back to article Virgin Media to issue firmware update after Superhub slows to crawl

Virgin Media cable customers who recently upgraded to the company's Superhub router/modem combo boxes to access its 30Mbit/s and above service are complaining about stability issues and slow connections with the new kit. Reg reader Adam told us that Virgin Media is offering only Netgear hardware, which provides what he …

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Technically...

Technically, in legal wiggle-out-of-it kind of terms, even when traffic is managed it's still "unlimited" - they don't impose a limit on the amount you can download just the speed at which you can download it once you hit the cap.

I suspect putting forward the argument that the amount of data you can download is a function of download speed and time and that, therefore, by limiting the download speed for a given time they are effectively limiting the amount you can download in that time, wouldn't hold water because that would mean that, for any given period of time, the service is limited (i.e. the amount of data you can download is only unlimited if you have an infinite amount of time).

Still, it's better than some other providers and at least they let you know what the "acceptable usage" policy actually is on their website - when I was on BT years ago about all you could find out about their policy was that they'd limit your access and levy a charge for exceeding an unspecified amount of data in a given month... and you only found that out when you got a stroppy phone call from them.

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Product manager fail

I really would love to know who the product manager is for their broadband and sit down and have a little chat with him, sure they may have a market for the fisher price broadband, hide all the options keep the numpties from breaking it, but their 50mbit flagship product is going to attract people who actually know how to use their pc's as well they will want basic functionality.

Don't support it, thats fine we will figure it out, just don't put up road blocks.

Its band enough that they force you into using their branded hardware when any cable modem that supports the euro DOCSIS 3 standard technically could work fine on the network.

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Thumb Up

I'm alright Jack

Well I upgr\ded from 10mb to 50mb 2 weeks ago, I was on 20mb before but I cut back to 10mb as it was actually slower, no surprises I guess.

But the 50MB has been fantastic, I had a small issue with IP flooding which meant I couldnt play online games at first but once I got a fix its been flying ever since. I nearly always get 5mbt/s downloads which I am happy with

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FAIL

It's utter crap

Not to mention the connection in the bag is utter tripe - Ours was "professionally" fitted by some slack jawed nob head whilst I was at work. The attenuator isn't even held in with anything, nor is the pin on the inside actually physically connnected to the board, it just lies there against a tiny contact pad. The thing fell off and VM wont replace it depsite it being utter crap.

Signed

Pissed off 50Mb customer

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Flood Control

Superhub - Switch off flood control

Superhub - Switch off flood control

Superhub - Switch off flood control

Superhub - Switch off flood control

Superhub - Switch off flood control

Superhub - Switch off flood control

Thanks to a poster on the previous Superhub article and the phonecall from the installer to the VM helpline this fixed ALL my connection issues in Southampton.

Packet loss went from 85% to 0% and a rock solid 20Mbps connection.

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Flood Control → #

Superhub - Switch off flood control - First thing I did.. doesn't help bad power levels down the line

Superhub - Switch off flood control - First thing I did.. doesn't help bad power levels down the line

Superhub - Switch off flood control - First thing I did.. doesn't help bad power levels down the line

Superhub - Switch off flood control - First thing I did.. doesn't help bad power levels down the line

Superhub - Switch off flood control - First thing I did.. doesn't help bad power levels down the line

Superhub - Switch off flood control - First thing I did.. doesn't help bad power levels down the line

MY packet loss is ONLY 18-30% ( hah can't believe I would ever say ONLY to that) its the total unavailability of VM's network for large portions of the day that are pissing off user round my way.

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Unhappy

didn't mean to downvote you

because the next page button was just below the downvote button, so i upvoted you too.

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30 Mb dowgrade from 10 Mbit, and up stream throttling as well as downstream

fantastic that the reg is on this, Virgin might listen now, they appear to ignore the forums and helo line is useless, I was told that I had to change my wifi channel number, and how to do it, when I said I was not using wifi and had a ethernet cable plugged in.

In the end I just went along, and we proved after 15 minutes and a few re boots of the pc into safe mode that it was not the wifi.

from the engineer that came round, it seems cambrindge does not have enough capacity for all the 30 / 50 Mb lines that have 'suddenly been installed'

I went from a constant 9 Mb using the 10 Mb router, to 3 to 12 Mb using the new more expensive 30 Mb router.

