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RS4
Contributor
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Message 911 of 1,165

Re: Whole Home WiFi firmware update v1.02.04 build10

@GeeDoc I totally agree with the view that IT infrastructure kit should be fixed IP, and for all the reasons you stated, plus the ability to easily firewall them if you need to control what access the devcices have to the outside world.

If you are now in the market for an alternative solution I strongly recommend you take a look at the Ubiquiti UniFi range, which include both AP and Mesh-AP devices, so you have deployment options.   I replaced 5x disc BTWH with a pair of UniFi AP-HD and (for luxury) an outdoor AP-Mesh unit to cover the garden.  

I have since discovered that a single AP-HD provides the same if not better coverage to the whole house than I had previously with the 5x BTWH, so a single AP-HD would have been sufficient and therefore cheaper than the 5x BTWH that I had previously purchased.  The Mesh-AP in the garden is also not really required but means I get full-bars signal everywhere.  Plus having a pair of AP-HD means that I now have total redundancy for WiFi provision.  Both AP-HD are ethernet connected (Kitchen/Loft) and the AP-Mesh is wireless-mesh connected to whichever of the AP-HD it chooses.  All clients happily roam between available AP, although due to the strong coverage they do not roam that often, as they do not need to.

The UniFi management application is extremly comprehensive in its capabilities, especially when paired with a UniFi Gateway as well (which I now have migrated to as well in order to get the detailed deep packet inspection capability).

I have been running this solution now for more than 4 weeks, perhaps longewr, without any issues at all.  

No more complaints from the family, no more interruptions to my business and twice daily reboots of the BTWH!!

RS4
Contributor
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Message 912 of 1,165

Re: Whole Home WiFi firmware update v1.02.04 build10

For those continuing to struggle, persevering with BTWH...

Consider this only as a plaster, not a fix.   My belief is that the problems lie with the meshing algo, therefore in my own case I found running a single wired BTWH disc was stable even on this broken firmware (ie; no meshing required).  Sure this defeats the object of having multiple discs, and reduces the coverage, but in my case a single working disc was better than many failing discs and multiple daily reboots whilst waiting for a fixed firmware to arrive.  

As I have mentioned before, some time ago I was told by BT that BTWH was 'not' a mesh system but in fact 'repeaters'.  This tallied with the topology diagrams in the app at the time and also the disc log details regarding how each disc related to each other, connect/disconnect/handoff messages, etc.

However, recently in this forum article a BT rep informed us that this understanding is incorrect, that BTWH is indeed a 'mesh' system.  I am not argusing with that.

But, my hunch, and it is only a hunch, is that 'build 10' firmware is the version in which BTWH changed from being repeaters to mesh.  Therefore 'build 10', (being the first release of mesh enabled firmware), is a large change in terms of firmware code, and it is obviously proving highly problematic for BT and thier supplier/developer.  And that, according to my hunch, is why a single disc worked just fine, as there was nothing to mesh with.

Why some people suffer more than others, or have no problems at all, I do not know.  Perhaps it relates to the number of discs in the mesh, perhaps it relates to the number of times the mesh is reforming for whatever reason, perhaps it relates to there just being a memory leak in the firmware code managing mesh state tables (but that would have been fixed sooner), who knows.  TBH I gave up with the product and returned them all to BT.

Admittedly my own experience of developing network mesh algos is now about 7 years old so I am sure very out of date, but network Mesh algos are complicated and new (compared to non-mesh) and therefore it is perhaps not unreasonable that in a first release there are problems.  But that is not to excuse the need for sufficient testing prior to release, nor keeping customers informed of progress for a fix!

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GeeDoc
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Message 913 of 1,165

Re: Whole Home WiFi firmware update v1.02.04 build10

@RS4Thanks for the Ubiquiti Unifi advice. I'll give them a 'serious dose of looking at' as my old man used to say. It's not something that I'm going to rush into as the old system of wifi on the router, an AP and two repeaters works OK'ish- a return to the status quo which took only 30min to re-establish.

Your surmises re v1.02.04 build10 being the transition from repeater to mesh do seem to fit with the circumstantial evidence but as you say no excuse for the present debacle.

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RS4
Contributor
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Message 914 of 1,165

Re: Whole Home WiFi firmware update v1.02.04 build10

@GeeDoc

In some of the past blog posts, where people have a degree of stability, there are mentions of using HomePlug devices to provide backhaul for satellite discs (at which point they are not really satellite any longer).  In other words, by connecting the disc to ethernet, the disc uses ethernet for it's backhaul and therefore does not have to take part in any mesh activity.  Reinforcing the 'hunch' that the problem stems from the meshing algo in the firmware.  If there were only a single 'mesh' disc, all others being ethernet, then I could see that also potentially being a more stable situation as the single 'mesh' disc would really be working like a repeater.

