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Message 1 of 19

Is BT Complete Wifi any good - for me ;) ?

We live in a barn conversion - so a rather long, mostly single storey, building with some very thick brick walls. The Smart Hub covers most of one end but manages to cover only part way down on the other side. I've partially overcome the 'challenge' with Ethernet over Powerline but that has the 'obvious' issues with roaming between access points and still doesn't reach the garage at the far end (modern cars seem to need wifi too apparently!) because the property is wired on multiple distribution boards and Ethernet over Powerline doesn't cross between distribution boards too well.

The Complete Wifi solution sounds ideal and I've been tempted for a while but it's hard to know whether it is a significantly better solution:

  • I find it hard to believe that with just one Disc the coverage will be any greater that with the SH2 alone. Do folk find single disc coverage significantly better than with the SH2 alone?
  • I am assuming here that the first Disc simply replaces the wifi from the SH2 - is this correct?
  • What is the mechanism for getting the second and third Discs? Is it relatively simple?
  • Could I buy and add a fourth Disc if necessary? I note that the 'guarantee' doesn't cover wifi in the garage and that's one of the things I would like to achieve.

And any other advise, hints or matters that I should be considering would be welcome ...

Thanks

Philip
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Message 2 of 19

Re: Is BT Complete Wifi any good - for me ;) ?

BT's Complete WiFi (black discs) just repeats the WiFi SSID from the SH2, so doesn't replace it. The first disc comes free from BT but I think to get extra ones you have to prove somehow to BT that your whole house is not covered - and as you say they won't guarantee garage coverage.
An alternative is Wholehome Wifi which are BT white discs, readily available from Amazon. You get 3 discs in the box, the first disc must be connected to the SH2 by ethernet cable and the other discs can be placed as you wish - guided by the BT app. In my fairly rambling house I found I needed a 4th disc to get good WiFi in my garage - but this too was readily purchaseable via Amazon. This system does give you a new WiFi network and SSID, so you can turn off the WiFi from the SH2.
Operation is seamless with devices switching from one disc to another as I move them around the house. I would recommend it.
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Message 3 of 19

Re: Is BT Complete Wifi any good - for me ;) ?

I think you are confusing Complete Wi-fi and Wholehome WI-fi.

The Wi-Fi from the hub is a required component for complete Wi-Fi to work, not so with Wholehome Wi-Fi where you can turn it off

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Message 4 of 19

Re: Is BT Complete Wifi any good - for me ;) ?

@Les-Gibson  No, Les, I'm not confusing Complete and Wholehome - I simply didn't have a clue that they were different things in the first place! 😉 Now I do, so thanks for that ... BT don't seems to do a great job of 'explaining' the products that they sell.

So, I could consider Wholehome Wifi, or indeed any of the competing third-party products, but that wasn't quite the 'thrust' of my question ... 

As I now understand, the first Complete Wifi disc would effectively extend the range of existing wifi coverage of the SH2 - which would be a good next step.

Thanks both ...

Philip
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Message 5 of 19

Re: Is BT Complete Wifi any good - for me ;) ?

What service do you have? If it's FTTP & not the max speed then it may be possible to relocate the SH2 more centrally using the existing powerline adapters to connect to the ONT. That might be enough to reach each end.

If that's not an option then I'd look to a third party mesh system for a one-off purchase, rather than paying ongoing rent for a BT's Complete WiFi. That also opens up WiFi 6, but ideally you want to link each node by ethernet for backhaul.

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Message 6 of 19

Re: Is BT Complete Wifi any good - for me ;) ?

I have Full Fibre 500 (so fttp). The upgrade offer would be to Full Fibre 900 Halo 3+ for an extra £1 pcm - so really not much more, and hence the temptation to go that way.

That would give me a full 900Mb broadband (that I really don't need but hey!), together with Hybrid Connect (which I suspect won't work for us since we have next to zero EE mobile signal here need to use WiFi Calling to get the mobiles to work - but it's the thought that counts), and up to three Complete Wifi discs (maybe) which should do the job provided that they are not defeated by the thickness of some of the walls.

I don't think that relocating the SH2 is an option. I could position it to the other side of a particularly thick wall but that would simply move the problem to the other end of the house (I suspect).

Ethernet 'everywhere' would be sensible, but routing that the full length of the barn would be a bit of a challenge ...

I'm still attracted to the Complete WiFi offering, but am getting the impression that "the forum" is leaning toward an add-on mesh wifi solution instead?

Philip
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Message 7 of 19

Re: Is BT Complete Wifi any good - for me ;) ?

I guess for that little extra there's no harm in trying the BT disks. No idea how the £100 guarantee works but worst case it could be a nice contribution towards a third party solution!

You may be able to get some signal from the Hybrid box if you fit external aerials & can mount up high

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Message 8 of 19

Re: Is BT Complete Wifi any good - for me ;) ?

I don't have much advice to give sorry but I want to give a heads up. The max wifi speed you are likely to see from a disc is 200-250mbps, and that is when you are near it, because it is taking the hub's signal and rebroadcasting it, so that cuts it's wifi speed down. The hub gives much faster wifi speed if you are closer to it.

You will get better speeds if you connect your devices via ethernet to the discs though! I have my PS5 connected via ethernet to a disc that is diagonally upstairs and through one thin and one thick wall from the hub, and I get 400-500. When I use wifi instead the max speed i get from the disc is usually 200-250. (Yep sorry guys I was weak and caved in and upgraded to 500mbps very recently so my games and patches will download faster :P)

I just wanted to give a heads up, so you don't get a shock when you are not getting anywhere near 500mpbs to your laptop or wifi devices in other parts of the house where the discs will be.

250mpbs still good for 4k videos and gaming though! 😊

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Message 9 of 19

Re: Is BT Complete Wifi any good - for me ;) ?

I live in a single-storey property built around 1900, so with solid brick walls everywhere.  I have the SH2 is a cupboard at one end of the flat (where FTTP comes in, and where I have ethernet cables coming in from most rooms).  All of the room are off a hall that is T-shaped, roughly 20m on the longer dimension, and 9m on the shorter.

The furthest distance from the hub to opposite corners of the flat is about 25m, and passing through 2 or 3 brick walls.

With one disc, I found that I could extend the WiFi signal fully along one of the hall dimensions, but not both - so I could get it fully along the 20m hall, and into the rooms off one side of that, but not into the rooms off the other 'branch' of the T, or vice versa.  With 2 discs, one placed in each 'branch' of the T, I get a good signal everywhere - by which I mean around 200 Mbps in each room.

Getting the extra disc was simple - I thought I would have to jump through hoops to prove that I needed it, but I just phoned CS and they sent one out straight away.

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Message 10 of 19

Re: Is BT Complete Wifi any good - for me ;) ?

If you do go for fibre 900,  just be aware that's a lot of mbps that you will lose in a part of the house where the hub will not be. 200-250 vs 900? That's a big drop. 

I know we hardly utilise more than 200mbps for everyday things, but I still would would suggest try and make the best of what you paid for by putting the devices that need the most speed near the hub. Like gaming PCs and consoles. Then you can really enjoy it 😄

But if you can't do this, having 900 will still for sure ensure that each member of the household in a different part of the house will not cause slowdowns for others that are using the internet. For example it can handle multiple 4K streaming devices at once, while a couple of devices are downloading big updates\games, with ease.

So what you will lose for in raw speed, you would still gain in bandwidth.