BT Smart Hub

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BT Smart Hub
ManufacturerInventel
Technicolor
Gigaset/Sagem
Huawei
TypeWireless router
IP Phone
Release date10 May 2013 (2013-05-10) (BT Home Hub 5)
Introductory price£129.99[1] (free with BT Broadband)
Operating systemLinux
StorageOptional external USB drive
ConnectivityHome Hub 1.0 and 1.5

Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)
Fast Ethernet
USB 1.1
Home Hub 2.0
Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)
Fast Ethernet
USB 2.0
Home Hub 3
Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)
Fast Ethernet
Gigabit Ethernet
USB 2.0
Home Hub 4
Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n)
Fast Ethernet
Gigabit Ethernet
USB 2.0
Home Hub 5
Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
Fast Ethernet
Four Gigabit Ethernet ports
One USB 2.0 connector
Smart Hub
Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
Fast Ethernet
Four Gigabit Ethernet ports

One USB 3.0 connector
DimensionsHome Hub 2.0
18.2 cm (7.2 in) (h)
17.5 cm (6.9 in) (w)
8.8 cm (3.5 in) (d)

Home Hub 3
11.0 cm (4.3 in) (h)
18.5 cm (7.3 in) (w)
4.0 cm (1.6 in) (d)
Home Hub 4
11.6 cm (4.6 in) (h)
23.6 cm (9.3 in) (w)
3.1 cm (1.2 in) (d)[2]

Home Hub 5
11.6 cm (4.6 in) (h)
23.6 cm (9.3 in) (w)
3.1 cm (1.2 in) (d)[2]
Weight301g (BT Home Hub 5)[2]

The BT Smart Hub (formerly BT Home Hub) is a family of wireless residential gateway router modems distributed by BT for use with their own products and services and those of wholesale resellers (i.e. LLUs) but not with other Internet services. Since v 5 Home/Smart Hubs support the faster Wi-Fi 802.11ac standard, in addition to the 802.11b/g/n standards. All models of the Home Hub prior to Home Hub 3 support VoIP Internet telephony via BT's Broadband Talk service, and are compatible with DECT telephone handsets. Since the Home Hub 4, all models have been dual band (i.e. both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz).

The BT Home Hub works with the now defunct[3] BT Fusion service and with the BT Vision video on demand service.[4] The BT Home Hub 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 devices connect to the Internet using a standard ADSL connection. The BT Home Hub 3 and 4 models support PPPoA for ADSL and PPPoE for VDSL2, in conjunction with an Openreach-provided VDSL2 modem to support BT's FTTC network (BT Infinity). Version 5 of the Home Hub, released in August 2013, includes a VDSL2 modem for fibre-optic connections. New firmware is pushed out to Home Hubs connected to the Internet automatically by BT.

The Home Hub 5 was followed on 20 June 2016 by the Smart Hub, a further development of the Home Hub sometimes referred to as "Home Hub 6".[5] It has more WiFi antennas than its predecessor, and a USB 3.0 rather than USB 2.0 port. It supports Wave 2 802.11ac WiFi, found on review to be 50% faster than non-Wave 2.[6]

History[edit]

Prior to release of the Home Hub (2004–2005), BT offered a product based on the 2Wire 1800HG, and manufactured by 2Wire. This was described as the "BT Wireless Hub 1800HG", or in some documentation as the "BT Wireless Home Hub 1800". This provided one USB connection, four ethernet ports and Wi-Fi 802.11b or 802.11g wireless connection. A total of ten devices in any combination of these was supported.[7]

The hardware contained within the BT Home Hub 1.0 and 1.5 was manufactured by Inventel, and is equivalent to other Inventel produced and third-party branded routers such as the Orange Livebox and the Thomson SpeedTouch 7G and ST790. Consequently, the Home Hub 1.0 can be flashed with some firmware such as that for the 7G; however full functionality cannot be achieved using this method. The Home Hub 1.5 firmware, whilst not hardware locked as previously claimed, does have extra locks in the bootloader which can now be circumvented and full functionality achieved.[citation needed]

There are two versions of the BT Home Hub 2.0, the A and the B model. The hardware contained within the Home Hub 2.0A was manufactured by Thomson SpeedTouch, who had bought out Inventel and all their hardware and software rights. This model is electronically identical to the Thomson SpeedTouch TG797n.

The hardware contained within the BT Home Hub 2.0B was manufactured by Siemens' Gigaset division in Germany. The middleware was developed by Jungo, a subsidiary of NDS, and is based on their openRG product.