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Pirate

Intermittent Virgin broadband in GU15 1**

I am still on the (advertised as) 20Mb Virgin broadband and since the beginning of February have had a strangely intermittent connection. Most times are OK (well, 4M instead of the advertised 20, but then I'm not into video or gaming so that's not too much of a problem). But about once a week the service becomes intermittent (up for a minute, down for five minutes ...) and stays that way until well past midnight (no idea when it fixes itself, but the following morning is OK). And that's still with my original VM modem and my own wireless router.

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Lucky escape

I was planning on giving Virgin a ring and start the upgrade tonight. Then I read this...

Best to leave it a few months, I reckon.

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Alert

NETWORK

This what I had to do get 50Meg working.

Phone them up again and again:-

1) They would send an engineer (I would use term installer) with new modem. That didn't fix the problem.

2) Send another engineer with great idea of another modem. Didn't fix it again.

3) Send another engineer to relay the cable modem cable in the house. Didn't fix it again. Told about NETWORK.

4) Send another engerner to relay the cable modem cable in the house again. Didn't fix it again. But told about lot about called NETWORK. (NETWORK is a magical virgin code or something)

5) Send another engineer to relay to cable between cabinet and my house. Didn't fix it again. The engerneer phone Virgin and told them need NETWORK to look in to problem.

6) Amazed that NETWORK do exists, been ever so happy since.

If there problem and no one else can fix it at Virgin then you sould call and demand NETWORK.

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Go

A figment of my imagination?

OK, now I'm confused.

I had my 30Mbps line installed on Friday along with a Tivo and a Superhub. The Superhub is plugged into the WAN port of my router, and all I've done is change its IP address, turn off its wireless radio and disable flood control.

With my PC connected to my own router I have an (apparently) rock solid >30Mbps download speed, and 3Mbps upstream. By all accounts I should be dropping packets left, right and centre, crying out for bridge mode and finding it worse than the flaky ADSL service I've just ditched. But I'm not - it just works. Maybe the fact that I don't own an Xbox helps?

The Tivo is buggy, but that's a different story entirely...

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Months away

They have posted a update and said that a new firmware will roll out within the next few months, but that they would work on it to get there quicker.

If your using either the VMDG280 or VMDG480 then your best option is to turn off all security, all filtering, disable the radio(s), and set up an IP for DMZ and put your existing router to have that fixed IP for the DMZ zone.

Another big issue at the moment is that some SIP phones are being blocked!....

The tech who came to my house tried to give me one of these units ,and I begged him for a old modem.. Eventually he budged. They have been "told" that the 50meg modem (the one used for 200 meg trials) isnt good enough for the 30 meg service.

Yet something else customers should be aware of is the free "Upload" increase..

10 and 10 (medium and large) customers will NOT receive the upload increase if they are on older modems. VM will try to give you a VMDG280 if you need a new modem.

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WTF?

How to turn off Flood Control?

Where do you do that? Looking at Advanced Settings I see "IP Flood Detection" on the Services menu?

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The super hub is a complete pile of wank!

I was happily on 20Mb with a little modem and decided to go for the 50Mb because I have no self control. The engineer came out and all was well for a couple of hours (or so my gf tells me cos she was working from home and let the engineer in), then I got home and decided to check out this superhub... Not very super is what I decided. I have a Linksys WRT320N which is a decent router, this superhub doesn't let you do half the stuff router can so I tried to get them to work in harmony, it is at this point that everything started going downhill.

Problem 1. The superhub does not allow bridge mode; I know, should have googled it before I got the f-ing thing. The bit that frustrated me most about this is that I've been with Virgin since they were Telewest and they had ALWAYS handed out modems hence me forking out £90 (at the time) for something that did what I needed. Oh, and BTW, part of the reason I went for the 50Mb is because a friend of mine got it before the superhub so he just has a little modem he can plug is OWN ROUTER IN TO. If according to Virgin the superhub is not to blame, then why is it that people with the little 50Mb modem don't seem to be piping up as much?

