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Virgin Media Claim New 1.3Gbps WiFi SuperHub 2ac Router is the Fastest

Friday, March 27th, 2015 (12:41 pm) - Score 30,241

Cable operator Virgin Media has today officially launched their new SuperHub 2ac (VMDG490) router, which has been leaking out to customers for quite a few months (here) and includes support for the latest 1300Mbps Gigabit WiFi (802.11ac) standard. According to Virgin’s research, the WiFi is now faster than all of the other big UK ISPs.

Broadly speaking the new device isn’t that much different from the vanilla SuperHub 2, except for the addition of 802.11ac spec Wi-Fi of course. Apparently Virgin worked with researchers at the University of Bristol’s Communication Systems & Networks Group to maximise the performance of their antenna.

Joe Lathan, Director of Broadband at Virgin Media, said:

Data usage is growing by around 60 per cent each year as customers connect more devices to their home networks than ever before. Our Super Hub 2ac has been designed to help our customers enjoy every megabit of their Virgin Media connection, giving them the fastest wireless speeds on our unrivalled ultrafast network – even when lots of devices are being used around the home at the same time.”

Just in case anybody doubts the claims, Virgin says their WiFi performance has since been verified by independent testing via Farncombe (the speeds below are all download). The testing was conducted between October to November 2014 using the devices default mode for WiFi.

2.4GHz Test Short range
average
Medium range
average
Long range
average
Avg. SuperHub Faster By %
Super Hub 2ac 103.3Mbps 97.0Mbps 56.3Mbps
BTs Home Hub 5 93.8Mbps 55.4Mbps 35.6Mbps 39%
Sky Hub 2 84.2Mbps 53.2Mbps 31.8Mbps 52%
TalkTalks Super Router
95.5Mbps 60.2Mbps 50.4Mbps 24%
5GHz Test Short range
average
Medium range
average
Long range
average
Avg. SuperHub Faster By %
Super Hub 2ac
752.9Mbps 270.1Mbps 31.6Mbps
BTs Home Hub 5
408.6Mbps 59.9Mbps 0.0Mbps 125%
Sky Hub 2 N/A N/A N/A
TalkTalks Super Router
360.0Mbps 191.2Mbps 17.1Mbps 86%

It’s worth pointing out that Sky’s router doesn’t even have basic 5GHz channel support and so unsurprisingly they don’t show up in the second table. On the other hand Virgin Media only pitted their router against those supplied by the other major broadband ISPs and not the market as a whole (better kit can be purchased third-party), but they’ve still put in a good result.

As usual Super Hub 2ac is available at no extra cost to all new customers who sign up for a Virgin Media cable broadband package and the devices spec sheet can be found below. The router itself is still based off a NetGear model.

SuperHub 2a Specification

· Cable Chipset: 8×4 Doscis 3.0 channels

· WiFi Radio: Qualcomm Atheros AR9880

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

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

· 4 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports

· USB connectivity

· Multiple SSID (up to three unique network names for each frequency band)

· Multiple security options

· Softbutton WPS

· Backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n wireless standard protocol as well as ac

Leave a Comment
25 Responses
  1. Avatar adslmax Real says:

    Most mobile, tablet, laptop and pc might not able to get 5GHz. No point for 152Meg Virgin Media!

    1. Avatar Astroturfer says:

      Really? The budget Tesco Hudl I was bought in 2013 has it. The Samsung S3, a 2012 vintage smartphone, has it.

      Dunno what devices you’re using but ‘most’ tablets, laptops, smartphones, PC dongles, etc in use in the UK should be fine for 5GHz, albeit not necessarily 802.11ac.

  2. Avatar John McGough says:

    I think those findings are in a “best case” scenario. That said the findings are accurate, I tried VM 152 service last year in July, I was handed one of these routers. Throughput was excellent, using AC the dongle supplied achieved well above the advertised speeds. My only gripe has been how big the casing is, given there is only small components inside, I fail to see how they couldn’t adjust the size in a similar manner to the BT HomeHub 5.

