BT Retail gets hand slapped over Home Hub 3 adverts
It has been some time since the first BT Retail adverts extolling the virtues of their Home Hub 3 (HH3) and its wireless performance. The ASA has at long last finished looking at thirteen complaints that centre around three issues.
- Nine complainants, who did not believe the claim "The UK's most reliable wireless connection could be substantiated, challenged whether it was misleading.
- Three complainants, who believed the product could only avoid interference from Wi-Fi devices, challenged whether the claim “Every city, every town, every home, is filled with an invisible network of competing signals which can make it hard to receive a clear signal for your internet, and can cause some routers to drop out" could be substantiated.
- One complainant challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied BT was the only internet service provider to offer a router that actively avoided interference.
"Every city, every town, every home, is filled with an invisible network of competing signals which can make it hard to receive a clear signal for your internet, and can cause some routers to drop out." On-screen text stated "Wireless connectivity requires enabled equipment & range can vary according to home environment". The voice-over stated, "BT’s signal is designed to avoid interference. Thanks to the new home hub with smart wireless technology." On-screen text stated "Compared to all other Broadband Providers". The voice-over stated, "That’s why it’s the UK’s most reliable wireless connection..."Extract from ASA report detailing original TV advert
The first and third issues were upheld, which has resulted in BT being told to not repeat the claim "The UK's most reliable wireless connection". The adjudication makes for some interesting reading on how BT tested the Home Hub 3 to arrive at these marketing claims, apparently a room equivalent of a brick room was used for the testing, with it seems all the test hardware in the same room, which is hardly representative of real world use, where people are spread around a home, which have a mixture of brick, concrete, stone and foil-backed plasterboard walls.
The clearest thing to learn from the adjudication is the the wireless channel hoping of the HH3 is not unique to that router, with regards to channel changing due to other Wi-Fi device interference, where the HH3 is apparently unique is its ability to seek out the best performing wireless channel when non-WiFi devices that use the 2.4GHz spectrum are present. Some examples of devices that cause this sort of problem are TV sender, a cordless baby monitor and a wireless video camera.
The 2.4GHz WiFi spectrum is getting ever more crowded and with hotspots set to increase in numbers over the next few months to offload data from the mobile networks for the Olympics the situation will get worse. One way of avoiding the congested 2.4GHz spectrum is to use a dual-band router that can operate at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
One problem that no WiFi router manufacturer has managed to eradicate totally is getting the myriad of devices we all own to work reliably at the same time. Most annoying are those devices that pair with a WiFi network, to drop the signal after a while and only reconnect after a reboot. For games consoles and Internet connected TV's we recommend using Ethernet connectivity to avoid frustration in the middle of a game or TV stream.