back to article Virgin Media preps firmware update for glitchy SuperHub

Virgin Media plans to release yet another firmware update for its oft-criticised SuperHub modem/router combi kit in the next few weeks. Since the box landed in February, there have been many complaints about the SuperHub. Virgin Media told The Register that it had so far installed more than 400,000 SuperHub devices, and claimed …

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FAIL

VM take forever and then do them on the cheap

Same problems with their other hub (VMDG280) since it was installed at the end of last year, along with the added problem of it only being able to handle 7 or 8 concurrent connections at once. Still no firmware updates in the pipeline for that model as far as I can see. Definitely the worse piece of hardware I have ever seen or used.

Disconnections did offer me a standalone modem and additional wireless router to resolve the issue but I chose to disconnect anyway. Not only did they promise/advertise a speed upgrade almost a year ago (my area is still in the planning stage) they have now promised spotify but if you apply for it, they say its only open to a select few customers they have emailed.

VM is all PR and overutilized UBR's.

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Pint

I've been praying

my current dumb VM cable modem doesn't die until the SuperHub gets modem mode. They have been tending to die every 18 months or so which means my current one won't last long.

If the SuperHub gets the new mode and it works then I'll drink to that.

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Thumb Up

I am running v29

I had major problems with line drops, happy to say that running the beta version has fixed this issue.

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Hmmmm...

VM have never mentioned to their customers that the Superhub problems are related to other nearby APs before to my knowledge. In fact they have never published anything about known problems or fixes applied - no release notes of any type have ever been made public SFAIK. The last tidbit on their forum explaining why there was yet another delay was that they had discovered a memory leak in the WiFi driver (presumably the driver for the internal WiFi card). I wonder just how much they are making up as they go along.

They encouraged suggestions for additional features (you can't even override the VM DNS for instance) yet despite months of development nothing is being provided other than a GUI option to turn off the routing features and use it as a plain modem and the actual functionality for that is present in the current firmware. My betting is that the youth experience kid they've got coding it has spent all this time tracking down one of the probably many bugs in the code. At least when it finally gets released it will be possible to just bypass all that dodgy router functionality and use one that works.

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This is a title

"My betting is that the youth experience kid they've got coding it"

Think you'll find if you look at the label that it's a Netgear router - they're coding the firmware...

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FAIL

Ho Humm

I had Virgin Cable and the SuperHub. It was indeed dire.

I then moved house to a non-cabled area, and to avoid paying a contract get-out fee, I've got Virgin ADSL. It's better than it was on cable with the SuperHub, but it's still probably the worst ADSL I've ever had. Spot the common factor (other than me...)

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why do a superhub.

what is the point in this “super” device anyway? It must cost them more to ship these things, rather than the good old dumb modems. Why not offer the choice, most people going for the super option probably wouldn't notice much of a difference, would they?

I just have a modem, and prefer the flexibility of using my own wireless device.

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You're

You're probably not most people - remember, they're targeting BT customer's here; "We'll offer the same shizzle as BT but call it a SUPERHUB rather than a HomeHub - 'coz SUPER is better than Home innit?!"

Most punters want a box they can plug in that will just work with their laptops, iPads, Nintendo DS's and other assorted games consoles. If you live in a built up area with several wireless networks around I almost guarantee you'll find at least one running without ANY (not even WEP) encryption and no password (and of those that are passworded I'd guess some are using the default admin/password pair).

People want their PCs, home networks, whatever else to basically fall into the white goods category - plug it in, switch it on and forget about it. They don't want configuration, or even options in many cases; I sit opposite a graphic designer at work, a Macolyte, she can't can't understand why I'd want to set up my OS to use "Evil Dead", or any other non-standard samples in the sound set - that I actually like "tinkering" for the sake of it.

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Pint

Works for me.

My superhub seems to work just fine as modem running r26. Very happy with my 50mb connection. Talks fine to my G5 Airport Express. The airport has greater range and serves 2.4ghz and 5ghz at the same time.

David

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Ah, I thought it was just me

I had one of these installed when I moved house back in May and have to reboot it every day or two when it suddenly refuses to allow me to connect to my wifi. I thought there must have been something wrong with my network but maybe this is the problem.

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Your post...

... explains exactly why...

"Virgin Media told The Register that it had so far installed more than 400,000 SuperHub devices, and claimed that the "vast majority" of users enjoyed "a flawless service""

should be corrected to...

"Most VM customers blame their own kit when they have to keep rebooting the shoddy tat VM insists that they use so VM get away with it".

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Law

Same problem here

Although, I'm wondering - is this update pushed automatically? Can I block it from updating? I want to see if the new update causes other issues first.

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FAIL

Automatically

As far as I know its pushed automatically, same as the firmware for the TV box. The only way I think you could possibly block it is by turning your router off overnight as this is when they tend to push the updates, however when you reconnect it may just try and update itself.

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R29?

I suffered a VM 'upgrade' when I switched from 20Mbps to 50Mbps, not for the extra speed but to avoid hassle with monthly caps. I foolishly expected the change would involve nothing more than someone flicking a switch in the Virgin HQ but instead a man in a van turned up with my shiny new SuperbHub. It seemed to come as a surprise to him that the SuperHub didn't support bridging and thus my D-Link router was consigned to the bin.

