back to article Virgin Media says sorry over Superhub snafu

Virgin Media has apologised to customers who have been struggling with its newly issued, but horribly flaky router/modem combo box, which has somewhat unfortunately been dubbed the "Superhub" by the cable company. "We are working closely with our hardware partner Netgear to resolve a reliability issue that has crept into a …

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Anonymous Coward

Early Days

As a VM 20mb customer I had arranged an upgrade to 50mb in early May. I cancelled it yesterday after reading the problems people were having with the so called Superhub.

Let's hope they're on the right track with this update, but I for one won't be upgrading just yet.

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FAIL

We do n't need no steenkeeng title!!!

"Unfortunately, a change made within the latest update has led to some customers seeing speeds affected whilst using certain applications."

The Internet, for example...

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Grenade

I think I see their problem....

"We are working closely with our hardware partner Netgear"

Well there's your problem right there missus!

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Bronze badge

Does anyone know if ...

...Virgin let you use a simple cable modem on their line? Nothing but cable <-> ethernet, something like that? Also, one which they can't unilaterally update at their whim.

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Not exactly...

IIRC you rent the modem from Virgin for as long as you use their service so they provide you with one (although it's now this "Superhub" - it was just a modem when I signed up... but then, they were still Blueyonder then). I've no idea whether you can mung your own in - I'd guess not but I could be wrong.

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Re: Does anyone know if ...

@Symon "...Virgin let you use a simple cable modem on their line? Nothing but cable <-> ethernet, something like that? Also, one which they can't unilaterally update at their whim."

Nope. It's a violation of the terms and conditions if you attach any modem (or, indeed, any piece of kit at all) to a VM cable that has not been approved by VM.

Obviously, there's nothing stopping one cloning the MAC address of the cable modem and swapping in one's chosen piece of kit -- until the day that VM stick an update down the cable . . .

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Re: Does anyone know if ...

Yes, they insist on engineer installs for some reason so if the engineer walks in with a superhub ask them if they can go back out to their van and get one of the plain DOCSIS3.0 modems without the routers and crap inside.

It would seem that they started offering the "superhub" to all customers after I signed up so their supplies might be getting low, but on the other hand if they are only installing "superhubs" then they might not have used them all up...

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Oooh...

If you can do that I might give them a bell and see if they'll just swap out my old modem for a new one :)

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Unpopular post

While I feel for my fellow Virgin customers who have been screwed by their new fast connections, I am actually hoping that you guys do not get your issues fixed.

Wait, before you start flaming, there is method in my unsympathetic maddness. For those of use with low speed lines (10 Mb) etc, who have seen virgin's network slow to a crawl due to virgin adding more faster connections and not upgrading the network core to deal with it, it does not bode well that giving people full fixed access to their high speed lines will improve the situation.

So I know this sounds unsympathetic, but having this issue may have stopped virgins network grinding to a complete holt over that last few months. Will see what the effect is of having trouble free high speed users on the network. And this is not a dig against high line speed users, you paid for it, so you should get the service. But a dig against Virgin who want the kudos of having the highest ISP end user line speeds, without having a network that can service the line speeds that they are selling.

I see more throttling on the way....

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Not sure that adds up

AFAIK the new superhubs are bonded to Docsis3, which uses a different part of the bandwidth to Docsis2 which your 10mb line would be on.

The problems with the old infrastructure have been going on for years, and it's simply the number of people they have on each UBR that causes the biggest amount of complaints.

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Completely different point.

I agree that is also one of Virgin's problems, but not one I have come across. My comments were about the "core" and "distribution" areas of the network where "access" area technologies come together and it's difficulty in dealing with what is hitting it.

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@ph0b0s

Err you realise that Virgin will begin to auto-upgrade "low speed lines" as they upgrade 50mb to 100mb and in the next 2 years to 200mb? 10mb isn't what i call low speed. I think 2mb is low speed. Infact speed doesn't have much to do with it. Its more to do with contention. That's something they need to work on, but i don't think that its at such a critical state.

Just be glad you have access rather than being cut-off for a few hours!

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Well...

Of course I know that faster speeds will filter down to lower tier users at some point, but what does that have to do with anything. For Virgin 10Mb is low speed, as it is the lowest you can select from them.

Contention has a lot to do with end user line speeds. As it stands one 50 Mb connection added to the network can generate the same amount of traffic as 5, 10 Mb connections added. If a lot of people chose 50Mb and are actually using it, that is a huge load added to an already struggling network. And yes I know that network load is statistical and that I am simplifying things.

Essentially my comment could have been more succinct expressed if I had said. "What Virgin's network is this bad even though 50 Mb connections are not working properly. How bad will it be when the connections are working properly...."

