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Virgin Media UK Upgrade Broadband Routers with Intelligent WiFi

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019 (12:01 am) - Score 82,688

Cable ISP Virgin Media has today launched a series of new WiFi updates and products, which are all aimed at boosting the speed of your wireless network around the home via a combination of free firmware updates for their Hub 3.0 (SuperHub v3) broadband router, a new app and optional signal boosters.

Over the past few months we’ve seen a number of major UK ISPs introduce wireless network enhancements and mesh style WiFi boosters, which usually consist of a base unit and several “repeater” modules (e.g. BT’s Complete Wi-Fi , TalkTalk’s Plume SuperPods and Vodafone’s Super WiFi). At the time we questioned how long it would be before Virgin Media did something similar and now we know, not very long at all!

Virgin’s so-called “Intelligent WiFi” solution, which is described as offering “game-changing technology“, is really more a collection of enhancements, rather than a single solution. We’ve broken these down into three categories below in order to help you cut through some of the marketing jargon.

Take note that the firmware upgrades are only available for the Hub 3.0 router and there are no plans to put these on Virgin’s older v2 or v2 AC routers. Currently 75% of their customers have a Hub 3.0 and rising.

Virgin’s WiFi Improvements

Intelligent WiFi Firmware Upgrade (Software – Router)

Owners of Virgin’s Hub 3.0 router should have recently received or be in the process of receiving this free update. Essentially it’s described as being a “smart cloud-based, adaptive system that is continuously evolving and ingeniously tackles many of the problems that can hold people back from getting the best performance from their WiFi.” Regular readers will recall that we wrote about the trials last year (here).

This is made up of several features that work side-by-side to ensure the best WiFi performance is being delivered. According to third-party testing, wireless speeds can be “improved by up to three times to many devices without the aid of a booster, unlike many other broadband providers.

  • Channel optimisation: All WiFi operates over a number of channels. Channel Optimisation helps ensure connected devices and gadgets are performing as best as they can. As a result of Intelligent WiFi, testing has shown that 18% of homes should experience less WiFi interference thanks to more than 300,000 optimisations per day ensuring that devices are being switched to less crowded WiFi channels.
  • Band Steering: This is the process which prompts gadgets and devices to seamlessly switch between a 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency to optimise performance. With band steering on the Hub 3, testing showed that gadgets connecting to the 5GHz frequency increased by 25%, giving these devices greater speeds.
  • Airtime Fairness: This helps to share out WiFi evenly across connected devices. Some older devices can’t keep up with ultrafast broadband speeds which can impact WiFi performance in the home. Intelligent WiFi will improve the share of WiFi to devices throughout the home.

Connect App (Software – iOS/Apple or Android)

Virgin Media are accompanying the above change by introducing a free Smartphone “Connect App“, which they say will “allow customers to take complete control of their in-home WiFi with optimisation features, house scan and blackspot detection, parental control, personal network for guests and in-app customer support.”

Through the app customers will be able to test the strength of their WiFi from room-to-room, which will also detect any blackspots in the home; manage devices that are connected to a home network; pause devices – handy when the children are up past their bedtime – and access in-app customer support to help resolve any problems.

WiFi Boosters (Hardware)

No WiFi system today would be complete without the ISP also offering a range of plug-in “boosters” (extenders or repeaters). Customers will have the option of ordering one of these through the Connect App (i.e. after performing the scan feature and when a blackspot has been detected) and doing so will add +£3 to your monthly broadband bill (plus £2 after that for any additional boosters).

However those who take Virgin Media’s top Full House and VIP bundles with TV can get them included at no extra cost. A booster may also be installed at the point of broadband installation should an engineer believe one to be required.

We did also ask Virgin to clarify the specs for these devices, which are actually Powerline supporting Boosters with WiFi. One Booster is connected to the Hub via an Ethernet cable. This is then “paired” over Powerline with another Booster, which acts as the WiFi access point. The WiFi Booster is then placed in or near to the room with the WiFi issue.

The technology on each is dual band concurrent WiFi 5 (802.11ac) with MIMO (both 2.4GHz and 5GHz each have two transmit, two receive antennae [2T2R]) and each has a Gigabit Ethernet port. Virgin are able to push firmware upgrades to their Boosters, so they can continue to develop and optimise their features and interoperability with future network and equipment.

