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Aspiring Expert
Message 1 of 2

Improving bandwidth allocation on BT Wholehome

Continuing a discussion from another thread as a separate topic....basically trying to stop Sky Q taking all my WH bandwidth when it is streaming. Please feel free to read and add any suggestions
If you are using Whole Home there is no way to increase the 5Ghz bandwidth. Certainly buying a new router to disable the Wi-fi will not help with it.

To be honest it uses high bandwidth AC connectivity anyway so should give excellent performance. Mines does.

There are 2 things that will help. Firstly connecting the disks via Ethernet moves the backhaul traffic off the 5Ghz making more available for use. Secondly make sure your devices have AC connectivity as old clients can’t benefit from AC wireless

@brummygit Thanks bg, Ethernet connection not possible as a) too far from router but more pertinently b) need to connect devices to the discs Ethernet ports, old pcs and PS4. Can you explain more what you mean by AC connectivity? All our devices are modern, apart from one old desktops I mentioned. But I was after more bandwidth really so a very modern gaming pc can be used at sane time as streaming something on Sky Q. Always get slowdown on devices when tv streaming, but of course, that could well be my slow bb which varies between 12-30mb and is usually about 25mb. Should I switch WH to compatibility mode?


There are a variety of wireless standards available (a Google of "802.11 ac") might be interesting. The most common are 802.11b which was the original mainstream 2.4Ghz standard and offered up to 11mbps connections. This was replaced from around 2003 with 802.11g at up to 54mbps and then in 2009 with 802.11n at up to 600mbps when the 5Ghz band started to be used. In 2013 802.11ac came along with a number of steps over the years but now offers over 3,500mbps. Over the years computers and mobile devices have supported each of these standards in turn, but especially with the older standards such as 802.11b, the use of these devices would slow the the whole wireless network down.

The BT Whole Home mesh supports 802.11ac 1700 which means you have up to 1,733mbps available on your LAN. The "up to" is important as speed degrades with distance, interference, congestion etc but I would expect that you are still getting significantly more bandwidth on your wifi than your broadband can consume. Even using wifi backhaul you shouldn't have bandwidth issues. This means that unless you are a heavy user of device to device traffic, your wifi shouldn't be the limiting factor. Instead it is likely to be your internet connection.

Don't turn on Compatibility Mode unless you need it, as this is likely to impact speed by removing features of the more recent standards. I don't know quite what settings they are changing because BT are typically not very informative, but I would avoid unless you have devices which won't connect or drop offline regularly.

I suspect I know your problem as its similar to my experience, the good news is its unlikely to be your Whole Home setup at fault. The broadband routers most people have do not actively control how the various devices in your home consume the bandwidth and therefore some devices (sounds like SkyQ in your case) are able to grab what's available at the expense of others. Gaming etc relies on very fast replies (you may hear it described as ping times) and if there is competition for the available broadband bandwidth, the queuing slows everything down. This is compunded by an effect called Buffer Bloat which causes a disproprtionate slow down.

All is not lost however as there are some routers available which provide Quality of Service (QoS) prioritises traffic, and also a better queueing algorithm called fq_codel. I had the same issues and fixed mine by using an Asus router with 3rd party firmware from RMerlin (Asus QoS is broken in their own implementation and doesn't have fq_codel) but this is a solution for someone quite technically minded. I'm not sure what other router options are available off the shelf to help, but it is fixable as long as you appreciate that you can only pass whatever traffic fits your broadband service.

I now have a heavy gaming son, a Netflix obsessed daughter plus a main household which watches Netflix, BT TV and surfs the internet extensively all running happily on a 53mbps broadband connection. Even when my son downloads a new game release which is many gigabytes, eveyone else continues to have normal use.

I'm happy to discuss further but we would need to take it off the Firmware update thread to its own topic as in summary I don't think its an issue with this firmware.

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Aspiring Expert
Message 2 of 2

Re: Improving bandwidth allocation on BT Wholehome

Just to add that I haven't yet found the perfect QoS capable router.

I use the Asus RT-AC68U (there are lots of Asus models running much the same firmware) and I like the fact that Asus not only continue to develop their own firmware for routers which have been released some time ago, but also support the 3rd party developer community. Their firmware includes "Adaptive QoS" with traffic classification from Trend Micro and I have it configured with manual bandwidth settings as the automatic bandwidth detection doesn't work.

I use firmware from RMerlin which has solved many issues but crucially adds fq_codel algorithms for queueing, along with a script by another of the community which tunes the QoS much better than Asus stock settings.

The RT-AC68U does not contain a DSL modem so I use my Smart Hub in front of my Asus router, but this introduces a Double NAT which some services don't like (I've not experienced any).

DSLReports website now classes my connection as A+ for bufferbloat, quality and speed.

BUT, this implementation is quite technical and needs me to keep on top of updates for each component. It also does not classify the BT TV multicast streams for internet delivered live channels properly in QoS which is an issue I hope Asus will soon fix, but I have been waiting for a while to date.

I'm interested to hear if anyone has found a router where QoS and fq_codel have been properly implemented and works well out of the box?

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