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RickC
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Message 1 of 10

Have reset, can see but not configure BT 500 kit

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I've been using 2 x BT 500 Mini Wi-Fi Home Hotspots and 2 x BT 500 Wi-Fi Home Hotspots with a BT 500 Broadbander Extender very successfully since Dec. 2013 as a pseudo mesh WiFi network (i.e. same SSID/password combo on each device as the router) for seamless roaming.

Today a Virgin Media (VM)  engineer replaced the old VM Superhub 3 router and now I cannot use any of the BT 500 kit. The new VM Superhub 4 router demands a more stringent SSID/password combo so I wasn't able to re-use the same SSID/password combo as before. (That would have been much too easy.)

I've reset the BT 500 devices to their factory settings intending to start again. I believe that they are reset as both a Windows 10 laptop and an Android tablet can see the BT 500 Wi-Fi devices as wireless access points. I can even connect to them using the reset default SSID/password combos.

Win 10 shows 'No Internet, secured' (plus a 'Disconnect' button) but when I check 'Properties' I cannot see a valid IPv4 address (ipconfig shows a 169.254.130.246 APIPA address).

Unfortunately that's as far as it goes... The BT Device Configuration Tool I used 5 years ago under Windows 7 does not detect any of the BT 500 devices now I'm using Windows 10 (even running the tool using 'Run as administrator' and using Windows 7 compatibility-mode). I've reset the BT 500 Broadbander Extender 'base' unit (connected by ethernet cable to the VM router) several times now but still no joy with the BT Device Configuration Tool.

The VM router is not showing the BT 500 devices as 'connected devices'. None of the other devices in the house are having problems receiving an IPv4 address, only the BT 500 devices.

Does anyone have any suggestions? If I find a Windows 7 laptop, could I use the BT Device Configuration Tool via an ethernet crossover cable (if I can find one now that Maplins has shut down)?

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Message 2 of 10

Re: Have reset, can see but not configure BT 500 kit

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@RickC 

You would be better posting on the Virgin Media forums, as this forum is for BT Broadband customers. If you do a search on their user forum, you should be able to find other users who are using these retail products.

The devices you are using are just BT branded, and the only support is via the product helpdesk numbers.

 

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RickC
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Message 3 of 10

Re: Have reset, can see but not configure BT 500 kit

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Isn't this a BT sub-forum for people having problems with BT-badged devices, hence the breadcrumb address: BT Community > Broadband > BT Devices? There's no mention of BT Broadband, just Broadband.

Surely the ISP and its router is incidental except a change prompted the need for the BT devices to be reset. The issue appears to be possibly a failed/partial reset of the BT devices themselves or the BT configuration software.

I was hoping to hear from people in the community with similar experience of these devices, particularly if they had found a resolution.

I'll try the product helpdesk number.

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Message 4 of 10

Re: Have reset, can see but not configure BT 500 kit

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I wonder if they have not fully reset and have retained their 192.168.1.xx subnet addresses rather than getting a new address from the Virgin router which I presume uses a different subnet.

They don't appear in the network view of the hub either as I guess they are effectively transparent and their IP address is just a web server for management purposes.

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Message 5 of 10

Re: Have reset, can see but not configure BT 500 kit

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@RickC wrote:

Isn't this a BT sub-forum for people having problems with BT-badged devices, hence the breadcrumb address: BT Community > Broadband > BT Devices? There's no mention of BT Broadband, just Broadband.

 

See https://community.bt.com/t5/Announcements-Guides-Community/Welcome-to-the-BT-Community-Forum/td-p/15...

First paragraph.

See this post on the Virgin forum.

https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Forum-Archive/Reconfigure-BT-homespot-500-to-match-Superhub/m-p...

RickC
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Message 6 of 10

Re: Have reset, can see but not configure BT 500 kit

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I not at all sure that the BT 500 base unit has fully reset properly. Viewing the connection properties of one of the BT 500 Wi-Fi devices from a Win 10 laptop (which can 'see' and connect to the BT 500 Wi-Fi device) reveals an APIPA address of 169.254.130.246. I'm guessing that the devices communicate using IPv4 rather than a proprietary protocol and that this is why the BT configuration software cannot see the device(s). (I have 4 BT 500 Wi-Fi devices and the BT configuration software cannot see any of them, even though Windows 10 can 'see' and connect to each of them as wireless access points).

From this I assume that it's the base unit at fault, not the Wi-Fi device (as I've reset the Wi-Fi device several times and the light sequence appears to show a proper reset).

The difficulty is that the BT 500 'base' device is plugged directly into the only  mains socket that is close to the router... and the mains socket is hidden behind a built-in desk. I can just about see the lights on the device but it's almost impossible to reach the 'reset' button.

I'm going to remove the 'base' device from behind the desk,  plug it into a more accessible mains socket then connect it to the router using a very long ethernet cable so I can better watch the light sequence as I reset the base unit yet again.