Virgin Media notes that “in-home problems are a key driver of calls” to their support department and they believe that 90% of the issues could have been resolved “without the customer having to get in contact,” which hints at another reason why these features are so important to the operator (i.e. reducing support costs)

The operator claims to have already trained their engineers and installation teams on Intelligent WiFi meaning that, when visiting a customer’s home, they can make the most of these new features (i.e. identifying and correcting for problems, without leaving it all up to end-users further down the road).

Richard Sinclair MBE, VM Executive Director of Connectivity, said:

“Delivering ultrafast broadband to help make Britain faster is what we do best at Virgin Media, but making sure this translates into reliable in-home connectivity is just as important. Intelligent WiFi will allow our customers to make the most of their broadband while also helping to easily overcome any connectivity conundrums around the home.

With families using more devices than ever before, it’s vital they can all be online whenever needed. Whether it’s streaming UHD movies on Netflix, playing the latest games online or video conferencing, Intelligent WiFi has your back.”

The enhancements represent a welcome improvement, particularly since the Hub 3.0 has been struggling a bit with issues of WiFi and latency performance since it was first launched. On the other hand it’s worth remembering that some of Virgin’s rivals already offer, or will soon offer, similar features and so do many of the latest third-party routers.

A clever end-user will already know how to setup their home network in order to minimise problems on the WiFi side (see our – WiFi Tips Guide) but not everybody is comfortable with doing that. Similarly some consumers will often wrongfully attribute WiFi problems to the broadband side of their internet connection. Those in this boat will no doubt benefit more than most from simplified ways of improving WiFi.

Hopefully all of these new features will also be supported by Virgin Media’s future Hub 4.0 router (Gigabit Connect Box), which we’d expect to launch sometime this year alongside the roll-out of their first DOCSIS 3.1 supporting services. The Hub 4.0 is likely to support even faster WiFi speeds than the Hub 3.0.

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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
50 Responses
  1. karn says:

    Great news, good to see another of the big players offering wifi boosters.

    In before the predictable hub 3 is rubbish and powerline is terrible responses also 🙂 Place bets for those to appear from around 8am onward.

    1. Marty says:

      Well you can blindly defend them all you like but it makes no difference to hardware flaws within the hub. No amount of software will cure that. Unless better hardware is deployed into the wild.

  2. Spurple says:

    As long as they continue to make it possible and easy for knowledgeable people to opt out of their gear (via modem mode), I’m mostly happy.

    1. Tom F says:

      Really? Happy to have to spend a not inconsiderable amount of money on a separate router because the Virgin one is not fit for purpose?
      And their support people are frankly laughable. Pay someone a reasonable amount and train them properly so they can provide an acceptable level of support.
      And don’t get me started on the cowboys who ran the cable…..

  3. Phil says:

    Repeaters tend to slow throughput down to extend range (as you need a dedicated air link from the repeater to access point), so are not really the answer, and just make interference worse for neighbours, who then need repeaters and it’s worse for someone else……

    People need to treat Wi-Fi as a permanent utility and get a separate access point installed centrally on the ceiling, they can blend in like a smoke alarm and there should be no reason why a centrally mounted decent access point high up on the ceiling can’t provide whole house coverage (for most sized houses) whilst beaming as little through a wall to the neighbours as possible. We did this and even get 5GHz in every room upstairs and down with no problem in our fairly well sized 4 bed house.

    People will think nothing of paying for a satellite dish or new aerial to be installed and having cable running around the outside of their property to every room, but think they can stick a Wi-Fi point in any random location in the house and it should work everywhere they want it. The cost of buying these go-faster antenna strewn plastic Wi-Fi boxes or mesh network devices probably exceeds the cost of getting a professional access point installed, which is made all the more easier now we have power of Ethernet readily supported, and for a lot of people it can be a DIY job.