Some Home Hub 2.0 units were also made by Hon Hai Precision Ind. Co. Ltd.[citation needed]

In the standard firmware, telnet shell access is available in earlier versions (up to 6.2.2.6) on the BT Home Hub 1.0 with appropriate user permissions. This is identical to the custom shell used in the SpeedTouch range of routers and provides an almost identical software feature set, with a few notable exceptions (e.g. PPP authentication is locked on the BT firmware). This is not the case in the unlocked versions, as full telnet access is available.[citation needed]

There are two versions of the BT Home Hub 3, the A and the B model. The hardware contained within the Home Hub 3A was manufactured by Siemens' Gigaset division (now Sagem) and is based on a Lantiq XWAY ARX168 chipset supporting ADSL2+.[citation needed]

The Home Hub 3B was manufactured by Huawei and also supports ADSL2+. The Home Hub 3B is powered by a highly integrated Broadcom BCM6361 System-on-a-chip (SoC). The BCM6361 has a 400 MHz dual MIPS32 core processor as well as an integrated DSL Analog Front End (AFE) and line driver, gigabit Ethernet switch controller and 802.11 Wi-Fi transceiver.[8]

Features[edit]

The BT Home Hub 2.0 was a combined wireless router and phone. It supports the 802.11b/g/n wireless networking standards, and the WEP and WPA security protocols.[9] It supports many of BT's services such as BT Fusion, BT Vision and BT Broadband Anywhere. It can also be used as a VOIP phone through BT Broadband Talk.

The BT Home Hub 3 incorporated WPS functionality, seen on other routers, which enables the user to connect to their encrypted network by the use of a "one touch" button, and also includes "smart wireless technology", which automatically chooses the wireless channel to give the strongest possible wireless signal.[10] WPS has since been (temporarily) disabled by firmware updates[11] due to security issues with the standard.

The BT Home Hub supports port forwarding.[12]

The BT Home Hub versions 3, 4 and 5 may be used for access to files stored on an attached USB stick - USB 2.0 is supported. The server by default has the address File://192.168.1.254 and is available to the entire network.[13]

Hub Phone[edit]

The BT Hub Phone is an optional handset that can be bought to work in conjunction with the BT Home Hub 2.0. It calls using the BT Broadband Talk service, and may sit in a dock in the front of the Home Hub or be used on its own stand. It uses Hi-def sound technology when calls between Hub Phones are made. A DECT telephone may be used instead.

With each BT Home Hub released up to 2.0, a new phone model was made to accompany it:

  • BT Home Hub 1.0: was supplied with the BT Hub Phone 1010
  • BT Home Hub 1.5: was supplied with the BT Hub Phone 1020 (The only difference between the 1010 and the 1020 was the lack of the colour screen and supporting features on the 1020.)
  • BT Home Hub 2.0: was supplied with the BT Hub Phone 2.1
  • The BT Home Hub 3 and 4 do not work with the BT Broadband Talk service or DECT telephones.[14] After 29 January 2011, BT Broadband Talk was no longer provided as part of BT's broadband packages.

The phones are only partially compatible with newer or older versions of the hub, able to make and receive calls, but with the loss of features including call waiting, call transfer, internal calls, phonebook, call lists and Hi-def sound.[15]

Design[edit]

As of September 2017 the following versions of the BT Home/Smart Hub had been released:

  • Version 0.5: grey (no Hub Phone was available, not technically a Home Hub but rather BT Fusion Hub)
  • Version 1.0: white (matching Hub Phone was available)
  • Version 1.5: white or black (matching Hub Phone was available)
  • Version 2.0: black (matching black Hub Phone was available)
  • Version 3.0: black (Hub Phones and DECT phones are not compatible) released on 29 January 2011.
  • Version 4.0: black (Hub Phones and DECT phones are not compatible) released on 10 May 2013.
  • Version 5.0: black, released in mid-October 2013
  • Smart Hub, sometimes referred to as Home Hub 6, mid-2016

There were two different versions of the BT Home Hub 2.0: v2.0A (2.0 Type A), manufactured by Thomson, and v2.0B (2.0 Type B), manufactured by Gigaset Communications (now Sagem Communications, Sagem having acquired Gigaset's broadband business in July 2009). Whilst the looks and functionality appear to be identical, the Home Hub 2.0A has been plagued with problems relating to poorly tested firmware upgrades which, amongst other problems, cause the Home Hub 2.0A to restart when uploading files using the wireless connection.