I personally never tried using multiple discs all with ethernet backhaul, well not on this latest 'build 10' firmware.  When I tried it on previous firmware revisions it forced each ethernet connected disc to treat itself as the primary disc and effectively form a new wifi network (albeit with the same SSID), the network split, it certainly was not a mesh.  This meant from the app you only saw the discs for the SSID that your phone was connected to.  Clients did not roam between mesh nodes, they switched WiFi networks (albeit with the same SSID).  In fact this was a feature request I made to BT at the time for the disc to prefer ethernet backhaul over mesh-wifi backhaul and allow multiple nodes of the mesh to provide ethernet backhaul.  (Well, that's what I was doing with my mesh firmware 7 years previous so I felt it wouldnt be too difficult for BT to do).

Although I have previously read every post in this blog I do not recall if anyone has tried using multiple discs, but all with ethernet (or homeplug) backhaul, with any noticeable difference compared to using mesh on 'build 10'.

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GeeDoc
Beginner
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Message 915 of 1,165

Re: Whole Home WiFi firmware update v1.02.04 build10

@RS4 Have just finished resetting the discs to factory default. I feel somewhat disappointed as the system promised much.

For whats it's worth, the toplogy diagram presented by the onboard web-pages, when all discs used ethernet backhaul, was the primary connected to the router and the other two discs daisy-chained off the primary. Although at first the first disc connected to the router designated itself the primary, after later hard resets one of the other discs insisted on being the primary although I always powered up the disc connected to the router first and waited for a solid blue light. I must admit that I did not try only one disc connected by ethernet and the other two on wifi as past experience has always said use ethernet in preference to wifi if you have the option.

I don't think that I have the appetite to set it all up again to test :(.

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Jim-lad
Expert
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Message 916 of 1,165

Re: Whole Home WiFi firmware update v1.02.04 build10


@GeeDocwrote:

@RS4Have just finished resetting the discs to factory default. I feel somewhat disappointed as the system promised much.

For whats it's worth, the toplogy diagram presented by the onboard web-pages, when all discs used ethernet backhaul, was the primary connected to the router and the other two discs daisy-chained off the primary. Although at first the first disc connected to the router designated itself the primary, after later hard resets one of the other discs insisted on being the primary although I always powered up the disc connected to the router first and waited for a solid blue light. I must admit that I did not try only one disc connected by ethernet and the other two on wifi as past experience has always said use ethernet in preference to wifi if you have the option.

I don't think that I have the appetite to set it all up again to test :(.


I've puzzled about this too.  With only the one disk connected to the router and the other on WiFi that of course is the primary.  However, I noticed when I connected a second disk via Ethernet for the backhaul that disk would insist on being the primary. 

That disk was much further away, connected to a TP-Link gigabit switch which in turn was/still is connected to a TP-Link Homeplug.  You would think the disk connected directly to the HomeHub would remain the primary but that is not what I found.  I could not find a method of forcing the first disk to be the primary either.

I think it was RS4 who believes the system isn't mesh.  However, from my own experience with my phone and tablet is that as I move from the ground floor to the first floor the devices hand off from one dish to the other all the time.

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GeeDoc
Beginner
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Message 917 of 1,165

Re: Whole Home WiFi firmware update v1.02.04 build10


@Jim-ladwrote:

I think it was RS4 who believes the system isn't mesh.  However, from my own experience with my phone and tablet is that as I move from the ground floor to the first floor the devices hand off from one dish to the other all the time


Actually you don't need a mesh network to get proper hand off from one AP to the next. That was one of the features of the Cisco system we put in all those years ago.

It's a pity they have not built in a web-page detailing the interacting elements of the mesh. The SONOS system has a hidden web interface where one of the pages gives you exactly that info and you can see the strength of the mesh and fine tune by moving units or adding ethernet backhaul accordingly

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fquinner
Aspiring Contributor
1,111 Views
Message 918 of 1,165

Re: Whole Home WiFi firmware update v1.02.04 build10


@RS4wrote:

@GeeDoc

In some of the past blog posts, where people have a degree of stability, there are mentions of using HomePlug devices to provide backhaul for satellite discs (at which point they are not really satellite any longer).  In other words, by connecting the disc to ethernet, the disc uses ethernet for it's backhaul and therefore does not have to take part in any mesh activity.  Reinforcing the 'hunch' that the problem stems from the meshing algo in the firmware.  If there were only a single 'mesh' disc, all others being ethernet, then I could see that also potentially being a more stable situation as the single 'mesh' disc would really be working like a repeater.

