back to article Virgin mulls handing out free Wi-Fi

Virgin Media is talking to local authorities about providing free metro Wi-Fi, using bandwidth that's lying fallow while all its domestic customers are at work. The idea was alluded to during the investor's call last week, and responding to questions the company's CEO Neil Berkett confirmed that Virgin Media was in "advanced …

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WTF?

So on one hand...

ISP's want us to be very careful online and not pirate things, and on the other want us to allow complete strangers onto our wifi?

Or am I missing something here?

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Silver badge

Missing link

Yes, you're missing something.

The ISP supplied router has two "connections" - one for your private paid for connection, and one for the publicly accessible service. So the public won't be connected to your wi-fi at all, they use their own wi-fi which just happens to transit down the pipe out of your house.

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Anonymous Coward

And who takes the fall...

So, what IP does the guest network dole out in terms of NAT'd WAN IP? Same as the subscriber IP? I bl**dy hope not.

And what MAC will it use?

If someone downloads something "suspect" and traces are made, they'll invariably come back to the IP, and/or the MAC of the originating modem, one or both of which would likely tie up to the account holder. Does that then result in account holder getting a pleasant surprise from plod?

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Great

Now thats welcome, if there are no strings attached!

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Trollface

Letters, digits.

'Berkett described Virgin's cable network as "effectively idle during the day"'

Did he, indeed?

In that case: http://shop.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management/traffic-management-policy.html

Why do they need traffic management during the day?

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Letters, digits.

To make sure those downloading movies and such like by the Terabyte, pay for the premium unlimited service and not just schedule their downloads during day on the cheapo service.

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Very good point

I VPN to work on occasion and hauling down some email and running a few remote sessions soon has me looking the data cap square in the eye by lunchtime

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Unhappy

I can see this biting me in the ....

Great,

With the way that Virgin do things, you just know they will saturate the link during the day so that my decent daytime connection will end up throttled :/

Everything about VM is appaling except for that fast link. If its no longer fast during the day then I will be changing provider.

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Anonymous Coward

Charity

VM not known for that. SU

Surely, theres a sinister motive.

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Joke

nice one beardie!

this is wonderful idea! what could possibly go wrong?

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Anonymous Coward

Charity

VM not known for that.

Surely, theres a sinister motive.

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Anonymous Coward

iCode86

> Or am I missing something here?

Think you are ... don't think they are talk about using your Wifi connection - its more that they (or the council) can put wifi APs all around the city centre of lamposts etc and then connect those up using the "spare" daytime capacity of he VM network.

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Anonymous Coward

@ iCode86

Seen another article on this which gives a little more detail ... VMs plan is to locate Wifi router/APs in their exisitng street cabinets etc so they've already got the network connectivity in situ. Plan is to provide 0.5Mbs access "free to all" and 10Mbs to VM customers.

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Ah, so it's a strike back at BT...

So they're trying to compete with BT's "it's your wifi, take it with you" campaign then.

And they're being smart about it and working on the assumption that most VM customers will spend most of their time in VM-available areas.

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Alert

virgin doing free??

0.5mb free to all makes my quite frankly shit VM-up-to-2Mb (on a blindingly fast day/night I might be lucky to get 0.5mb) connection obsolete then. They are crap, my mobile gets faster connectivity through 3G!

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@Velv & "Anons"

Thanks for the extra info. Thought I must have been because that could have opened up a whole new can of worms.

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WTF?

Left hand meet right hand

** Berkett described Virgin's cable network as "effectively idle during the day" **

Berkett seems to say contrary to VM's capping-come-throttling policy.

If there is bandwidth going unused then why can't PAYING customers have it?

If bandwidth is tight and hence throttled then surely it will simply get worse as they hand more out.

So which is it VM? Let me guess -- Another case of wanting to have their cake and eat it.

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Incentives?

So if I volunteer to pay for the electricity to power one of their wifi boxes, will they give me a free upgrade to a higher bandwidth package on the understanding that I'm guaranteed the original bandwidth and can make use of the rest if it's not being used by the general public?

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FAIL

All is revealed

This explains the "guest network" in the craptacular "Super Hub" that they now force on all users.

