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Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

Baldrick1
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Registered: ‎30-06-2016

Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

Having a spare BT Smarthub 6A it occurred to be that it could be turned into a very good value Ethernet Switch/Wireless Access Point. Having done some research, mainly on the BT forum I have one working. It has now been working for over 3 days has turned out to be stable.

Before starting to set one up as a Switch/WAP there are a couple of things to note due to the firmware being written to support novice users. The first is that you can only adjust the brightness of the indicator light when the modem is connected ‘correctly’ and a blue light is showing. So assuming that the light is turned off in the settings, if connection is lost or any other fault conditions occur then the light will change from the turned off blue condition to one of the fault condition colours. If this happens, regardless of whether it is turned off in the settings the light will come on to advise that there is a fault. When working as a Switch/WAP a flashing purple light to indicate that there is no broadband connection will permanently show. The brightness cannot be controlled in the settings menu. However, what I found was that before adapting mine to a switch/WAP I was using it in its normal mode. I had the brightness at this time set at 50%. I now find that whilst I can no longer control the brightness, it is constantly flashing at the original 50% brightness setting, which is far more acceptable. The other important thing I noted was that when I did the necessary Factory Reset required to set it up as a Switch/WAP that the firmware did not revert to the original state, but remained as per the latest version that I had installed. So my advice is that if you get a brand new unit from EBay, first use it as your main router until the firmware has updated, also turn the light brightness down to 50%.

So, how to set it up:

  1. Connect the Smarthub to a computer using an Ethernet cable. No other connections apart from the power. Switch on. Green light should be showing.
  2. Using a paperclip or similar hold in the factory reset until the green light goes out (around 30 seconds).
  3. Log into the Smarthub with a browser address of 192.168.1.254.
  4. Go to Advanced Settings\My Network\IPv4 Configuration
  5. Change the IP Address from 192.168.1.254 to 192.168.1.10. This assumes that your router IP subnet is in the 192.168.1.xxx range. If it’s say a Netgear router, which uses the 192.168.0.xxx range then set it accordingly.
  6. As soon as you do this your display will freeze. Do not panic. Go back to the browser address bar and enter the new address of 192.168.1.10 (or whatever you selected in step 5.) This will re-establish your connection with the Smarthub.
  7. Back in the IPv4 configuration page change the DHCP server settings to Enabled: NO, Authoritative DHCP: OFF
  8. Go to the Advanced\Firewall page. Change the Firewall to the third option, DISABLED (allow all traffic as you router will look after this). Also UPNP should be ON but Extended UPnP security turned OFF.

Don’t forget to save at each step when prompted

17 REPLIES
Browni
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Registered: ‎02-03-2016

Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

Just the same as using a Hub One as an Access Point.

eta: I think that one should be stickied.

I must have been really bad in a previous life as this was my 3rd ISP in a row that used lithium.
Now you're stuck with me because my new ISP doesn't run a forum Cheesy
typonaut
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Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

Thanks for the post - I got there in the end Wink The only oddity I'm finding with this is that one device seems to be having problems picking up an IP address. I gave the BT Home Hub a small range to serve DHCP, in addition to the router doing DHCP, and that fixed it.

Baldrick1
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Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

@typonaut

Thank you so much for pointing this out. I obviously totally screwed up testing it on Wireless. As a result I have updated the instructions, which now work for me. Unfortunately I can no longer edit my original post so here they are:

  1. Connect the Smarthub to a computer using an Ethernet cable. No other connections apart from the power. Switch on. Green light should be showing.
  2. Using a paperclip or similar hold in the factory reset until the green light goes out (around 30 seconds).
  3. Log into the Smarthub with 192.168.1.254.
  4. Go to Smart Set Up and set Smart Setup to OFF
  5. Go to Advanced Settings\My Network\IPv4 Configuration
  6. Change the IP Address from 192.168.1.254 to 192.168.1.10. This assumes that your router IP subnet is in the 192.168.1.xxx range. If it’s say a Netgear router, which uses the 192.168.0.xxx range then set it accordingly.
  7. As soon as you do this your display will freeze. Do not panic. Go back to the browser address bar and enter the new address of 192.168.1.10 (or whatever you selected in step 6.) This should re-establish your connection with the Smarthub.
  8. Back in the IPv4 configuration page change the DHCP server settings to Enabled: YES, Authoritative DHCP: OFF  Set the Server address range to CUSTOM, the Start Address to 192.168.1.33 and the End address to 192.168.1.63. (see footnote)
  9. Go to the Advanced\Firewall page. Change the Firewall to the third option, DISABLED (allow all traffic as you router will look after this). Also UPNP should be ON but Extended UPnP security turned OFF.

Don’t forget to save at each step when prompted.