    1. Steve says:

      “People need to treat Wi-Fi as a permanent utility and get a separate access point installed centrally on the ceiling”
      Sorry but that’s utter rubbish. In an office environment ceiling mounted APs are fine but in a residential environment you can often get away with 1 modem/router (or 1 router + modem) provided the hardware used is high end with decent spec wifi radios – which usually excludes ISP supplied tat. My Netgear R7800 gives me full wifi coverage on my 300 Mbps FTTP line (i live in a 4 bedroom home) and there’s no way on earth I would go around sticking hardware on my ceilings.

      Of course if your home has thick walls and/or is very large then even the best router in the world won’t magically give you wifi everywhere, hence you should go for a wifi mesh system such as the Netgear Orbi or BT’s own mesh system which isn’t bad for the money. But to suggest EVERYONE starts using ceiling mounted AP’s is just absurd considering wifi technology changes every few years and replacing ceiling mounted hardware would leave difficult to remove marks.

    2. Steve says:

      As for cost:

      Ubiquiti UAP-AC-HD 4×4 access point = £265
      Netgear R7800 4×4 router = £160

    3. Phil says:

      Hi @Steve

      The Netgear R7800 will be using Wi-Fi chips identical to those in many other routers and due to strict rules will be transmitting at the same power levels. Its wrong to believe you somehow get more coverage from these access points and ignores the very obvious, as you are only changing one side of the game. Your other devices don’t magically start transmitting their signals back any better because you’ve changed your Wi-Fi access point, unless you can change the position of the receiving antenna. The R7800 is just a go faster car of Wi-Fi access points, its all show, those antenna just contain a bit of stripped off co-ax, often only at the base with the tops completely hollow, but of course the bigger the antenna look the more people end up buying it. It’s like when mobile phones years ago started using internal antenna which were miles better when etched on the circuit board (you can design something a lot more elaborate on a circuit board), but because the consumer didn’t understand this, they put on a fake antenna you could pull up!

      I’ve been through many access points over the years and yes sometimes you get lucky and one works better than another, but usually it’s only because the radiated pattern favours your house and router location.

      As for the cost, we installed a Zyxel NWA1123-AC which cost £74.00, and the build quality is suburb, really is set it and forget it. The performance exceeded anything else we had tried (where that was just on a shelf downstairs near the phone socket which is typical for most people) and not too hard to install. The hardest part is just getting the network cable up into the roof but for most DIYers not that hard. Now the network cable is installed we can change out the Wi-Fi point when new standards emerge and our other devices have also caught up to those new standards. Many people pay a lot of money for these so called faster access points but they have no devices that actually support it. Our access point is central in the house, next door isn’t getting 50% of our signal, it is high up, this means the signal travels mostly vertical between devices, so up through hollow ceilings rather than horizontal through brick walls (we have breeze block walls downstairs), and when did you see any transmitter mounted in a low position, they are always elevated. 5GHz became available and usable across the whole house as well.

      By the time most people have signed up to an ISP, paid in some cases for their recommended router, found the Wi-Fi signal is poor, bought another expensive one to replace it, still don’t see much improvement, tried another one with bigger antennas, then buy some new mesh type Wi-Fi system that is in vogue now, they would have been better off getting something more professional installed.

      The best bit, when friends visit and stay they are always surprised they get full signal all over the house and ask where the access points are and what we use before moaning about their own Wi-Fi coverage at home, so I usually suggest they try and find it. No one spots our access point on the ceiling. Needless to say we have friends following are lead and it’s solved all their coverage problems as well. Usually the partner or both is happier for getting rid of an ugly plastic box with sticky up bits 🙂

    4. Steve says:

      “The Netgear R7800 will be using Wi-Fi chips identical to those in many other routers and due to strict rules will be transmitting at the same power levels. Its wrong to believe you somehow get more coverage from these access points and ignores the very obvious, as you are only changing one side of the game.”
      Sorry but you’re wrong (again). Just like a car with a more powerful engine costs & performs better than lower spec/price engines, the same applies to routers. This is despite being allowed to drive no more than 70 Mph on public roads. The cheaper (eg ISP supplied) routers often use the cheaper mass produced Mediatek wifi chipsets, which are only 2×2 mostly.