Beware changing from 50Mbps cable modem service to 100Mbps as they take away your nice dedicated (dumb) cable modem and replace it with a PoS router from NetGear. Not only does it have all sorts of crap that anyone has an existing network does not want -- it's no longer a dumb IP address presented to your network -- but it has all sorts of crap that cannot be turned off, like NATS.

The "Super Hub" guest network is locked to 192.168.1.x which means you cannot use this range, and it cannot be changed. I spoke to VM technical support about it who said "It's a guest network, for guests", I said "I tell my guests what my network password is", "well, it's for other guests" they retorted, "such as whom, not like that crappy BT Openworld crap that annoys the hell out of my mother and sister and others is it?, "oh no, nothing like that" they said ... Well it looks to be just like that.

After waiting on hold for more than an hour, and talking to five different people on various continents, I spoke to the 100Mbps team who told me the number one complaint with their service was the "Super Hub" and they are currently testing a new firmware called r28 that will enable one to turn all the crap off and make it into a dumb modem.

This cannot come soon enough, then they can address why 100Mbps service is slower and less reliable than 50Mbps service -- I am hoping it's the "Shite Hub"

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Facepalm

paranoid

The guest network is exactly that, say my kids kids come over and want to use their DS online, do I downgrade my own security and change my network to WEP, or do I enable the guest network for them, fire up a temporary WEP secured link which I can turn off again in 2 minutes when I want to?

Still you seem to have made your mind up, and given your undoubted documented issues accessing the service you pay for why don't you downgrade or leave them?

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FAIL

IP Range Clash

"The "Super Hub" guest network is locked to 192.168.1.x which means you cannot use this range, and it cannot be changed."

I came across this problem the other day when my folks upgraded and the rest of their networking gear "went dark"... A number of other bits of kit were using manual addresses in the 192.168.1.x range (as that was the range their original ADSL router used way before they moved to Virgin).

Through subsequent routers (ADSL and cable) it has been a simple task of changing the range to avoid having to alter all the other kit.

The Schooper-hub is a slightly different story. As you have seen, if you change it and click confirm it spits it's dummy out and tells you it clashes with the "guest" network.

Google was my friend here, change it, but instead of clicking confirm, scroll down the page and click the "clear reservations" button. Bingo! your private range changes to 192.168.1.x (not sure what that makes the "guest" range but for me it was immaterial as I had disabled that....

HTH

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Idle during the day?

Well, the 32kbps uplink for Bristol overloads from about 5pm during university term time. It doesn't matter how idle the cable network is at that point.

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Anonymous Coward

Easy to fix.

Log on to your cable router suppleid by Virgin with teh built in vcable modem.

Admin

Another password otehr than default I hope....

Advanced....

Guest Network....

Untick....

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free wifi just during the day?

is this free WIFI just available during the day or 24 hours? If its 24 hours then surely its going to put more strain on their network at times when their paying customers wish to use it. Also what about existing customers who only uses their internet for email and a bit of surfing? (my parents are a prime example of this) then surely if i can pick up a free virgin WIFI from down the street whats to stop them cancelling their VM subscription and just use whats provided for free?

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Thumb Down

Liars

"while all its domestic customers are at work."

Ah so they have a CAP that starts at 10am and lasts though till 21.00 or midnight if you go over but now they admit there is no need for one in the day, bloody typical

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FAIL

Perhaps they could start by offering free wifi on their trains

If they've got so much spare bandwidth then why don't they offer it to their fare paying train passengers?

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Law
Happy

superhub

I'd had issues with the new superhub connection "disconnecting" wifi - the wifi connection was there, but it had no internet connectivity.... happened randomly. In the end I had to disable a few options, set the right kind of WPA encryption and changed the channel to a fairly uncluttered region - box has been solid since.

My main gripe with the new router over the old one is that they have gone to the expense of making it pretty, but then force you to stand it up on it's end and have the cables coming out of the side, not the back... which means you have to hide it behind stuff otherwise you have a mess of wires.

On subject though, as long as their new wifi sharing doesn't result in them reducing throttling caps or cluttering up my airspace even more I welcome the new move.

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Electric

0.5mbit is 1.6% of my 30mbit package. Do you think they'd be happy if I billed them for 1.6% of the electric it uses? After all, they will be using MY electric to supply a service to others.

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