Footnote: This allocates 34 IP DHCP addresses to the Switch WAP. This needs to be co-ordinated with the router DHCP range. Taking my example, which is a BT Smarthub 6 router, the router DHCP range is 192.168.1.64 to 192.168.1.253, leaving 192.168.1 to 192.168.1.63 available for fixed IP address. I have taken half this router range for the switch/WAP. I just have to remember never to allocate a fixed IP address outside of the new range of 192.168.1.1 to 192.168.1.32, which is more than enough for me.

Community Veteran
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Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

I think you're doing something wrong if you "need" two DHCP servers. The switch / WAP should have its DHCP server disabled. Anything connected to the second switch / WAP should still get its DHCP assigned IP address from the main router.

Baldrick1
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Registered: ‎30-06-2016

Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

Thanks for that I shall play some more tomorrow.

Baldrick1
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Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

Following on from @ejs comment that it shoud not be necessary to set up two DHCP servers, I have been having another play. The answer seems to be to go back to the original settings and add another step. This is to turn the power off on the Switch/WAP, leave it off for a minute to make sure that it is fully disconnected, then switch it back on again. Having done this and waiting patiently for it to reboot the WAP happily hands out router DCHP  addresses.

@typonaut I would be grateful if you would please try this out for me with your hardware so that I have a second opinion.  All you need to do is to go into the Switch/WAP Advanced settings\My Network\IPv4 Configuration and change DHCP Enabled to NO then switch off and let it reboot. If you confirm that this works for you I will edit (cross out) my 'Plan B' option.

 

 

typonaut
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Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

I have turned off the DHCP on the HomeHub 6.

I agree that this is what should happen, you shouldn't need two DHCP servers, but I'm consistently getting connection problems with some devices. I've two identical Android (6.0) phones, while they get past the initial WAP password stage I then get messages saying 'obtaining IP address' - and never get past that point. I had the same issue with a old Nokia phone running Symbian - connects to wifi, but no network access - some fiddling about on the phone eventually seemed to fix it, but essentially no logic to it.

I don't have the same problem with desktop devices.

@Baldrick1tried the technique you mentioned. First try seemed to work, but then switched WAP and then back again and had same problem - 'obtaining ip address...'.

 

Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎10-06-2010

Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

No one has mentioned how they are connecting the two routers together - it should be by connecting a LAN port on one to a LAN port on the other.

typonaut
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Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

@ejs yes, ethernet cable between the BT Home Hub 6 and Technicolor router.

I tried a taut piece of string at first, but that didn't seem to work at all. Wink

Just to re-emphasise, I'm not experiencing this problem with desktop machines (all Apple), only phones (Android and to a certain extent Symbian).

Actually, a more thorough test seems to indicate that older versions (10.4/10.6) of MacOS X connect ok, but newer (10.11+) ones do not. Android 6 phones mainly seem to hang on 'obtaining IP address...', and may eventually get over that problem, or may not.

Browni
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Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

Didn't you know that the string needs to be wet?

I'll get my coat...

I must have been really bad in a previous life as this was my 3rd ISP in a row that used lithium.
Now you're stuck with me because my new ISP doesn't run a forum Cheesy
typonaut
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Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

Well, I did dip it in beer… perhaps I need to add some salt?

Baldrick1
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Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

Well I have played with the Smarthub 6 in Ethernet switch/WAP mode to the point where I have come to the following conclusion:

It works OK as an Ethernet Switch and outwardly works as a WAP. However if you disconnect a wireless device then go back later to reconnect then it will not connect without a reboot of the Switch/WAP. When everything is said and done I have concluded that whilst the Smarthub 6 operates perfectly well as intended, that is a modem/router that is stable and has very good Wifi performance, it is not worth the hassle of adapting one as an Ethernet switch/WAP. Obviously a spare could be pressed into this service but it is not worth going out to buy one for this express function as the result will probably be frustration and disappointment. I will be very happy if any-one can advise me otherwise and I will willing independently check out their configuration.

Sad, but there it is...

typonaut
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Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

I agree with @Baldrick1. While I am seeing the 'obtaining IP address..' message in Android devices, this is probably only a symptom of the problem - if IP addresses are configured manually, rather than via DHCP, you just hit another problem "Connected, no internet".

Although this problem is variable, in that sometimes a device will eventually make a successful connection, this is likely to lead to more frustration since there is not really much of a clue as to why the setup does not work.

Any suggestions for a cheap WAP (that doesn't need to negotiate internet connections)?

Browni
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Re: Configuring a BT SmartHub 6A as an Etherner Switch/Router

Another report of the BTHH not giving out IP addresses here.

I must have been really bad in a previous life as this was my 3rd ISP in a row that used lithium.
Now you're stuck with me because my new ISP doesn't run a forum Cheesy