      Whereas the high end standalone routers are typically 4×4 stream, use the high end Broadcom or Qualcomm wifi radios which support features such beamforming, Mu-Mimo, 1024 QAM modulation and crucially, allow the higher powered (1 watt) DFS channels on the 5ghz band – which are perfectly legal in Blighty. These features cannot alter the laws of physics (eg if you have thick walls) but provided you have the right wifi clients, they can make a huge difference to the wifi performance. EVERYTHING in our home runs over wifi, even the 3 VOIP lines run over a wifi connection with a Cisco ATA connected to a wifi>RJ45 converter as the ATAs are RJ45 only.

      I respectfully suggest you read in-depth router reviews on smallnetbuilder.com to gain a better understanding of router hardware/features as you clearly think all routers are the same- which they’re not.

    5. mike says:

      You can get a Ubiquiti nanoHD for less than £150 which is also 4×4

    6. Steve says:

      Yes nanoHD is 4×4 but it uses inferior QCA radios versus the Netgear R7800 & full sized UAP-HD as the max rates on 2.4ghz band are only 300 Mbps whilst the HD supports up to 800 Mbps. Hence why the nanoHD is cheaper/smaller than the regular UAP-HD

      UAP-HD: 800 & 1733 Mbps on 2.4 & 5ghz
      Netgear R7800: 800 & 1733 Mbps on 2.4 & 5ghz
      nanoHD: 300 & 1733 Mbps on 2.4 & 5ghz


    7. mike says:

      It’s pointless as unless you live in the countryside 2.4GHz will be too congested to get those speeds

  4. Phil says:

    Hi @Steve

    “But to suggest EVERYONE starts using ceiling mounted AP’s is just absurd considering wifi technology changes every few years and replacing ceiling mounted hardware would leave difficult to remove marks.”

    Of course it doesn’t leave marks, you could swap it with one from the same manufacturer which in many cases will have the same mounting bracket, twist off, twist on. No more difficult than changing a battery in a smoke alarm. If you need to replace the mounting bracket, then as all the these ceiling access points are of a similar size, any new old mounting holes are covered over.

    You seem to be a bit behind the times 🙂 Many new build homes are coming with Ethernet cable installed all over and little network cupboards for routers and switches and FTTP ONTs. Many people if rewiring their own homes are also putting in Ethernet cables (we already had Ethernet cable into the lounge for TV boxes etc). Going the next step and having a ceiling access point makes perfect sense.

    1. Steve says:

      So you think folks should use the same brand of access point forever? Folks should choose hardware based on SPECIFICATION rather than brand name.

      As for wired v wireless, I totally agree with you that wired is always better. However 802.11ac wireless technology has improved massively in recent years so provided the environmental conditions are right – which of course they won’t be for everybody – and also the right hardware is used on both end, then wifi performance can sometimes be very, very good. As an example, my desktop PC with an Asus PCE-AC88U wifi card (4×4) connects at ~ 2 Gbps to our router (link rate) and whilst actual throughput is nowhere near that, its around 1 Gbps which is 1GbE wired performance.

    2. Martin says:

      @ Steve. In my house we have 3 Ubiquity APs two inside and one in the outer shed which is basically just another room for me. I just love having my own rom in the back garden. It’s big spacious and the stuff. But the important thing here is that all of the networking in in that outside room and then I am runing an fibre cable into the house. into a switch and each room has 3 EP in the wall, and 1 in the ceiling on the groudfloor hall and one on the upper floor hall. On one hand you’re right you should buy hardware acording to specifications however you should never buy from some chinese never heard of before brand because it’s cheap like my parents did before i shut everything down and spend 500 on Ubiquiti gear. Especially in my house we have over 20 devices anything from smart tv to smartphone. Now to this VirginMedia thing; it’s good but majority of us have dedicated hardware purchased and the only people that will even use the VM hardware as WiFi AP are older people who don’t know any better or have literally one device in the house. ALso VM should be giving us these packages independently. I don’t know if I can get this v.vip 500Mb package without the TV stuff but 99 a month for the first year and 135 afterwards is too damn expensive expecially when you can get 1Gbps for like 36a month for first year and 62 a month afterwards. Twice the speed for half the price if you’re lucky enough to live in an lucky area. Me I live in Rugby and specifically in my location the fastest is VM if I don’t use VM then BT, Sky, EE and few others i contacted can giev me upto 72Mbps. So I have to pay for VM stupid expensive bullshit until someone shots them from their throne.