There are also two versions of the BT Home Hub 3: v3A (by Gigaset, now Sagem) and v3B, (Huawei).

The BT Home Hub can only be used with the BT Total Broadband package without modification; the 1.0, 1.5, 2A, 2B and 3A versions can be unlocked.[16] The BT Home Hub configuration software is compatible with both Macintosh and Windows operating systems, although use of this is optional and computers without the BT software will still be able to connect to the Hub and browse the Internet normally.

The 4th generation of the BT Home Hub was released on 10 May 2013. It has been built with a smart dual band technology, making it unique amongst other UK-based ISP provided routers.[citation needed] The Home Hub 4 was supplied free of charge to new customers, with a £35 charge to existing customers. It has intelligent power management technology which monitors the hub functions and puts them individually into power-save mode when not in use. There two variants of the Hub 4, Type A and B.

The 5th generation Home Hub was released in mid-October 2013 and is an upgrade to the Home Hub 4, with Gigabit Ethernet connections, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and an integrated VDSL modem.[17] Customers upgrading from ADSL Broadband pay only a delivery charge; existing Broadband customers pay a £45 upgrade charge. There are two variants of the Hub 5, Type A with Lantiq chipset (ECI), and Type B with Broadcom. It is possible to replace the firmware of the Hub 5 Type A (and the identical 'Plusnet Hub One' and 'BT Business Hub 5' Type A) with OpenWrt, unlocking it from BT and providing the features of OpenWrt.[18]

Models and technical specifications[edit]

A picture of the rear of the circuit board from a BT Home Hub 3.0 Type A

The BT Home Hub package includes:[19]

A USB lead was provided with the Home Hub 1 only.

Spec BT Home Hub 1.0/1.5[20] BT Home Hub 2.0[20] BT Home Hub 3[20] BT Home Hub 4[20] BT Home Hub 5 BT Smart Hub
Modem ADSL2+ ADSL2+ ADSL2+ (PPPoE is also supported in firmware for VDSL2[21]) ADSL2+[22] and VDSL2 ADSL2+ and VDSL2
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n (now with "Smart Wireless", explained above) 2.4 GHz: 802.11n dual-stream 2×2 MIMO. Back compatible with 802.11 b/g.
5 GHz: 802.11n dual-stream 2×2 MIMO. Back compatible with 802.11a.[2]
2.4 GHz: 802.11 b/g/n 2×2 MIMO
5 GHz: 802.11 a/n/ac 3×3 MIMO[23]
2.4 GHz: 802.11 b/g/n/ac 3×3 MIMO
5 GHz: 802.11 a/n/ac 4×4 MIMO
Wireless
Security
WEP and WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK/RADIUS All previous features but now with WPS (temporarily disabled in firmware updates[11]) 2.4 GHz: WPA & WPA2 (default), WPA, WPA2 and WEP 64/40
5 GHz: WPA2[2]
WPA (2.4 GHz only), WPA2, WPS
Ports Ethernet 10/100 Mbit/s sockets
USB 1.1 socket
RJ11 (broadband in and phone)
4× 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet sockets (RJ45)
USB (for network drives)
1x Broadband in (RJ11)
Telephone socket
3× 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet sockets (RJ45)
1× 10/100/1000 Mbit/s GigE Ethernet socket (RJ45)
1× USB socket (now enabled for use)
1× BT Infinity in (RJ45)
1× ADSL Broadband in (RJ11)
4× 10/100/1000 Mbit/s GigE Ethernet socket (RJ45)
1× USB socket
1× BT Infinity in (RJ45)
1× VDSL Broadband in (RJ11)
4x 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet sockets (RJ45)
1x USB 2.0 socket
1x VDSL Broadband in (RJ11)
Dimensions
(w × d × h)
19.5 × 3.9 × 22.5 cm 17.5 × 8.8 × 18.2 cm 18.5 × 4 × 11 cm 23.6 × 3.1 × 11.6 cm[2]
Software 6.2.6.E or 6.2.6.H[24] 8.1.H.U (Type A), 4.7.5.1.83.3.37 (Type B)[24] 4.7.5.1.83.8.94.1.37 (Type A), V100R001C01B036SP05_L_B (Type B)[24] 4.7.5.1.83.8.130.1.26 (Type A), FW:V0.07.01.0910-BT (Type B)[24] 4.7.5.1.83.8.236.1.2 (Type A), V0.07.03.814 (Type B)[24] SG4B1000B540 (Type A)

