Home / Computing / Peripheral / BT Home Hub 5

BT Home Hub 5 review

Gordon Kelly




  • Recommended by TR

1 of 9

Home Hub 5
  • Home Hub 5
  • HH5 angle
  • HH5 dongle2
  • HH5 UI
  • HH5 WiFi
  • HH5 AC
  • HH5 5GHz
  • HH5 USB
  • HH5 2.4GHz


Our Score:



  • Strong 802.11ac performance
  • Superb 802.11n 5GHz performance
  • Neat, compact design
  • Single box solution
  • Bargain pricing (with contract)


  • Unified SSID bands by default
  • Single USB 2.0 port

Key Features

  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi
  • Integrated VDSL modem
  • 4x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • Manufacturer: BT
  • Review Price: £129.99

What is the BT Home Hub 5?

This is the fifth generation of BT’s Home Hub range of routers. It is arguably the biggest upgrade the line has seen to date as it combines 802.11ac wireless, upgraded Gigabit Ethernet ports and an integrated VDSL modem. For many years ISP-supplied routers have been famous for being awful. On paper the Home Hub 5 could be the product to change that.

Video: How to improve your home's Wi-Fi network

BT Home Hub 5: Design

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Home Hub 5 is, on the surface, perhaps the least interesting: its design. The Home Hub 5 looks virtually identical to the Home Hub 4. It has the same upright format and slightly curved fascia, the same spring loaded legs, the same smart colour scheme and the same rigid build quality and compact dimensions.

It is the last of these points which really grabs out attention though. At 236 x 116 x 31mm and 290g the Home Hub 5 is the same size and weight as its predecessor, which makes it one of the smallest and lightest routers on the market yet it packs a lot of new stuff inside.

HH5 angle

BT Home Hub 5: Features

While several features vie for our attention, we’re going to start with the integrated VDSL modem. Somehow BT has squeezed this into the Home Hub 5 without any size or weight penalty. Not only is this a remarkable feat of engineering (given the monstrous size of DSL routers like the Asus DSL N66U and Netgear D6300) but it also means BT Infinity customers finally have a neat, single box solution.

Up until now all Infinity customers were forced to have a separate bulky modem (that runs hot) and was wired into either the Home Hub 4 or a third-party router. The Home Hub 5 does away with this and runs cool and quiet.

In addition the Home Hub 5 also makes the leap to 802.11ac wireless. Unlike EE’s ac and VDSL equipped Bright Box 2, which has a 2x2 arrangement of antennas, BT has equipped the Home Hub 5 with full fat 3x3 MIMO antennas for both 802.11ac and 802.11n, which should give it an advantage at distance. The Home Hub 5 does have a 2x2 arrangement for 802.11n/g, but at these slower speeds that doesn’t really matter.

Another feather in the cap of the Home Hub 5 is its switch to 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports (1000Mbps). The Home Hub 4 has 3x Fast Ethernet (100Mbps) and 1x Gigabit Ethernet ports (as does the EE Bright Box 2) and this gives the Home Hub 5 parity with premium third-party routers and Virgin’s 802.11n new Super Hub. It also shows up the Sky Hub’s 4x Fast Ethernet ports and Sky’s ridiculous decision to stick with that for its new Sky Hub (review coming soon).

One area the Home Hub 5 could do better is the inclusion of just a single USB 2.0 socket, but otherwise it ticks all the right boxes with WPS and WPA/WPA2 security, BT’s bundled Family Protection (a better solution to protecting your children than the UK’s flawed porn filter), IPv6 support and a CD-less setup process.


BT Home Hub 5: Setup

BT is the first ISP we’ve seen to go the CD-less path (following in the footsteps of Linksys, Asus and D-Link) and the setup process is far better for it. Simply plug in your HH5, switch it on and connect to it either via WPS or using the password supplied on BT’s bundled information card that is stored on the back of the router. Upon connection your default browser will open a new web page (http://bthomehub.home/index.cgi) which begins the setup wizard.

One complaint we do have is BT by default sets up the Home Hub 5 with a single SSID. This is an infuriating practice as users have no way of knowing whether they are connecting to the fast 5GHz 802.11ac/n band or the slower 2.4GHz 802.11bgn band. These bands should always be clear to the user (most router makers use ‘2G’ and ‘5G’ endings to differentiate) and it requires digging into the ‘advanced settings’ section to change them.