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RickC
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Message 7 of 10

Re: Have reset, can see but not configure BT 500 kit

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Thanks, Keith. I am a BT customer... but of its devices rather than its broadband service. This is after trying many other different brands of EOP (Ethernet-Over-Power) devices with poor results... it appears that the Powerline 'standard' is not a standard at all and interoperability between brands almost 6 years ago was a joke.

The Virgin Media forum post was interesting - thank you again - but the advice was, IMO, incorrect. I know how to manually configure the SSIDs, passwords and channels of the devices using the  BT Device Configuration Tool. AFAIK WPS 'cloning' only clones SSID and password. (When I first set the BT 500 devices up nearly 6 years ago I set them up manually as WPS was disabled on the router due to it being an insecure protocol at the time. I'm not sure of WPS' security status at the moment.)

The 6 BT 500 units in use have worked flawlessly over the last 5 years in a pseudo 'mesh' configuration, i.e. all with the same SSID, password and channel.

One of the devices appears to have failed (I think due to overheating) but the others continued to work without issue until the change of router. The new router insists on a minimum of 12 characters for the Wi-Fi password so I set about changing the existing 9-character password on the BT 500 units. The BT Device Configuration Tool wouldn't connect to them so I reset them all intending to start from scratch... but the tool still won't connect.

I contacted the freephone support number this morning but did not receive much assistance except advice how to 'pair' the devices. I know how to 'pair' the devices... that is not the problem.

I'm going to try resetting the devices again and, if not successful, will contact the freephone suport number and ask to speak to 2nd line support.

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RickC
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Message 8 of 10

Re: Have reset, can see but not configure BT 500 kit

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After moving the first BT 500 Broadband Extender (the 'base' device) to a more accessible mains socket (and connecting it to the router using a very long ethernet cable) it took several resets for it to 'take' (even though the lights showed all the right signs).

I was then able to 'pair' the BT 500 Broadband Extender to one of the BT 500 Mini Wi-Fi Home Hotspots but could not 'clone' the SSID/password combo... despite many attempts (which, again, showed all the right light sequences as if it was going to work).

However, once the BT 500 Mini Wi-Fi Home Hotspot was up and running I was able to determine its IP address then use the BT Device Configuration Tool to amend the SSID, password and channel. Note: After using the BT Device Configuration Tool to manually configure a device, don't forget you have to re-link the device.

From start to finish of just the first BT 500 Wi-Fi device took some time but it worked... so now I just have another 3 BT 500 Wi-Fi devices to configure manually. After they are all configured and proven to be working again as a pseudo 'mesh' then I'll move the 'base' extender back to behind the built-in desk.

Thanks to @licquorice for confirming what I thought... that the first broadband extender (the 'base' device directly connected to the router) was not resetting properly. I've learned my lesson that this first device must be easily accessible so you can see the light sequences and access the link button easily for the correct time. Hidden out of reach behind a built-in desk just doesn't help, especially when you have to press the link button then scramble out from under the desk to reach the other device quickly. I'm getting way too old for gymnastics.

Thanks also to @Keith_Beddoe  for the link to a Virgin Media post which, in turn, included a link to a much newer and clearer version of documentation than I already had. (The original BT 500 User Guide that came with the Broadband Extender kit was just 2-pages and did not go into much detail, particularly in the sparse 'Connection Help' section.)

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Message 9 of 10

Re: Have reset, can see but not configure BT 500 kit

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Glad you got it sorted and thanks for the update.

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RickC
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Message 10 of 10

Re: Have reset, can see but not configure BT 500 kit

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Final thoughts... now all the BT 500 devices are working as expected (and brilliantly), as in their previous pseudo 'mesh' Wi-Fi network configuration.

- The root cause of my 'issue' appears to have been the new Virgin Media Hub 4 router. It took a full reset of the router (which should have reverted all settings including Wi-Fi SSID/password combo to factory defaults... but didn't!) and resetting the BT 500 devices yet again afterwards to make all the pseudo 'mesh' network settings stick on each individual BT 500 device.

- The BT Device Configuration Tool is very useful (compared to using WPS for SSID/password pairing) for 2 reasons:

  1. You can use it to update device firmware (which I did to all devices... and it added 'channel choosing' to the BT 500 Mini Wi-Fi Hotspots) and;
  2. You can use it to specify which channel to use instead of leaving devices to their default setting (which, invariably, is 'Auto'... which almost always defaults to channel 1, even when channels 12-14 are completely unused by neighbours [They're ALL on channel 1!]).

- If you're using a pseudo 'mesh' network then specifying channel as well as the same SSID/password combo prevents channel hopping delays thus appears to make seamless roaming even quicker to connect to the strongest AP signal in the 'mesh' as devices roam between them.

- Roaming around the property using Farproc's excellent Wifi Analyzer (running on an Android tablet... and now apparently also available for Windows [which I haven't yet tested]) in both 'channel graph' and 'signal meter' modes show router and all BT 500 Wi-Fi devices on the same channel well away from neighbours and with signal strength ~30-40 dBm depending on roaming... sorted!

 

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