I personally never tried using multiple discs all with ethernet backhaul, well not on this latest 'build 10' firmware.  When I tried it on previous firmware revisions it forced each ethernet connected disc to treat itself as the primary disc and effectively form a new wifi network (albeit with the same SSID), the network split, it certainly was not a mesh.  This meant from the app you only saw the discs for the SSID that your phone was connected to.  Clients did not roam between mesh nodes, they switched WiFi networks (albeit with the same SSID).  In fact this was a feature request I made to BT at the time for the disc to prefer ethernet backhaul over mesh-wifi backhaul and allow multiple nodes of the mesh to provide ethernet backhaul.  (Well, that's what I was doing with my mesh firmware 7 years previous so I felt it wouldnt be too difficult for BT to do).

Although I have previously read every post in this blog I do not recall if anyone has tried using multiple discs, but all with ethernet (or homeplug) backhaul, with any noticeable difference compared to using mesh on 'build 10'.


I ran all with ethernet backhaul and sadly I still had problems. From what I understand the mesh network is more to do with handling client handover than it is about routing data so i expect you can still have a mesh network with an ethernet backhaul to handle the client handover negotiations and reliable reception.

I have run in many configurations all of which had problems and all of which involved ethernet backhaul on various network equipment and all randomly crashed (even before this firmware update though it did seem to het more frequent). A BT home hub 6 was the router in each case. I had:

1. 16 port 100Mbps unmanaged switch plugged into single port on router with all wired devices from the local network and the whole home plugged into the switch

2. 16 port 1Gbps unmanaged switch plugged into single port on router with all wired devices from the local network and the whole home plugged into the switch

3. Nothing plugged into the bt home hub except for the 3 disks and an xbox one (ironically this seemed the most unstable)

Problems included:

1. Web interface was extremely slow to load up and occasionally failed but when you hot in you could eventually see that ethernet port was marked as down on the master disk so ethernet backplane wasn't working.

2. Ethernet is sometimes brought down entirely for all wired devices unless directly plugged into the home hub 6

3. Single disks just became unresponsive

4. General poor performance even from being restarted

I've been running a new setup for over a week though without issue. Fingers crossed it continues. It involves:

1. BT Home Hub 6

2. Managed 1Gbps ethernet switch with disks on their own VLAN isolated from the bt home hub network

3. Cheapie TP Link wired router set up to provide a route between the home hub network and the disk vlan

Part of my surmising was that the disks were flooding the network with multicast since on an unmanaged switch, that hits all ports. I also noticed thanks to having a managed switch now that (much to my dismay) all of the disks were only connected over ethernet at 100Mbps. Is that really the speed of the ethernet port on these devices? If so that's a bit poor but it would also explain why my network wasn't brought down on a 1Gbps switch.

At the very least though this setup was designed not to bring down my wired home office network when the disks decide to perform Seppuku.

The performance did seem vastly improved after doing this even just with general day to day use (which I wasn't expecting since it *adds* an extra hop), though time will tell if it's stable. Been up for 8 days now.

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Jim-lad
Expert
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Message 919 of 1,165

Re: Whole Home WiFi firmware update v1.02.04 build10

@fquinnerNot sure how the WH can possibly be affecting your wired network. The Ethernet ports are Gigabit ports. When I connect a disk to my 8 port TP-LINK Gigabit switch the connection LED is green which indicates gigabit connection. Orange LED indicates 100 MBps.
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Joe1971
Contributor
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Message 920 of 1,165

Re: Whole Home WiFi firmware update v1.02.04 build10

I have a Sky Q infrastructure with Sky broadband and the BTWHW, a 3 disc set and a 2 disc set. I added the BTWHW as the Q hotspots are so poor.

The three disc set installed and setup perfectly using Wi-Fi for its backhaul. I added an additional disk from the 2 disc set (as per the BT instructions) and it became unstable. Remove that additional disc from the mesh and it all becomes stable again, the 3 disc set working fine on the Sky Q hub. All discs on the build 10 f/w. Don’t know why it stops working when an additional disc is added, but as the BT executive team have assured me it’s top priority and they will fix it, plus I do at least have a stable configuration, I am keeping it.
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