have the Ethernet port plugged in? Sometimes it can seem like it is connected by Ethernet but the Wi-fi is still enabled? Also is there any firewalls/antivirus running? CPU performance can also affect the speeds.

have you tried factory reset of the SH2? Usually the hubs require a firmware update to them, see when the last one was complete @ 192.168.1.254 in the general settings. It may take a few days to force the firmware updates through.
 

Netjet1980

Casual Member
Thanks for the information on Wifi Speeds Netjet1980. From your information would I be right in assuming that an average wifi speed of 200mbps is about right for this service?

I can get 400mbps on my Samsung S10, if I'm standing directly over/beside the router. Is this also about right for the max speed I can expect to receive?

Yes, pretty much. I think the speeds you are seeing are just fine for wifi 5 (ac). I can get around 450mbit on my Dell XPS17 laptop around 2 meters away from the access point (measured pure bandwidth via iperf3 locally).

If I did want higher wifi speeds, do I need to purchase a separate wifi router?

A faster wifi router or access point with the new Wifi 6 (ax), would be able to supply faster and stable connections, but only if the end device is using Wifi 6 as well. The Samsung S10 supports Wifi 6 as far as I know, but many older laptops and PCs do not and would only be able to connect via Wifi 5 (ac).

Additionally, Wifi 6 is still quite expensive (we just bought a Netgear Orbi 6 for £700, probably the most expensive solution, there are cheaper ones on the market of course). We are using a wifi 6 mesh setup to connect our downstairs (where the router and some multimedia devices are located) to our upstairs study, which has printers, several servers (media, DNS, VPN) and a couple PCs all hardwired into a 10gig switch. When plugging in via gigabit ethernet downstairs I can saturate the connections easily fully going via the wifi connection. This is what it looks like:

router/switch --> Wifi 6 AP (downstairs) --> Wifi 6 Satellite (upstairs) --> switch --> PC (via ethernet cable). It works great for us since most of our devices are hardwired into the upstairs switch.

Most of our mobile and smart devices are sitting on wifi (still using wifi 5) and will only get the usual 200-400mbit, but that's not a problem since we really only need the full speed on the PCs and servers. What's the point of having 1gbit on my ipad watching youtube or browsing the web? :)
 

Omico

Casual Member
Are you sure Wi-fi is disabled when you have the Ethernet port plugged in? Sometimes it can seem like it is connected by Ethernet but the Wi-fi is still enabled? Also is there any firewalls/antivirus running? CPU performance can also affect the speeds.

have you tried factory reset of the SH2? Usually the hubs require a firmware update to them, see when the last one was complete @ 192.168.1.254 in the general settings. It may take a few days to force the firmware updates through.

Hi ngnfzu - thanks for your reply.

I've completed tests after disabling the wifi on both the Smarthub 2, and my Mac - and I get the same type results as mentioned above for the hardwired connection. I appreciate what you are saying about making sure it was using the ethernet, I've made that mistake in the past. I don't have any antivirus or firewall software on my mac. I have Clean My Mac running, which helps to clean up any processes which are draining the CPU - but I'm not sure if that would affect the speeds?

When BT have tested my Smarthub 2, they have informed me that it's one minor version behind the most up-to-date firmware. I want to say I'm on version 1.7, and there is a version 1.71 available (the numbers may be incorrect). They have said that until the next major update in October, it won't really fix the issue of speed recording/reporting. I'm happy to reset it, to try and push through the update and check if it does make any difference.
 

Omico

Casual Member
Yes, pretty much. I think the speeds you are seeing are just fine for wifi 5 (ac). I can get around 450mbit on my Dell XPS17 laptop around 2 meters away from the access point (measured pure bandwidth via iperf3 locally).



A faster wifi router or access point with the new Wifi 6 (ax), would be able to supply faster and stable connections, but only if the end device is using Wifi 6 as well. The Samsung S10 supports Wifi 6 as far as I know, but many older laptops and PCs do not and would only be able to connect via Wifi 5 (ac).

Additionally, Wifi 6 is still quite expensive (we just bought a Netgear Orbi 6 for £700, probably the most expensive solution, there are cheaper ones on the market of course). We are using a wifi 6 mesh setup to connect our downstairs (where the router and some multimedia devices are located) to our upstairs study, which has printers, several servers (media, DNS, VPN) and a couple PCs all hardwired into a 10gig switch. When plugging in via gigabit ethernet downstairs I can saturate the connections easily fully going via the wifi connection. This is what it looks like:

router/switch --> Wifi 6 AP (downstairs) --> Wifi 6 Satellite (upstairs) --> switch --> PC (via ethernet cable). It works great for us since most of our devices are hardwired into the upstairs switch.

Most of our mobile and smart devices are sitting on wifi (still using wifi 5) and will only get the usual 200-400mbit, but that's not a problem since we really only need the full speed on the PCs and servers. What's the point of having 1gbit on my ipad watching youtube or browsing the web? :)

Hi Netjet1980 - thanks for getting back to me again, and for your detailed response :)

Your setup sounds really impressive!

