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BT launches Home Hub 3 with Smart Wireless

Says it will banish your wireless woes

BT has announced its Home Hub 3 wireless router, which it says will banish wireless woes from people’s homes thanks to its Smart Wireless technology.

With this feature the Home Hub can detect interference from other devices and change the wireless channel of the router on the fly to compensate. It’s different from the Auto Channel modes on most routers, as these simply look for other wireless networks; the Home Hub can also detect other sources of interference, such as baby monitors and wireless video senders.

It’s this type of interference that’s the biggest cause of wireless problems. Both Ofcom and BT have done similar research into the issue and shown that a lot of wireless interference is due to devices other than wireless routers. In a recent test BT installed the Home Hub 3 in 300 homes and discovered that 2.7 per cent of them had sources of interference that could cause wireless problems.

We were shown a demonstration of Smart Wireless in action. It involved streaming video wirelessly to two laptops. One was connected to a Home Hub 3, one was connected to a Virgin Media Hub. Turning a wireless video sender on prompted the streaming video to pause on both laptops, but the Home Hub 3 changed wireless channel and within a couple of minutes its laptop was reconnected and continued to stream video.

As well as Smart Wireless the Home Hub 3 has some other interesting new features. For starters it has two WAN ports: one for ADSL and one Gigabit Ethernet port for BT Infinity. There are four Ethernet ports on the back and one is a Gigabit Port, which is useful if you’ve got a NAS device.

As with previous Home Hub models, this one comes preset with encryption turned on. Instead of printing the key on the rear, though, there’s a plastic dongle that pulls out so you can carry it around when you’re setting your network up. Alternatively, there’s also push-button and PIN WPS.

Power saving has also been improved, with BT claiming that the Home Hub 3 is up to 1/3 more power efficient than the previous model. In part this is because the device uses less power even at full tilt, but also because intelligent power management can shut down ports that aren’t being used.

The new tiny chassis looks impressive and the router’s no bigger than a digital alarm clock. It will be available at the end of March and is free to new customers and existing customers that don’t have a Home Hub already when they re-contract. Existing customers with a Home Hub can upgrade for £46 – a 50 per cent discount. We’ve got a review model now, so we’ll bring a full review in the next week.