Another quibble is the use of a pre-set password. Linksys and Asus are leading the way here with routers that have no password but make you pick one in the setup wizard. That makes far more sense to us, though BT's approach is consistent with previous Home Hub's.

HH5 WiFi

Despite these points we have to say getting the Home Hub 5 up and running is very easy and even technophobes shouldn’t worry. The router’s user interface isn’t the most advanced we’ve seen and won’t give Linksys’ industry leading ‘Smart WiFi’ sleepless nights, but it is simple to navigate. BT also deserves credit for shipping the Home Hub 5 with a long 2m power cable, which gives a lot of flexibility when it comes to positioning the router. We’d like more router makers to follow this lead.

Prem Desai

December 30, 2013, 1:36 pm

I have one. It is rubbish. How on earth did this score 9/10?????

The wireless range is almost useless. The hub is upstairs and I struggle to get a decent signal downstairs. It is so poor that I have purchased a wireless access point and use that instead.

Also, the hh5 is devoid of features for power users. For example, remote management is non-existent or not accessible.

My own score: 2/10.


December 31, 2013, 11:23 am

At first my HH5 did not work with my iPad Air so I selected "No" in the "Sync with 2.4 GHz" option in the 5GHz panel (as suggested above). However, I did not change the SSID so the 2.4 and 5 Gig bands have the same names but the iPad Air connects fine. I intend to leave this setup as it is. How can I tell which band the Air is using?


December 31, 2013, 11:25 am

How does it compare with other wi-fi routers? Did you get a better signal before the HH5?

Gordon Kelly

December 31, 2013, 4:26 pm

When you change the SSID the Air will see both and when you choose which one to connect to that will automatically see it select the correct band.

Gordon Kelly

December 31, 2013, 4:30 pm

Having been professionally tested I can assure you the HH5 is far from rubbish. Often in these situations the issue lies with the device you are connecting to. The Hub has 3x3 5GHz antennas, very few laptops do, most tablets have a 2x2 array and most phones are 1x1. I suspect you're blaming the wrong device.

True remote management is currently only offered by Linksys' Smart WiFi. D-Link's mydlink has some barebones management so you shouldn't be surprised a router supplied in many cases free by an ISP doesn't. If you desperately need remote management spend £150+ on a Linksys EA6900. Otherwise a work around is to use Logmein to connect to a home computer and access it that way.

5/10 is ridiculous.

Gordon Kelly

December 31, 2013, 4:31 pm

I go through this thoroughly in the review with detailed performance comparisons to third party and rival ISP routers.

Prem Desai

December 31, 2013, 4:44 pm

Gordon - always had the highest respect for your articles.

In this case, I have to disagree somewhat. 'Professional testing' in lab conditions differs from real world conditions.

I have swapped the hh5 for a cheapo Tp-Link access point and get better reception/performance on my mobile, ipad and laptop.

I'm not getting hung up on the 3x3 or 4x4 or whatever - I'm focussing on user experience.

My current router is a Draytek and it supports remote management. I'm sure I had a Belkin one a couple of years ago that supported this too.

I take your point about being bundled free by the ISP and agree that this may well be one of the best ones.

However, if you're paying for it, would you buy a HH5? I know I wouldn't.

Prem Desai

December 31, 2013, 4:45 pm

Sadly, just about anything I had before: Netgear, Linksys, Belkin. I'm currently using a cheapo Tp-Link one from Amazon - miles better than the HH5.

It may well be settings/channel on the hh5 that are to blame but BT say that the hh5 (and previous generations) sort themselves out.

Gordon Kelly

December 31, 2013, 4:54 pm

Thanks for the kind words Prem, but you misunderstand. All our router testing is done in real world conditions in central London where there are numerous interfering wireless signals and the conditions are identical for every router we test.

If you added an access point you simply repeated your signal upstairs it is always lead to stronger reception - it is like have two routers in your home. But you will still be limited to the top speeds of your existing router rather than the 50MBps and above of the HH5.

Signal is not the same as speed. Having great signal from a slow router then adding an access point is only half a fix.

If you live in an old house with particularly thick walls that would could reduce the range, but 3x3 is the most powerful array you're going to get in any router (sorry 4x4 isn't available ;) it is then up to how each particular router maker supercharges it.

Draytek does have some remote management features, but I wasn't including b2b routers due to their exorbitant price tags. That said I will be reviewing a Draytek on the site soon.

As for your last question, it depends on my budget. Limitless? No, I'd get the Linksys EA6900 then the Asus RT-AC68U then the Netgear R7000. But beneath that, if my budget was limited, I'd most definitely pay for the HH5 and heartily recommend it.

