BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
BT finally got round to installing fibre in my area around a month ago, since when I’ve been enjoying life in the fast lane. However, there’s a distinct problem with the way that BT sets up the router, which wasn’t mentioned in our review of the Home Hub 5 and may prevent you from getting the most out of your fibre connection. Luckily, there’s an easy fix, which I’m going to explain here.
The BT Home Hub 5 is a dual-band router, but the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands share the same SSID by default. In other words, when you go to connect your devices, you’ll see one access point labelled “BT Hub-XXXX” and your device may connect to either of the two bands. There is, to the best of my knowledge, no way of telling a dual-band device to connect to a particular band – although if you know better, please let me know in the comments, below.
This is a problem, since the 5GHz band is much slower than 2.4GHz in my experience, and that of several of my Twitter correspondents. From upstairs, my dual-band laptop can get the full 80Mbits/sec afforded by my Infinity 2 connection over 2.4GHz, but that throughput slumps to around 20Mbits/sec when connected to 5GHz – which is roughly what Jonathan Bray found in his review of the Home Hub 5.
This single SSID for two different bands can also cause problems with devices such as the Google Chromecast, which only works on the 2.4GHz band, and thus refuses to recognise other devices on the home network that are using 5GHz.
The way to get around this is by giving each band its own SSID. To do this, type “192.168.1.254” into a browser window to enter the router’s settings, click Advanced Settings and enter your router admin password – there should be a little plastic card in the back of your router with this password on it, if you’ve not already changed it to something more memorable.
Now click on 5GHz Wireless and tick “no” on the option that says “Sync with 2.4GHz”. Rename the 5GHz SSID in the field below. I’ve renamed both my SSIDs to “XXXXXX 2.4GHz” and “XXXXXX 5GHz” to avoid any confusion.
Once you’ve applied the changes, all your wireless devices will be kicked off the network because of the change in SSID, so you’ll have to reconnect them all.
I connect all of my devices to the 2.4GHz band, simply because it offers the greater speed. That cancels out all the benefits of a dual-band router, of course, but then I wasn’t getting any benefit in the first place.