UK VDSL user looking for SQM/Cake setup

Hey all,

New to the forum go easy on me :slight_smile:

Been having "ping spikes" for ages now in the household when gaming, come across the term bufferbloat and it actually seems to be the problem.

About our household/network: 4 users, probably 10+ devices, usually 5 or so going at once for light browsing, netflix/youtube, xbox and PC gaming. The ping when gaming spikes drastically when someone is streaming video, appears to be upload data causing the ping spikes. Our network is approx 32mbps down/8 up when the only device.
We have BT superfast fibre, which is FTTC, can't increase our line speeds any further. We are using the Smart Hub 2 which I believe is a modem/wireless router in one.

Image taken from PC, connected via ethernet, whilst a user in the house is watching video.

I came across SQM, specifically Cake, and think this could be helpful given our limited bandwidth and multiple users at peak times. It seems Openwrt is the way to go. I am looking for a setup that will work on our VSDL2 connection (I believe its VDSL2, please correct me if I'm wrong).

I am thinking I need: Modem, router, wireless access point. It seems Openwrt isn't really supported on "modem routers" from what I've researched so think I'll need separate. The router and wireless AP I think could be combined depending on Openwrt firmware support?

Given our low speeds don't think we need top of the line tech, but looking for something sufficient for our internet. Would probably like to spend less than £100 overall, if it can't be done for that I'd possibly stretch to £150, as long as it will sort us for a few years.

Any suggestions on device combos, or even similar threads for this scenario, would be helpful.

Thank you!

EDIT: Aware of the home hub 5 a but please keep your other suggestions coming for a device combination, since it seems like it will be difficult to get hold of a 5a.

hi you can try dscpclassify is very good for my connection

rt3200nis a good belkin

look this thread in forum :+1::ok_hand:

With such slow VDSL speeds, CAKE is within the reach of a really cheap combo modem/router/WiFi device. I am talking about BT HomeHub v5a.

The catch is that it needs a USB-serial adapter (and opening the case) to install OpenWrt. So I suggest buying a pre-flashed one on eBay.

Also, please be aware of a boot loop on OpenWRT 22.03.x - but this one is easily worked around.


Hey thanks for the reply, just looked at the Belkin RT3200. Seems pretty recent and reasonably priced. If my understanding is correct this is Openwrt flashable and can still act as router + Wireless access point?

Also can you please clarify what you meant by dscpclassify? And did you forget to post a link to a thread?

Thank you

Hey Patrakov, thanks for the reply.

I actually looked into this exact device. It seems to be the holy grail for my connection speed. I have been browsing ebay for the last 2 days, and whilst there are some for sale they are not flashed.

I was watching a video earlier today on how to flash the device, it seemed quite daunting and long winded where I'd probably mess up somewhere. I wouldn't be losing much on the cost of a home hub 5 but I'd be worried about the USB blowing up my PC or something (I'm not sure if its possible to send power the wrong way mind..)

Apart from ebay do you have any other suggestions on where to source a pre-flashed device?

Yes, it's fully functional with OpenWrt, but doesn't have an integrated VDSL modem - so some kind of external VDSL modem would (still) be needed.

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he use sqm

and stabilise the connexion

ebay. The first search result for "home hub 5 openwrt", actually.

The cyberoam x86 boxes are really cheap on UK eBay, if you want to put a wired router between the modem and the AP.

Wasn't sure if it was openwrt as it said openvpn but just seen the listing description. It didn't look like a 5a with the patterned front, I thought the 5a had a smooth front - am I mistaken?

My HH5A has patterned front, just like in the seller's photo.

Sorry another random question about this, sellers description is:

Brand new, unused. Opened box but not even taken hub out of its wrapper. Complete with power supply.

How would that be the case if it is flashed? Is this a red flag?

From what I've just read that ebay listing might be a 5b, the listing description is: BT Home Hub 5 076286

and that serial prefix comes to the 5b page on the openwrt wiki?

Apologies the mentioned Wiki page is can anyone confirm if the ebay listing is a 5b?

I'm on a similar VDSL connection in the UK but with TalkTalk. My setup consists of a cheap Zyxel VDSL modem/router combo which can be had for around £10 on ebay uk and this has been put into bridge mode. Then you can use any OpenWrt router behind it to do SQM etc.

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Thanks this one looks cheap and cheerful! It appears from reading on the guide that "No routing and firewall tasks are done by the device and the WLAN and DHCP functions are disabled."

Does this mean that any issues such as double NATing are mitigated or could that still be a problem? I've read about the issue during my research and trying to avoid a headache down the line, since researching it alone is giving me one!

Also out of curiosity what OpenWrt router do you use as a combo?

OK, you found two red flags. Sorry for the bad advice then.

Regarding your other question - yes, bridge mode avoids double NAT.

At your access speed an BT HomeHub5A running OpenWrt might still be usable as all-in-one router (except you will need a separate VoIP base station). In my testing I already ran into limits at 50/10, but with a bit of careful configration 32/8 might work just OK. Otherwise the HH5A could be used as bridged modem, I use my as bridged-modem under OpenWrt with a 116/37 link, and only under bidirectionally saturating traffic do I see a bit less combined throughput than expected and 100% CPU saturation. I think one can still find BT HH5A's already flashed to OpenWrt on ebay for little money (flashing them is a bit fiddly so you might or might not want to do t yourself).

I agree, your internet access speed is sufficiently low that 10 year old MIPs SoCs will do just fine. However such old devices often have too little flash-rom and ram for modern OpenWrt, so I think at the very least make sure to get 16MB flash and 64MB ram, but do consult the OpenWrt Table of Hardware before buying anything.
However, maybe aim a little higher than the base minimum, so you are a bit more future proof in case newer OpenWrts increase the requirements (like 128 MB of ram or so).

Some people have success with FritzBoxen but these are not supported in stable IIRC, so might be too adventurous for your requirements.

I would create a new topic here in the forum asking whether anybody wants to sell theirs?

Hi Thank you for the comprehensive response.

In your testing when you hit limits at 50/10 with normal traffic or using SQM or similarly intensive functions?

The wifi in the house with the smart hub 2 is just about enough and I am wondering if the home hub 5 is too big of a step back in wifi coverage and I may get some complaints. Its making me think that the above comment RE a cheap zyxel in bridge mode and a more modern wifi-router running openwrt might be a good bet.

I have a few queries with regards to modems still though:

  • Is there a way to tell what speeds the modem is capable of, or should this be a non issue given my house speeds?
  • Does the FTTC cabinet matter? I believe mine is an ECI and I've seen some chatter that it affects what type of modem chips work best

The bthub5 can do PPPoE + plain routing + NAT at just over 80 MBit/s, with software flow-offloading (not really available in combination with sqm/cake) you can push that to just over 100/40 MBit/s. It's sqm/cake, which really hurts its performance (and you lose most of the software flow-offloading).