    3. Martin says:

      @Steve. Also as much as WiFI improved over the years it’s still crap.

  5. Toby Adams says:

    What is the firmware version number that includes these features?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Good question Toby, I forgot to ask that. I’ll find out now and update above once I have the answer.

    2. Mark says:

      Hmmm a good question…

      Currently on Software version: 9.1.1802.610

      That being said, nothing is jumping off the page to say about any specific support.
      I would say though that by default, on the last firmware and this one, that it scans for congestion and changes channels all on it’s own.

      My own findings are that the channel changing has given me and others poor speeds on WiFi. Now I have turned this “feature” off, I now get 7MB’s+ on 2.4GHz (was ~2MB’s before)

      There could be another firmware they push to you once you make an order, as they can control which hubs get updates.

  6. Meadmodj says:

    Is this not a step backwards? Software that should have been in the router from the start and Powerline 13 amp socket WIFI extenders. Hardly the mesh solutions provided by others in the UK.

    My recommendation is still ceiling APs (commercial grade PoE units). Most lofts are accessible and my experience is that one on the landing ceiling with a small hole for the Cat6. Modern houses have voids to box in sewer pipes or other services. If not a simple cable up the side of the house as you would for an aerial/dish. Can be less than £100 in materials and is a far more effective long term solution. If cabling is simply too difficult buy a mesh independent of your ISP and turn the router WIFI off.

    1. alan says:

      “My recommendation is still ceiling APs (commercial grade PoE units). Most lofts are accessible and my experience is that one on the landing ceiling with a small hole for the Cat6. Modern houses have voids to box in sewer pipes or other services. If not a simple cable up the side of the house as you would for an aerial/dish.”

      If you are going to do that you may as well shove another router or a switch on the end of that CAT6 cable rather than some silly wifi expander/booster/mesh device.

    2. Meadmodj says:

      Too many WIFI devices and Smart Phones on WIFI-Calling. Fixed devices cabled.
      “commercial grade” equals good quality, reliable, PoE and better control.

    3. Laurence 'GreenReaper' Parry says:

      Powerline can work well. Not always, but with more recent protocols it’s a good option, probably better and cheaper than mesh, and if it has passthrough it doesn’t even use up an extra plug.

  7. Phil says:

    Hi @Steve

    “So you think folks should use the same brand of access point forever? Folks should choose hardware based on SPECIFICATION rather than brand name.”

    Of course not and I didn’t say that but you have the option for easy upgrade and a lot of people are brand loyal if they’ve had a good experience. It’s two screw holes in the ceiling to fix a Wi-Fi access point, just like a smoke alarm and people replace those every so many years or are suppose to! Houses I’ve moved into are like tea-bags with the number of things that have been screwed into walls and ceilings during their lifetime, you just filler, sand, and paint and they’ve gone, most people don’t give it a second thought. Besides, even if you get a different brand and the screw holes have different spacing, you’d only need to re-drill one of them and the spare one is covered up by the unit anyway.

    Perhaps you think these are fixed in some strange way, but they are just like smoke alarms in how they attach.

    “However 802.11ac wireless technology has improved massively in recent years so provided the environmental conditions are right”

    If it’s improved that much then why are we here having this conversation? This post is about trying to extend and make more reliable the existing Wi-Fi we have now with dubious marketing claims about AI etc. Yes Wi-Fi speeds have improved from version to version, but not the reach, you just get a bit faster at the edges but the edges are still there because physically the transmitted power is not being increased, what blocked it in 1995 blocks it in 2019. Things will be better with Wi-Fi 6, but generally the same issues will apply. The best place for the transmitter and receiver antenna are central to the area you want it and high up. The exact reason they invented ceiling mounted access points in the first place and why they are the perfect solution in the home, rather than dotting about repeaters in every room. For the vast majority of UK homes, a centrally mounted ceiling access point would resolve all Wi-Fi range issues, it’s cleaner, only one Wi-Fi access point device using power, is much more reliable, and makes 5GHz feasible as well given the high up central vantage point.

