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Aspiring Contributor
Message 1 of 3

BT Whole Home and Additional Network Switch NETGEAR GS316-100UKS

I've been running the Whole Home wifi setup with a 16 port Netgear switch for a few months and the setup seems to be quite temperamental. There are continuous weeks where it runs really well but every now again it gives serious bother where I run around the house to the various disks trying things I read here, then pretty much factory reset everything in the house out of frustration not knowing what the problem was and seeing all this bad press about the whole home setup I assumed that was the problem... but I'm beginning to think my network switch might at least be part of the problem.

I have a vanilla bt home hub 6 with the network switch plugged into port 1. The 3 whole home disks are patched into ports 2 - 4 and use ethernet backhaul. The devices plugged into the netgear switch are all regular ethernet devices like xbox, smart tv etc, no other network equipment.

I had a weird experience today where the wireless network actually worked fine, but the wired network would refuse to let certain devices on. Some devices could connect fine, but others couldn't. I think this actually negatively impacted the wireless network a little too. Unfortunately it's an unmanaged switch so I have no idea what's going on in each port to see if there's a loop, broadcast storm etc.

I then unplugged the network switch entirely, put the device which was failing to get an IP and plugged it straight into the home hub and suddenly it worked fine (though obviously at the cost of disconnecting every other device which was on the switch). I've seen similar behaviour before but only since introducing the whole home setup.

Is there a compatibility issue here or is this a red herring?

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Aspiring Expert
Message 2 of 3

Re: BT Whole Home and Additional Network Switch NETGEAR GS316-100UKS

I use Netgear switches and have found times when the wired devices stop working. Rebooting the switches resolves it every time.

I'm not sure why this happens, but it does appear to be a switch issue not the BT WiFi or my pfSense firewall.

I'm debating buying a new none Netgear 24 port 10/100/1000 switch but I'd need VLAN and POE support so it could work out expensive!

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Aspiring Contributor
Message 3 of 3

Re: BT Whole Home and Additional Network Switch NETGEAR GS316-100UKS

Thanks for the reply!

If you're using pfsense is that machine your adsl modem too?

I ask because I'm beginning to think that the home hub 6 may be part of the problem too. It has always had issues with communication not working between devices plugged in on different ports. For example a machine connected to a wireless access point on port 1 was slow to communicate with a nas server hanging off a switch which was plugged into port 2. It did work (mostly) but was always... sluggish. Interestingly the effect was not as bad with home hub 5.

Now the netgear switch is not new - only the disks are, but from what i read it looks like these disks communicate using multicast which on an unmanaged switch will effectively be broadcast to all ports (since there's no IGMP stuff there). I have been wondering if that is fighting with something somewhere else (or indeed another disk) and triggered a multicast storm on the backbone. Of course it's all speculative without any visibility of what's actually happening on the network ports, but I have run that netgear switch for years always-on without any issue at all - this behaviour has only presented itself since introducing these whole home disks.

It was only recently that it has finally annoyed me enough to take action so I have actually just ordered a GS116Ev2 which will hopefully arrive today - that's the managed version. The issue sort of highlighted that I have zero visibility into my switch when things like this happen, so at least this will let me know roughly what's going on - whether or not traffic is high between the disks, if its tolerant of multicast from other devices on the network - things like that. It's by no means full featured but this is only my home / small lab network so it's more than fit for purpose.

Until the switch arrived, last night I plugged in an old TP-Link TL-WR710N (surprisingly solid and well featured), run it in router mode and put it between my home hub's backbone and another small 5 port netgear switch on a different subnet which I moved the whole home disks to. The idea being if they're going to take a switch out, at least it's unlikely they will take out the rest of the network since the router has isolated it.

To my surprise when I did this, the wireless network seemed to get way more responsive. Page load times visibly halved. Of course since this issue is generally transient, there's no guarantee that cause and effect are actually related but it definitely seemed to make a difference!

When the new switch arrives I'll probably isolate the two with VLANs rather than separate switches (unfortunately for you, it doesn't have POE :smileysad:, then I can start port mirroring when problems arise to figure out what the hell is going on to see if I can fix it with workarounds like rate limiting each disk or something!