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  • Writer's pictureSimon Salvin

Printers & Broadband

I’m sure everyone has a bugbear? That recurring issue that just causes annoyance and pops up over & over again?

Well you guessed it, printers & broadband are my two bugbears, and you may question why? as its my job to solve these issues. You’re quite right to question this, but its simple, and I’ll explain why…

I’ve long recommended HP Printers & their Instant Ink subscription service, and many of my clients enjoy the ease and simplicity of the service, but there are a few who just don’t understand it. Their thought process is they pay the monthly fee and expect to receive new ink cartridges every month? And theres also a disgraced horror look and sound that follows, “it’s been months and I’ve received NOTHING!”, yet upon checking there’s still 3/4 ink left in those cartridges. No matter how much I explain it, it just doesn’t sink in. The one thing that computes, but doesn’t remove them from the previous, is saying you buy 2 sets of cartridges a year for £70 or you subscribe for £35 a year and get the cartridges delivered to you. Of course its a monetary calculation, that’s all that matters, and will become the basis for the rest of this article.

I’ve seen lots of issues with wifi connections with these printers, and there is a number of reasons for that. In fact I never appear to receive wifi issues with Epson & Canon printers, and now Epson have launched an ink subscription service, it makes it a real competitor and a great choice for a new printer.

BT Home Hub Version 5 Router with sad face emoji

But the first issue to plague HP is the 'Printer offline' message, generally I see this issue with BT routers or Hubs as they like to call it. It started with their version 5 hub, even I experienced this issue, it was soon booted out the window!

I don’t print a lot, but every 3 or 4 days when I decided I needed to print it would be offline, so I would need to move to the router which isn’t based in my office, reboot it, wait for 3 minutes, and all of a sudden the printer would spit out the page. Now some would say its not a big issue, but when this happened every time you wanted to print it soon became a laborious trial!

And another but, sometimes it took 2 or more reboots and removing the print job to start all over again and complete the print!

Their newer Home Hubs have largely been good, but every now & again the issue rears its ugly head.

And so the answer that works every time is, change the router, not request another one from BT, but actually buy a router. And here is where the money issue jumps out again. “Why should I be forced to buy a router when I get a free router from BT?”, well that’s simple, its going to fix your issue.

I can’t throw all my clients in the same basket, there are those who agree, do what you need to do to fix the issue. Those who don’t want to jump but quickly realise its the only way after 3 weeks of constant issue, and then those in complete denial, it takes 6 months of constant call outs and then still questioning whether it will work, does it? Yes 100% every time!!!

Printer sat on a concrete floor with sledge hammer wedged in the top!

You may want to criticise me, its a ploy to spend money! No, I don’t want to see the same issue over and over again, that’s why I’m writing this, and the little mark up on a router holds no value to me, buy the router yourself, I’m happy to install it, look past the router and see the value of a working system where frustration and rage has vacated your inner thoughts.

The second issue is HPs dire software choices. My choice upon installing every timer is set the printer with a static IP address and create a port using the IP. Once again, this works well, and flawlessly for the majority. But sometimes, the HP software just overrides it, no idea why or how it does it, but it does, and its a pain in the ***!

And more annoyingly is this recent HP Smart driver? Why HP, why?

It’s a company trying to make the user experience simple, take it home, plug it in and use it, but in reality it doesn’t work.

So on to broadband, and this gripe is all my own, but I need to get it off my chest!

A number of providers are upgrading their customers to full fibre, I’m sure it was some incentive part of the last deal they agreed to, and to most they have no idea that they were getting an upgrade until the letter dropped, what it is, or how it benefits them.

It’s not a bad thing, in fact its a great thing, I’m just jealous, plain and simple.

Bright blue fibre optic cables on a black background

My broadband has been 45-50mbps since we moved here 7years ago, its been absolutely fine, at times during downloads I’d like it to be faster, but it hasn’t caused any issues.

Then 6 months ago the full fibre roll out came straight down the road, with all the houses connected with overhead cable from the telegraph pole, I look out the window and the pole is staring me in the face, 10 meters across the garden, just begging to be connected to my apartment, right where my router sits, the perfect place and opportunity to enjoy those pulsating speeds, its right there…..

But no, I live in an apartment, and to be connected, Openreach want to install it inside the apartment building so everyone can enjoy the speeds they didn’t know they needed. It will be installed at the front door, they’ll drill through and run cable down the wall and along my skirting board using staples to the nearest socket where I’ll have to relocate my router, messing with my karma and forcing me to look at the horrendous mess they see as simple route one and acceptable, well not to me!

But in order to do this they have to talk with the managing agent of the building, after 8 months since I placed my request for the service Openreach insist they are proceeding with all the red tape required to do this and are in communication with the managing agent, yet the managing agent is telling me Openreach has ghosted them, leaving me piggy in the middle asking them to please talk and crack on with it, and their response to me, sorry we can’t talk to you due to data protection. I’m not sure what personal identifiable or financial information is being exchanged here? Oh wait, it isn’t, so that’s another one of those nonsense statements to force you to quit, give up and patiently wait!

Can you remember the phrase, its good to talk, I can’t remember where it came from, maybe a TV ad? But whatever happened to that, it fell off a cliff and ended up buried somewhere!

Over the past few months my speeds have decreased by half, and for the last few weeks I’ve seen my local Openreach engineer every Friday morning attempting to resolve the issue, as I’m writing he’s just completed his work outside, popped in for a coffee and a chat and left, with speeds back to 40mbps, I’m happy again, so don’t want to end all grumpy, that said, full fibre is being dangled like a carrot in front of the bunny and I want that carrot 🥕

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