    At the moment Wi-Fi is being used to gain customers, BT got told off for advertising their Wi-Fi was more powerful for example. Virgin want you to join them for their super powerful artificial intelligence Wi-Fi router, its all 99% marketing rubbish.

    1. Steve says:

      “because physically the transmitted power is not being increased,”
      Really? So you’ve not heard of 1w DFS 5ghz wifi channels then, which exist on many high end routers and not on el-cheapo routers? To be clear, standard (common) 2.4ghz & 5ghz wifi channels operate around 200mW in power due to legal restrictions, however in recent years, the higher powered DFS 5ghz channels have been introduced which operate on 1000mW power which greatly increase the wifi power – these are perfectly legal channels in UK but the router can automatically switch away from these if it detects radar channel conflict. As most people live away from airports/airfields this won’t be an issue for most. Of course increasing the radio wifi power alone gives no guarantee of better wifi range but it sure can make a huge difference, eg living in a very congested wifi environment such as MDU where every man & his dog will be using the standard (common) 2.4/5ghz channels.

      Don’t get me wrong, ceiling mounted Access Points definitely have a place but I would argue they are more suited in a commercial environment rather than a home environment. For far less money, you can get a wifi solution just as good if not better but without screwing into your ceiling. It would be madness to suggest people buy a Unbiquiti 4×4 Access Point for £265 (on top of modem costs) when a same 4×4 router costing around half that will do the trick just as well – provided its not enclosed in a TV cabinet. My router certainly isn’t in a central location in the home, however its not in a cabinet or next to other electrical equipment and performs superbly. Does it look great? No. Do i care? No. Does it perform well? Absolutely.

      Its clear you base your wifi AP/router choice mainly on aesthetics, I get that I really do. But some of us prefer to look under the hood of hardware, a bit like buying a Miele washing machine: it won’t be very attractive to look at say compared to a sexy Hotpoint model but it will perform far better despite having a washing drum and some buttons.

  8. Jim Bailey says:

    Why are you quoting the Ubiquiti UAP-AC-HD 4×4 access point = £265? That is hardly a home AP but a high end device for professional use supporting 500+ clients with a 4×4 MIMO. An AC-Lite is available for around £70 and is much more suitable for home use. Or a AC-PRO if you need the extra grunt, which most people don’t.

    1. Steve says:

      “Why are you quoting the Ubiquiti UAP-AC-HD 4×4 access point = £265?”
      Because the highest wifi performance in a router or access point will be based on that hardware using 4×4 radios so its only fair to quote the highest spec Ubquiti 4×4 AP with the Netgear R7800. Otherwise its like comparing apples v oranges.

    2. mike says:

      You’re still comparing apples to oranges as that isn’t even Netgear’s fastest router. They have models going up to £450.

    3. Steve says:

      Actually according to the tests done on SNB the R7800 is the fastest 4×4 router for 2.4ghz & 5gh wifi. Yes, Netgear do sell “better” routers costing > £400, such as the R9000 and XR700 but these are expensive primarily due to a third 801.11ad band (useless to 99% of users as its very short range) and advanced functions such as a Plex Server which again your typical user won’t care about. The 2.4ghz & 5ghz wifi performance on the R9000 & the XR700 is more or less the same as the R7800 as they use similar (if not the same) QCA radios.

  9. Phil says:

    Hi @Steve

    “Sorry but you’re wrong (again). Just like a car with a more powerful engine costs & performs better than lower spec/price engines, the same applies to routers. This is despite being allowed to drive no more than 70 Mph on public roads. The cheaper (eg ISP supplied) routers often use the cheaper mass produced Mediatek wifi chipsets, which are only 2×2 mostly.”

    These aren’t cars though, they don’t have a more powerful engine as they are restricted by laws to how much transmit power they can use and have to pass FCC certification etc. It’s like buying your super fast car, yes it looks fantastic, but fitted with a speed limiter and is only going as fast as everyone else.

    What Wi-Fi chips are your devices using? You keep forgetting it takes 2 to tango on Wi-Fi. Everything is cheap and mass produced for Wi-Fi access points, granted the firmware could be naff, and I’m not suggesting buying the cheapest access point either. As for 2×2 or 4×4, again for most people their devices aren’t supporting that anyway, plus 4×4 is going to work a whole lot better in a ceiling access point with space all around it and a nice high up position.

