Virgin Media has faux pas with 30Mbit service upgrade

Virgin media broadband users have fallen foul of technical problems with UK cable broadband giant's new SuperHub. The hub which is custom built Netgear hardware, combines a cable modem and wireless router in one. It has had a large volume of issues since it launched on Virgin's 30 Megabit service earlier this month. Users are reportedly having trouble maintaining synchronization with the cable network, dropping wireless connections and the speed dropping to unacceptable levels. The hub also seems to reboot randomly if you change the wireless frequency from 2.4Ghz to 5Ghz.

A large number of users have been very vocal on the issue in the Virgin Media forums. At the start of the month, Virgin began tempting existing 20Mbit customers with offers to assist them migrating to their new DOCSIS 3.0 platform which will allow much faster speeds in the long run. 

Virgin has said that the issues are being caused by faulty firmware in the devices. Staffers have stated that they are looking to issue a firmware update in May which should resolve the issues as well as introduce a new bridge mode which will allow connection of a standalone wireless router.

"Testing is under way, and we expect to resolve the issue by a firmware update which will be automatically pushed out to SuperHub users as soon as a fix has been confirmed."

Users affected by this issue should keep an eye on the Virgin Media forums for updates.

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25 Comments

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I have a 50M service which frequently drops to 20Mbps or less and Virgin is insisting that the problem is the software on my computer even though disabling the superhub's firewall dramatically improves the speed to 50Mbps. Let's see what the technician has to say on Monday.

I think I will just keep my 50MB Modem and Router rather than combining them into something probably cheaper made overall with less support as this article shows.

witalit said,
Does anyone have the 100Mb service?

I do. I've never got a reliable speed from it. I've tried 4x machines, all different spec, all different OS/Browsers and see massive fluctuation.

The Virgin guy came around, plugged an archaic laptop in to my router and was getting 90 meg. I can't fathom it.

saltysaltybk said,

I do. I've never got a reliable speed from it. I've tried 4x machines, all different spec, all different OS/Browsers and see massive fluctuation.

The Virgin guy came around, plugged an archaic laptop in to my router and was getting 90 meg. I can't fathom it.

Ouch! I have 50 Mb/s and its real fast! I think my Upload is screwed at the moment but I keep forgetting to test. I am looking to upgrade the firmware on my DIR615 to DD-WRT.. looks really good. Recently I am getting problems with Xbox Live and just other general problems. Maybe DD-WRT will help!

How much do you pay for 100Mb/s if you don't mind me asking?

I was really lucky it seems. I had the 50Mbit service installed at the start of the year, the website advertised it as having the superhub free with dongle for wireless etc and after coming from BT with their very poor hub, i was dreading it, but i was going to be paying the same price for 50mbit as i was for the 5mbit speeds i was getting on BT total broadband so went with virgin media anyway.

As luck happens (as i see it now) the installers provided me with the standalone modem and a Dlink-DIR615 router. Didn't think much of it at the time as I was getting very good speed (50mbit maxed out just fine) and low latency with no packet loss, but when i saw a post on the virgin media forums i remembered i should have got a superhub. a little reading into it and I'm glad i didn't get one for all the people who were having problems with it, it seems almost as bad as BT's hub lol and thats saying something!

Now I have DD-WRT installed on my Dlink router rather then the very limited custom virgin firmware that was on it, and things are great (4096 connections rock solid) and we even have IPv6 working on the machines now too.


Hopefully DD-WRT can be installed on these superhubs at some point - that or Virgin pull their finger out and get a properly stable firmware for the boxes. If there are any users who can blag a standalone modem and router from virgin for exchange of the superhub.. I'd say go for it and install DD-WRT on it, might take up an extra power socket, but its well worth it for the features you gain.

I find it a little bizarre that the Superhub is getting these headlines when the regular Virgin Media
HUB is 10 times worse and has a wireless range smaller than most living rooms.

I'm on Virgin Media 10mb, and for some reason today my internet has been utter crap. I mean constant DCing from everything. But before today it had been fine >.<

Another stable 30Mb connection here.

Disabling the SuperHub's firewall, IP flood protection and packet loss settings help out.

Personally I have had a very stable 30Mb connection since the 11th when the superhub arrived. no issues at all, and I'm also getting faster upload before it's even supposed to be available in my area.

