Broadband BT Home Hub Hardware

Why does my BT Smart Hub keep disconnecting?

BT Smart Hub 6
Disconnected: the Smart Hub's not a huge fan of the internet

We’re not sure. And neither, more worryingly, is BT.

I recently signed a new two-year deal with BT Broadband, and as part of the deal I negotiated that they would send me a new Smart Hub 6, having read plenty of good reviews of the router.

All was well for the first few days. The switchover was dead simple, the router was hitting my expected line speeds, and the dead spots in my house were a little less deader (my grammar checker really doesn’t like that word).  Then things went south…

On day four, the router suddenly lost its internet connection and for the next hour was locked in an endless reboot cycle. BT’s support desk was about as much help as the norovirus, almost immediately declaring they’d need to send out an engineer – except one couldn’t be roused for five days. So I plugged my old Home Hub 4 back in and, hey presto, the connection was back to normal.

Another chat with BT’s sheepish call centre ensued, after which they agreed to send out a replacement Smart Hub. This one lasted roughly 15 hours before it too kept dropping the connection and rebooting. This one would re-establish an internet connection, but the regular dropouts were annoying, to say the least. This time the BT support desk admitted that “many people” were having problems with the new Smart Hub, and it seems they weren’t kidding.

Scan through the BT support forums and you’ll find plenty of people complaining about the BT Smart Hub constantly dropping connections (such as here, here, here and here on the ThinkBroadband forums).

One post from April claims a BT support bod told a customer: “BT are now no longer supplying Smart Hubs due to the large number of issues being reported.” Except it seems they still are. To me, for one. I’ve now got a small collection of them.

I’ve asked BT’s press office to comment on the problems with the Smart Hub, but like the router itself, they’ve been largely unresponsive for the past 24 hours. I’ll update this piece as soon as I hear anything from them.

In the meantime, if BT offer you an “upgrade” to the Smart Hub 6, you might want to politely decline.

(P.S. BT’s press images library no longer has a shot of the Smart Hub. Odd that…)

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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  • Having similar issues with BT Hub 5. For some reason, it chooses a Wednesday morning to wait until I’m out shopping before it goes offline. I return, try a reset (no joy), run the BT Hub troubleshooter (about as useful as a chocolate fireguard), reboot my PC (worked once), and call BT (they’ll send out an engineer and it only costs £129). Reduced to babbling incoherence, I wait for the problem to resolve itself in the same mysterious manner in which it arose.

  • We’ve had ours for under a month (June 2017) – ‘Smart’ Hub 6 – and I have to say it is the worst router I have ever used. The constant disconnection – right in the middle of replying to forum posts and other scenarios where I have lost work has been the last straw. The unit keeps reverting to Green, lack of access to the Smarthub GUI, iPhones & iPads unable to maintain a connection – ip checks show the 169.*.*.* issues, so DHCP is failing.

    I’ve lost count of the number of other complaints about this bucket of bolts and as I write this – guess what – back to green again, so a quick copy of text – again! I decided to relegate this piece of junk to another are of the house to act as a WiFi extender, whilst leaving my trusty Netgear cable router to do the main work (I must add that the Netgear has been utterly faultless – it’s just doesn’t support AC speeds). However, after a week of rediced glitches on the Smarthub, it has again started disconnecting, causing utter disruption to the Blu-Ray, Smart TV, and mobile devices at the other end of the house.

    At 4.00am this morning, after hours of reconfiguring and checking the setup, I’ve now decided to take a hammer to it and send it for recycling and will be purchasing a later AC standard cable router and save myself a lot of grief.

    I just wish some of the other tech reviewers (not you of course Barry ☺) out there would not jump on the wagon hailing its praises with 5 star reviews and the like, without testing this personally for any length of time.

  • Hi Barry,

    I too have HH6, and am experiencing the same frustrating drop-outs every day – did you manage to get to the bottom of this issue, or have any recommendations for fixes?

    Thanks,

    Mark

    • Quick update: I rang BT, and a very helpful lady agreed to swap my HH6 for a HH5 (she didn’t question my request to do this, so I think they know what a pile of junk HH6 is).

      Anyway, long story short, 2 weeks later, not a peep from BT, and HH6 getting worse (dropouts going from 2-3 minutes to 15 minutes, several times a day) so I gave up and ordered a £70 router/modem from Amazon, and now my internet connection is rock solid, with zero dropouts.

      It’s absolutely appalling that a huge company like BT could a) be responsible for providing such an awful bit of kit; and b) be so inept at fixing the problem.

      • Hi Barry, I went for a TP-Link AC1200 – a pretty basic model, but it’s really simple to set up, and it’s doing a great job.

        The only downside is Wifi coverage isn’t quite as strong/quick as the HH6, but that’s a small price to pay for getting the internet back!

  • I have just finished a month long saga with BT and lack of internet. The Outreach engineer on the last visit said that due to our old internal wiring, the “Digital Line Management” system now present on the Fibre cables that run past (but not to) our village, will gradually reduce signal till it cuts us off. He updated some wiring (new faceplate?) and reassigned the main socket. He left us a loan HH6 as he said this would be better than our HH5 and recommended we ask BT for our own HH6. Obviously your article is now a bit of worry! However, I wonder if he is right and that changing technology developments are making internal aspects in our homes etc obsolete and the cause of such problems.

    • Barry

      Thanks for your blog on this. I have suffered since September 2016 with HH6. I have been in touch with BT over 20 tines and they have tested the line remotely and said there is no fault. They have reset the line and many other things.

      In the last 2 months I have had 3 BT engineers out and all of them have said the line is perfect. I they all say I get great speed for a copper line (24MB).

      It does not just affect me; it is taking down the internet of my neighbours too.

      The BT engineer said it was probably Repetitive Electrical Impulse Noise (REIN) or Single Isolated Impulse Noise (SHINE).

      I started looking more deeply at into it and came across your blog. Great; thank you.

      I have just been back onto BT and they have agreed to send my a HH5 for no fee. They didn’t want to comment on anything wrong with the HH6.

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