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UPDATE2 Virgin Media UK Prep 1300Mbps WiFi SuperHub 3 Cable Router

Monday, June 16th, 2014 (7:49 am) - Score 39,101

Cable operator Virgin Media (Liberty Global) is getting close to announcing the launch of their next SuperHub 3 router (Model VMDG490), which among other things is anticipated to feature the latest 802.11ac spec with support for wireless local network (WLAN) speeds of up to 1300Mbps.

ISPreview.co.uk understands that the new router, which went through the official WiFi Certification process on 20th January 2014 (Virgin’s public release usually follows some months later after bug testing etc.), is as usual to be based off a modified version of NetGear’s own kit (C6250 DOCSIS 3.0 Wireless Gateway) with Virgin’s custom styling etc.

The SuperHub 3 hardware is very similar to Virgin Media’s existing “new SuperHub” device (we rather call it SuperHub V2 to avoid confusion but for some reason Virgin don’t like that), albeit with the addition of dual-band 802.11n WiFi at 300Mbps and 802.11ac at 1300Mbps (you should always expect real-world speeds to be considerably lower than these headline rates). All of Virgin’s biggest rivals, except Sky Broadband, have now launched a router with ac wifi support.

Otherwise there will be the usual mix of USB and four Gigabit Ethernet ports, while support for the DOCSIS 3.0 / Euro-DOCSIS 3.0 specification with 16×4 or 8×4 full-band capture will, much like the existing SuperHub, give Virgin Media options to increase their downstream speeds again in the future.

But we don’t expect Virgin to boost their service speeds again in 2014 because there’s no pressing need to go faster (admittedly this has never stopped them before) and BT’s rival ‘up to’ 80Mbps FTTC service isn’t likely to match their 152Mbps anytime soon. BT could do 100Mbps on FTTC with Vectoring in the future and they might be able to push 120Mbps out of it, but the latter would require a VDSL modem upgrade because most of those only ship with a 100Mbps Ethernet port.

NetGear C6250 Specification

Physical Interfaces
WAN – 16×4 channel-bonding with full-band capture technology (WAN speeds)
LAN – 4 GigE ports; optional 1 G WAN port
Wi-Fi – AC1600 2×2 – 2.4 GHz and 3×3 11ac 5GHz

3×3 11ac with Beamforming
Wi-Fi Power On/Off

Easy install
Push ‘N’ Connect

Advanced Features
Parental controls
ReadySHARE® USB access
NETGEAR genie® application
TR069 remote management
Hotspot for wireless off-load

It’s interesting to note that NetGear’s kit doesn’t support the latest DOCSIS3.1 specification, but this isn’t a surprise because most cable operators are still testing the new standard and many won’t be ready to start deployments until 2015 when full hardware support should be available. Back in 2013 Virgin’s Phil Oakley hinted at a 2015-16 timeframe, so we’ll probably be looking towards the SuperHub V4 or more likely V5 for that.

In the meantime the new.. “new SuperHub” cable router is due to be given its official unveiling, with Virgin’s own unique design etc., in the very near future. Thanks to one of our readers, Carl, for highlighting the NetGear link.

UPDATE 24th June 2014

ISPreview.co.uk has recently seen some detailed diagrams of the new router and it’s interesting to note that Virgin Media’s own specification for the hardware suggests an 8 and not 16 channel modem. It’s not unusual for specifications to vary slightly between the official modem and the ISPs own-brand alternative, although we’ll need to wait for Virgin to unveil their final spec before it’s confirmed.

UPDATE 1st July 2014

After initially refusing to confirm the new router Virgin Media has now given us this response.

Dana Hashem, Virgin Media’s Spokesperson, told ISPreview.co.uk:

A small group of Virgin Media triallists are trying out a piece of equipment that features 802.11ac WiFi technology. We are always looking to bring the best products and services to our customers and will keep everyone updated as and when we bring anything new to our existing line-up.”

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. Avatar No Clue says:

    Nice feature packed DLNA and potentially USB 3

  2. Avatar umbro khan says:

    when the Superhub 3 Trial date going to be?

    1. Avatar unknown says:

      In 3 to 6 weeks.

  3. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

    I can only tell you that the trial hasn’t started yet but I don’t think it’s too far off, although it might be looking more towards the autumn period.

  4. Avatar John says:

    Yes it has, I have one

  5. Avatar Ben Weeks says:

    I hope the wi-fi is more reliable that the Superhub 2!

  6. Avatar SS says:

    Does anybody if this new router will make watching streams easier?

  7. Avatar Stuart says:

    I have the superhub 2ac. Fitted on Thursday. Can confirm it doesn’t have a USB port. But the wireless signal is noticeably stronger.

  8. Avatar Tony says:

    Actually it does have a USB port but it’s covered up (just above the Ethernet ports) in the same way as the SH2 and is disabled.

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