On Monday a BT engineer installed at my home BT Infinity 2. This is the double speed version of the original Infinity product, which provides fibre-optic “to the cabinet”. Infinity 2 also doesn’t have the capped downloads that the, still available, standard Infinity package does.
A week previous I received a BT Home Hub along with another package “for the engineer”. This was simply an installation disk, some manuals for me and a couple of of Ethernet cables.
Now, I don’t have your standard set-up. With a 3-storey house with a long ground floor, I have my existing router on the first floor to ensure all floors are reached. However, I also use Home Plugs to provide additional WiFi coverage to the full length of the ground floor. The master BT box is in the hallway, where I have a phone with answering machine, and I ran an extension cable upstairs myself to the router. This is all housed in my “office” where I need direct connection to the router for my switch. None of this is what I’d call a standard set-up.
I was told on the BT forum that the attending engineer would be there to ensure I get best speed and are pretty flexible so I decided to wait for him to decide the best method of set-up. Unfortunately, it turned out to not to be quite so simple.
For a start, they wouldn’t go near my extension (probably wise). The easiest solution was to move the master box upstairs but this would mean I wouldn’t have anything to connect my hallway phone to. In the end I told him to forget about that and I would, ahem, reverse my extension cable and use it to connect my phone downstairs. This I started doing whilst he was still busy.
The cable outside was very neatly moved and he drilled through to the office where he installed a new style linebox and wall mounted the BT modem for me. It took a while but was neatly done – I only had to vacuum up afterwards.
Now my speed is stunningly quick – I try and not use the website speed checkers as they all seem to give different results. The engineer did a speed test via his equipment and, upon entering the premises, it was rated at 90 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload – quicker than my original estimate (probably due to the cabinet being just up the road).
The HomeHub itself is, okay. It has some neat features (such as automatically changing WiFi channel to provide the best service) but also lacks others (you can’t change the DNS settings, for instance). The lights are clear and obvious and ports are well labelled. 4 Ethernet ports exist on the back, one of which is Gigabyte (not quite sure the point of having just one, though). One nice touch that I like is a removable plastic “plate” on the top which has your SSID and password printed on it – this means that when you need to set up a wireless device, you simply remove this to get access to the details.
Power consumption is low, but a power switch is easily accessible and, when not in use, it has a built-in standby mode.
BT Fon is switched on by default – this means that your Hub transmits a secondary wireless signal, which is security-less, allowing you to provide a free wireless hotspot to anybody nearby. Only excess bandwidth is provided to this hotspot so it shouldn’t effect your speeds. This can’t be switched off via the Home Hub – instead visit the BT Fon site and provide your BT details. You will then be able to opt out – this sends a signal to your Home Hub within 48 hours to switch off the facility.
Time will tell how much I’ll notice the speed increase – as is always pointed out any speed improvements are down to the entire network. Downloading files should be obviously quicker, but will browsing the internet?
Anyway, I was impressed with the engineer installation and the equipment is rather nice too.