I have however, noticed an issue with FTP when managing my my web server. it seems to drop out after a while of inactivity and it never did this before the superhub... changing settings in the FTP client and setting keep alive does not work at all. The FTP client does not say it has disconnected, but when I try to change directory it will sit there doing nothing until I reconnect and browse to the folder I want again. A little annoying to say the least!

had this problem with them (when I was using them) .... wireless router was freezing/rebooting when larger amount of network connections occur
like using torrent network but also while .... opening quickly 10+ images in your browser (for example with middle mouse button in some browser) sic!

I found that it might be the power supply not being capable to deliver enough power while increasing network traffic could cause router to freeze ... haven't checked that out but it was rather unpleasant experience

SHADOW-XIII said,
had this problem with them (when I was using them) .... wireless router was freezing/rebooting when larger amount of network connections occur
like using torrent network but also while .... opening quickly 10+ images in your browser (for example with middle mouse button in some browser) sic!

I found that it might be the power supply not being capable to deliver enough power while increasing network traffic could cause router to freeze ... haven't checked that out but it was rather unpleasant experience

Funny you say that. The 12V 1.5A power supply that came with mine whined really loudly. I managed to find a replacement, identical model and it did the same thing. Seems to be a really nasty cheap power supply that ships with. Not really surprising to be honest. It seems to be a very low end netgear router with a modem thrown in. Wasn't expecting much from it to begin with tbh.

I Ordered a maplin 12V 1.5A adapter. Far better quality and No Whine now. I know you shouldn't have to, but it's worth doing as even if VM send you a new adaptor, it's still going to be the same crappy one that it ships with.

In terms of stability, I've not really had any problems but that's likely due to the fact that I turned most of it's features off. No wireless etc. Bring on bridge mode, (Shame they don't do just a modem these days)

I say get a thridparty modem/router that works, and ship the crappy device directly to richard bransons home adress:p

This is always what I find completely unacceptable and I don't quite know how they get away with it on Virgin's part.

So, your internet is crippled and is rebooting itself - and you have no other option (even if you go out and buy another router you still need a modem and only Virgin can supply those) - oh, we'll release an update in MAY. You can put up with it for three full months before we do anything about it.

And you'll find this a LOT with Virgin. If your "area" is hitting capacity and it severly slows down your internet connection... you report it to them, and if you're lucky they'll schedule an upgrade.

However, half the time the response is "we have no estimation yet for a fix". (Sorry, so I'm supposed to just take it and put up with my crap internet while you schedule a fix?) Or, when you do get a date, it's usually months ahead, leaving you again with waiting months and months with crappy internet.

Even if you ask for money back they say... "we can only do that once the upgrades are in place so we can adjust for the full amount..." - so they take my money and get to keep it all, earning interest in their bank account, before finally giving me refunds for poor service when it is eventually fixed.

Seriously, stay away from Virgin or at least if you can ask your neighbours what their connection is like.

Fid said,
This is always what I find completely unacceptable and I don't quite know how they get away with it on Virgin's part.

So, your internet is crippled and is rebooting itself - and you have no other option (even if you go out and buy another router you still need a modem and only Virgin can supply those) - oh, we'll release an update in MAY. You can put up with it for three full months before we do anything about it.

And you'll find this a LOT with Virgin. If your "area" is hitting capacity and it severly slows down your internet connection... you report it to them, and if you're lucky they'll schedule an upgrade.

However, half the time the response is "we have no estimation yet for a fix". (Sorry, so I'm supposed to just take it and put up with my crap internet while you schedule a fix?) Or, when you do get a date, it's usually months ahead, leaving you again with waiting months and months with crappy internet.

Even if you ask for money back they say... "we can only do that once the upgrades are in place so we can adjust for the full amount..." - so they take my money and get to keep it all, earning interest in their bank account, before finally giving me refunds for poor service when it is eventually fixed.

Seriously, stay away from Virgin or at least if you can ask your neighbours what their connection is like.

I don't know what agent you spoke to, but if you have an issue affecting your broadband, you're entitled to a refund there and then, at least for the time it has affected you (even if it's not fixed). If the issue has been going on for a week and it's another 2 weeks before it'll be fixed, you're at least entitled to 1 week's worth of compensation. Then you just ring up a few weeks later and get more, until it's fixed. It's not ideal, but fix times aren't always accurate and problems can often be fixed long before or long after the date given.

Fid said,
This is always what I find completely unacceptable and I don't quite know how they get away with it on Virgin's part.

So, your internet is crippled and is rebooting itself - and you have no other option (even if you go out and buy another router you still need a modem and only Virgin can supply those) - oh, we'll release an update in MAY. You can put up with it for three full months before we do anything about it.