I can't speak for your personal experience (are you using 802.11ac equipment with it?), but it is so radically different from my testing that I'd suggest you get it exchanged.

Gordon Kelly

December 31, 2013, 5:03 pm

PS in addition to using ac wireless devices (you will see from the review the 2.4GHz speeds are nothing to write home about), did you split the SSID into 5G and 2G signals so you could connect to the right one?

If you used 2.4GHz devices with the HH5 or 5GHz devices but didn't split the SSID then there's every chance you were simply using it as a 2.4GHz router which is the one area the HH5 does is no better than many routers.

Those aside, I'm out of ideas!


December 31, 2013, 8:10 pm

I also had trouble with range at first with both my HH4 and 5 but I've since used an android phone or tablet, downloaded Wi-Fi analyser and used it to check what channels were in use. Turns out my default 2g HH channel was being swamped by next doors router (so much for the claimed auto channel management). Manually changed it to a clear channel range and I've not had a range problem since.


January 2, 2014, 10:26 am

Good tip this one, I'll be giving it a go if there are issues with my girlfriends one when it gets installed :)


January 2, 2014, 10:33 am

Gordon Kelly - quick question for you. My girlfriend is getting a new BT install done in a week or two. If they come and give her a HH4 is there any chance of asking them to change it for a HH5 instead?

I know this might not be your wheel house, I guess I'm after an opinion more than anything concrete.

Dave Bullock

January 3, 2014, 9:37 am

Does this thing have a 'Modem mode' function (ie a switch in software that disables all the routing, wireless stuff and so on and turns it into a dumb box that simply takes the signal from BT and outputs it through one of the ethernet sockets)? Reason I ask is we're moving soon and was thinking about getting BT Infinity, however I want to use my *own* network gear...


January 4, 2014, 5:38 pm

You misread. Gordon obviously said that HE had been professionally tested. "Having been professionally tested I can assure you... "

Not sure why he thought that relevant to a discussion of hubs and routers, but ......... :-)


January 9, 2014, 7:42 pm

Does this device support WIDI?


January 22, 2014, 10:20 pm

The 2.4Ghz band seems stronger for me than the HH3 and the 5Ghz band works well enough...The a/c band works very well for me too, and at 10m away through 2 walls and past telephones, TVs and various items I still get 350Mbps+. So all in all Im happy with the wireless.

I have also renamed the 5Ghz channel and manually selected the 2.4Ghz channel number after scanning for congested channels in my local vincinity.

My previous router had 7 Gbit ports so going down to 4 is a little squeeze but has not put me off, but those coming from a HH2/3/4 will gain Gbit ports, which are useful if you shift a lot of data as I do.

I also love the that the VDSL modem is integrated, meaning I can shelve the Open Reach Box and go to a single box solution.

Of course there are a few limitations, mostly in the GUI and a lack of ability to 'tweak' too many settings may put a few folks off, however these days I am more interested in it 'just working' without too need to fiddle. My main gripe is still the lack of custom DNS, I find this lack rather frustrating because I have a nice set-up with OpenDNS.

Overall not a bad upgrade if you are a BT customer looking to move from a HH2/3 at the least...looks pretty good, takes up a small space and fairly straight forward to set-up. Im very happy with the purchase for £45 + PnP and it has made a good replacement for my previous router wich had begun flaking out, and I had to drop the HH3 in while waiting for the HH5 to arrive.

Bill Young

January 24, 2014, 10:57 am

Having the HH3 with Huawei modem, my current installation requires 2 sockets on the UPS. The HH5 will free up one socket and probably reduce the load too, although this is not mentioned in the review.

What is less clear is whether the individual attached device setups are still the same as before. I require several components of my network to have fixed IP addresses.
Since my comments above I've now tried a Home Hub 5.
Menus are pretty similar and fixed IP is a doddle. The hub seems to accept that all addresses are static unless declared otherwise. Port Forwarding is also straightforward. No changes there then!

BUT here's the rub! I need Dynamic DNS enabled for my Storage Device and use DynDNS. No matter how hard I try to get it to connect to DynDNS, which is a listed service, it will not do so. The only option is to run DynUpSvc on the PC, which works. This proves there is no port problem and, having said "Yes" to using Dynamic DNS in the appropriate menu, I see no reason why it shouldn't work on the HH5. It works fine on the HH3!

