Home Hub 3 & BT Infinity

At long last super fast broadband has come to our location, so I bit the bullet and went with BT, following a long relationship with Zen, who did offer the service but were just too damned expensive.

The engineer from Openreach appeared on Friday and within the hour I was connected up. The online calculator offered 36 down and 6 up, but immediate experience showed somewhere between 12 & 22 down and 3up, still a vast improvement on 1 down and 0.25 up 😉 Was able to do in minutes what previously took hours. I hadn’t expected great things in terms of speed. Given I was paying the same price for 1mb any improvement was worth the switch.

First job was to customise the router (Home Hub 3 HH3). easy to do, but a bit more limited than my trusty old Netgear. No remote access, limited range of IP addresses. This latter point was a pain the in backside, as I have been running my LAN on 10.10.10.x, and the HH3 wouldn’t do this. So some major reconfiguration of my LAN was in order, resetting all the PC’s and devices with new static IPs, rewriting my NFS exports, adjusting host files, editing scripts for sshing in and out. I did forget about my hosts and hostname files on my linux server to start with so internet access (both ways) and sshing didn’t work as expected, but resolved that once I had figured out what was wrong. Had most of this done by the evening.

You need to get into the advanced settings of the HH3 to properly sort out your port forwarding. This is less intuitive than other routers I have used, but that knowledge helped me sort out the ports required for the server.

We then had problems with Firefox, on both Linux and Windows machines. It kept freezing for a few seconds and then starting up again. No fun, so we switched to Chrome/Chromium and all these issues went away. What is odd is you find out how slow the web servers are at the other end, you are limited by how quickly they can load pages, so the speed increase is not necessarily noticeable when generally browsing the web, only when you go to grab a file. (Took 15 minutes to download a 2.2gb iso, for example :)) it is also quicker to copy a file/s from the internet than it is to transfer them from one partition to another on my PC!

BT seem to throttle some file sharing sites and bit torrent which is annoying when you want to fetch a linux distro. I tried using rapidleech but my online server didn’t like it much. The HH3 doesn’t give any visual feedback, just three blue icons staring back at you all the time, with an occasional flicker from the Openreach modem. I got a spare CAT5E cable with the modem so rigged that up to my main PC and the HH3 to get gigabit speed between the two (won’t really help as my LAN is mostly 10/100).

The Dynamic DNS function on the HH3 seems to work OK, the acid test will be when I reboot the HH3 and it gets a new address 😉

Kids are happy as youtube and iplayer are superfast, and multiple user bogging down is no longer a problem.

So all in all, very happy with the changeover, Zen are a better, more flexible and open ISP, but for general use BT are doing just fine. I’ll do an update in a couple of weeks.

3 thoughts on “Home Hub 3 & BT Infinity

  1. Well, it lasted for four weeks, then yesterday, broadband crapped out on me for 24 hours. Had to arrange for an engineer to come out, but then in the morning it had come back on. Will still see the engineer in case there is anything else to do.

    The problem was with the DSL flashing green light on the modem, so modem just not connecting.

    Other than that, things have been pretty stable and apart from having to find ways around bandwidth throttling on some sites, and the slow speeds and lags on browsing (Firefox & Chrome) although a clean Firefox profile is working quite well so it could be extensions that are causing some of the problem.

    Going to try a different “cable” router instead of the HH3, see if this improves things so I can get away from the BT DNS servers?

  2. Ah well, Openreach showed up this morning at 8am (good), but didn ‘t know I was “back on”, nor what the problem might have been, nor to tell me it was fixed and wouldn’t happen again. Anyway, engineer went through his routines, replaced the modem (white box) and in case it was overheating we moved it to the lowest shelf in my desk shelving near the floor. Design problem?

    He then went off to the cabinet for a while, disconnecting and then reconnecting me. Then came back and did another line test, spoke to his supervisor, mentioned something about telling a white lie (?) and left me with a working system. Download speed has improved a bit, up to 26 mbps from 22, but upload seems slower at 2.5 mbps.

    We’ll see how we go….

  3. Six months on, and have to say am pretty pleased with BT Infinity. We have only had a couple of occasions where the connection has dropped, this has been up at the exchange, and not had to wait long unitl it returned. Even though I am guessing many people in the village have also taken up the service, we have not seen any major reduction in up or download speed. It is great to be able to grab a linux distro iso in a matter of minutes, whether that be as a direct download or as a torrent (distro torrents can be blistering fast with enough seeds.

    The Home Hub 3 doesn’t have the greatest wireless reach (probably due to location, so have rigged up some extenders (old wireless routers) around the house, and this works seamlessly as you move a wireless device around the house.

    We now have the iplayer, itv and 4od plugins setup in XBMC, which has greatly improved catch up tv viewing through our preferred portal, with the 4od also offering download. As we were away on holiday during the Olympics opening ceremony it was great to be able to watch this on return. (no buffering or hiccups either)

    All previous problems with browsers and connections to websites have dropped away, and you get used to the fact that online servers can only serve up pages “so fast”. Downloading data and media is where Inifinity comes into its own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *