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Virgin Media UK to Extend Hub 4 Broadband Router Availability

Monday, January 27th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 82,504
virgin_media_hub4_official

Credible sources have informed us that cable broadband ISP Virgin Media will soon start to expand the availability of their new HUB 4.0 (ARRIS TG3492LG-VMB) router outside of the new 1Gbps DOCSIS 3.1 areas, which we understand is intended to help tackle “hotspots” (i.e. areas where local lines are being heavily used).

As present if you want to have one of the new HUB 4.0 (aka – Liberty Global Gigabit Connect Box) routers then you need to be both living within one of Virgin Media’s new DOCSIS 3.1 network areas and be taking the operator’s latest 1104Mbps (Gig1Fibre) package (currently live around Southampton, Greater Manchester and Reading). The new 1Gbps DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade is expected to reach their whole network by 2021 (here).

However we’ve long expected that the more powerful HUB 4.0, which is also backwards compatible with their old network, might eventually be made available to those on the operator’s existing slower packages and possibly also the old EuroDOCSIS 3.0 platform. The vast majority of VM’s broadband subscribers are still on this platform but the best they can get is a HUB 3.0 (ARRIS TG2492S/CE), which isn’t hugely popular due to past bugs.

Nevertheless just before Christmas we, acting on a tip off, asked the operator whether the HUB 4.0 might become available to more than their 1Gbps subscribers and were told no.. or at least, not yet.

A Virgin Media Spokesperson told ISPreview (Dec 2019):

“We’re always looking at how we can give our customers access to our latest equipment, but presently there are no plans for distributing the HUB 4.0 router more widely.”

Since then we’ve continued to dig for information and several normally credible sources now appear to be saying the same thing. Apparently the plan is to roll-out the HUB 4.0 into areas where lines are being heavily used, which is intended to remove some of the pressure.

We believe the reason for this is because the HUB 4.0 can bond 32 channels together, while the HUB 3.0 can only do 24. As such this means that the HUB 4.0 can also be harnessed by those on slower packages to deliver an improvement, provided the operator supports the bonding change in those locations. We believe they may only do this on slower (100 – 500Mbps) packages in DOCSIS 3.1 areas but it could also occur in EuroDOCSIS 3.0 ones.

Sadly there’s no solid indication of precisely which areas will be targeted or how the HUB 4.0s will be distributed to customers (e.g. as a free general distribution – likely to be too expensive – or something more specific, such as only for new customers or those with faults / complaints).

In the meantime we know of quite a few HUB 3.0 owners who would happily upgrade to the HUB 4.0 if they could on their existing package or by re-contracting. Some would even be willing to pay.

Leave a Comment
40 Responses
  1. Avatar CarlT

    Be a great use of the spare 3.1 capacity.

    VM have always tried to use newer kit to relieve pressure from older platforms.

    3.0 channels were used to relieve the 1.0 network. 3.1 for relief of the 3.0 as there’s lots of capacity there doing not much and offloading some heavy users to very underused 3.1 capacity for the cost of a few modems makes more sense than node splits or adding yet more 3.0 channels.

    VM pay for the 3.1 capacity per MHz. Bad business playing all that for one or two customers to use while the 3.0 network is under duress.

    Good move, as long as they don’t let the usual suspects in retentions hand them out for fun because customers fancy new shiny kit.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      Makes sense to utilise what is already in the ground/cabinet if it improves the customer experience.

    • Avatar A

      @CarIT, Retentions can no longer send our equipment & has been like that a few weeks into Virgin enforcing the Auto Compensation & such. Only faults can do that now

    • Avatar Jeff Witt

      I have tried to get an upgrade in speed, but they Virgin say I have to have their TV package to. That’s a disgrace I don’t want the TV just the broadband.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Virgin aren’t obliged to sell you anything. You aren’t entitled to a 500 Mb product a la carte.

      The 500 is available only as part of the package with the TV, phone and mobile. Annoying as this may be it’s not disgraceful in any way.

      If you aren’t happy go elsewhere.

  2. Avatar Spoffle

    Unfortunately they’re still using Puma chipsets in their hardware, which discounts VM as an ISP until they provide non-Puma hardware.

  3. Avatar Wiggles

    Hub 4 can deffo do 3.0 mine was doing it for over a month in Southampton after a failed in hours network upgrade, it would cap out at about 900 down but the usual peak time utilisation would kick in.

    Strange that back on 3.1 that does not happen, no utilisation at all.

  4. Avatar Jeremy

    I’d be willing to pay a couple of pounds a month for a decent hub from Virhin

  5. Avatar Adam

    They need to get on with this. You can’t even get their 500mb service without taking everything else.

    Light years behind the rest of the world.

  6. Avatar Martin Doyle

    Am on the 500Mbps and it works ok some time it gets a little slow at the weekends in this area definitely the hub is needing upgraded soon it’s the hold back on the line our area has available 36 Downstream channels & 5 Upstream channels available but restricted to 24 on the downstream side. It’s just a awaiting game now until 3.1 & hub 4 is available for us.

    I have been on the hub now for nearly 5 years am ready for a upgrade.

  7. Avatar Jay powell

    Disappointing I’m on 350mpbs in Telford not fast enough especially digital downloads on PS4 and Xbox one x and ps5 Xbox series

    The£ 99 vip package 500 mpbs service Is a waste of money

    Virgin media are taking the **** out of us 350mpbs users who refuse to pay £99 a month for tv sim telephone broadband

    I’m still waiting for 500 mpbs as a stand-alone

    • Avatar Stuart Parr

      I rarely have a problem in Brookside on 350mbit. The SH3 is rubbish but the connection is ok. Even at peak times I will often get close to maximum speed although it does sometimes drop down to around 100mbit. Brookside is highly contended as well.

    • Avatar Matt

      You’re better off using the hub 3 as a modem only and buying a separate router. Hub is useless for distributing WiFi signal.

  8. Avatar Jordan

    Does the hub 4 have a faster reboot time? Hub 3 takes so long to reboot its insane

  9. Avatar Toby Adams

    It must only be a matter of time until the Hub 4 becomes the default offering. Maintaining two units must be costly in the long term and also, this allows customers to upgrade more easily.

    • Avatar CarlT

      A matter of time, sure, but for now the cost of the 4 relative to the 3 is prohibitive for a mass swap-out.

  10. Avatar James

    I have a hub 4 on the gig1 service… Hub is good however out of the 32 channels only 30 are actually used. Channel 1 never has any data pass over it and channel 0 is unsupported… It will help but not a huge amount

    • Avatar CarlT

      You’ve 32 channels of DoCSIS 3.0. The hub displays things weirdly and incorrectly. For whatever reason they don’t see fit to show you the OFDM block where the 3.1 data is and mess up the stats on another couple of channels.

    • Avatar James

      Intresting thanks Carl

  11. Avatar Aaron

    Be nice if they finally replaced the terrible Hitron Business hub!

  12. Avatar Mark Crawshaw

    Would be better to just provide modem only. One of the main reasons in won’t use VM cable

  13. Avatar VENZ ROMERO

    amazing!
    can connect 4 WAN PORT + 2 DSL.
    I LOVE IT!!!

  14. Avatar Leon

    Great and all but ffs virgin media can you please for the love of god be available on my street as its been 5 years begging for this.

  15. Avatar Stuart Parr

    Have they fixed the bug with Samsung smart TVs curving a restart of the WiFi that’s present in the SH3 and SH3?

  16. Avatar Dave

    But is the wifi signal from the hub still limited to arms length. Had so many repeated in the house it was madness and made me switch to sky as they would guarantee it in every room

  17. Avatar DB

    I have the HUB 4, straight into modem mode it went after many connectivity problems with online services. Purrs like a kitten now 🙂

  18. Avatar Stuart Halliday

    Have Virgin fixed the port forwarding bug yet on their VM HUB3?

    Currrently for it to work, the rules need to be entered in low port numbers to higher values.

  19. Avatar Rachel

    New Superhub 4 500mph speed good better maybe next superhub 5 not yet waiting for seeing from Virgin Media than Digital Cable jobs somewhere building.

  20. Avatar Jason Lee Hayes

    Was a Virgin Customer; very good service
    Especially TV package however constant DHCP issues on router forced me tether my phone to get internet. Now a BT customer with much slower broadband speed but it works all the time every time. I would rather have reliability than speed which is now what I have. BT Youview box is abit naff compared to Virgin and whom ever designed that youview box remote needs to find another job..

  21. Avatar bob

    I’ve still got a Notsosuperhub 1 in Modem mode, all the Superhubs are Cr*p only usable in Modem mode!

  22. Avatar richard chamberlain

    I just want my fire stick not to buffer

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