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BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

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BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

With a lot of questions around the supplied routers and wifi and the amount of times we all spend writing "split your channels" I thought I'd do a little write up of my recently installed BT Whole Home Wifi

There were two specific issues I was trying to solve with the installation for whole home wifi

* Stop the splitting of 2.4 / 5GHz bands
* Better wifi coverage.

Previous set up was

* BT Business Smarthub 6 in front room
* Apple Airport Extreme in study.

The wifi on the Smarthub wasn't quite good enough to be used in the study, impacted by the fact that it's a conversion and has outside walls to negotiate.
There's ethernet between the smarthub and a switch in the study to which the Extreme is plugged into.

Two separate SSID's were used as having the same caused issues.

I was constantly switch between the two wifi networks as I moved around the house to get the best performance and sometimes devices would automatically switch to the other wireless network despite having weaker signal.

Neither had good coverage of the upstairs bedrooms in the opposite corner to the front room.

I toyed with using wireless extenders but given the locations of the sockets in the house and the aesthetics then I don't think they would have worked well enough.

Enter the latest trend of home mesh networks.

In effect you can use them to create a chain of wireless access points that extends the wireless network.
They use 802.11k / v to implement smooth switching between the best device if there is more than one in range.

Specs are:
* AC2533 (1733+800Mbps)
* Dual-band concurrent Wi-Fi
* 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz–256QAM support
* 802.11a/n/ac 5GHz–256QAM support
* Wi-Fi roaming – 802.11k/v
* Wi-Fi Band steering
* Gigabit Ethernet


I got a 3 disk set (they're round devices) and the setup is now

* Disk one connected via ethernet to the smarthub,
* Disk two connected via ethernet in the study
* Disk three fully wireless in a front bedroom.
* Wireless disabled on smarthub and airport extreme.
* One SSID


You have to use the app to set them up and that helps you find the best place for them, obviously plugging it into ethernet you don't need to worry too much.

They've been installed for around a month and they have been pretty impressive.

The whole house now has excellent wifi coverage and also covers the whole of the back garden.
No issues when connecting devices.
No need to split bands and all iDevices working flawlessly with them.

The latest firmware has improved the already good signal.

Only issue I've had is one of the disks threw a wobbly and stopped responding, but a power cycle with the on / off button and it was back in 30 seconds, without the need to drop the broadband connection.

They're not amazingly cheap (target price should be around £50 per disk) but if you were to buy 2/3 good wireless extenders they could set you back close to that anyway.

I'd recommend them.

There are a couple of features that I haven't tried:

* You can create a guest network for visitors on a separate SSID

* The app give you the ability to turn access to WiFi off without disabling the internet.

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17 REPLIES 17
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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

@Baldrick1 as promised Smiley

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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

@dvorak 

Thanks for the update. Iy has been most useful. I have a friend with quite a large house with two wings and to get coverage I have installed an Ethernet cable from a lounge where the router is positioned at one end to a second lounge at the other end of the property. There is a Smarthub 6 connected to the master socket. I have configured an old Home Hub 4 as a WAP and installedd this in the second lounge. With splitting the bands and having separate SSIDs there is just too many instances of complaints about poor WiFi, due of course to non technical users forgetting to keep going through the pain of changing SSIDs as they move around.

I have discounted a Mesh system as I believed that they needed to communicate via WiFi. The second lounge is a recent extension and the walls are insulated with aluminium foil backed Celotex insulation, which works fantastically well as a WiFi screen.

From your description it looks like I can use a Mesh system but connect the two satellites to the router on separate Ethernet cables from the router. Can you please confirm this as they are with BT and I believe that they can get a Smarthub 2 and a Satellite (BT Plus) for a fiver a month.

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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

yep, with the BT one you can plug each disk into ethernet, I'm not sure on other such systems.

In my reading on the BT forums with the Smarthub 2 and disk you may still end up splitting the bands.
They can also ring up and get extra disks from BT on plus to cover all the deadspots.
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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

One other thing to note @Baldrick1 , if it's important to your friends, is that with the whole home you can create a guest network and switch off access / devices and these options aren't available with the smarthub version.

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Hooked
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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

I have just purchased the Deco M5 system but haven't set up yet. I am reading conflicting reports as to whether the Hub One can be used as the modem in the Deco system (as it can't be set to bridge mode). Did you have to do this with your Smarthub 6?. Have you set the mesh up as Access Point or Router mode?

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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

Obv your mesh is from BT rather than TP Link, but I assume the protocols are similar?

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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

@norwegian 

You cannot set a Hub One up as a bridge modem. Leave the Hub One as is apart from turning off the Wireless in the Hub Advanced settings. You then need to set your Deco mesh units up in Access Point mode and connect the master by Ethernet cable to one of the yellow LAN sockets.

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Hooked
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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

Thanks for the reply. After a bit of trial and error I managed to set it all up a few days ago. The only part that was unintuitive was setting it to Access Point mode - it defaults to Router mode and the option to change it is buried deep in "advanced settings"...

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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

I got a new PlusNet Hub One to replace my old Open Reach  router after my Netgear Nighthawk 7000 failed.

Wifi is very patchy and seems to degrade after a few days. After reading here I have purchased the TP Link DECO M5 which arrives this afternoon. Why do I need to turn off the WiFi on the Hub One?. I'm just nervous about losing wifi altogether before I set up the M5. Could I turn off the HubOne wifi after I'm established on the M5?

 

Any elf gratefully received such as a ling so I can educate myself more on WiFi and home hubs. 

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Aspiring Hero
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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

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"In The Beginning Was The Word, And The Word Was Aardvark."

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Hooked
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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

Setup complete with no issues. I still have the PlusNet Wi-Fi on and it does not seem to matter.

 

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Community Gaffer
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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

@dvorak, to pick up on one of your earlier points: you cannot split the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands when using a Smarthub 2 AFAIK. Suspect this was done for reasons of simplicity, as the SSIDs need to be merged in order for the Complete Wi-Fi to work.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
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Registered: ‎28-04-2020

Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

Sorry if this is a stupid question - can I add the Deco M5 mesh to my PN Hub Zero in the same way as you describe adding it to the Hub One? 

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Re: BT Whole Home Wifi with PN

yeah, should be able to.
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