BT’s Home Hub 5 is a surprisingly good bundled router. It’s more attractive than most, supports BT Infinity (VSDL) fibre broadband without needing a separate modem and also has 802.11ac Wi-Fi – the latest standard. We gave it a recommended award in our Home Hub 5 review.
However, you should make a couple of changes to its settings to get the best from it. Out of the box it performs reasonably well, but for some reason, BT decided it would be a great idea to give both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies exactly the same name (SSID).
This means that there’s no way of knowing which frequency (or band) a wireless device will use when it connects to the Home Hub 5. So, it’s best to change the name of one of the radios so you can choose the most appropriate band when you set up a new device on the network, such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet.
The 802.11n standard supports both bands, but you may find you get better performance by choosing the 2.4GHz band. If you leave the SSIDs with identical names, your device might connect to the 5GHz band and give you slower transfer speeds.
Yet another issue is when you have devices which can only run on 2.4GHz. They will connect to the 2.4GHz band on the Home Hub but may not be able to communicate with other devices connected to the 5GHz band: the solution is to make sure all devices are using 2.4GHz.
BT Home Hub 5: How to get maximum speed
What you need to do is to type bthomehub.home into the address bar of your web browser, and this will take you to the router’s settings. (You can also type 192.168.1.254, which is the default IP address of the router).
Now click on Advanced settings at the top. Grab the plastic Wireless Settings card from the back of the Home Hub 5 and enter the Admin Password printed below the QR code on the card, then click OK.
There’s a warning, but just click on Continue to Advanced Settings. Now click on the Wireless link.
A sub-menu appears; click on 5GHz. Click the No radio button next to Sync with 2.4GHz as this will allow you to change the Wireless SSID. You can see here that we’ve simply added 5GHz at the end. Leave the password unchanged, since this means people can still use the plastic card to connect to either frequency. Alternatively, change the password to something else and make a note of it somewhere. Click the Apply button at the bottom to save the changes and accept the warning that the Home Hub 5 will reboot.
Now, when you next scan for wireless networks from a Wi-Fi device, you’ll see the two networks (plus BTWifi-with-FON if you haven’t disabled it) and it’s easy to see which is which.
Home Hub 5: Parental controls and Smart Setup
One of the most annoying ‘features’ of the Home Hub 5 is that it forces every newly connected device to go through a setup wizard in a web browser.
This asks if you want to enable parental controls, which would be a good thing if it didn’t enable the filtering system for all connected devices, thereby forcing everyone to use a child-safe version of the web.
It can also prevent certain devices from connecting to the internet at all, particularly set-top boxes or any device with no web browser.
To disable Smart Setup, simply click on Home Network under Advanced settings in the Home Hub’s web interface as described above, then click on Smart Setup. Now click the ‘No’ option and then Apply.
Home Hub 5: maximum broadband speed
Broadband speeds vary depending on the time of day, the day of the week and various other factors. However, if you have standard BT broadband up to 17Mb/s but get very slow speeds all the time, you might be able to boost those speeds by using BT’s Broadband Accelerator.
This filters out interference from other devices in your home, and could boost your download speed by up to 1.5Mb/s. This could be the difference between being able to stream videos successfully and having to put up with constant buffering. The Accelerator is free to all BT Broadband customers: you just have to pay the postage.
Follow the wizard on BT’s website to find out if it’s suitable for your home.