    What I’m pointing out is by the time some people have got full house coverage using repeaters, newer so called better access points, powerline adapters etc, they would be better off having a single ceiling access point installed. Most people get their satellite dish installed by an export, a burglar alarm installed by a professional. Their dishwasher and cookers installed by someone, yet buy a Wi-Fi access point/router, stick on the floor next to the BT socket and wonder why they can’t a signal very well a few rooms away.

    1. Steve says:

      Wrt radio power, see my earlier comment wrt DFS channels – which are perfectly legal in UK.

      What Wi-Fi chips are your devices using?
      With the exception of my Skybell wifi doorbell (802.11n), everything is on 802.11ac wifi. All speedtests on all devices over wifi give > 250 Mbps anywhere in the home. I also have a 4×4 wifi card (Asus PCE-AC88) installed on my work desktop upstairs which gives 1GbE like wired performance. Do I live in a wifi friendly laboratory? No. Its just a standard 4 bedroom detached home with thin walls – built around 2008.

  10. Phil says:

    Hi @Steve

    With all due respect this isn’t about you 🙂 This is about people struggling with whole house coverage (not you, you aren’t having any issues) that might be tempted by Virgin media or similar with promises of artificial intelligence in their Wi-Fi router suddenly resolving all problems. It will not.

    If someone finds they still need to add some sort of repeater or mesh system to get Wi-Fi over their house, then the better solution is to think about line of site, and think about centrally locating their transmitter/receiver (aka access point). Its going to be cheaper than mesh kits and repeaters and a lot more reliable to get a ceiling access point. I suspect the vast majority of people have no idea how it would improve things and how simple it is to do, or have done. The likes of BT and Virgin aren’t going to tell them because the are trying to gain customers with AI in their routers.

    I have brick walls downstairs, they all do where I live, a lot of people will live in older houses with solid internal brick walls. Your house is fine, it’s paper thin as you say, but those of us with some sort of solid internal walls can’t knock them down (nor would we want to) in order to get Wi-Fi across the living space.

    A ceiling mounted access point would be the better solution for anyone struggling with coverage in their home, your not as you have said, so this doesn’t apply to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not applicable to someone else.

    1. Steve says:

      Fair do’s. Sorry if I went off topic.

  11. Phil says:

    Hi @Steve

    No problem, it’s good to have a discussion about it for anyone passing by. It just frustrates me that ISPs are now using their “branded” Wi-Fi as a way to attract customers which is nothing more than snake oil really. If Wi-Fi coverage is a problem in someones home, it needs a more concrete change than just changing the “brand” of the router.

  12. Bs says:

    Probably so they can charge as much as they want

  13. zer0byte says:

    Nice debate, but can someone just provide feedback on the new update?

    1. zer0byte says:

      I couldn’t resist testing this myself, but found zero improvements when compared to my Ubiquity AC Pro with default settings.
      So more advanced it may be, but perhaps if used with the extenders @ £3 a month.
      Would love to hear otherwise…

  14. Richard Moore says:

    Most non tech savvy callers would approach VM support staff talking about WiFi issues when they really mean broadband bandwidth issues, which are common on VM networks. You never get what you pay for with VM as they are in a permanent state of upgrade to accommodate new customers. It suits the VM support staff perfectly to pass off callers by blaming the home WiFi environment, saying they are not responsible. My point is, the statistics VM talk about is probably inaccurate, and I doubt if they could find cheaper support engineers based on the ones I have spoken to.

  15. Martin says:

    Funny enough our hub 3.0 started to drop some of the connected devices around the time of the the upgrade, so I’m just wondering if this “intelligent” move was not to push boosters for £3 a month with most likely a 12 month contract extension?

    1. F says:

      indeed! I noted exactly the same thing!

  16. scooby71 says:

    I’ve had my update, and now I want it removed or I’m leaving VM.

    Every time my network media player goes into standby it loses the connection to my network shares piped from my NAS so I’m forced to browse for my shares all over again.

