Got a BT Home Hub 5? It's BT's slickest router to date, but even having been in homes for some time now, it can have its quirks. But there are ways to supercharge your connection, and get the BT Home Hub doing your bidding without a hitch. Here's our best BT Home Hub 5 tips and tricks, showing you how to improve your connection, kill off blackspots and get the most out of your router.
BT Home Hub 5 Tips and Tricks
One of the most blood-pressure-raisingly-irritating modern-world problems. The day-ruiner. The weekend-spoiler. The story behind that embarrassing bruise on your knuckles.
If you’ve ever had a full Wi-Fi signal, but simply haven’t been able to connect, there’s a reason behind it. The BT Home Hub 5 is a dualband router, which means that there are two wireless frequencies for your devices to connect to: 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
Unfortunately, some gadgets can struggle to remain connected to both at the same time, which can result in intermittent connectivity or slow performance. In this case, it may be best to split out the two networks and create different network names (SSIDs) for the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz bands. Here’s how you do it:
- Open your web browser on a device connected to the Hub and go to bthomehub.home, or visit http://192.168.1.254. This will open the Hub Manager
- Hit Advanced Settings and enter your Hub admin password when prompted (unless you've changed it, you'll find the default password on the settings card)
- Continue to Advanced Settings
- Tap on Wireless
- Hit 5GHz
- Change 'Sync with 2.4Ghz' to No
- Change the name of the 'Wireless SSID'
- Save the changes
Two BT Home Hub SSIDs will soon appear in the list of networks on your device, which will automatically connect to the 2.4GHz frequency. If you have existing dual band devices you want to connect to 5GHz only, you'll need to hook them up to the 5GHz SSID that you've renamed.
Switch off Smart Setup
God only knows why BT thought it would be a good idea to direct you to a page all about your broadband account and its associated products when you first connect a new device to the Home Hub 5, but that's exactly what Smart Setup does. It's well annoying, and can even prevent some devices (particularly Internet of Things products) from connecting to the internet altogether. So switch it off – head back to the Hub Manager, click the Advanced Settings tab, then Home Network, then Smart Setup and set 'Enable Smart Setup' to No. Click Apply when you're done and boom – no more bollocks every time you want to connect something new.
It’s an obvious point, but an important one nonetheless. There’s no point sticking your Home Hub in a free bit of floor space outside your kitchen, if your living room and bedrooms are on the opposite side of your house. It’s important to place it in the centre of your home, so it’s never too far away from any of your devices. Though its range is good, we've found the BT Home Hub 5 can struggle to transmit signals through multiple walls, so where possible minimise physical obstructions, too.
Setting The Mood
If you're annoyed that that your Home Hub doesn’t fit in with your fancy furnishings, there’s a way to make it stand out a little less. By heading into the Settings menu and selecting Hub Lights, you can dim the router’s flashy bits. Home gadget bliss.
Ever wondered what that USB port on the back of the Home Hub 5 is for? Well, it's there to let you create networked, shareable storage, accessible over the web for all your devices to tap into. It's perfect for networked streaming of media, or for creating a local, networked backup of multiple device's files.
To make use of the feature, first plug a USB drive into the back of the router. It should then appear on your browsing network, but if you've any problems you can locate it manually, too. If you're on a Windows machine, run...er..."Run" and type in \\192.168.1.254. If you're on a Mac, you'll need to fire up Finder, type Apple-K and then enter smb://192.168.1.254. Click Connect and you should be good to go.
When the time comes to take the USB drive out, you'll want to make sure it's disconnected safely in order to prevent any corruption to the files stored on it. To do so, once again jump back onto the Hub Manager, hit Advanced Settings, then Home Network, followed by Devices, and you'll then see the storage device listed under the USB heading. Select "Safely Disconnect" and you're ready to pop your USB drive out again.
Killing Off Blackspots
A nice problem to have, you big home owner, but an almighty pain in the backside for connectivity. If your house is large enough to suffer from blackspots, it could be worth picking up a BT Wi-Fi Home hotspot, which you can plug into a power socket to boost your signal. They don't come cheap though, so we wouldn't recommend picking one up unless you really needed one.
However, if you're happy to set up a wired connection, Powerline plugs (which use the electrical wiring in your house to create an Ethernet bridge from the router to any power socket in your home) are an excellent alternative, and maintain speeds comparable to a direct wired connection to your router.
Apps, Of Course
Everything that’s capable of doing anything requires an app these days, and the BT Home Hub is no different. There’s a My BT app available on iOS and Android, which let’s you restart your router from your phone. Fun, eh? The BT Cloud storage app also lets you connect to a load of Wi-Fi hotspots around the UK, and the SmartTalk app allows you to use a Wi-Fi or mobile data connections to make calls, which will be charged back to your BT account.
Image: Ryan Hasselbach via Flickr