Broadband BT Home Hub Hardware

One year on: is the BT Smart Hub finally fit for purpose?

BT Smart Hub
Getting better: the Smart Hub has stopped dropping connections

Just over a year ago, I wrote a piece on this very site asking why the BT Smart Hub kept dropping its internet connection

As a tech journalist, you’re always wary that your experience isn’t a typical user experience, but having worked through two different replacement Hubs both showing the same problem, I was pretty sure of my ground.

A year on, I’m even surer. That article has gone on to be one of the most read articles ever published on this site, becoming something of a refuge for troubled Smart Hub owners. At the foot of the original article you’ll see several comments from people who had the same problem and I get a regular trickle of messages about it on social media. 

So, why, you might be asking, am I now begging the question if all is right with the Smart Hub?

BT Smart Hub: strong and stable

I recently renewed my BT Broadband contract and got into a tense negotiation over my iffy hardware. The last three routers you sent me were faulty, I told the chap in BT’s retention department. Send me one of those Whole Home Wi-Fi kits or watch me walk off into the sunset (we were still in the heatwave at that point). 

No dice, said the BT man. Plug in your router again and if it’s faulty we are duty-bound to replace it under the terms of your new deal. If not, you can whistle for new hardware. (I paraphrase, but that was the gist.)

Given I’d just negotiated an upgraded contract for the same price, I didn’t want to push my luck, so I did as I was told. I plugged in the Smart Hub once more and waited for the connection to drop.

A fortnight later, I’m still waiting. 

BT Smart Hub: why has it got better?

The simple answer is, I don’t know, but I have theories.

In the year since I last toyed with the Smart Hub the device’s firmware has been updated. My device is running firmware version SG4B1000B540, in case you’re interested. You can check which version of the firmware you’re running by going to the Smart Hub admin page and clicking on Advanced Settings > Technical Log. 

It’s also possible that my line was suffering some short-term turbulence that was affecting the Smart Hub. One of BT’s theories at the time was that the Smart Hub is a little more sensitive than the Home Hub 5 I was using previously, and that was to blame for the dropped connections. I didn’t buy it at the time, I don’t really buy it now, but it was BT’s theory so it seems only fair to repeat it.

Either way, I’ve now got a reliable router that manages to deliver a slightly stronger connection to the more remote parts of the house. If you’re sitting on a Smart Hub, it might be worth plugging it in and seeing if your experience has improved too. 

Now read this: How do I turn off BT Smart Setup?

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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