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Specs for the NEW Virgin Media SuperHub 3 Cable Broadband Router – Adds VoIP

Thursday, November 5th, 2015 (10:29 am) - Score 148,964

Liberty Global, which owns Virgin Media in the United Kingdom, has today confirmed that they’ve started the roll-out of a new cable broadband router (SuperHub 3), which can also act as a VoIP based telephone gateway, to their European and UK operators.

The first hints that a new router might be on its way to Virgin Media’s customers came in September 2015 (here), although we now suspect that the pictured “Connect Box” device was a COMPAL unit and one that will probably be used primarily by the operators business customers (some home users may also get it, but this is unclear).

More recently Virgin Media’s domestic cable (EuroDOCSIS 3.0) subscribers, specifically those taking part in the not-so-secret Hardware Trial, have also been receiving what appears be a re-branded version of the ARRIS TG2492S/CETouchstone Telephony Gateway“. A few crates of these have already been imported by the ISP (here and here).

In terms of basic specification, the ARRIS unit is nearly a mirror of the COMPAL and neither of those a million miles from Virgin Media’s top SuperHub 2AC device, but there are a few key differences and improvements.

Basic ARRIS TG2492S/CE Specification
* Euro / DOCSIS 3.0 (24 Downstream and 8 Upstream channels)
* 4 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Ports
* 2 x RJ-11 Telephone Ports
* 802.11 AC WiFi (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
* Download Speed of up to 1 Gbps (ignore this, you won’t ever get that on VM until DOCSIS3.1 arrives)

The addition channels would make it easier for Virgin Media to introduce a 300Mbps package to their home subscribers, which is likely to mirror the recently announced plans to launch a similar package for their cable-based business customers in Q1 2016 (here). Readers might recall that we had long expected the ISP to introduce a 300Mbps package, so it came as a surprise when they only jumped to 200Mbps in September (here).

But by far the most interesting addition is the strong Voice-over-IP (VoIP) support, which is helped by the addition of two RJ-11 telephone ports. This is a potentially very significant change as it would give Virgin Media the possibility to move away from providing a more traditional phone service, which might also save consumers some money in the process.

Until now we weren’t sure if Liberty Global would push down the VoIP path until DOCSIS 3.1 started to arrive later next year, but the operator’s latest announcement makes a point of referencing the telephony side and confirms the use of both COMPAL and ARRIS kit.

Doron Hacmon, Liberty Global’s Managing Director of Products, said:

Our next-generation WiFi and telephony gateway enables us to maximise the impact of our high-speed fiber networks across Europe by giving our customers a better, faster and even more reliable internet experience. Our customers rightly demand seamless WiFi connectivity both in and out of the home, and we will continue to focus relentlessly on providing them with a best-in-class experience, wherever they happen to be.”

According to Liberty Global, the new WiFi and telephony gateway is now available to customers in Belgium (Telenet) and Romania (UPC). After that it will be introduced by the rest of their operating companies in Europe over the “coming months“. This will also be the first time that Liberty Global has designed a universal, locally-branded broadband product to be rolled out across its European and Latin American markets.

Otherwise the router, which uses WiFi optimisation software from Celeno, has been designed with ease-of-use in mind, featuring a “simplified LED display and an install wizard that enables our customers to set up and customise their home WiFi service quickly and easily“.

Separately Liberty Global states that they’ve so far deployed a network of 6 million public WiFi spots throughout their footprint in Europe and this will reach more than 10 million WiFi access points in 2016, which is reflected by a lot of the related work that we’ve seen in the UK from Virgin Media (here); not that such things have always gone as planned (here).

At this point Virgin Media itself has been a bit slow to confirm their UK plans for launching the new device (we’ve been asking for more than a week), although we have been told to finally expect a reply today. Otherwise we’ve generally expected that the VM branded version of the new kit would surface during Q1 2016 when their new 300Mbps product tier arrives, although we don’t yet know for sure if that speed will also be made available to residential subscribers.

UPDATE 12:46pm

A spokesperson for Virgin Media informs ISPreview.co.uk that they intend to make their own branded version of the above kit available in the “coming months,” although they added that the capability to support VoIP is primarily in place to meet the needs of their sister ISPs in Europe (many of whom use VoIP as their primary telephony network).

Gregor McNeil, Virgin Media’s Managing Director for Consumer, added:

As we roll out our Vivid services with speeds up to 200Mbps across the UK we’ll be future-proofing customers’ connections with a new home router launching in the coming months.

The operator was also kind enough to supply us with a close-up picture of the device and we note that the file name(s) all referenced “Hub3” (likely shorthand for the expected SuperHub3 name), albeit much the same look as September’s Connect Box news. Obviously this is not the usual glossy PR picture, but it’s still direct from the horses mouth.

superhub3

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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
17 Responses
  1. Andy Wilkinson says:

    Virgin Media are supplying the CH7465LG modem for their new 360Mbps service here in Ireland. As suggested this is currently running in DOCSIS 3.0 mode, but I presume that is switchable through firmware as the box prior to the obligatory firmware “upgrade” the menu was showing DOCSIS 3.1. Also many of the firewall features and IPv6 support were also removed as part of the “upgrade” 🙁

  2. Johnny says:

    My WIFI scales won’t connect to this device. Says it needs to be 2.4GHz. Can you log into this router and change settings etc?

    1. Mayank says:

      Yes you can go in the settings and create a separate SSID for 2.4GHz.

  3. Mike says:

    The user interface for settings is buggy, please use with caution.

  4. Simon says:

    General Virgin Media fibre question – am I guaranteed to get the erratic upload and download speeds I have heard plagues fibre? In real world practice is that a problem?

  5. jerome dent says:

    terrible response times on the admin page very slow.also no way of having ssid for 2.4 and 5 ghz channels so no idea if the devices are connected in either 2.4 or 5ghz because of this i dont get to decide how to connect to devices.
    would love to have me super hub 2ac back crap interface very slow no control silly thing is you can set guest network up but but no separate 2.4 or 5
    cant check firmware upto date

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