Review: Bell Home Hub 4000

As part of my upgrade to Bell Fibe 1.5 Gbps Internet, I got the Bell Home Hub 4000 (HH4000) modem/router which I have at times referred to as the “Whole Home 4000” for reasons that I will get to in a bit. This is a modem that is designed to fully leverage the speed that Bell offers with their Fibre To The Home (FTTH) product. Now I’ll say right up front that you don’t have to run this as a modem/router as it has the ability to do PPPoE bypass if you want to use your own router. Instructions on how to do that can be found here. But most people who get this will run it as a model/router. Let’s walk through the Home Hub 4000:

Here’s the Home Hub 4000 from the front. I will comment that this is not small but it looks good. It will fit into any decor. The black strip at the bottom has a panel that shows you all sorts of information. Such as the status of your Bell services. You can use the arrow keys to scroll through everything. You can even do a speed test via this panel. One bonus is that you can change the brightness level so that if you have this in your bedroom or something, the brightness doesn’t keep you awake at night.

There’s a USB-C and USB-A port on the left side. It supports the use of storage devices but not printers from what I can see. I stand to be corrected on that thus if anybody has this working with printers, please leave a comment below and let me know.

The back is where most of the magic is. The two green ports are for Bell’s phone service which in my case I am using. The four yellow ports are gigabit Ethernet for wired networking. And the silver port is a 10Gbps Ethernet port which I am using to connect to my ASUS ZenWiFi AX XT8. The thing that caused a bit of a stir in places like was the what the fiber cable (the white cable with the green end) connects to. There’s an SFP port there and it is built into the modem. Bell’s previous modems had a removable SFP module which allowed you to pull it out of their hardware and plug it straight into your gear as long as you have gear that locks to 2.5 Gbps on the SFP port. Meaning that you didn’t have to use Bell hardware at all. But I am guessing Bell made that change in the HH4000 because they really want to force you to use their gear and try to lock you into using their services.

There’s a reset button on the right side.

From a WiFi perspective, it does WiFi 6 on the 5Ghz band and on the 2.4 Ghz band it does 802.11 b/g/n. You can serve everything up on one SSID or WiFi name so that you can let the router decide which band to connect to. Or you can split it into separate bands (which is what I typically suggest to clients). The range that I get is decent. From my testing in my 800+ square foot condo, it covers about 2/3 of the distance of my ASUS ZenWiFi AX XT8 covers which is okay. But if you need more coverage, Bell can rent you Whole Home WiFi Pods to extend your range. It’s also why I mistakenly referred to the HH4000 and the “Whole Home 4000” in the past. One thing that I should note is is that when you use their pods, the speeds are capped relative to the speed of the HH4000.

Let me point out one other thing, there’s a hidden third WiFi 6 band that Bell uses for their Fibe TV hardware that you cannot disable as there are no options to do so. Also, if you turn off all the WiFi on the HH4000, they will turn back on if you reboot the HH4000. That’s a total #fail as this can potentially cause issues in terms of the quality of your WiFi as it could cause interference. Bell really needs to give you to option to turn these off and leave them off.

Setup is easy as you can log into the HH4000 directly or use the Bell WiFi App which is available for iOS and Android. While the configuration options are limited, they are easy to find and set. And Bell does a good job of documenting what all the options do. In fact, they do a lot better job of documenting this stuff than companies like Netgear and ASUS.

One final thing that I should note. Bell has another version of this modem/router that has the word “Gigabit” on the front of it that they are rolling out quietly. This modem is for the 8Gbps FTTH service that Bell has announced recently and the only difference that I am aware of is that it supports WiFi 6E. Why is that important. The theoretical maximum speed of WiFi 6 is 10Gbps. But I would seriously doubt that you would ever see those speeds in the real world. The “Gigabit” version of this modem which supports WiFi 6E uses the 6Ghz band, which means that you will be more likely to see those speeds as there should be less traffic for the router and your devices to deal with. The catch is that your devices have to support WiFi 6E for this to matter to you. And there aren’t a whole lot of devices that support WiFi 6E at present. So this appears to be more future proofing on the part of Bell as the version of modem/router can support that 8Gbps service just fine.

Here’s my bottom line. If you are someone who uses the gear supplied by your ISP, the Home Hub 4400 is a pretty good piece of kit. Most of my complaints are edge cases that are only relevant to nerds like me and don’t affect the average person. There’s a ton of headroom here for what you need today and tomorrow as Bell rolls out faster and faster services, or what your household needs evolves over time. I walk away from this review impressed with what I see here for the most part.

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