BT Router - too many devices connected. What one to buy?

Sy13

Member
Apologies if this has been asked before.

First of all, let me say that I am very unfamiliar with this kind of tech. However, having suffered with internet drop-outs, I finally spoke to BT (they supplied my router.) They said I have too many devices connected to my router (TVs, phones, tablets, laptops, Amazon Fire sticks, Smart Speakers etc.) and that I need something stronger to replace it.

The problem is that I have no idea what to get. There are so many options and I simply don't understand anything about this sort of tech. I just want to buy a new router, plug it in, and it works. It should be able to handle several devices without affecting internet performance.

What router should I be getting please?

Thanks in advance.
 
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oneman

Well-known Member
How many do they think is too many ?

How many of your devices are wired and how many are wireless ?

Are you problems just wireless or wired as well ?

Which type of connection do your have FTTP (upto 900mb) or FTTC (up to 80mb) or something else ?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Also might be worth you telling us exactly what model BT Hub you have - it's probably written on the "serial number" label if nowhere else.
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
I know that before I replaced it, my BT Smart Hub (Home Hub 6) started to buckle around 45 - 50 devices. The routing table started corrupting and devices would just randomly fall of the network. Wifi was fine as it it was handled by 3 x UAP-AC-Lites, it just couldn't keep up with all of the routing demands placed on it.
 

Sy13

Member
How many do they think is too many ?

How many of your devices are wired and how many are wireless ?

Are you problems just wireless or wired as well ?

Which type of connection do your have FTTP (upto 900mb) or FTTC (up to 80mb) or something else ?
Thanks for your reply.

They said anything over 10 is quite a lot.

All devices are connected wirelessly.

No idea what you mean by the last question.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
10 devices really isn't that many, I would the ISP router to be able to manage 15 to 20 these days.

Is there any chance that you can move any of your high usage devices to Ethernet cable ?
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
Dissatisfied with my Virgin Superhub I bought one of these Asus routers recently and just delighted. Worth considering if you do move.

Amazon product
Including everything I must have in excess of 40 devices connected and no issues. Child’s play to setup.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
Dissatisfied with my Virgin Superhub I bought one of these Asus routers recently and just delighted. Worth considering if you do move.

Amazon product
Including everything I must have in excess of 40 devices connected and no issues. Child’s play to setup.
I would and did go for AX88U model. I had AC88U but it struggled with 600mb connection with QOS, logging and NAT acceleration switched on.
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
I would and did go for AX88U model. I had AC88U but it struggled with 600mb connection with QOS, logging and NAT acceleration switched on.
OK well I’ve had no problems and WiFi speed more than doubled in my bedroom. Getting the Virgin advertised 600mb speed wired to my PCs and my AV processor is acquiring an IP address which it struggled with under the Superhub. No complaints here so far but there is always better and more pricey.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
OK well I’ve had no problems and WiFi speed more than doubled in my bedroom. Getting the Virgin advertised 600mb speed wired to my PCs and my AV processor is acquiring an IP address which it struggled with under the Superhub. No complaints here so far but there is always better and more pricey.
As I said with some of the advanced features on it struggled. But no doubt it's a huge step up from super hub.

With AX88u I was able to get rid of an extender that I needed with AC88u.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Eek - any router that's struggling with 10 devices is indicative of "something else" being the problem.

Be weary of first level helpdesk guys. They are under pressure to achieve a performance target in terms of number of calls handled per hour, they are often early in their IT carreer and not well accomplished and will sometimes more or less "guess" and say anything they can think of to get the call terminated and meet their targets. Well meaning as they are, a lot of IT guys will just start guessing when they cannot figure out what the problem is rather than loose face and concede they "just don't know."

I could pull a 20 year old router out of the cupboard and it'd handle 10 device no problem (though certainly not contemporary routing capacity - but that's another matter.)

Before spending money on some new kit, I suggest a more forensic analysis of "what's wrong" is warranted rather than just "guessing" that "magic router X" is the cure all.
 

Sy13

Member
Also might be worth you telling us exactly what model BT Hub you have - it's probably written on the "serial number" label if nowhere else.
I have the Home Hub 4.

Just logged on to the router on my Mac and I have 2 devices connected by a wire and 17 others connected by WiFi (PS4, laptops etc.)