Again this is not to bash 50 Mb users, you should be able to fully use the line you have paid for. The problem I have is with Virgin trying to make out that they are the best because they have the fastest line speeds to peoples houses, even though the core of their network cannot deal with the loads generated by those line speeds.

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Not the only problem

Unfortunately this is far from the only outstanding problem with 'Superhubs'. They still have problem maintaining SSH sessions without using forced keepalives, and if you turn the firewall functions off (which massively increase latency and falsely identify DOS attacks when on) any fast transfers are prone to just stalling.

Utter piece of shit.

We need a bridge mode firmware update.

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Well at least they're now doing something...

I've been on the 50 Meg Virgin broadband now for about 3 months after upgrading from 20Mbit. From the moment the broadband was upgraded it's been a bumpy ride for me.

Depending what I'm doing and depending on the time of the day I can get the full 50Meg but other times I'm lucky if I get about 15 Meg. The big thing that is annoying me though is the poor service I received from them.

When the service was installed they didn't supply the correct power supply, it took about 6 phone calls to them to get them to send an engineer out who swapped the power supply and had a look at some power level problems and then promptly left the box on the outside wall open to the elements and that was it. I was promised another visit, this was 2 months ago.

I'm also finding that I'm getting a poor upload speed, it's anything from 0.5Mbit up to 0.8Mbit, nothing like the speed I should be getting (we haven't yet upgraded to the 5Mbit upload speed in my area).

I'm giving Virgin the benefit of the doubt with this one. I gather that others are also having upload speed problems and I'm hoping that with a combination of calls to Virgin to moan about the upload speed, power levels and outside box, and a firmware update on the Super Hub will fix the issues (as my only other choice is up to 8 Meg ADSL).

Rob

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Happy

No probs

I've recently switched to virgin as I moved into an area that had cable. I have to say that I get the full 30mb down and 3mb up. No download or streaming issues. However over wireless the down speed was between 10-20mb. I fixed this by changing the superhubs band setting from 2.4ghz to 5ghz and I get 25mb down and 3mb up now. One very happy new customer :-)

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Welcome

All anecdotal of course...

I have to say the reverse is my experience. I flipped from ADSL to cable broadband about a month ago and the only problem I've had with it was when some nerk vandalised the street box, the actual service and the superhub have been pretty stable - and even at it's worst the service has been far better than the 2-3Mb/s I was getting on my 'up to 20Mb/s' ADSL line. I've done some streaming in that time, although I'm more in the habit of downloading stuff then watching it locally, TBH.

Not doubting the people who are having problems are having them, I'm sure they are. But like pretty much all kit these days, just because 'Box A" looks like the problem doesn't mean it all of the problem.

Just checked and my Superhub is still/only on R25.

Jon

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firmware hasn't updated

after reading the last couple of stories about all the problems I've just checked my hub and it appears to still be on R20, which is a bit rubbish

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Firmware release

If you power cycle it you'll get the latest release. As that is currently R25 which all the complaints are about you'd do better to wait a while until you hear that R26 is released.

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I wonder...

Well I've been mostly happy with my 50Mbps service from Virgin, which is all I've ever had from them. No outages to the best of my knowledge.

I don't have, and never have had, the supercrud; just a cable modem, to which I connect my Cisco router.

However it did seem to be quite a bit slower to make initial connections to various services yesterday (19 April). I hope that's not a sign of things to come.

I would also be interested to know if I can continue with this hardware when/if the 100Mbps service becomes available in my area.

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WTF?

Excellent Results + imminent price rises

The SuperHub must be cheap. Virgin's profits are up, they are planning imminent price rises:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2fcfa71c-6b4a-11e0-9be1-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss#axzz1K4VQzcNF

Oh well, I've just switched from a poor BT ADSL to a fantastic 30Mbit/s line with poor router - 8 months left to go on my contract.... come on BT, offer me Fibre !

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Moving house soon

Got 50mbs where I am and it runs smoother than a... really smooth thing.

Quite fancy the 100mbs thing but the last two articles have put me off. Anyone with one of know if I can sod off their modem/router combo and just get a modem? It doesn't sound like this new one is particually customizable, I have my router set up perfectly and don't plan on scrapping it in favour of a Netgear peice of shit.

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FAIL

They're still pushing it out...

My 'super' hub updated at about 1pm this afternoon from R20 to R25. Since then, downloads stall, streaming stalls etc.

Speaks volumes that they'd rather push out a known bad update to close the SSH issue, than halt the updates and push out R26 when its ready.

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Fiber indeed

That's the only time I would contemplate moving from my 10meg line that has been pretty solid over the years, (yeah its borked once or twice but thats gonna happen on any network). Why pay for more then get pissed when you dont get it? I Buy 10 and get 10.

Only connectivity issue I get is with a POS Belkin router I have wingeing about for years but never seem to get round to replacing.

