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UPDATE Virgin Media Prep Firmware Fix for SuperHub 3 Latency and Packet Loss

Thursday, March 9th, 2017 (9:30 am) - Score 59,433
virgin media superhub 3 router

A nasty Intel Puma 6 chipset (x86 SoC) bug, which has caused latency spikes and packet loss for owners of Virgin Media’s latest SuperHub 3 (ARRIS TG2492S/CE) cable broadband router in the United Kingdom, will soon be patched by a new firmware release.

At the end of last year we reported that various Intel Puma 6 based routers (e.g. Arris Surfboard SB6190, Hitron CGNV4 and Compal CH7465-LG etc.), not just the SuperHub 3, all appeared to be suffering from the aforementioned problem and this was particularly noticeable on ultrafast (200Mbps+) broadband connections (here).

In short, the Central Processing Unit (CPU) inside the modem component of the router was taking on too much work while processing network packets, which caused the chipset to run a high-priority maintenance task every few seconds. Owners noticed that this task was occupying the CPU a bit too much and causing momentary latency spikes (increases of 200 milliseconds+), including a little packet loss.

Big spikes in latency, even if only occurring for a moment, are no good for response time sensitive Internet applications like fast paced multiplayer video / computer gaming. At the time Intel said they were “aware of an issue with the Puma 6 system-on-chip software that impacts latency and are working to address it.” Virgin Media does have a partial fix for this but the full solution still needs to come from Intel.

The good news is that Intel finally put out an engineering release with new Puma 6 code in February 2017, which claims to resolve the problem. The code has been slowly making its way out to hardware manufacturers and they in turn have started to work it into beta firmware. Early results look promising.

Naturally we queried this with Virgin Media and they informed us that their parent, Liberty Global, had held a meeting with Intel last Monday (6th March 2017) where the issue was discussed. The good news is that a fix is coming, albeit not immediately.

A Spokesperson for Virgin Media told ISPreview.co.uk:

“The firmware update is currently being tested and should be issued in the coming months.”

At present the new update is only in the very early stages of closed testing. Anything that changes a key aspect of how the chipset works will need a lot of Quality Assurance (QA) work before being distributed to a wider base of testers. Only after that will it finally make its way out to everybody else, which is why Virgin Media is being coy with their time-frame.

The last thing that any ISP would want to do is issue a fix for one thing and in the process end up breaking a whole bunch of other stuff. Credits to Carl for pointing us to Intel’s update.

NOTE: This article is not directly related to the separate performance issues that appear to have been occurring on Virgin Media’s wider broadband network this week.

UPDATE 20th June 2017:

Last week we asked for an update on the Intel Puma 6 latency fix for Virgin Media’s SuperHub 3 (aka – Hub 3.0) routers and were told that the field trials of a new firmware update are due to “begin shortly“. Sadly we don’t know any more than that.

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Mark Jackson
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.
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46 Responses
  1. Avatar MR TERENCE M WARREN

    It’s not very good for people like myself who has recommended virgin media to friends family and neighbours theese are people who like new movies and sport, and a lot of them work from home that’s my credibility up the swannie,

  2. Avatar John

    I am on virgin media I pay for 50mb and I get between 3 and 10 I also have the new setup

  3. Avatar Darren

    VM are a joke, always have been always will be.

  4. Avatar alan cokayne

    I’ve been let down for 18months with this sick of getting nothing done

  5. Avatar Kevin

    My VM connection today:
    http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/6121831653

    Can’t complain…

  6. Avatar ultraspeedy

    I am on the 200Mb product, was getting 205Mb before the speed boosts now getting 216Mb. A nice 11Mb gain.

    My father in another part of the country has seem similar results, hes getting 217Mb. My work place which is over 150 miles away from me (about a 3 hour drive) is also seeing close to 340Mb on the 300Mb product.

    Never had any hub issues, though if i did id just run it in modem only mode with a separate cheapo router.

    Could not be happier with VM.

    • Avatar MikeP

      These latency issues also occur in router mode.

      And as it happened, the other serious bug that took months to fix – “port flapping” as it became known – only manifested in router mode.