Reported issues[edit]

The security of the BT Home Hub has been questioned[25] by GNUCITIZEN. In October 2007 Adrian Pastor warned[25] the security and BT Broadband community regarding critical vulnerabilities he discovered in the Home Hub. The details of such research were released later in November 2007 and demonstrated how to compromise fully (get root privileges on) the BT Home Hub by tricking a BT Home Hub user to visit a web page crafted by the attacker.[25]

Such research garnered a significant amount of media attention[26] and led to Adrian Pastor being invited to BBC Radio 4 where he discussed the issue with Dave Hughes, director of BT Wireless Broadband. Mr Hughes argued that GNUCITIZEN's vulnerability research only covered a theoretical attack. Mr Pastor said that, although GNUCITIZEN wasn't aware of such vulnerabilities being exploited in the wild, the attack is fully practical as demonstrated by the exploit code released at www.gnucitizen.org. Furthermore, Mr Pastor argued that the security of the BT Home Hub wasn't adequate to support the newly introduced Wi-Fi sharing FON service.[27]

BT has the capability to detect remotely and silently all devices connected to customers' networks, and asserts and uses the right to do so, saying that "we don't believe that consent is necessary where the testing is necessary to the service that we are providing." [28]

In May 2017, it was reported that many BT Smart Hub customers are suffering problems with the router constantly rebooting and being unable to maintain a reliable internet connection.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BT Smart Hub - The Uks Most popular Wireless Broadband Router - BT Broadband". BT. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "The UK's most reliable broadband connection from BT's new hub". BT Press Releases. 7 May 2013. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  3. ^ "BT Fusion on Hub 1.0". BT Customer Help. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  4. ^ "BT Vision self install process". BT Customer Help. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  5. ^ Mark Jackson (20 June 2016). "UK ISP BT Launches New Smart Hub Wireless Broadband Router". ISPreview UK. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  6. ^ Alastair Stevenson (20 July 2016). "BT Smart Hub review". Trustedreviews.com. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  7. ^ Up and Running: Your guide to broadband networking with your BT Wireless Hub 1800HG. BT. 2004.
  8. ^ "BT Home Hub 3.0 - Type B". kitz.co.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  9. ^ "The New BT Home Hub". BT. Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  10. ^ "The new BT Home Hub router". BT. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  11. ^ a b "BT Home Hub 3 WPS". BT Customer Help. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  12. ^ "BT Home Hub Help - Port Forwarding Help". File Save As. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  13. ^ "Why is there a USB socket on the back of the BT Hub? | Help | BT.com Help". bt.custhelp.com. Retrieved 2016-09-04.
  14. ^ "How do I register my BT Hub Phone to the Hub?". BT Customer Help. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  15. ^ "Connect a BT Hub Phone 2.1 to a BT Home Hub 1.0 or 1.5". BT Customer Help. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  16. ^ "PsiDOC.com". Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  17. ^ "BT HH 5 features".
  18. ^ "BT HomeHub 5.0 Type A (OpenWrt Wiki)". OpenWrt. January 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  19. ^ "BT Home Hub - Information and Advice". File Save As. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  20. ^ a b c d "BT Home Hub models". BT Customer Help. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  21. ^ "Superfast BT Infinity". BT. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  22. ^ "Can I use any Hub or router with BT Infinity?". Bt.custhelp.com. Retrieved 12 September 2017. The BT Smart Hub and BT Home Hub 5, Hub 4 and Hub 3 will also work with normal (ADSL) broadband.
  23. ^ "BT Smart Hub | The Uks Most popular Wireless Broadband Router | BT Broadband". 2017-06-08. Archived from the original on 2017-06-08. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  24. ^ a b c d e "How can I check the firmware version on my BT Home Hub?". BT Customer Help. Retrieved 28 May 2015. Updated from time to time, article may not show latest.
  25. ^ a b c Adrian Pastor (8 October 2007). "BT Home Flub: Pwnin the BT Home Hub". GNUCITIZEN. Retrieved 22 October 2008.
  26. ^ Dan Goodin (9 October 2007). "BT home router wide open to hijackers". The Register. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  27. ^ "Wi-Fi fears". BBC Radio 4 You and Yours. BBC. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  28. ^ "BT cheerfully admits snooping on customer LANs".
  29. ^ Barry Collins (9 May 2017). "Why does my BT Smart Hub keep disconnecting?". The Big Tech Question.

External links[edit]