My new modem/router came with firmware R20 and had deadful wireless. Since the change to firmware R26 the wireless has been perfectly OK but I miss the option of dual channel 2.4GHz/5GHz.

As the firmware is pushed out from Virgin I wonder, how did you manage to get R29?

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Silver badge

They could do two things

1) Allow you to connect your own router.

2) Free the source

Both of these would allow people to solve local issue with new hardware (I'd like more ports, thanks, and different aerials and....). As well as offer fixes and updates (e.g. a VM OpenWRT, if you will)

Although I will confess, mine has not been an issue (yet).

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FAIL

I wish I'd not upgraded to the SuperHub

Dropped wifi connections across every device. I ended up using my Fon router as my primary wifi hotspot which is not ideal but the only way I can make a sustained wifi connection. Way to go Virgin - and we've been promised a fix for months but nothing comes.

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Silver badge

Same for me

It's awful, awful, awful. I switched to Virgin whilst doing consultancy work to research different ISP's. I wish I could publish the report I wrote on the Godawful service. I have never had a worse customer service experience, period. It took 4 van rolls before they had done the job properly and I still have problems with WiFi drop out, slow down and crash. And they say their service works flawlessly! Don't they realize many customers have actually experienced other providers and know the whole experience can be so much better than it is. Previously I was with O2. Yes it was slower, but so much more consistent and the WiFi worked.

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Awful piece of kit

No UNC. DNS works sporadically, one day I can use VNC by name, others by IP, never by both. Remote desktop doesn't work unless I'm inside my network. My second Xbox drops if using wireless when my first Xbox connects to LIVE.

Also, it looks fucking shit and won't fit under my TB because of the stupid built in stand.

It boggles the mind they're still shipping this piece of shit. From what I understand it's only the 100mb service that requires them and reading one thread on their forums even this isn't absolute necessary. So why are they shipping it to all L + customers? Are they just out to piss their user base off?

Give us modem use only. This should be your number one priority you incompetent fools.

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I must be one of the "vast majority"

I must be one of their "vast majority", since I've had no problems with my superhub apart from an occasional (very occasional) tendency to drop wireless connections. The only thing I'm hoping for from a firmware update is the ability to do dynamic DNS for me, like my crappy old Orange Livebox used to.

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What exactly is modem mode?

Not 100% sure what the modem mode will give me that I don't already have...

I was persuaded to take the upgrade on the basis it would be a better service and found that half my kit wouldn't connect properly to the Superhub. So, in desparation I plugged in the old D-Link router, changed the router's subnet to 192.168.1.x, then on the Superhub, gave it a static IP addess, put it in the DMZ, and turned off the Wi-fi.

Now I have everything running off the D-Link router, connecting more or less smoothly and haven't really suffered much in the way of streaming drop-offs...

Is the modem-mode going to improve on this? If so, would be very interested to know how...

Cheers

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fingers crossed...

I'm probably one of the few folk who haven't had many problems. I did originally ask VM for a modem only, but was told 'we no longer ship them'. mmm...a fib maybe ?

Switched wireless and ip flood protection off, added my old router to dmz and ran everything through that. Been fine since then (no probs gaming etc). Can't use dyndns anymore though.

And its a bit of a pain having to run two routers.

Had problems with the PSU though. Cheap units that emit a constant whine (on my third). Also had to stick some tape over all the LED's on it, the flashing was driving me batshit !

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Thumb Down

I just upgraded my broadband from the 10Mb

and I was offered 20Mb or 30Mb - same price! I asked if the 30Mb needed the superhub - yes.

I went with the 20Mb. I have a network infrastructure already (Clearos and Wifi hub), I manage my own network, I don't want that investment to go titsup just because VM want to cobble their accounts with a shit hardware solution to combat BT's hype machine.

Now, if this patch comes off that turns it into a dumb modem? I'll bite. But not before.

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Thumb Up

Double NATting here with no problems

Superhub Wifi off (IP flood detection off) , wired to an Airport Extreme LAN which does wired plus a wireless WDS to four Airport Expresses round the house.

DMZ + port forwarding all works and I'm getting a rock solid 50 down/5 up 24/7, no complaints here at all.

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Unhappy

ShiteHub is unwanted

I suffer an "upgrade" from a series of rock solid cable modems when I went from 50Mb to 100Mb.

This rebranded NetGear router is a PoS with all sorts of issues, particularly for 'power users' such as El Reg readers who probably have their own routers and networks setup.

For example, one cannot use networks 192.168.1.x as the 1 range is reserved for "guest network" apparently. I asked VM about this in one support call and they denied it's going to be like the horrible BT Openworld stuff but I don't believe them.

On the numerous occasions I've spoken to the 100Mb support team they said the #1 issue for 100Mb customers is the SuperHub -- I suggested it's because 100Mb are likely to be power-users and thus less likely to want it anyway -- and the most requested feature is the one to make it into a dumb cable modem (why don't they offer this hardware as an alternative?).