  7. Avatar Jasse

    My SH3 had a firmware update today and it’s never worked better.

    It’s been disconnected and turned off!

  8. Avatar Darren

    What are your upload speeds?

    LOL

  9. Avatar fleebleflam

    Hi everyone, i’m not sure whether this is related to my issue or not, but i am having very big issues with the wifi lights flashing all the time. Now i have only managed to fix it by turning of my wps in settings. No signal loss at all, but other people are repoting this to VM and they are just sending engineers round to customers with replacement S.hub3’s! Which obviously wont fix the issue.
    Is there a new firmware which was released march 12th?? If so which version is it please?
    I am on version 9.1.116.can someone please confirm if there is a new updated FW that fixes this wifi light issue.

    • Avatar Steve

      Hello mate, I had the same problem. Go into your SuperHub settings and disable WPS. Worked for me.

  10. Avatar fleebleflam

    Is this thread still open??

  11. Avatar MrStadler

    I am still experiencing this problem.

    Before I upgraded from v2 to v3 hub (Virgin VIVID 200 Gamer) on 17/03/17 my latency was a consistant 30ms (monitored with thinkbroadband tool over a month). Immediately after the upgrade my latency went up to around 80-140ms and has remainded there since 🙁

  12. Avatar Alan

    Fo those posting speeds, I get exactly the same the isue is NOT the speed, it’s the huge latency spikes & packet loss, it means web sites can be slow to respond and online gaming can be difficult with frequent server disconnects and VOIP issues. going from the Superhub 2 to a SH 3 has been the worst thing I’ve done, I have to say however Virgin customer service has been brilliant. They may not be able to fix it if it’sa chipset issue but they have been double checking everything else including a new router just last week.

  13. Avatar Matthew

    Can someone confirm what FW are we supposed to be on with the SH3 currently?

    • Avatar Marcel Thompson

      Newest firmware for the Hub 3.0 is V9.1.116V which released last November, due for another hopefully to fix this latency issue.

  14. Avatar Matthew

    I am on the 100MB and getting the speed right but just wanted to check the FW

    http://beta.speedtest.net/result/6222895297

  15. I’m getting 225 download 25 upload, fair enough but the Superhub 3 is broken not fit for gaming, speed is not the issue as people point out it is ping jitter that makes gaming absolutely garbage so some people on here don’t understand that IT’S NOT THE SPEED it’s the way it get’s here and how.

  16. Avatar Nicholas Kotarski

    Have just “upgraded” to 200mps as I was told we were overloading the router by having over 6 items running. Now it appears the above problem is still out there as I have a desktop pc running windows 8 and despite being wired to the router it fails to down load apps to the pc saying that the connection is “too slow”!. Any news when this problem will be resolved? Any one got a discount on their bill due to the problem?

  17. Avatar Neel

    Anyone heard anything more about when the firmware is due to be released. I joined VM in April 2017, and I couldn’t understand why I was getting ping spikes as bad as I was, (especially as I’d bought what VM are advertising as a “gamers package”), until I came across this thread and the comments on the Virgin Media Community forum.

  18. Avatar dj

    Was told today a software update was due by the end of the month for SH 3.
    VM CS (0345 4541111) assisted in reverting back to SH 2 as the SH 3 did not provide a reliable wired or wireless connection with multiple devices.

    • Avatar Neel

      DJ – Was it quite straight forward in getting a SH2? I have read on the VM Community forums that alot of people are unable to get the SH3 swapped out for the SH2 due to no SH2’s being in stock, (which I would find surprising). Did you go through to the retentions dept?

  19. Avatar Neel

    DJ – Was it quite straight forward in getting a SH2? I have read on the VM Community forums that alot of people are unable to get the SH3 swapped out for the SH2 due to no SH2’s being in stock, (which I would find surprising). Did you go through to the retentions dept?

  20. Avatar Ely

    I’ve just upgraded my VM broadband to VIVID 200 Gamer, my Super Hub 3 arrives tomorrow. I went with this package for the 20Mbps upload speed more than anything. Am I going to get noticable problems even though I don’t really play games on-line?