    In essence because my device goes into standby the router, intelligently enough, cuts of network bandwidth to my network media player to assign it somewhere else.

    Clearly VM haven’t considered people with home entertainment networks because the last big Hub3 update reduced the routers capacity to allow digital audio to pass through unfiltered so my media player also suffers from very low volume levels when playing movie/music files.

    I might have only been getting 50mb with BT instead of the VM 200mb but at least the BT fibre and equipment had no detrimental impact on my set up.

  17. Neil says:

    I live in a terraced house and only half the house gets the wifi from my Hub3, no amount of software adjustment will make any difference. What I have noticed through Wifi monitor apps is the extra transmission by Virgin Media for their wifi hotspots which sits at the same channel as my own wifi. It is completely pointless and likely interferes with my own Wifi connections. Their only solution is for me to pay extra for the inadequacies of their wifi router by getting a booster. They should supply this for free given my monthly bill.

  18. Paul says:

    Worth noting that while there may be advantages with the new intelligent wireless you get with the hub 3.0, it does mean that some old extenders won’t work with it. I have a Netgear AC1200 which is 3 years old, and was fine with the previous virgin hub. According to Virgin technical support, the Netgear extender will now need reconfiguration. They will do this if I take on their premium support but at a cost of £20 upfront (and £5 a month thereafter, which I could cancel), it does appear a lot for resolving this issue. The premium service does offer other benefits, but it doesn’t feel like Virgin are necessarily acting in the interests of their customers with at least some aspects of this change.

  19. mike says:

    why is my hard wire keep going f–king off

  20. scooby71 says:

    This is all very good for all you wifi nerds out there but clearly Virgin haven’t thought a damn about people who use a NAS or other type of multimedia network system.

    Ever since this “intelligent wifi” update my NAS is repeatedly kicked off the network (shares or share routes cannot be found errors) and my Netgear Arlo wireless cctv cameras are also regularly affected by loss of connection.

    Don’t anyone suggest static ip addresses and all that malarky, I know what I’m doing.

    The problem is this pure and simple, the Superhub is now deciding that when it isn’t receiving a demand for connection (like a camera triggered or a movie streaming) it is re-directing network resources to the devices that are demanding.

    So if I pause a movie playing from my NAS to have dinner I then come back to find my movie stopped and my connection to my shared folder on my NAS gone and I have to re-establish my shares again.

    I have had Virgin’s broadband specialist engineer offering me a Superhub 2ac as he agrees that my issues are not of my creation but rather the SH3’s inability to understand network attached storage after the update.

    What a joke this SH3 is and the updates are even worse.

  21. mike says:

    MY hub 3 for the past 12 weeks my net would just drop off the box would reset week after week virgin did nothing till i was on the phone Wednesday night and the box went of but this time didn’t come back on him on phone said right your box is fu-ked we will send u a new one it be with you friday ,its now friday 420pm NO BOX AS IT KNEW IT WOULD NOT TURN UP .
    ————————————–WERE IS MY BOX

  22. Chris P says:

    There seems to be a vast bank of knowledge here. Come someone ease suggest an easy solution to my issue.

    I have virgin hub 3.0 box in the living room on the ground floor.

    I have a 5 bed house. Coverage is poor on the far side of the house on both GF and FF but ok vertically to the 2nd floor. Would the Virgin booster would for me?

  23. Peter says:

    Please don’t mention VIRGIN, at one time I would swear by them, NOW I will swear at them. TOTALLY USELESS and full of Bullshit. They are not interested in your coments and concerns but they are interested in taking your money and ripping you off. They should get their act together and put the customer first and do all they can to fix any problem no matter how small or large it is.Their WI_FI is totally inadequate and now their excuse is to introduce the new Smart Hub. Just try and get one. NO CHANCE.
    Virgin are CRAP.

  24. Sandy Merry says:

    How long does to upgrade take? My internet connection has been flashing for hours now?

  25. Billy Foster says:

    Ever since this update came through i have nothing but problems with wi fi having to keep closing and reconnecting devices laptop, mobiles on my phone at least a dozen times a day told do not guarantee wi fi, or there is problem with your model of phone doesn’t cover the fact laptop also drops out!!!

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