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BT Home Hub adverts under ASA spotlight
Wednesday 15 April 2009 11:11:42 by Andrew Ferguson

Virgin Media has challenged a BT Total Broadband advert which pushed the advantages of the 802.11n capabilities of latest version of the BT Home Hub.

"Virgin Media Ltd, who introduced an N router and USB adaptor with their 50Mb service on 15th December, challenged whether the claims "Unbeatable wireless connection compared to other UK broadband providers" and "No other UK broadband gives you a better wireless connection than BT Total Broadband" were misleading and could be substantiated."

Complaint from Virgin Media

The complaint was not upheld by the ASA, with the decision being based on information from BT and the Wi-Fi Alliance. The ASA also felt the advert was clear that it was referring to the speed of the wireless LAN connection, rather than actual internet access speeds.

While 802.11n will generally give better coverage or higher speeds to people who use an appropriate 802.11n adaptor on their computer, people trying to connect devices such as the Sony PS3 with its built in 802.11g will not get any major benefit. Some Virgin Media XXL customers are also finding that the 802.11n devices can give highly variable results, which suggests the lessons learnt from the use of 802.11b and 802.11g still apply, i.e. that to get the best speeds you need to use Ethernet cabling around a property, or utilise other options like HomePlug devices. In urban areas the number of wireless networks can also result in congestion, and if your wireless is slow it is worth experimenting with changing the wireless channel used by the router.

Comments

Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Virgin Media has challenged a BT Total Broadband advert"
.....
quote"The complaint was not upheld by the ASA, with the decision being based on information from BT and the Wi-Fi Alliance."

Oh dear so now the ASA just ask the complained about company for their opinions rather than investigate.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"The ASA also felt the advert was clear that it was referring to the speed of the wireless LAN connection, rather than actual internet access speeds."

Err so BT get away with being able to say....
"Unbeatable wireless connection compared to other UK broadband providers" even though a 802.11n device in terms of the "wireless LAN connection speed" will basically be the same no matter what provider you are with? What a joke!
Posted by radar over 8 years ago
Andrew do you realise the amount of interference these HomePlug devices give to short wave radio listeners ?
Have a look here :- http://www.ukqrm.org/
BT are the worst offender with the COMTREND devices that they supply with BT Vision.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
Have read the UKQRM and Ofcom meeting notes
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
something is messing up our baby alarm too. Too much wireless about. roll out the fibre...
...once we get that there is no need to worry about another thing, it will be real broadband.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 8 years ago
I have one of virgin's routers and adapters. It pushes through about 6mbps i'd rather have a home plug.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Carpet - Well, there isn't a home wireless standard faster than n. So it's not "beatable". Factually entirely accurate.

Posted by pcoventry76 over 8 years ago
home hub* i mean sorry
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
pcoventry - Eh. There are perfectly good routers (I recomend the Asus WL-500g with Oleg's Firmware) which you can get for cheaper than the home hub to use with cable connections.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
oh deary me.
The ASA basically said that VM's advertised connection speed was misleading customers as they felt they would interpret it as throughput but that BT advertising wireless connection speed was not misleading.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
In the case of the HH2's wireless n capability I thought BT's advertising was very clear and not missleading. Claiming that the wireless part of the HH could not be beaten is not saying that it's standard could not be equaled. I did find that advertising the HH2 with the Hubphone was missleading as discussed in an earlier news article so its not like that advert was ever perfect but the wireless n part of the advert was reasonable accurate.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
@ CB, the speeds offered by wireless n is useful for file sharing between networked computers, that is also a facility that routers offer with their builit in network switches. So yes its a useful feature for people with more then one PC in the home.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
as far as I am concerned both need to be ruled the same way, either say VM's ad is legal (very clear to me) or put both ads illegal. I interpret BT's ad as saying the fastest possible internet connection over wireless, which is of course false.
Posted by mr_chris over 8 years ago
I personally think the ad is misleading to the average person. So many people think a wireless Internet connection is somehow different from a normal one. BT's marketing department aren't stupid, they will know this, and this ad is obviously designed to fool these people, making them believe their Internet speed will be better.

Of course, even if an advert is misleading and a complaint does gets upheld by the ASA, the offending ad has already been out there for enough time that many people have already seen it. It's win-win either way.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
well the internet connection itself is wired, is only the lan side thats wireless. 90% of marketing these days relies on misleading to be effective.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
mr_chris your last point is very good, a company can put up a ad even if they know the ASA will tell them to remove it, most of the population will never know that is the case and as such most people who see any such advert will take it in.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Their adverts are misleading as a whole. One advert shows a guy walking from one room to the garden and his connection dies even with a probable clear line of sight.... That doesnt happen be it if your connection is wireless G or wireless N rated or if it does it would likely happen with either protocol.

Secondly in the same advert both are using laptops. Again wouldnt matter if your router is wireless N or G rated, the important thing with regards to BTs so called claim of "Unbeatable wireless connection compared to other UK broadband providers" is complete pish....
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Do BT bundle wireless network N rated cards or N rated dongles with their homehub? Errr so and thus that advert as a whole and its claims of unbeatable are just nonsense. The whole thing in their adverts which would make a difference to speed and range would be the wireless card or dongle and its rating which you are using.... NOTHING to do with the darn router or in this case branded concreate brick named a homehub..... Mind you good to see the BT are god babblers missed all that, reminds me they are stupid.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Wireless N rated routers be it a homehub or other branded router products all perform very similar, can BT back up their claims their homehub is UNBEATABLE compared to all other N rated gear on the market? I doubt it. Stating your product is unbeatable really is scratching your own balls and misleading especially from a company which knows as well as all of us buying or using their product will be no better than another product which has the same wireless N rating, BT should had been made to prove their product is as they claim "UNBEATABLE".
Posted by gavinthain over 8 years ago
I've just purchased the new apple router which tranmits at g and n simultaneously. My wireless speeds have just gone through the roof. N can now run at n speeds rather than throttled to g whenever I use both g and n devices. Would recommed this. Certainly too innovative for bt to come up with. I'm a really happy ex bt customer.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
^^^ No idea which device you are using but if what you state is true then that further demonstrates their claims of "UNBEATABLE" are nonsense :)
Posted by pbsolo over 8 years ago
I've had an SMC Barricade router holding on at 1db SNR some time and eventually 'Open Reach' sent a guy out to try and convince me what I'd done wrong. It took a while but eventually he did leave admitting there was something wrong.
Half an hour later I suddenly got 6.5megs @ 10db and it's stayed there since. Now I could just be an old sceptical bar-steward but it couldn't possibly be that they just went back the exchange and switched off the 'Non-BT-customer speed-restrictor' that doesn't exist could it?
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
I might email the ASA and tell them about the billion 7402NX, works on ukonline (who beat the hell out of BT Retail) and is N rated wireless. Technically makes BT's adverts null and void.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"I might email the ASA and tell them about the billion 7402NX, works on ukonline (who beat the hell out of BT Retail) and is N rated wireless. Technically makes BT's adverts null and void."

LOL have you seen their new advert with Kris Marshall (thats the guy in their ads for anyone interested) laying in bed and the voice over that states "The most comprehensive broadband"? God how i burst into laughter at that, comprehensive it which area, The size of the ugly home hub or the average 3Mb speed the country gets from BT as a whole LOL
Posted by 2doorsbob over 8 years ago
I have to totally agree with carpet most people that intend to use wireless have laptops and not many i see come with n draft adapters built in ..in tests i've read regarding speed the most you'd expect is around 35 to 50 mbps when bt only offer at present upto 8 meg speed on your line .so the g standard at around 20 to 30 mbps is more than capable
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