Problem 2. At this point I decided to get on the phone to Virgin to see if I could get a 50Mb modem sent out to me... oh my sweet jesus christ the amount of resistance to this is just unbelievable. I fail to believe that there isn't a single one of these 50Mb mdoems in a warehouse floor, van, engineers home that they couldn't send out to me to keep me happy. After speaking to several departments, including the HORRIFIC technical desk in India that I hung up on everytime through frustration I got through to someone in customer care who told me they could send a 50Mb modem out. Happy days... in theory...

The "50Mb modem" gets to my house, I have a look at it, this is not a 50Mb modem. I call Virgin to activate this modem and see what happens (worse case scenario is it doesn't work) they insist that it is a 50Mb modem, despite the fact that I have checked the event log on the thing and it clearly states that it does not support DOCSIS3.0. Funnily enough the activation for this thing never works.

After much frustration I call up and ask to be downgraded back down to 20Mb, that was 2 days ago and still doesn't seem to have happened. The really frustrating thing is that no one tries to appease me and they just go ahead and downgrade me, not at any single point has someone gone "this customer is really pissed off, we should really find a way of making him happy.". I have worked in a Broadband Tech desk as an escalation point and I would have taken something like this as a personal escalation, got on the phone and tried to find out SOMETHING that could be done, but there just doesn't seem to be any kind of procedure like this with Virgin media.

I've filed a complaint and am waiting to hear from someone in their complaints team, I'll keep you guys posted if anything does get resolved.

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Anonymous Coward

50Mb is fine for me

but I got a SACM and router. I tried DD-WRT but not all devices would connect (Belkin wireless bridge) so back graded to the stock VM firmware. (The stock Netgear code was also fine).

One issue with letting customers use their own network kit is that they are not all equally competent at setting things up and then still want full support when there are issues. (And yes I have had problems where my kit was at fault as well as trying to convince 1st line that in another case it couldn't be at my end (speed/ping/other sites all OK or the server end (other users fine) and that it was something (routing in this case) in VM land).

20Mb before that was also fine. There have been issues but they were all sorted out.

(I do work for VM but am replying here just as a customer.)

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Forget Netgear F/W go DDWRT

I converted from 20meg service to 50meg a few months ago, and had a lot of trouble with the supplier modem and router, it would not keep a steady and reliable speed.

The router came in a white box, and Netgear's website had no firmware for it, as it was a VM special. Remembering that DDWRT may have a firmware image, I tried that and it did solve the problems I was experiencing.

Lately, the upload speed remains stable, but the download speed can vary anywhere from 1meg to 40meg. As it is so intermittent, it's not worth my time trying to get help from VM. I'll just switch to BT Infinity when my year of 50meg is up.

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SuperHub, NOOO, SimpleHub

How on earth is Virgin getting away with the marketing phrase super hub. It should be branded as simple hub. I turned the service engineer away, when I had no choice in the type of mode to use and terminated the contract without having started it.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/flame_32.png

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FAIL

@ebbysantos

Have you actually logged into your device and checked the latest version? 5.5 supports DOCSIS3.0 and the event log on mine clearly says it does. I suspect most of you complaining just want a bridge and nothing more, and your failure to actually read what the new device did is now your own undoing and you need to get a grip.

I've got a patched cable across my front garden which they'll be here in next 2 days to replace and I'm reliably getting 15-20mbps even with that, and it's rock steady as I'm running a VPN to work. I know my neighbour over the road is getting 45mbps ++ all day long, versus BT not being able to deliver 1mbps in our area 31.

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@ Anonymous Coward

I logged onto the modem they sent me out after a 2 hour phone call and it only supported DOCSIS 1.0/1.1/2.0, that was the first thing I did when i got home. So I'm still using the Superhub as I currently have no option.

I just turned off the IP Flood Detection which has made my connection much more stable, however because I cannot setup DDNS on the superhub my NAS box has become quite useless.

As for "getting a grip"... I would agree with you were this not being sold as a premium service! At the end of the day if they were putting in modems on site and allowing people to use their own routers 3 months ago, I really don't see why it's so hard to accomodate the users who do have their own routers now. It's the lack of flexibility and awful customer service I received that have really pissed me off, I've spoke to some terrible call centres but the last week has been so frustrating when no one seems to listen to me or is able to provide me with a solution or apology.