  3. Avatar SSUK says:

    Well done to Virgin impressive 5ghz results.

  4. Avatar M says:

    It is all fine and dandy having a nice modern router, but if it does not work properly, then there is not much point in bragging about it. There is a known issue with this NetGear 2AC router (I know this because I am using it right now) where the DHCP client will fail and issue the response of…

    > DHCP RENEW sent – No response for IPv4

    …a few times then do a complete DOCSIS resync. This is EXTREMELY annoying as it can happen randomly, especially when one is in the middle of using the internet for uploading, gaming, streaming, etc. Again, Virgin know about this and gave the response to me that they have/will inform NetGear of this, but after many months, have still have not released a firmware update to fix it.

    Please can someone make them fix this?

    1. Avatar SSUK says:

      Alter the DHCP renew time or better yet disable DHCP and set things manually.

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      ^ Why should you have to do that?

      Why is that a “better yet”?

    3. Avatar Kyle says:

      He did not say you have to do that. If you do not know why having a fixed address for each device is a good thing its probably not worth him trying to explain it to you.

    4. Avatar FibreFred says:

      I know why its good, if I wanted it fixed I’d use DHCP reservation, why turn off a useful feature like DHCP? You shouldn’t have to due to issues with firmware

    5. Avatar Astroturfer says:

      That issue is cable/HFC side. Not sure how the OP is to set a fixed IP address there.

    6. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      @Kyle

      Do you know how stupid a thing it is to have to turn off DHCP and having to set fixed IP addresses for every device, especially in this world of continual changes in etc, WiFi-connected smartphones, tablets? The way to allocate fixed addresses is via DHCP reservation, not dumb workarounds.

    7. Avatar RegRepsa says:

      Thanks to SSUK above for the fix. I alter DHCP lease setting to 72 hours and it has stopped a similar issue i had. What i understand this is not issue with the superhub but Virgin end. Either way my issue is solved, not sure what all the moaning in reply is about. Can also now access my VPN and service in my home country also. Very good.

    8. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Great troll it hasn’t even been 72hrs since you applied it 🙂 how would you know if your self congratulating fix worked

    9. Avatar SSUK says:

      You are welcome Reg makes a significant difference to the default 24 hour setting which has the issue for some users 🙂

    10. Avatar PortyNews says:

      I see Mental mcraGe is having another funny turn.

  5. Avatar adslmax Real says:

    Afteralll, Virgin Media is rubbish service anyway!

    1. Avatar Astroturfer says:

      Indeed.

      I give it a matter of hours after Virgin release 300Mb to your area before you’re on the phone blagging a discounted reconnection rate to use this rubbish service.

    2. Avatar DanielM says:

      that’s nonsense i constantly get full speeds, no congestion at all, depends on your area

    3. Avatar dave says:

      I was with virgin since it was ntl, they were actually very good. The only downside was that their broadband would die for a few mins about once every 3 weeks and a handful of times per year it was down for 30mins to 7hrs. I have been with BT for the past 4 months, i haven’t noticed any downtime. Other than the downtime and the superhub 1’s terrible wireless virgin were actually very good.

  6. Avatar Graeme says:

    a good few VM customers rarely get 152mb so why have wireless that can deliver it

    1. Avatar Kyle says:

      You are right i actually get more than 152Mb from mine 😀

    2. Avatar Astroturfer says:

      While the rest on the tier receive it just fine. Online you will always hear from those who are having problems, those who are happy are usually silent. That’s the nature of the beast.

    3. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      There is a very good reason why many people want faster WiFi than their Internet connection supports. That’s because many homes use local media and file serving. It’s very common to have a NAS/media server installed, often for things like local backup as well as serving things like media files. Many of those functions are bandwidth-heavy, and using wired connections is often not convenient.

  7. Avatar Graeme says:

    True Steve jones but I would assume those people have ditched isp supplied routers anyway

  8. Avatar bobg says:

    I’m still using a superhub 1, not sure how good the newer ones are with voip phones

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