  21. Avatar John kerr

    Just ordered the superhub 3. Thinking I may have made a mistake apon reading the reviews and comments on this router. I’m currently on the superhub 2.
    Playing games and stream mostly, so should I be cancelling this order??

  22. Avatar c

    Well its now 14th July and still not a fix 🙁

  23. Avatar G

    Glad I came across this post, was considering switching to Virgin in new home (Gamer 200), but don’t think I will now.. This would have been a big issue for me, how long has the Hub 3 been out?

    • Avatar G

      Unfortunately VM was the only real choice for broadband in our new home (only crappy 18mb ADSL otherwise) – So I have had to order with them. I have ordered Vivid 200 Gamer with 2x v6 Boxes.

      Q: I have a spare Superhub 2ac from my partners old address (she forgot to send it back when she terminated her Virgin contract about a year ago) – Do you think that when the Virgin Engineers come to set up our new home I could get them to use this instead?, I would want it set to Modem only mode also as I will be using my own Asus RT-AC66U for Wifi, will this setup work well with the v6 boxes?

  24. Avatar Kai

    Any update on progress? we have yet to be told anything and no updated in site (July 17th) things a re getting even worse for my connection.
    https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality/share/250ecdf0e40e49fe40e20bb3b4acee247a2cafec-17-07-2017.png

  25. Avatar Dan

    This new superb is rubbish. Every key stroke takes up to 10 secs to be processed. What the hell is going on? I am on V1.01.14 and Hardware 1.03. Can I force an update from that?

  26. Avatar Nick King

    I’m glad I stumbled across this post, spent weeks arguing with Virgin Media. I’ve spoken to the CEO office, I’ve had an engineer to the house, I’ve spent hours on the phone with support and still no improvement, now I know why!

    We have the Hub 3.0 on Vivid 200 Gamer, we have several wired and several wireless devices connected as you’d expect in a household of 5 people.

    Speed tests are fine (VM did resolve a problem with the signal to noise ratio at least) although I do find they drop off quite a bit when we are experiencing a problem.

    I have to restart the hub several times a day, Netflix stops working, Xbox Live stops working, YouTube stops working etc. The Xbox is connected wirelessly and reports pack loss constantly while gaming online.

    I assume others are having similar issues?

  27. Avatar Matt

    I’ve tried a few times to get a Superhub 2ac now, but it’s not come good.

    Things are getting worse. Looks like I’ve probably got some contention issues as well as jitter. Speed is still fine, but my one true love Rocket League is unplayable.

    https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality/share/b793581cc56c8cdfceaf8180109de489209a3f18-28-07-2017

  28. Avatar Nick King

    I’ve taken this up with the CEO’s office who were unaware of a problem (seriously).

    I couldn’t get a SH2ac but I did manage to get £100’s worth of powerline adaptors (PL 1000 and PLW 1000) out of them to wire up all my devices (other than the kids iPads).

    They are calling me back in the next 2 weeks with an update and to see if the powerline adaptors have helped at all.

  29. Avatar Matt

    They’ve said “We have been working closely with our Hub 3.0 supplier and Intel and expect field trials of firmware to fix this issue to begin shortly. These will need to take place before wider rollout. We apologise to any customers affected.” From https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/07/21/virgin_media_puma_6_latency_issue_still_not_fixed_sixth_months_later/ posted on 21st of July

  30. Avatar Paul Holden

    Why is Apple AirPrint not working with VM SH 3?????
    That means tens of thousands of IOS devices cannot print – this is an outrage!!

  31. Avatar MonteXMat

    How much longer can we wait..?

  32. Avatar GMAN73

    This is a shambles yet VM are still happy to sell the gaming package for a service that is NOT fit for gaming.

  33. Avatar Warren richards

    Sadly its now August 20th 2017 and still no sign of a patch from intel or announcement from a Virgin media spokesman 🙁

  34. Avatar Saltank

    Does the Virgin Media Business service still use the same hub with the same issues?

    I’m waiting out until they sort this out before placing an order, have been waiting since April. That’s 5 months of lost revenue for them!

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