I think I'm with you, that really most of my wireless devices would never be doing anything that would require speeds faster than what they are currently receiving.

I think my frustration with the wifi speeds came from BT providing incorrect information. When I ordered the service, I spoke with an agent about the Smarthub 2 and their mesh disks. I specifically asked that if I take out the Fibre 900 package, will the Smarthub 2 and the mesh disks be able to provide me with wifi speeds of up to 910mbps. They confirmed that yes, although wifi is variable, I would be able to achieve wireless speeds of up to my maximum 910mbps. I appreciate I could have carried out more research myself, rather than trust their advice. It still frustrates me though that they are allowed to just lie about their products when selling them.

Thank you for explaining wifi 6, I feel like I understand it a bit better now - and can reset my expectations for wifi speeds.
 

ngnfzu

Casual Member
Hi ngnfzu - thanks for your reply.

I've completed tests after disabling the wifi on both the Smarthub 2, and my Mac - and I get the same type results as mentioned above for the hardwired connection. I appreciate what you are saying about making sure it was using the ethernet, I've made that mistake in the past. I don't have any antivirus or firewall software on my mac. I have Clean My Mac running, which helps to clean up any processes which are draining the CPU - but I'm not sure if that would affect the speeds?

When BT have tested my Smarthub 2, they have informed me that it's one minor version behind the most up-to-date firmware. I want to say I'm on version 1.7, and there is a version 1.71 available (the numbers may be incorrect). They have said that until the next major update in October, it won't really fix the issue of speed recording/reporting. I'm happy to reset it, to try and push through the update and check if it does make any difference.
That’s the latest FW below, updated beginning of July but was rolled out in June. This was to fix a throughput issue for FTTP 900Mbps. My guess is you need to get this update to fix your issues. Take a look at the BT forum.

Firmware version:v0.17.01.12312-BT
u686.png

Firmware updated:Mon Jul 3
 

Omico

Casual Member
That’s the latest FW below, updated beginning of July but was rolled out in June. This was to fix a throughput issue for FTTP 900Mbps. My guess is you need to get this update to fix your issues. Take a look at the BT forum.

Firmware version:v0.17.01.12312-BT
u686.png

Firmware updated:Mon Jul 3

Thanks again ngnfzu

I managed to get my hub to update to the firmware you mentioned, and it seems to have made an improvement to the speeds I can see on my end.

I'm not seeing much above the 700mbps level, but I'm happy that it's almost always above the 455mbps guarantee level.

Thanks to everyone for helping me to understand the issue, and find a resolve :)
 

Sparx

Member
Slight bump on your thread, came across it whilst Googleing other things... But this sounds like complete tosh. Are you sure it's nothing to do with your Mac's network adapter config, NIC drivers, overheads or the Ethernet cable you're using not being up to spec?

I helped a family member with a new build in April, he originally had VM on order but then on move-in day I saw the Openreach ONT on the wall. So we looked it up and he could get the Full Fibre 900 which he ordered...

With a direct Cat6 connection to his Windows desktop PC to the Smart Hub 2, he was consistently achieving ~920Mb speeds. Of course this fluctuated a little, but more often than not it was well in the 900MB+ range.

On WiFi using an iPhone 11 Pro we both achieved varied speeds of around 400-550Mb on our phones too for reference.

Just thought I'd chime in to see if you wanted to try look into it a little more, to ensure you get the most from your connection. As it seems clear to me the SH2 is actually capable of achieving the 900Mb+ profile.
 
Top
Promotion
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • NOW £22.00 (*32.00)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • TalkTalk £22.00 (*29.95)
    Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £22.00 (*25.00)
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £22.00
    Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo Code: HYPERSPRING
  • Plusnet £22.99 (*36.52)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £50 Reward Card
Large Availability | View All
Cheapest Ultrafast ISPs
  • Gigaclear £24.00 (*44.00)
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Offer Code: SPRUCE20
  • Vodafone £26.00 (*29.00)
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Virgin Media £28.00 (*44.00)
    Speed: 108Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £29.00 (*35.00)
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo Code: HYPERSPRING
  • TalkTalk £29.95 (*39.95)
    Speed: 145Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Promotion
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (3206)
  2. BT (2920)
  3. FTTC (1849)
  4. Building Digital UK (1847)
  5. Politics (1826)
  6. Openreach (1745)
  7. Business (1588)
  8. Mobile Broadband (1371)
  9. FTTH (1355)
  10. Statistics (1346)
  11. 4G (1181)
  12. Fibre Optic (1127)
  13. Wireless Internet (1106)
  14. Virgin Media (1101)
  15. Ofcom Regulation (1095)
  16. EE (785)
  17. Vodafone (777)
  18. TalkTalk (735)
  19. Sky Broadband (714)
  20. 5G (664)
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms  ,  Privacy and Cookie Policy  ,  Links  ,  Website Rules