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Thumb Up

Awesome Experience so far

Since recieving my super hub and upgrading from the 10 to the 30mb service, I have been relatively impressed and have experienced little connectivity issues. i run it on the 2.4Ghz band to be backwards compatible with other devices in the home.

However, I'm hoping VM will release an update to use both 2.4 and 5Ghz bands simultaneously. I consistently recieve +25mb downstream and +2.5mb upstream. I've not experienced any trouble with traffic shaping other than usenet/torrent restrictions after certain times.

Their customer service and technical teams were excellent. Setup was a breeze of the super hub, features work well. I just want to see some QoS and Simultaneous Dual-band wireless :)

High 5 VM!

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Stop

"Their customer service and technical teams were excellent."

Can you please give us the contact details for this ISP that happens to share the same name as Virgin, as you can't possibly be talking about the same company.

Our area had a fault between August and March. It was only when I emailed the CEO and tried to cancel our contract that anything was done (in Jan), but they still failed to fix it. It's a sorry process of being sent in circles between people who just can't help even if they wanted to. We were going to switch back to 5mb DSL because it had been that bad for that long. And that's quite aside from the Superfail issue, which made a bad situation horribly worse. They flat out -refused- to give us an old modem back after the 'upgrade'.

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Beyond firmware

> However, I'm hoping VM will release an update to use both 2.4 and 5Ghz bands simultaneously.

That's beyond a firmware upgrade - the hardware only has one radio chip and you'd need 2 for 2.4 + 5 concurrently. You could run the hub at 5GHz and stick a cheapy 2.4 AP on it of course.

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VM Customer Service

The call centre in India is woeful. I'm not saying that's due to the people who work there, just that the conditions imposed on them are limiting and what they are allowed to do is restricted.

If you can get UK support, you're in much better hands.

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@VM Customer Service

Totality agree. Its just a shame the only way to get UK based support from VM is to ring retentions and tell them your leaving! They soon put you through to someone in the uk.

In fact it is the only way I can get to speak to the techs in Liverpool.

I refuse to upgrade my 20Mb/s with modem to 30/50/100Mbs untill this superhub situation is sorted out. Virgin media could solve the whole situation by:

A) Giving its custormers the option of a modem or superhub

B) Selecting a better network hardware manufacture than netgear (cisco would be good, after all they make the virgin tivo box)

C) Forcing netgear to release a modem only firmware for the superhub

But instead they want us to shut up and put up, if we dont like it we have to cancel the contract.....

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Thumb Up

Happy Customer

I have the 50mb connection and have had it since it came out. I am using the stand alone modem and my own wifi router...it has been rock solid for the entire time and I get the full speed all the time. So hats off to virgin for that.

I won't be getting the superhub anytime soon based on these reports.

My only problem is that virgin have sent me 2 letters asking me to download between 9pm and 9am.

However I got the second letter even though I did schedule everything to download between those times...

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Grenade

All of the above. Hope Virgin (and BT) are reading this...

Have just suffered a whole week of pain on Virgin XXL 50Mbps + Superhub. This morning, a week long constant disconnection appears to have finally ended. Things were so bad this last week that i had yet again been forced to deploy a 3G modem (just renewed the T-mobile contract on that for another year as a direct consequence of Virgin's failings).

This is not the first time of course - this has been a running debacle with Virgin ever since i got the Superhub at the beginning of the year. A combination of faults not helped by the Superhub's poor routing capability with multiple users on our network. I completely agree with comments here suggesting that Virgin should supply an entirely separate DOCSIS 3 modem for the job. Indeed they once did and i have tried endlessly to persuade Virgin to give me one of the original beasts. But alas Virgin seem unrepentant with their Superhub strategy, although i dare say it cannot be saving them any cost at this stage.

My Superhub firmware now at R26 via automated backdoor software update by Virgin. Strange when you consider that remote admin has been switched off. That worries me because it means that Virgin (or a hacker) can get unauthorized access to my network simply by hacking the router, and there is apparently nothing i can do to stop it. Add that to the list of failings if you will.

R27 now promised in June claims to be able to deploy the Superhub in bridge mode equivalent to a pure DOCSIS 3 modem, at least we are led to believe, allowing us punters to use our own routers again to secure our networks properly and maintain local uptime to even when the broadband is down for maintenance.

It remains to be seen whether R26 allows improved connectivity for multiple users. It is certainly true, even when plugged into gigabit switch, that users still get considerably less than 50Mbps download speeds and upload speeds are still pretty dreadful. But i reiterate, for any Virgin techs reading this, give me a seperate modem and that's not Virgin's problem anymore.

Finally lets not forget that BT must be looking closely at Virgin's experience, because word has it they are sticking with separate modems for their 40Mbps (with 10Mbps upload) Infinity service which is rolling out hot on the heels of disgruntled Virgin customers.

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