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UPD2 UK Virgin Media Broadband ISP Users Affected by Website Routing Woes

Saturday, May 26th, 2012 (7:03 am) - Score 11,864

An unspecified number of Virgin Media’s broadband ISP customers are currently being affected by a seemingly sporadic Major Service Outage / routing issue (Fault Ref F002014417), which has caused difficulties when attempting to load certain websites.

The “routing” problem, which is similar to the difficulties that rival BE Broadband (O2) recently suffered (here), is understood to have started yesterday morning (Friday 25th May) and remains unresolved. To make matters worse it appears to affect different websites for different customers. Sadly Virgin Media’s front line support staff haven’t been much help, as can be seen from this selection of quotes (Virgin’s support forum).

Customer jcmm33 said:

Same issue here as well, been like this all day. Sites like autotrader.co.uk don’t appear to be accessible, others like the telegraph.co.uk are waiting on other components to download (content from sites like cg-global.maxymiser.com, pixel.quantserve.com).”

Customer Sigma said:

I’ve just got off the phone with Virgin Media. It was a complete waste of time calling.

The guy was insistent that it was a problem with my PC and he asked if he could have remote access. I gave it to him and showed him that sites worked when using the webcache.virginmedia.com proxy, but not without, but he didn’t seem to understand the implications of that as he kept saying “so your problem is slow internet then?“.

Customer muchacho added:

Be nice if someone from VM actually came on and said they know they have a problem.

The people in the call centre are extremely dumb and it’s like talking to a tree.”

Thankfully Virgin Media was eventually able to recognise the problem and issued some further information, including a temporary fix, although the primary issue remains unresolved.

Virgin Media Support Statement

We are currently experiencing Routing issues which may cause issues when accessing certain websites. This is currently being investigated by the relevant departments. In most cases this can be resolved by using the Virgin Media proxy. I have outlined the steps needed to set this up below. This is a temporary solution and can be removed once the fault has been fixed.

The proxy goes in your browser.

The proxy to use is : webcache.virginmedia.com

The port number is : 8080

How to set up proxy in Internet Explorer:

1.On the Tools menu in Internet Explorer, click Internet Options, click the Connections tab, and then click LAN Settings. Under Proxy server, click to select the Use a proxy server for your LAN check box.
2.In the Address box, type the IP address of the proxy server which is webcache.virginmedia.com
3.In the Port box, type 8080
4.You can click to select the Bypass proxy server for local addresses check box if you do not want the proxy server computer to be used when you connect to a computer on the local network.
5. Click OK to close the LAN Settings dialog box.
6. Click OK again to close the Internet Options dialog box.

How to set up proxy in Firefox

You can use the proxy add on for Firefox by following the link here.

Or to enable proxy settings in Firefox:

1.Select Tools -> Options. ( In some Firefox browsers you have to go to Edit>Preferences usually in LInux )
2.Select Advanced.
3.Open the Network tab.
4.In ‘Connections’ area click ‘Settings’ button.
5.Select Manual Proxy Configuration radio button.
6.In the HTTP Proxy field please insert webcache.virginmedia.com
7.In the Port field please insert 8080
8.Click ‘OK’

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused but we will endeavour to get this issue sorted as soon as possible.

Sadly Virgin Media said that they “do not have a current ETA for this to be fixed“. It’s known that the above solution doesn’t work for everybody, with some reporting that it actually made their problems worse.

UPDATE 27th May 2012

Several customers’ report that the problem has this morning been resolved, while others claim to still be suffering from problems or even that it has actually got worse. Virgin Media has yet to post an update.

UPDATE 28th May 2012

The problem now seems to be largely resolved, although customers still appear to be seeing a lot of intermittent packet loss / jitter issues (e.g. causing lag spikes in fast paced online multiplayer games). Speculation points to the situation being caused by some form of new or changed content filtering system (Traffic Management / Deep Packet Inspection).

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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