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gcon45
Beginner
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Message 1 of 8

Simple questions about whole home WI-FI

Hi guys.

I have a BT Smart hub which is hardwired via ethernet to a rather old extender in my basement.

The extender is starting to mess about so I'm looking at getting a BT Whole home disc to replace it.

Can I just buy one "add on" disc and hook it up to the existing ethernet cable which is connected to my Smart hub?

Also - will this act as a true extension of my Smart hub - ie - will my devices only see one network or will the disc have its own seperate network that has to be selected every time?

Thanks in advance!

 

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
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Message 2 of 8

Re: Simple questions about whole home WI-FI

Welcome to this user forum.

What do you have connected to the end of the cable in the basement?

You would normally use a wireless access point which costs about £25, which should work fine.

I am not sure you can buy just a single disc, as I think you may need a minimum of two, as one has to act as a master, but I am sure one of the BT device experts would advise on that.

I seemed to think that your normal wifi on the home hub is turned off, and you use one of the discs as a replacement, and the other one then links to it, to allow roaming. That will form the mesh network.

Either way, its going to be much more expensive that simply replacing what you have at the end of your cable.

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gcon45
Beginner
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Message 3 of 8

Re: Simple questions about whole home WI-FI

Many thanks for the reply.

Would the BT 750 WI-FI range extender be a better option in my case?

I notice that it has an ethernet socket. Could this be connected to my existing ethernet cable that runs to my smart hub for maximum strength or is it only a one way port for data output?

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
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Message 4 of 8

Re: Simple questions about whole home WI-FI

A range extender is not the answer, all you need is a wireless access point connected to the end of that Ethernet cable.

https://www.tp-link.com/lb/products/details/cat-12_TL-WA801ND.html

About £23.

You can configure it with the same wireless details as the home hub if you wish.

 

BT Devices Expert
BT Devices Expert
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Message 5 of 8

Re: Simple questions about whole home WI-FI


@gcon45wrote:

Hi guys.

I have a BT Smart hub which is hardwired via ethernet to a rather old extender in my basement.

The extender is starting to mess about so I'm looking at getting a BT Whole home disc to replace it.

Can I just buy one "add on" disc and hook it up to the existing ethernet cable which is connected to my Smart hub?

Also - will this act as a true extension of my Smart hub - ie - will my devices only see one network or will the disc have its own seperate network that has to be selected every time?

Thanks in advance!

 


Hi @gcon45, you'll need 2 discs (a twin pack; NOT 2 add-ons). One connects in the back of your Hub, the other is placed in a suitable location to extend wi-fi coverage where you need it.

Whole Home Wi-Fi doesn't "extend" your hub's wi-fi; it creates it's own wi-fi network to provide blanket coverage around the home. You connect all your devices to this new network, and whole home wi-fi sorts out by itself. You can switch off wi-fi in your hub.

An access point / extender like you have today would be a lot cheaper and may be suitable, but you lose the optimised wi-fi connection. Even if you set an access point to the same network name as your smart hub, you can end up in situation where the device "sticks" to an access point which it can still see, even though there's a better one it could connect to. It's called "sticky client" effect. It may not always be a problem, but it's something you need to be aware.

In summary: if you want blanket coverage wi-fi where you don't need to worry about selecting the right network manually, then get a mesh wi-fi system like whole home wi-fi. But if you want a cheaper solution, then a wi-fi extender / acces point like you have today could still be a good option.

Hope this helps your decision, but don't hesitate to come back here if you have further questions.

gcon45
Beginner
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Message 6 of 8

Re: Simple questions about whole home WI-FI

Thanks for the replies!

I have Sky Q (TV), which works off its own mesh network.

My only concern with going for the BT Whole home system is that it may interfere with the Sky Q mesh.

Do people with both experience any issues or would it just be a matter of using 2.4GHz for one and 5GHz for the other?

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GW65
Contributor
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Message 7 of 8

Re: Simple questions about whole home WI-FI


@gcon45wrote:

Thanks for the replies!

I have Sky Q (TV), which works off its own mesh network.

My only concern with going for the BT Whole home system is that it may interfere with the Sky Q mesh.

Do people with both experience any issues or would it just be a matter of using 2.4GHz for one and 5GHz for the other?


I have Sky Q and WHWF as well.  The problem isn't that they both use mesh networks, it's that you've got limited scope to prevent the 5GHz networks interfering with each other.  By default, Sky Q uses 80MHz bandwidth and channel 36.  Both Sky Q and WHWF limit you to channels 36, 40, 44 and 48 so you can't use a higher channel to completely avoid a clash (as you can with some other 5GHz devices).  You could go into the service menu and limit Sky Q to 40MHz bandwidth, which helps but isn't perfect - WHWF doesn't even have an option to drop to 40MHz, you're stuck with 80MHz.  It's even worse if you have (very!) close neighbours and you're in range of their 5GHz networks as well.

What I did was to disable all wi-fi on the Sky Q boxes and then Ethernet connect each Sky box to a WHWF disc.  (You'll need to go into the Sky Q service menu to do that).  It works fine, but it does depend on you being able to position your discs so one of them is near each Sky Q box and in a good signal position.

Tranquility
Aspiring Contributor
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Message 8 of 8

Re: Simple questions about whole home WI-FI - 5GHz Interference Causing Outage

The issue of 5GHz interference will only get worse...

I received a brand new Fibre Router from TalkTalk 2 weeks ago and have been having intermittent outages with the Whole Home Wi-Fi disks losing their connection with the router via the Cat 6e Ethernet link. Even though each device (Router & BT Whole Home Wi-Fi Master Disk) could be pinged from the other end, the link would not go up. It took me a while to track it down to channel interference on the 5GHz bands, because the 2 things are seemingly unrelated. If more neighbours go 5GHz, then we (meaning us & you too) are in trouble for sure. Having only 4 channels to choose from is not helpful & I imagine a firmware upgrade won't be able to add channels, as using radio bands is generally the remit of hardware.

TalkTalk Router 5GHz Channels:   36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64, 100, 104, 108, 112, 116, 120, 124, 128

BT Whole Home Wi-Fi Channels: 36, 40, 44, 48

Both devices default to Auto Channel select, as they should, so users need to know that they may have to change this. Not quite as simple to configure as the YouTube video implies and where is the configuration Backup & Restore that I now need?  More work to be done BT, IMHO.

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