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Alternative to Plusnet HUB 2 router?

carlh93
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Alternative to Plusnet HUB 2 router?

I signed up for Plusnet Unlimited Fibre (not Extra) because I wanted more speed and the potential to use a VOIP phone, and because, for the foreseeable future, my phone line connection will be Openreach "Superfast Fibre Broadband": fibre from exchange to green box a good 0.5 mile away, then copper to our master socket).

However, after going into the Hub 2 router specs in as much detail as is available, I decided to cancel the new contract and revert to my original one (I was within the 14-day "cooling off" period).

Why?

Because of these aspects of the Hub 2 router:-

I. Plusnet advise leaving it on 24/7 because frequent switching off and back on again (eg, overnight) may be detected as a line fault, with the result that the line speed is reduced. Even if there is then no more switching off/on, the speed may apparently take up to 3 days to return to normal.

2. If this router is left on, without any load, and if this mode is what is classed as "network standby", the router power consumption is 8.11 Watt,. So it consumes 8.11 Watt hours (0.00811 kWh) of electrical energy for every hour that it is in this mode . While this would not be representative of actual use, when the load is naturally higher, at 13.89 Wh (0.01389 kWh), it is useful to have an an idea of how much it would cost to keep this router running on standby for a year:-

0.00811 kWh x 24 x 365 gives  annual consumption of 71.044 kWh.

My energy contract currently charges, including VAT, and before short-term/temporary government support, £0.66244 per kWh for electricity. So the total true cost over one year of running this router is:-

£(71.044 x 0.66244). This, in round figures, is £47 for a year, so about £3.92/month.

Not a vast sum, of course, but surely unnecessary if no useful work is being done by the router when in this mode.

Furthermore, with electricity supplies at risk in cold weather, and the cost of this fuel at an eye-wateringly high level., and mindful of the ever-present advice NOT TO LEAVE ELECTRICAL APPLICANCES ON IN STANDBY WHEN NOT IN USE, it is also undesirable.

2. On my old Hub 0 router, wi-fi mode can be switched on/off by using a simple button on the router case. The Hub 2, like its Hub 1 predecessor, is clearly intended to be normally in wi-fi mode. This can be switched Off only by the comparatively laborious procedure of going online to the router page and altering the relevant setting.

Far from impossible, but neither quick nor easy.

In an installation where the PC or PCs etc is/are connected to the router by ethernet cables, the wi-fi can be set permanently to OFF. But not if it is needed periodically for mobile phones.

So the usual situation is likely to be that it is left on permanently, as the router is advised to be left.

What's the problem with having the w-fi on continuously?  Surely there's little hard evidence to support the now rarely mentioned possible health risks? Maybe, but you might get a  firm "Don't" from a brain surgeon.

MY QUESTIONS

Are there any alternative routers (at extra cost, obviously) which at least allow easy switching on/off of the wi-fi? 

The problem of slow-recovery drops in line speed if the router is regularly switched off/on does not affect my Hub 0, which is connected to a mainly fibre-optic line.

Does it affect only routers built for fibre-optic connection?

If so, why/how?

Are there routers for fibre-optic connection which avoid it, as well as having simple switching on/off for wi-fi?

Moderator's note by Mike (Mav): All caps title/text edited as per Forum rules.
33 REPLIES 33
bobpullen
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Re: ALTERNATIVE TO PLUSNET HUB 2 ROUTER?

Point 1. has nothing to do with the Hub Two. It is advice that persists irrespective of the router you are using.

I question any benefit of disabling your Wi-Fi but each to their own. Needless to say, you have zero control over the myriad other radio signals that permeate the air. Disabling Wi-Fi on a home router is a splash in the ocean.

I'll leave it to others to suggest a third party device with a physical Wi-Fi on/off switch.

Bob Pullen
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jab1
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Re: ALTERNATIVE TO PLUSNET HUB 2 ROUTER?

And to add to @bobpullen 's response, constant switching on/off the Hub, or any other modem/router, modem or router, can potentially shorten its life, due to the added stresses in those situations.

John
Dan_the_Van
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Re: ALTERNATIVE TO PLUSNET HUB 2 ROUTER?

