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UPDATE First Pictures of New Virgin Media Cable Router SuperHub v3

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 (2:50 pm) - Score 36,171

Liberty Global, which owns cable operator Virgin Media as well as other ISPs (e.g. Ziggo, Telenet and UPC), has offered up the first look at their new “Connect Box” device (Virgin’s next combined broadband router and cable modem). The name may be changed in the UK to SuperHub v3.

The operator is currently gearing-up to begin doubling their top cable broadband speeds to 300Mbps from next month (here), although strictly speaking their current top-end EuroDOCSIS3.0 capable SuperHub 2AC router (details) should be able to handle this (recent trials have already proven this to be true).

However Virgin Media has also recently been busy inviting customers to a new Hardware Trial and many had speculated that this could be for a future SuperHub 3 router. The answer to this question appears to have arrived as part of the IBC exhibition in Amsterdam (here), which saw Liberty Global unveil a new Connect Box router, including one with Virgin Media’s logo on the front.

At present very little is known about the new device, except that it appears to have 4 x 1000Mbps LAN (one of those may support WAN) and 2 x Telephone ports (possibly for VoIP) on the back, as well as the usual coax connector and an on-off power switch.

On top of that there’s speculation that the device might also be the first router from Virgin Media to add support for DOCSIS 3.1, which is something we didn’t expect to see for another year (commercially). Broadcom also confirmed the commercial availability of DOCSIS 3.1 at IBC and Liberty Global similarly mentioned it on several occasions during the Connect Box’s unveiling.

According to Balan Nair, Liberty Global’s CTO, “DOCSIS 3.1 is making it possible for [us] to deliver enhanced services to consumers later this year” (here). In fairness this comment is very general (more applicable to their other operators, perhaps) and Virgin Media aren’t expected to begin the first UK trials until later this year, while we probably won’t strictly see any truly new DOCSIS 3.1 based services until 2016/17.

In theory DOCSIS 3.1 should be capable of delivering Gigabit class performance, although we rather suspect that Virgin Media would instead follow their usual “double speed” path and upgrade their top packages to be 600Mbps capable (possibly in 18-24 months’ time). In the meantime Virgin’s customers will just have to get use to the oh-so-slow pace of 300Mbps *tongue firmly in cheek*.

As usual we will endeavour to find out more about the Connect Box and update accordingly.

UPDATE

We managed to get the full specs for Virgin Media’s forthcoming SuperHub 3 (here).

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

    The wifi could be poor? With the box like this!

    1. Avatar nknklnkl says:

      What makes you say that?

    2. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Most ISPs bundle routers without external antennas, so you can always find a better third-party device for WiFi, but at the same time there’s no reason yet to say that its wireless capabilities would actually be poor. Depends on your base of comparison too.

    3. Avatar Neil says:

      Given in another news item you linked to in the story MarkJ…
      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2015/03/virgin-media-claim-new-1-3gbps-wifi-superhub-2ac-router-is-the-fastest.html
      His opening comment it should not matter he does not think anything uses 5Ghz anyway.

    4. Avatar Matt says:

      Looks like a simple bit of Kit…. all that matter is that it works well (stable) and has modem mode still…

      From the picture it looks like Netgear might of been dumped as hardware provider, and that they are trying to make the cable services from Virgin Media universal and following the steps of there brothers and sisters across the world.

      I do find annoying the silly designs though, why can’t they go back to something nice and flat that could also be wall mounted.

      Would be good to see Virgin issuing modems like the WebStars from back in the day again… I miss the simple days!

    5. Avatar Neil says:

      “I do find annoying the silly designs though, why can’t they go back to something nice and flat that could also be wall mounted.”

      +1 for that, another case of style over function to keep the hipsters happy.

  2. Avatar Mike C says:

    That colour though

    1. Avatar Neil says:

      Yes white like BT Openreaches modem, Plusnet and others Tecnicolor stuff as well as many other other ISP supplied gear. Shocker!!

  3. Avatar Darren says:

    For the size of that thing there should be at least 4 usable ports, at least they are all gigabit though.

    1. Avatar Ignition says:

      There are 4 usable Ethernet ports?

    2. Avatar Mike C says:

      I’d expect 6, to be honest

    3. Avatar Neil says:

      Yes because lots of supplied ISP home user gear has 6 Ethernet ports obviously… NOT!!! DOH!!!

    4. Avatar Darren says:

      “There are 4 usable Ethernet ports?”
      I mean after you’ve lost one to the WAN.

      With the size of it though there could be nine. 1 WAN 8 LAN.

  4. Avatar M says:

    Such a ghastly sight that inhibits an OCD induced headache.

  5. Avatar andrewf says:

    I do hope this one hasn’t got torch quality leds on it, flashing torch lights on a router like a Christmas tree gives my dog insomnia – seriously though I have to put black electrical tape over so many devices now to stand a chance of watching a film without blue or white light glowing over the room

    1. Avatar Thunderballs says:

      It has a dim white light on the bottom of the front panel once it has booted up and connected everything.

  6. Avatar gg says:

    hi lo me mo

  7. the virgin is not virgin it was sexed by bill gates coco cok

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