Home network setup

I have BT Broadband at home and want to make the most of it throughout the house on a plethora of wired and wireless devices.

Wired Devices:
  • BT YouView PVR
  • TV with Ethernet connection (not smart TV as such but can update firmware)
  • BluRay player with Network connection
  • Seagate NAS Drive
None of these have Wireless capability

Wireless Devices:
  • Phones and tablets
  • Netbooks
  • PC (also wired connection)
  • Games Consoles
  • NowTV box
  • Amazon FireTV box

Equipment available:
BT Home Hub 5 - 4 Gbit ethernet connections and one WAN connection.
BT Home Hub 4 - 1 Gbit and 3 standard ethernet connections
8 port powered switch

Current setup:
Phone line comes into house at the front of a fairly long and thin house and connects directly to BT HomeHub 5 via ADSL filter; Hub is sat on top of bookcase to improve range of WiFi upstairs.
Gbit Ethernet connection direct to NAS
Gbit Ethernet connection to 8 port Switch at other side of room.
Switch then has ethernet connections to TV, BluRay and YouView. Also fairly long ethernet connection to PC in another room, through a hole in the wall. Used ethernet for PC because WiFi was sluggish; I think that was because of metal obstructions (logburner and flue) in direct line with Hub 5 and PC.
WiFi connection to Amazon FireTV box in same room.
WiFi connections to games consoles upstairs, in rooms immediately above the front room where the hub is. Towards the back of the house is then our room where we have the NowTV box. This does pick up the WiFi but no indication of signal strength other than when I use my phone in the bedroom (naughty I know!!) the WiFi signal indicator shows only one or if I am lucky two bars.

So the question is whether I can improve the setup. Could I use the Hub 4 as a WiFi extender towards the back of the house to improve signal strength?

It is a domestic environment so I don't want cables/trunking all over the place. It took some persuading for my wife to allow me to drill the hole from front room to back room for the PC; both ends of the hole are out of sight. The one cable that is visible is the ethernet cable from Hub 5 to the switch, fortunately the pale colour of the cable blends into the pale colour of the wall and with the hub being on top of a bookcase I was able to route the cable around the ceiling line and then down in a corner.

Any suggestions???

If it helps, I have uploaded a basic floorplan; probably not to scale but to give an idea of distance for WiFi, the long thin room downstairs is 7 metres long. Fiery red dot is big cast iron woodburner with metal flue going up through ceiling, up through first floor and out of the roof.

Rob H
LVL 35
Rob HensonFinance AnalystAsked:
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Rob HensonConnect With a Mentor Finance AnalystAuthor Commented:
I have found the following with a config suggestion:


  1. Reset the spare hub to a fixed IP address outside of the normal range for Home Hubs to eg
  2. De-activate DHCP on the slave hub
  3. Connect slave hub using ethernet

Only confirmation I need is whether the last stage will still work with the 8 port switch in between. I don't see why it shouldn't.

When resetting the slave hub in step 1 I assume I can rename the SSID (eg "Bedroom Slave" :-} ) I guess it would be better to stay with something different to the main hub so that they can be separately identifiable.

Rob H
CompProbSolvConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The key here is to get a wireless access point (Hub 4?) in a better location to server your NowTV box.  Is there an attic above the top floor that you can access?  If so, it may be an excellent location for an access point.  The tricky part is getting the ethernet wire to it.

There are devices that let you run ethernet over your power lines.  I've only run into them a few times with mixed success.  This is an example:
(I'm not recommending that specific one, only showing it as an example.)

You could also set up a wireless repeater where the PS3 is upstairs.  I'm assuming that you have good wireless signal strength there and that the signal would transmit from there to the back room fairly well.  You can test the first part by measuring the strength at the PS3 (there are free apps to do this with your phone; more detail than the phone's strength meter).  To test the second part, place the Hub 4 by the PS3 and see what signal strength you get from it when you are in the back room.
masnrockConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If the house has coax cabling run throughout, you could try MoCA products. I don't know how much they will cost over there in the UK, but that would be a way to expand the wired network without running cables all over the place. (Warning: These products are *not* cheap)

But yes, you should be able to connect a wireless access point to Hub 4 to extend coverage toward the back of the house. You can even the use the same SSID and wireless key.
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Rob HensonFinance AnalystAuthor Commented:
I am looking at whether I can use the hub4 as the WAP.

E/net cable from hub5 to switch and then e/net cable through wall to hub4 in back room downstairs. PC in that room then wired to hub4 and should then give better wifi to upstairs back room.
Ah. Wasn't sure if that hub4 was a wireless unit or not. Then yes, you should be able to. Hopefully, the signal it emits is strong enough to work in the upstairs back room.
Rob HensonFinance AnalystAuthor Commented:
I am hoping to try with the HH4 this evening. Most of the family are out so won't disturb them if need to switch things off.

Rob H
That should work perfectly fine. The switch is just acting as a splitter, and therefore will not have any impact on what you're trying to do.
Rob HensonFinance AnalystAuthor Commented:
If I give both hubs the same SSID and password will I need only one connection setting in the connecting devices?
I've had poor luck with trying to use the same SSID on normal access points.
Rob HensonFinance AnalystAuthor Commented:
Ok, I will give them separate names but see no reason why they can't both have same password.
Rob, it should work perfectly fine. And no, you would not need multiple connection settings. However, there are times where people have problems as CompProbSolv has cited. You'd just have to try and see what happens in your case.
Rob HensonFinance AnalystAuthor Commented:
HH4 reset and configured with static IP, WiFi visible; now just need to run the cable to it to make sure I get Internet connection from it.
Rob HensonFinance AnalystAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all your help.

The link I found gave me how to actually complete the process but used your advice for the finer details.
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