@carlh93 

This, in round figures, is £47 for a year

An reasonable alternative modem/router would cost around £80, so you would always be out of pocket trying to save money buying a new device which supports turning off the routers wireless. Against six clicks through the menus.

Some TP-Link devices may have a button on the front to turn off wireless, the VR400 as an example does. It also has the ability to have a scheduled wireless off periods. This schedule may exist on other models and with other manufactures.

The problem of slow-recovery drops in line speed if the router is regularly switched off/on does not affect my Hub 0, which is connected to a mainly fibre-optic line.

The Hub Zero is mainly used for ADSL connections which is copper from the exchange to your property, I believe it was used in combination with a Openreach Modem for FTTC (Fibre the the Cabinet) but not for some years now.

Does it affect only routers built for fibre-optic connection

For Openreach FTTP (Fibre to the Property) a ONT (Fibre Optic Modem) is fitted in place of the master phone socket and a router (Hub Two for plusnet) connects to it (ONT). Currently there is no concept of a Fibre Optic Router for Openreach connections.

The ONT requires power so something else to consume electricity.

For stability of a broadband connection it is always recommended to keep the service live

HTH

 

carlh93
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Re: ALTERNATIVE TO PLUSNET HUB 2 ROUTER?

Thanks very much for your constructive comments!

WI-FI

I don't agree with another respondent that the possible health risks are negligible, so should be ignored. Generally speaking, low level radiation at frequencies below that of low-UV light (non-ionizing radiation) is not dangerous in small doses., However, prolonged exposure to humans, especially very young ones, does raise concerns:-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6701402/

We are cautious, so, as in the early days of publicity about the widely-rubbished claimed risks of smoking (for some time, only cigarettes!), we prefer to play safe.

Clearly, I can't play safe with radiation inside my home over which I have no control, or, if I have a choice, I may accept it because it is low/very low-level (eg, mobile phone, wireless mouse, keyboard: no members of this household could be described as "very young"!). Otherwise, if there is an option, I will want to exclude it

I do not normally need wi-fi from our present Hub0 router because my sole Windows10 PC is connected to it by cable, which gives a better performance than wi-fi. We do not, as yet, have mobile phones which can connect to a router's wi-fi (if we did have such phones, it would probably be with unsatisfactory results with this router due to the 1 Mb upload speed). The wi-fi is On very rarely - to serve a Windows10 laptop that we have for my partner, who uses it very little.

My desktop PC is in my medium-sized home office. The ADSL master socket, and two double mains electrical sockets, are in the wall behind my workstation. Standard ethernet and ADSL cables are not long enough to place the router (which needs an adjacent power supply) anywhere other than on top of cabinets to the immediate right and left of my workstation. So I have to work closer to the router than the recommended 1 metre minimum. The router could be on the other side of the office, but long cables would be needed and, because of other items of heavy office furniture etc standing against the walls, plus a doorway, there is no easy way of running these around the room neatly.

You will have understood that we need the Hub0 to broadcast wi-fi very rarely. But that will cease to be so when we have a full-fibre connection, and have upgraded our old "simple" mobile phones (simply because none of the mobile ISPs provide us with a strong and reliable mobile signal here). So we would need fast-upload wi-fi from a Hub2-type router. Because this would make the phones as usable at home as a landline or VOIP phone, we would have the wi-fi on far more often than now. So I would reasonably want switching it off/on to be quick and easy, which is not so, at least with the Hub2 and its close fellows.

ROUTER OFF/ON

I was under the impression that our phone line is hybrid. It is still copper from the BR green cabinet to our "premises". Your comments mean that it could alternatively be either copper or fibre from the cabinet back to the exchange (the first section).

So, because we have an ADSL router, it seems that it must be all copper. When we tried a Hub1 router a couple of years ago, the first section would have been switched over from copper to fibre - and then switched back again when we reverted to ADSL. This may explain why our connection does not suffer from "3-day lethargy" if the router is switched off/on at intervals, which are usually, but not always, confined to:-

Off when the PC is finished with during a day, followed by On fairly early the next morning.

