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UPD Virgin Media Say New SuperHub Offers Best Home WiFi of the Big UK ISPs

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 (10:25 am) - Score 3,639

Cable ISP Virgin Media (Liberty Global) has today highlighted the latest “independent testing” from the University of Bristol and Farncombe, which appears to show that their new SuperHub wireless broadband router offers better home WiFi performance than BT’s equivalent HomeHub4. It also beat similar kit from Sky Broadband and TalkTalk.

Readers might recall that the first round of results were published during May 2013 (here) and appeared to show Virgin’s new kit trouncing all over BT’s previous HomeHub 3, Sky Broadband’s SkyHub and one of TalkTalk’s similar Hubs (though we’re not quite sure which because TT has several).

The latest results have also pitted Virgin’s new SuperHub (aka – SuperHub V2) against BT’s latest HomeHub 4 router. But it’s worth noting that BT has since unveiled an enhanced version of this device for their superfast (FTTC) BTInfinity subscribers, which is of course called the HomeHub 5 (here); the WiFi specs for the HH4 and HH5 are similar. Likewise EE, which wasn’t tested, also has an arguably even more sophisticated device (here).

Overall Virgin Media claims that their new Super Hub “knocked the spots of the competition” and proved itself to be “30% faster than the closest rival hub” (i.e. BT’s HomeHub4).

virginmedia new superhub v2 wifi benchmark

Apparently the study tested wireless speeds across different locations / ranges in the home and the above table shows an average of the results, which does indeed show that the SuperHub’s 2.4GHz and 5GHz modes were able to best the competition. A specially built Windows 7 testing environments and file sizes optimised for download speed were also used in the testing.

Joe Lathan, Virgin Medias Director of Broadband, said:

Our new Super Hub is designed to deliver a best-in-breed WiFi experience and it’s great to see the results of the testing by Farncombe and the University of Bristol reflect this. Our hub is clearly head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to speed, delivering the fastest wireless connections throughout the home compared to kit from our competitors.”

It should of course be said that Virgin Media was only pitting its router against those supplied by other big broadband ISPs and not the market as a whole. For example, if you buy a separate router then it’s already possible to take advantage of the latest Gigabit wifi speeds via the top-end 802.11ac spec, which most ISP bundled routers (except EE’s) don’t support.. yet.

Virgin Media “new” SuperHub Specifications (NetGear)

Cable Chipset: Intel Puma 5

Maximum: 8×4 Doscis 3.0 channels

2.4GHz Wifi Radio: Qualcom Atheros AR9344 (300Mbps)

2.4 GHz Antennas: Two Spatial streams (2×2)

5GHz Wifi Radio: Qualcomm Atheros AR9580 (450Mbps)

5 GHz Antennas: Three Spatial streams (3×3)*

4 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports**

1x USB 2.0 port (this doesn’t currently have a specific function)

Size: 215mm high x 69mm Wide (at widest point) x 195mm Long

Weight: 520g (unit without PSU)

UPDATE 1:05pm

In addition we’ve spotted that Virgin Media have just put out a new firmware update for their “new” SuperHub (oh please can we call it V2? “new” quickly gets old), which is called Version 26 and fixes the following issues:

* Time of Day inaccuracy when large amounts of data had been put through the New Super Hub.
* DNS resolution lost intermittently.
* Device not recovering following a TEK expiry event on some cable nodes.
* General stability improvements to internet connectivity and the GUI.

It should be winging its way to new SuperHub users over the next few weeks.

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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.
Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Tim Nice But Dim says:

    I don’t believe marketing numbers.

  2. Ignitionnet says:

    Bit confusing that the new Superhub is only an 8×4 device given 16 channel bonding is being used by Comhem in Sweden to deliver 500Mb and 16 or 24 channel devices to achieve 500Mb in Spain soon.

  3. boggits says:

    So where’s the link to the “independent” testing mentioned? It would be good if the testing methodology used explained the number 🙂

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      If it’s anything like last time then the university will publish it a few days or weeks after the above PR:


  4. Phil says:

    If your PC / Laptop wifi support 5GHz mode, if not, pretty pointless as Virgin Media charged for WiFi 5GHz mode adapter (USB) one off fee of £39.99

  5. Roberto says:

    Err none of the providers give away wifi dongles do they?

  6. Roberto says:

    Congratulations to Virgin though not exactly a big deal you can buy a router for £50 quid that will perform better than all of them.

    Virgins also did better in a Gadget show test (yeah i know not rocket science testing either).

    Also for BT supporters do not be too disappointed its hardly a shock it was faster. Virgins hub 2 operates at 450Mbps on 5ghz where as the home hub 4 is only 300Mbps.

    So horror of horror it was technically superior and ended up being faster, who would of ever thought that would happen. They may as well of tested it against old 54Mbps gear

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