Wireless routers are no longer as costly as they once were a few years ago, but it’s still nice to save those few bucks where possible. This is why many people seek to repurpose old devices like the BT Home Hub. Is this a good idea, and will it work?
You can use a BT Home Hub as a wireless router. However, most BT Home Hub models can only offer single-band Wi-Fi. This means a lack of support for 5GHz bands, delivering slower speeds on connected devices with support for 5GHz connectivity.
Do you own a BT Home Hub? This article will cover all you need to know about using it as a wireless router or as a wireless access point.
What’s a BT Home Hub?
BT Home Hubs are router modems that came with BT broadband deals in the past. Over the last few years, they’ve been phased out for the BT Smart Hubs, which are more powerful and more compatible with modern wireless applications.
When the BT Home Hub was still offered as a part of their packages, the UK brand never took back older models after the launch of new ones. So, many people have these hubs tucked away somewhere in the house.
Can You Use the BT Home Hub as a Wireless Router?
You can use a BT Home Hub as a wireless router if you don’t have many devices requiring 5GHz connections to function optimally.
Many newer devices can connect on BT Home Hub’s single-band 2.4GHz connection, but the speed of the connection will be noticeably slower compared to other newer routers.
The BT Home Hub was replaced by the BT Smart Hub, one of the most powerful routers in the UK. The new models have seven antennas and support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands overall.
Can I Use a BT Home Hub as a Wireless Access Point?
You can use a BT Home Hub as a wireless access point by resetting it to factory defaults, disabling DHCP, and entering a new IP address. You’ll also need to run an Ethernet cable between your managing router and the old Home Hub.
Here’s how you can achieve this:
Disconnect the Home Hub
The first step in this process is to ensure the BT Home Hub isn’t connected to any devices. You only need to keep it powered on. If the hub no longer comes on even when plugged in, you can’t use it for this purpose.
Press the Reset Button
On the last two BT Home Hubs sold (4.0 and 5.0), you can find the reset button on the rear of it, towards the right-hand side. Holding down the button for around 20 seconds should reset it. You’ll need a clip or something similar for this to work.
The light in front of the device will flash a range of colors starting with green, then blue, before settling at amber. The part labeled “b” on the device will also start to blink red.
The reset step is important because it’s the only way to effectively clear out old settings that can make it hard for you to use the Home Hub as a wireless access point.
An example is the DHCP disabling (which we’ll get to later). You can’t do that if you don’t deactivate the “BT Fon” feature with a reset.
Connect the Hub to an Isolated PC
Get a spare Ethernet cable to connect your PC to the Home Hub via any of the Ethernet ports on the latter. The PC shouldn’t be connected to your existing wireless connection or connected physically via network cable. With the isolated connection done, you should get an IP address from the Home Hub through DHCP (most likely 192.168.1.64).
Reset the Admin Password
To reset your admin password on most BT Home Hub devices, visit this link. When on the hub’s home page, go to “Advanced Settings,” enter the default password, and then input a new admin password when prompted. The exact steps to follow here will vary depending on your version of BT Home Hub, but it should be pretty similar.
Reconfigure the Hub’s Wireless Settings
While in the hub menu, navigate to the “Wireless Security” menu. Ensure the “Security” is set to “WPA2 Only (Recommended).”
It’s most likely set to this already, but you should confirm. Delete the default key you’ll find under “Wireless key (WPA2)” and enter yours. This key is the password you’ll use to connect to the network. Click the “Apply” button to activate the new settings.
Change the Hub IP Address
The default IP on your BT Hub is 192.168.1.254. This won’t work as it will clash with the managing router after setup. You’ll need a new IP that will work for your home network—an address that isn’t already in use.
To do this, navigate to the DHCP settings, go to the “Hub IP Gateway Address,” and enter a new address for the hub. The address should be in the same network but not within the DHCP ranges of the router responsible for your network.
The router’s DHCP range will typically start from 192.168.1.64. So, to avoid a class, you can choose a “lower” address by replacing the 64 with 63, or 62, etc.
Apply the new changes and surf to the new address you’ve chosen to confirm it works.
Disable the DHCP and Connect the Hub to Your Network
You can deactivate DHCP under the “DHCP Server” setting. Set the “Enable” button to “No” and confirm your changes.
With DHCP disabled, you can now connect your BT Home Hub to the managing router to make it a part of your home network.
Your BT Home Hub can work as a wireless router or a wireless access point if you know what settings to change. On the access point change, the steps we’ve covered above will work mostly for a BT Home Hub 5.0. However, the steps will be very similar for older models.