So we have to accept that the speed of a full fibre connection is affected by such switching, and that this is unconnected with the model of router.

So it would be good to find a suitable router which consumes less than 8.11 Watts when on standby!

We note your point about relative costs, but, But would point our that the notion annual £47 (which can be expected to rise annually) is a recurring expense, whereas £80 or so for a less Watts-greedy router would be a one-off.

ONT IN PLACE OF ADSL MASTER SOCKET

I had picked this up from Openreach information, but did not realize that the ONT enclosure includes a modem, and that this must be, as you explain, attached electrically to "something" (eg a suitable router) which is On (even in standby). Cutting off the power to the ONT causes, sooner or later, the line monitoring system to see what is classed as a fault, and take action which slows the line speed.

Is that right?

ALTERNATIVE ROUTER

Thanks. I'll look at TP-Link devices (routers).

 

 

 

 

 

Dan_the_Van
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Re: ALTERNATIVE TO PLUSNET HUB 2 ROUTER?

Hi,

From previous experiences from my employment days and the field I worked in I would not advise turning off the ONT or router.

As to fibre being slowed down by repeated disconnects I would not be best placed to comment.

For ADSL/FTTC connection ensure you buy a xDSL modem/router, for FTTP a router only device is required.

Edit: many modern modem/router devices can be configured to work as a router only which will future proof it to a degree

Dan.

MisterW
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Re: ALTERNATIVE TO PLUSNET HUB 2 ROUTER?

As to fibre being slowed down by repeated disconnects I would not be best placed to comment.

AFAIK Full fibre has no DLM (Dynamic line management) so speed will not be affected by repeated disconnects

From previous experiences from my employment days and the field I worked in I would not advise turning off the ONT or router.

I'd concur with that, the ONT and router are designed to operate 24/7, repeated turning off/on will stress the power supply and circuitry causing likely ELF ( Early life failure ).

 

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

carlh93
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Re: ALTERNATIVE TO PLUSNET HUB 2 ROUTER?

Interesting, but Plusnet warns about this for both 1 and 2 Hubs. However, no need for me to be sure if it is or isn't the case because, as now seems clear, there are other very good reasons (as you say) for not switching off the hub.

 

 

MisterW
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Re: ALTERNATIVE TO PLUSNET HUB 2 ROUTER?

Interesting, but Plusnet warns about this for both 1 and 2 Hubs.

Both Hub 1 and Hub 2 are/have been supplied for FTTC ( fibre to the cabinet ) & ADSL. For both those services speed can/will be affected by switching the hub off & on. Only the Hub 2 is supplied for Full fibre (FTTP) , which is a relatively new product and TBH I suspect the Help pages haven't caught up with the technology🙄

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

carlh93
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Re: ALTERNATIVE TO PLUSNET HUB 2 ROUTER?

I mentioned, in my previous reply to your invaluable contributions to my inadequate understandings, that we had a short spell some 2 to 3 years ago with a Hub1.

That (a short, because disappointing, trial in reality) was prompted by my hearing that Openreach had replaced copper by f-o up to the cabinet which supplies the last section of our line.

I'm not clear  whether the original copper connections from the exchange to that cabinet  were/are still in place (as I implied in what I wrote to you) or whether they have been completely replaced by f-o.

If the latter, then there are at least the following four things that I don't understand:-

1.  2-3 years ago, how was it possible to run a router (Hub1) giving, or supposed to give, speeds much superior to those given by an ADSL router, without fibre to the property and so without an intermediate modem or ONT? The Hub1 was just connected to my ADSL master socket.

2. Surely my line at the time was ADSL, with filtering to separate the analogue phone signal and the digital data signal? The addition of f-o connections between the exchange and the cabinet, which were presumably in use for all the copper line ends up the users' properties, did not alter what the lines delivered to the users.

3. If the copper connections between exchange and cabinet were still in place 2-3 years ago, then, if my line was switched over to the then-new f-o parallel line from the exchange to the cabinet, how did our analogue landline phones continue working? Did the new f-o lines carry the same mixed data/analogue signal as the ADSL copper lines?