I was told it would all be fixed in r28 as one would be able to select Bridge Mode, but that never arrived and they said r29, and that's not arrived and now r30 is the one being discussed.

I asked if I could have my old cable modem back and downgrade to 50Mb, but they said "No, you can downgrade to 50Mb but you must keep the SuperHub"; as well as complaining to Technical Support I've tried to register complaints with Customer Service about the SuperHub but they don't appear to have any processes to capture my feedback.

I just hope they sort this out soon, I just want a dumb cable modem not this.

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Trollface

So what's your problem..?

"For example, one cannot use networks 192.168.1.x as the 1 range is reserved for "guest network" apparently"

You've only given the above example of an 'issue' which is no issue at all; VM's response was quite correct; the router provides 2 'Guest' wireless networks that can be activated simultaneously with different security settings and provide internet access to less trusted users without access to the router's admin console etc.

So you lose 2 additional class D subnets in exchange for a pretty useful feature, big deal.

If this is your main 'issue' then your rant is unjustified..?

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Trollface

Pedants corner

"So you lose 2 additional class D subnets in exchange for a pretty useful feature, big deal."

That'll be Class C subnets, Class D is for multicast groups.

(http://www.computerhope.com/jargon/i/ip.htm)

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Windows

Touchet...

Keyboard error ;o)

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FAIL

Its Shit

Truly shocked when this piece of shit was installed after my upgrade to 50 meg.

Constantly drops wireless connections and locks up. I have turned off the wireless, DHCP is provided by my server and my old d-link router is working quite nicely now as a wireless access point.

@StooMonster there is a work around to put the IP address into the 192.168.1.x range, if I remember correctly you change the router address in advanced settings, then reboot it. This changes it. There are a couple of thread's on VM's crappy forum talking about it.

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Thumb Up

SuperHub, not FlubJub for me

I've never had any problems with the superHub, it's a great piece of kit.

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Maybe its not the super hub

I had a standard blue cable modem and that used to drop out once a day, the new superhub does just the same thing.

The only benefit with the new kit is that I could through away an old belkin wifi router that had been doing dns/dhcp etc

Maybe I should get a plug in timer and auto reboot it at 4am

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Alert

GPL anyone?

The netgear router they base the "Super" hub on uses GPL code. Netgear release the firmware (as required) under GPL, however, VM modify the code, and seem to think (judging by staff postings) this means their "hybrid" code is not covered by GPL, and they don't have to release it to end users.

I _really_ hope they get into trouble for this. For all I hear of people chasing pirates of films, music and games, it'd be refreshing to hear about someone going after corp's for their flaunting of GPL.

That being said, I hope the let me on the beta program because the current r26 release is useless!

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<insert witty text here>

I upgraded to 50mb and got one of these pretty shiny boxes.

wireless = 17mb

wired = 47mb

I'm wired, wheeeeee!!!!

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Meh

well...

Just upgraded to 50MB from 30MB which in turn was upgraded from 20MB.

I have to say I have not had many problems, only went 50MB because I hate getting throttled back after I reach the cap on downloads ;-)

Wireless has never worked correctly on the Super Hub, (at least not on mine), so after losing the will to live going through the help desk ops scripted troubleshooting assistance, (despite me telling him I have done all the pre cursor checks and fixes), I simply hooked up my old wireless switch to us as an AP.

All works fine and dandy.

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Superhub - waste of money

I upgraded from 50mb to 100mb two days ago and had to have the SuperHub installed.

I currently use a Netgear WRXN3205 router with VPN etc. and Dynamic DNS using TZO.

I could not get it to work properly when connected to the Superhub.. I had to change the IP address of my own router because you can't change the IP address of the Superhub which conflicted… Then after disabling WiFi and firewall services on the superhub and setting the DMZ to the WRXN3205 ip address, things just started going awry.

I could not log in to the admin page of my own router, even though I was plugged directly into it.. it said my IP was coming from the WAN - even though it was dished out by it's own DHCP server…

Then I couldn't log in to the Superhub admin pages unless I connected directly to the super hub AND unplugged the connection to my own router….

Then my dynamic DNS service kept changing the WAN IP address settings to 192.168.0.2 instead of the actual WAN IP address..

Then my Xbox couldn't get an IP address via wifi.. even though all other wifi devices connected fine…

After 24 hours, I asked them to reactivate my old 50mb Cable Modem (VMNG300) which they did.

After changing my IP address of my router back to 192.168.0.1 and plugged everything back in, it all worked perfectly again.

So.. Virgin - give people the option to keep their existing cable modem if they already have their own routers configured and save them days of hassle and wasted support costs!

J

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FAIL

No wonder...

No wonder I was told yesterday there could be a 2 month delay updating the firmware in the (Samsung) V+HD box which is incompatible with a number of new TVs (incl Samsung) in 3D mode... seems they have some larger problems to attend to first!!

Glad I have a good old-fashioned modem and separate router...

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Only reason I'm still on 50Mbit

This is the only reason I'm still on 50Mbit with the vmng300, I long ago came to the conclusion that Netgear kit is substandard.

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