And you'll find this a LOT with Virgin. If your "area" is hitting capacity and it severly slows down your internet connection... you report it to them, and if you're lucky they'll schedule an upgrade.

However, half the time the response is "we have no estimation yet for a fix". (Sorry, so I'm supposed to just take it and put up with my crap internet while you schedule a fix?) Or, when you do get a date, it's usually months ahead, leaving you again with waiting months and months with crappy internet.

Even if you ask for money back they say... "we can only do that once the upgrades are in place so we can adjust for the full amount..." - so they take my money and get to keep it all, earning interest in their bank account, before finally giving me refunds for poor service when it is eventually fixed.

Seriously, stay away from Virgin or at least if you can ask your neighbours what their connection is like.

One of the major issues is that consumer based broadband services come with no SLA or guarentee of service, as posted above you can complain and see if they are willing to offer a refund to keep you as a customer - but if your in contract then your stuck where you are as they have technically not broke that contract, at no point was a guarentee of speed or service uptime ever issued. so any refund is simply them trying to keep people happy and not leave when the contract is up.

Now factor that most people will winge and moan and post on forums but NOT vote with their wallet, they keep the service even when they are no longer in contract, Virgin know this (as do all other ISP's), so they put up with the internet chatter but are not forced to do anything substantial about it, as their bottom line is all that really counts (this is the same for all major companies, regardless what their service is like, their bottom line is shareholders and profit).

Now if everyone were to remember the moments of bad service, the slow speeds, the faults etc and then cancelled when their contract expired rather than being all 'well I got a refund and its ok now - plus its 100Mb (even though it never actually is)' - they would have to seriously rethink this strategy and stop letting the marketing and sales guys direct the business - but people dont and they dont.

Someat bigger is up than that every Saturday for the last few weeks my speed drops to 50KB/sec and connection drops frequently and I'm using the old modem with my own wireless router well for me it sux. Being forced onto dsl soon cus of new house with no cable running through it

I tested this SuperHub late last year during its trial and the complaints back then were same being made now. Virgin only gave it about 15 days of testing before ending the trial and beginning plans for a roll out which I felt was incredibly premature. Many of the issues with the product remained unresolved and they only ever did one software update during the pilot and I believe they already had that software update completed before the Trial began. It did not fix many of the issues reported as a result.

Overall it's a very shoddy product. As part of the Pilot I got to keep my SuperHub but I do not use it, I went back to my 50Mb Modem due to stability issues with the Hub.

Vice said,
I tested this SuperHub late last year during its trial and the complaints back then were same being made now. Virgin only gave it about 15 days of testing before ending the trial and beginning plans for a roll out which I felt was incredibly premature. Many of the issues with the product remained unresolved and they only ever did one software update during the pilot and I believe they already had that software update completed before the Trial began. It did not fix many of the issues reported as a result.

Overall it's a very shoddy product. As part of the Pilot I got to keep my SuperHub but I do not use it, I went back to my 50Mb Modem due to stability issues with the Hub.

Virgin DID test it for a lot longer than 15 days, it had an internal test that was running back in October.

Kushan said,

Virgin DID test it for a lot longer than 15 days, it had an internal test that was running back in October.

lol Internal - That almost never fixes the problems that is why they do the public testing of everything. But in this case the testing began on 17th of November and ended by the 2nd of December. 100Mb was in a trial for like twice that amount of time.

acnpt said,
Technical Problems, Virgin? I find that very unlikely

When I first heard about the Virgin Media SuperHub in 2008, which I immediately renamed SuperPain because I managed to get hold of some screenshots of the menu system I immediately realised. OMG this is a Netgear 3700 with half of the menu system turned off because it will never be used. I owned a Netgear 3700, boy was it a mistake to buy one of these. Yep they do randomly reboot, they do lose IP Range and IP address randomly not a cheap router either as when they first came out it cost me £130.00.

Virgin Media should have listened to their testers before this was rolled out, because everything that is happening now happened in the trials and Virgin Media was made aware of this. But as Virgin Media they chose to ignore and now they have loads of customer complaining for a good reason as well because at the end of the day. It is a NETGEAR 3700 / Cable Modem all in one. Since I updated my Firmware for my NETGEAR 3700 the random reboots and lose of IP address has stopped.

Please under no circumstances read into this and think. "Oh I can update the SuperPain Cable Modem Router with the NETGEAR 3500/3700 firmware." DON'T because it will break your modem and then Virgin Media will charge your £90.00 for a replacement. Don't be inane and do something silly like this wait for a firmware release which I would estimate will be due very soon due to the high level of complaints raised with Virgin Media.