The problem is that my Alexa speakers sometimes just randomly stop playing music, or they briefly can't connect to the network. When watching Sky Sports on my PS4, the game freezes every 15 mins or so and I have to restart the application. All persistent problems are always resolved by restarting the router but it's quite a regular issue. My connection speed is 80Mbps.

Any suggestions welcome.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
I have the Home Hub 4.
The HH4 is a bit long in the tooth. A Smart Hub, sometimes called HH6, would be a cheap alternative to try. Can often be picked up for very little on the likes of Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. That would rule out the router as being the problem.

But as @mickevh said, analysing what's actually going on may be necessary if switching the router doesn't improve things. Whether you replace the router or not, I'd suggest you start by splitting the 2.4 & 5GHz bands into separate SSIDs. That way you can switch devices that support both bands & see if that helps.


Although back when I had a HH5 briefly the 5GHz band was forever dropping out. No idea what the HH4 is like. The Smart Hub was much better.

 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
When you are experiencing a problem, do the wired connected devices still work..?

If not, it might indicate a problem with your ISP link or the Hubs ability too route the requisite amount of traffic.

If wired devices are OK, then it suggests you have no issue with the ISP link or your Hub's a capacity to route the required traffic levels. It would tend to indicate you have a Wi-Fi issue.

Wi-Fi is fundamentally an "only one thing at a time can transmit" technology. The more "things" you have, the more data they want to transmit, the more competition there is (it' anything but "fair") there is for some "air time." Add some poor signalling conditions such as clients a long way from your router (which might cause lots of retransmits) of some kind of interference source (car alarms, baby monitor, microwave oven, neighbours, RADAR, etc.) then the contest for the available air time is even greater.

Restarting your router never "fixes" a Wi-Fi problem, it just makes you "feel" a bit better.

It's a thankless task, but the first step is to determine whether you have an issue with Wi-Fi, your router or your ISP link. One way you could do that is to set up a continuous "ping" on one of your wired devices as see what happens when you are experiencing a problem. It's a misery because you'll have to sit a watch it, but if such a ping test proves your router and ISP link are OK, then you can suspect you've got a Wi-Fi problem. If not, then you can start to suspect your router and or ISP link.

Equally, and also a misery, you could turn everything off and test them one at a time over a suitable period and see if there is a particular client that suffers, If they are all OK, then you can gradually reintroduce things one at a time and see which one cause the problem.

It's a misery, but for some IT problems, there's just no alternative to some labourious and methodical testing to establish what is culpable. Otherwise, we are just guessing.
 
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RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
It's a misery, but for some IT problems, there's just no alternative to some labourious and methodical testing to establish what is culpable. Otherwise, we are just guessing.
Agreed but if a cheap substitute is available then swapping out a suspect item is often a quick alternative to said misery. If the problem is solved then happy days, if not then at least that item can be excluded from the troubleshooting process.
 

Sy13

Member
The HH4 is a bit long in the tooth. A Smart Hub, sometimes called HH6, would be a cheap alternative to try. Can often be picked up for very little on the likes of Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. That would rule out the router as being the problem.

But as @mickevh said, analysing what's actually going on may be necessary if switching the router doesn't improve things. Whether you replace the router or not, I'd suggest you start by splitting the 2.4 & 5GHz bands into separate SSIDs. That way you can switch devices that support both bands & see if that helps.


Although back when I had a HH5 briefly the 5GHz band was forever dropping out. No idea what the HH4 is like. The Smart Hub was much better.

Thanks for your input.

I have just split the bands and assigned equal number of devices to 2.4 and 5 GHz. The two wired devices never seem to have issues although it's only the BT TV box and the Hive heating. Both work great.

The devices with the biggest issues are the Alexa speaker in the kitchen and the PS4.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Thanks for your input.

I have just split the bands and assigned equal number of devices to 2.4 and 5 GHz. The two wired devices never seem to have issues although it's only the BT TV box and the Hive heating. Both work great.

The devices with the biggest issues are the Alexa speaker in the kitchen and the PS4.
Generally speaking, 5GHz is fastest & 2.4 GHz has the longest reach. But 2.4GHz is much more congested, both by neighbours' routers & as @mickevh alluded to, the myriad of other devices working on the 2.4GHz band. It's worth downloading a wifi sniffer to see which bands your neighbours are using & then manually set your router to the least congested channel. Auto selection rarely woks well in my experience.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
Have a walk around with the Mac with an app like NetSpot and check 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz reception. Check with other SSID and their strengths.

Also can you post a pic of your floor plan and where equipment is.
 

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