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Anonymous Coward

force a SW upgrade on your SH

It sounds like some of you are on older versions of the SH SW....

Standard Specification Compliant EU DOCSIS 3.0

Hardware Version 2.00

Software Version V5.5.2R20

I'm having -0- problems like all of you are describing.....!

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FAIL

I wont be a new Virgin Customer now

I've been hearing all sorts of bad things about Virgins BB service, not just here but on other forums, I was going to ditch my Be 24Mb ADSL connection, SKY and BT and have VM installed.

Not now, at least my current setup works, it isn't 50Mb, by by the sounds of things you never get that anyway!

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RE: I wont be a new Virgin Customer now

You're better off with Be - I play online PC games and the people with the best connections are on Be.

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Go

Mine works just fine!

I bit the bullet and installed a Superhub today.

I went from 19.55Mbps to 30.65Mbps with no packet loss and a 14ms ping.

I have no complaint but I'm very lucky.

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Grenade

Doh!

They come tomorrow to upgrade me from 20meg to 50meg. My Tomato router is going, my virgin modem is going and the 'orrible Netgear I bought to replace the Tomato but just ended up using as a gigabit switch is going. I wonder if I should be doing an Admiral Ackbar...

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dns issues

For those complaining that the router firmware doesn't allow you to specify DNS servers. You do realise that you can also specify them on your computer itself? It may not be the ideal solution but it's a temporary one at least for you to continue torrenting :p

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Anonymous Coward

And finally ...

I thought this might round this story off appropriately:

Last night I rang the Virgin activation line to fire up my new Superhub (now working well as I've reported). I said to the genuinely pleasant and helpful woman who answered that I needed an activation and that I was a bit worried about starting up the Superhub after all the recent stories in the press, and here's the relevant bit, she then replied: "What? Negativity?"

I paused for a moment to consider why the Virgin tech team don't seem to have noticed that the world and it's dog is a tad nonplussed about the quality of their kit and asked her if she'd seen the story on 'The Register' and the various other forum threads. "No" was the reply.

Discuss ... or not.

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FAIL

Another Lost Sale

I just wanted to post another FAIL icon for the awful thing. I began to research this hub tonight after discussing a tv,phone and 50 meg offer with customer services during the week. I have now made the decision not to go ahead.

I feel like Im being bullied into having it, my control is being taken away.

All I want is a modem, this bridge mode wont be till May, will it work out of the box after the wait? Then we have what? An over sized over engineered dust trap that eats power. What a waste. I find it inconceivable that they cant keep supplying the original 50 meg unit on request, but then, this is VM.

This is serious when an issue causes many customers like myself to baulk at the point of order and in the worst case (seen above) actually send techs away at the door because they try to impose this monstrosity on us. This isnt just a few awkward ones being unhappy about a change, its a rebellion under their noses, but they play it down as usual. Why oh why does this company always have to be at war with its customers over one thing or another?

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Unhappy

Me too!

All of the above.

It's been a couple of months of hell and lost productivity for us. Finally went for the the "thinking of leaving Virgin" option after dialling 150. The guy on the other end of the admitted the firmware issue and agreed to send out an Ambit 300 (DOCSIS 3) modem so i could use a proper router.

Yesterday an Ambit 256 (DOCSIS 1/2) modem arrived which is realistically only capable of around 20Mbps. I'm on the XXL package which is meant to be 50Mbps.

At the end of the month we have the option of switching to BT Infinity, a 40Mbps service with an upstream limit which, i am told, is more generous than Virgins. Crucially BT (who i assume are following the Virgin debacle with great interest) will be supplying customers with separate modems giving customers the choice of a free router or using their own - especially important when running a small business LAN off a decent gateway configuration.

For now i've stopped updating the Virgin Forums on the issue because the responses i get don't really go anywhere. At best i get sent around the same old loop by staff who are trying to be helpful but alas don't really have a solution.

Methinks it's time for managers further up the chain at Virgin to be more honest with their customers. Me, honestly, i am not one for slagging off companies (unless you count one or two frustrated rants on social networking sites), especially ones with sincere goals, but i think Sir Richard needs to take some responsibility here in light of his recent campaigning on broadband speeds.

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