4. If the answer to the last point is Yes, why does "full fibre" not allow a home copper network for one or more analogue phones to continue working?

jab1
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Re: ALTERNATIVE TO PLUSNET HUB 2 ROUTER?

I'll leave most of that to the other respondents, but in answer to your final point, Full Fibre is a completely different technology, and does not have any voice capability built in.

John
Dan_the_Van
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Re: ALTERNATIVE TO PLUSNET HUB 2 ROUTER?

@carlh93 

Both Unlimited Broadband and Unlimited Fibre and Fibre Extra are analogue services

The following link explains the differences of the three technologies for broadband used by Openreach.

 https://www.plus.net/help/broadband/broadband-package-guide/ 

How do different types of broadband connect to my home? is useful.

For Unlimited Broadband (ADSL) the landline phone it shares the same copper cable from the exchange to your home.

For Unlimited Fibre and Fibre Extra the landline phone share the broadband copper cable from the cabinet to your home.

As Full Fibre is digital the analogue phone will no longer work.

Dan

Baldrick1
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Re: Alternative to Plusnet HUB 2 router?


@carlh93 wrote:

2. On my old Hub 0 router, wi-fi mode can be switched on/off by using a simple button on the router case. The Hub 2, like its Hub 1 predecessor, is clearly intended to be normally in wi-fi mode. This can be switched Off only by the comparatively laborious procedure of going online to the router page and altering the relevant setting.

In an installation where the PC or PCs etc is/are connected to the router by ethernet cables, the wi-fi can be set permanently to OFF. But not if it is needed periodically for mobile phones.


But does the router consume significantly less power with wireless turned off?

How do you mitigate neighbours WiFi transmissions or for that matter 50Hz mains wiring?

I wonder how many people worry about transmissions from a relatively distant router then hold a mobile phone right up to the side of their head?

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carlh93
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Re: Alternative to Plusnet HUB 2 router?

I explained my concern about radiation from wi-fi in my message of earlier today (currently headed "5 hours ago").  I have also explained why I consider my concern justified in my particular domestic situation.

I am very cautious about bland reassurances, and attempts to ridicule caution, about what may be hazards. That's because I have lived through scandals where public well-being was seriously harmed by assurances in denial campaigns mounted by vested interests (eg, tobacco, asbestos). Maybe that makes me what you find to be unreasonably cautious about electromagnetic radiation, but that's life, and I'd rather be over- than under-cautious.

I see radiation from router wi-fi like that from a mobile phone, as an undesirable but unavoidable factor that has to be tolerated, but should definitely be minimized. Hence my wish for easy switch off/on of the router wi-fi

I didn't ask if the router power consumption increased when wi-fi was in use. It is the standby power consumption of the Hub2 (8.11 Watts) that concerns me, because, for reasons which have been helpfully explained, the router MUST be left on all the time if one wants it to run at its normal speed when a new session at the PC starts.

I may be able to overcome my objections to the Hub2 in both cases mentioned above by buying a proprietary router with a reasonably low standby power consumption, and a more straightforward means of switching wi-fi on/off I  have been given some leads here by "Dan the Van"- a very helpful guy..

I doubt that I will be forced into FFTP anytime soon during the rest of my current contract with Plusnet (just over 12 months), so I may able, without too much financial damage, to be in a position, when FFTP looms close, to move to a different ISP with an "own brand" router with which I would be happier.

 

 

RobPN
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Re: Alternative to Plusnet HUB 2 router?


@carlh93 wrote:

 

My energy contract currently charges, including VAT, and before short-term/temporary government support, £0.66244 per kWh for electricity.


 

 


@carlh93 wrote:

 

I may be able to overcome my objections to the Hub2 in both cases mentioned above by buying a proprietary router with a reasonably low standby power consumption, .


 

@carlh93 

Perhaps I've misunderstood, but I think my main concern would be the price being paid per kWh, so perhaps time to change tariff even if it means a penalty for breach of contract.  I don't have my last bill to hand, but I'm fairly certain the price per kWh was less than half what you're paying (before adding VAT) on EDFs standard variable tariff.