BT Total Broadband (8th September 2010)
Received our BT Hub 2.0 today. The packaging is good, the manuals are great, the installer is a paradigm of domestic simplicity and even that ‘new electronics’ smell has been done well. Also, the Hub just looks cool, a cable cover and mellow lights. So far so good! From standing start to finishing the basics took precisely 1 hour.
After plugging everything in, the Hub took just about 7 minutes to stabilise. It goes back to ‘flashing orange’ from time to time. The manual explains this is while BT test the most balance of speed and stability.
Takes a little while to start, seemingly in order to play an animated BT logo. But it does have the most modest splash screen whilst this happens. And there are useful, reassuring animations later on in the process. Of course, it’s not at all standard Windows UI but it has been done well:
Only awkward part I found was this label, which wraps to a new line when there’s oodles of space on the far side:
The search engine so many installers try to add these days was present and ticked by default, as expected. But you can click anywhere on the label to untick them. A few installers I’ve used (deliberately?) make the text non-clickable, so you might not realise the boxes are still ticked when you inevitably (and hurriedly) try to opt out.
The final stage had the CD running at top speed while the progressbar slowly went along. Some parts of the animation were customised to our actual details. The final stages seemed to finish rapidly but the progress bar didn’t look completely full. Here’s a screenshot of that, caught in a transition effect between two promotions):
Time was now 38 minutes since starting, although I’ve been doing it at a very leisurely pace and writing this. Clicking Go made the CD spin up again, seemingly just to grab some code to close the window. But then Firefox opened at this page:
Harmless enough. Bookmarked it just in case then went to GTA Media Press Forums to hang out with my gaming friends. Game Hunter works, everything works. Dropped connection once, as to be expected. Restored it within a couple of minutes.
Will update this entry or make more if interesting things happen. First 10 days are supposed to have more speed and reliability checks, so I’ll use it as normal until then. The guides say restarting it in the morning about 3 times during these 10 days can help them, so I’ll do that as well. Probably start with tomorrow morning, then Saturday morning.
Sektor’s Network Help is the place to start, recently re-written after I suggested many improvements. The specific forwarding ports for GTA2 it links to via don’t seem to cover BT Home Hub 2.0, although 1.5 is there. So here’s a screenshot of how it looks, once filled in:
I used a couple of similar-looking BT products from that list and improvised. Can join games but not host at the moment. There are a few other bits to try but it’s nearly midnight, so will settle for getting a couple of games done.
Sektor helped troubleshoot for a while but no joy yet. Will set up local static IP Address at weekend, as a few social things between then and now. (Happily!)
Port Forwarding Complete! (10th September 2010)
I used the router admin to set a static local IP address for this machine. Then assigned the GTA2 port forwarding rules specifically to this machine. Here’s the screen where I did it, with some sensitive details hidden:
Required quite a bit of technical knowledge, patience and careful experimentation to get GTA2 working. The same was true with a Virgin Media modem and a separate Belkin router. A lot less polished UI but a more well-known and searchable path to success, in that setup.
First few days of BT Total Broadband have been positive, for me.
Slow & Steady Wins the Race (2nd October 2010)
I was getting an average of nearly 300kbps while downloading a half-gigabyte file for about an hour. That’s about 2.4Mbps stable download speed.
For computer games I’m seeing pings of less than 100ms to my European friends. It’s great for playing GTA2 online, really stable too!