I asked the Technical Expert line but they told me they do not support Dynamic DNS problems. So that's it, then!!!! I've removed the HH5 and returned the HH3 to its rightful place. The HH5 is incomplete and unusable until they get that supported and working reliably.


January 29, 2014, 12:48 am

Its odd that yours don't work for sure, my DynDNS works without hitch, and in additional one of the hosts I have on my DynDNS account is used by my brother for remote access to his Security VCR/Cameras, he also has a HH5 and his HH5 with DynDNS also works without a hitch...

Why yours would not work I cannot really think, we have however turned off uPnP (I dont know if this makes a difference to the DynDNS or not but that we just disable it) other than this I have no idea why your own HH5 would fail to update the address and can tell others that in our own situations at least it works properly.

As for the HH5 being garbage, well I suppose each is entitled to their opinion, and mine is that I disagree with you wholeheartedly, mine has been rock solid (thank goodness) since I put it on-line and I can say without a doubt that it surpasses the HH3 by huge margin all round and if you have gotten one free or paid the £45 UG you have a bargain.

I am just thankful I have seemingly been lucky enough not to encounter too many issues thus far, and sincerely hope that you get your problems sorted asap.

best wishes


Bill Young

January 29, 2014, 2:39 pm

Thanks, Mr Bee, for your response. Perhaps I was a bit too severe in saying "garbage" but after such a frustrating day I thought it appropriate! I have noted on the web that the error I get for DynDNS connection is also reported for HH4 which has a similar origin!

I set the HH5 to emulate the HH3 identically. This does include uPnP and DynDNS as well as Port Forwarding. The HH3 is currently performing perfectly. I only use the GigE port(4) as the LAN is on a large, fan-cooled, hub with multiple devices attached.

Perhaps, when in an appreciably less pressured state, I will give the HH5 another try, without uPnP, and see if that works. Too little time these days to devote time to experimentation.

Thanks again for your sympathy!

Mr Bee

January 30, 2014, 8:15 am

Hi Bill, yes sometimes it can be rather frustrating getting things to work the way you expect them to. On of my own previous routers had problems with updating DynDNS (Not a BT HH). It was a pain cos I had moved from a Static IP with O2 but when they announced they were not going FibreOp and were selling out to Sky I moved to BT as they were the first offering Fibre in my street/area and I could not entertain going with Sky as I needed at least basic access to the router to setup RDP and WebServer stuff etc...

For the most part I am very happy with the purchase as it all works pretty well, I was a little worried at first as I have a fair few devices connecting to the hub, using all the components, ie, I have a couple of G devices, 7-8 N devices and 2 ac devices all running through the hub, plus all four Gbit ports are in use, all in all it has held up pretty well really so far.

I still have to test/set up things like RDP and a couple of other inbound services, but the ones I have set up, such as HTTP Web Server seem thus far to be working well and like all things I suspect at some point it will cause me some frustration but at this time I am very happy with it.

When I get to it and have a bit more spare cash I will prob buy another top end router and just keep the HH5 as a drop in if required, but that seems to be less important now the HH5 is taking the place of my old Draytek so well and I will wait to see what is on offer with a built in VDSL modem, who knows, maybe I will end up with a HH5 Rev B.

I do hope you get things sorted out and get to using your HH5 because actually, its not half bad really.

Best wishes...



January 31, 2014, 11:49 pm

A word of warning for those who expect their routers to operate silently!
This HH5 router emits a hight pitched buzzing noise fluctuating with download speed. In quieter environments (most home environments) this is clearly audible and can be unpleasantly districting. No noticeable issues with speed or range in the four units tested.

Mr Bee

February 3, 2014, 4:44 am

Mine doesn't emit a high pitched buzz...and I sit 2 feet from it most times, its sat right on my desk next to my workstation monitor...and I can hear the server and workstation fans and I can even hear the CPU on the server chugging away sometimes when under load if I listen really closely, but no hi pitched buzz from the router...

Maybe you were unlucky to have been the recipient of a bad batch...four units does seem to point to a batch of poor quality control, because like I say the two I have encountered make no discernible audio emissions that I can point to...

Hope you get it sorted...



February 3, 2014, 6:02 pm

The 'free for existing customers' is not actually correct.
Having just spent an age speaking to an Indian BT call centre, I was told that it is £45 to existing customers. They can only send free for a new account; which could be another person living at the same address.

Alex McDonald

February 4, 2014, 10:11 pm

I got it for free as an upgrade from BT Broadband to Infinity.

comments powered by Disqus