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Virgin Media UK Launch Plume Powered Intelligent WiFi Plus

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 11,376

Broadband ISP Virgin Media UK has today launched a new service called Intelligent Wi-Fi Plus, which combines improvements to the firmware of their HUB 3.0 and 4.0 routers with Plume‘s smart home Mesh WiFi system in order to deliver improved wireless connectivity around your home. Some customers will get this “at no extra cost“.

Virgin’s original Intelligent Wi-Fi service first launched in 2019 (here), which combined router software improvements (e.g. channel optimisation, band steering and airtime fairness etc.) with optional Mesh WiFi boosters and a new Smartphone App. Last year this was followed by a special discount on Plume‘s own smart home Mesh WiFi pods (here).

NOTE: Pictured – the black Hub 3/4 routers and one of Plume’s grey mesh WiFi pods.

By the looks of it the new Intelligent WiFi Plus service includes various firmware optimisations for the original service (e.g. further improvements to channel optimisation) and has also been more closely integrated with Plume’s hardware (the Plume pods being used for this service is the same as last year’s, but the software/firmware inside has been upgrade – v9.1.1912.304).

Together, this technology will transform in-home WiFi by combining faster speeds with more reliable connectivity, giving customers WiFi speeds up to three times faster in more locations in the home … In-home WiFi coverage is extended through the creation of a cloud-controlled ‘mesh’ network which constantly adapts and evolves,” said the operator.

Features of Intelligent WiFi Plus

Firmware (HUB 3 and 4)

— Channel optimisation 2.0: More channels have been included into the existing channel optimisation technology, which is designed to keep gadgets out of WiFi traffic jams. With more 5GHz channels available, mostly used by newer devices, Intelligent WiFi Plus will reduce WiFi traffic delays even further by finding quieter channels for devices to use.

–Adaptive band steering: This improvement analyses WiFi use continuously and adapts device connections to help make sure that they are on the right WiFi frequency at the right time. This helps to ensure in-home WiFi is optimised with all gadgets able to perform at their very best.

— In-home roaming: This slick new feature makes the most of the new Intelligent WiFi Pods to predict which WiFi Pod or Hub is best for a device to connect to. It uses WiFi signal strength around the home and determines how busy things are at certain times of day to choose the best point of access for each connection.

Plume’s Pods (Mesh)

The super-smart Intelligent WiFi Plus service includes new Intelligent WiFi Pods, which pack in next-level mesh WiFi technology to create a connectivity bubble that covers the whole home – including those hard-to-reach broadband blackspots.

The WiFi Pods are also designed to reduce the impact of neighbouring WiFi networks by automatically changing settings to stop interference. Upon sign up, a WiFi Pod will be sent in the post and doesn’t require an engineer visit to set up.

The WiFi Pods can be simply placed between a strong-signal spot and low-signal spot in a home and will automatically build a mesh network to bring faster speeds to more rooms in the house. They can also be unplugged and moved to any location in the home, hassle free.

Connect App

Customers can use this app to test the strength of their WiFi in each room; manage devices connected to their home network; pause devices – handy when the children are up past their bedtime – and access in-app customer support to help resolve any issues.

As usual there are a few key points to note. Firstly, all Virgin Media customers with Hub 3 or Hub 4 routers will be able to benefit from the new Intelligent WiFi features, which have been rolled out at no extra cost. Secondly, the Connect App currently only works with the Hub 3, but the operator has said that owners of their new Hub 4 (i.e. mostly those on their gigabit broadband plan – Gig1) will “gain access later this year.”

All Ultimate Oomph and Gig1 customers can add this service “at no extra cost“, while all other customers must optionally upgrade to Intelligent WiFi Plus for £5 per month. Such customers will be eligible for up to 3 WiFi Pods (repeaters) if they continue to experience WiFi issues in the home.

Jeff Dodds, COO of Virgin Media, said:

“Intelligent WiFi Plus is our most advanced and impressive WiFi service to date that will help remove broadband blackspots and bring faster and more reliable speeds throughout the home. Whether our customers are working, streaming, browsing, playing or keeping connected online, the combo of new Hub features and WiFi Pods provides a step change in connectivity that won’t let you down.”

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.

Indeed, anything that improves WiFi is usually welcome, although the more tech-savvy users will often prefer to buy their own Mesh kit rather than become tied to an additional monthly fee, which could cost you more in the long run. On the other hand, Virgin’s system is backed up by related support if things go wrong.

Leave a Comment
35 Responses
  1. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

    What’s the speed guarantee ?

    1. Avatar Alan Mcewan says:

      There is no speed garuntee over wifi,

    2. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

      BT and Sky offer wifi speed guarantee.

    3. Avatar Alan Mcewan says:

      hT Stay Fast Guarantee refers to the speed from the network to your BT Hub. It doesn’t cover the speed you receive from the Hub to devices in your home

    4. Avatar Lewis Taylor says:

      Incorrect, Sky’s Broadband Boost guarentees a 3 or 5Mbps WiFi link between your device and hub. BT with their Complete WiFi covering will guarentee 30Mbps WiFi connection between devices and hub.

      If it falls below this they will provider a repeater or discount you the cost per month.

    5. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

      Cheers Lewis

    6. Avatar JCB says:

      I wouldnt call BT’s a wifi guarantee as such – in that they say “we guarantee wifi in every room or your money back” Errr!

    7. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

      JCB – Please see the terms attached.

      Complete Wi-Fi guarantee:

      96% UK availability. BT sends additional discs to guarantee at least 10 Mbps in every room of your home. Sky send one additional disc and guarantee 3 Mbps or money back. No other provider offers a faster Wi-Fi Speed Guarantee than BT. To verify e-mail fibre@bt.com. We’ll send you up-to three discs to ensure a strong signal of at least 10Mbps in every room of your home. If you still can’t get a strong signal we’ll give you a one-off credit of £100 off your next BT bill. The guarantee only applies when your Smart Hub2 is connected to the internet and it does not cover broadband faults. For full terms see bt.com/legalstuff.

  2. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

    So looking at this in a bit more detail makes me think that Virgin has essentially updated its Intelligent Wifi within the Hub3 and this integrates the Plume service…

    Does this now mean my data is being shared with Plume regardless of having the services extenders.

    1. Avatar Aqx says:

      No, they’ve updated it with more stuff but the Plume will handle everything else. No information is shared if you don’t have the device.

    2. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

      I’m all ears.

      All I’ve notice is a decline in performance on the WiFi and a rise in average jitrer which suggests toe there’s additional resoircea being taken up on hub.

      The fact the hub no longer works on DFS channels is also an interesting addition with this update.

      Ooh and nearly forgot, the open source information has dissapeared from hub info link too.

      I’m starting to get tired of this nonesense now.

    3. Avatar JitteryPinger says:


      I’m all ears.

      All I’ve notice is a decline in performance on the WiFi and a rise in average jitter which suggests to me there’s additional resources being taken up on hub.

      The fact the hub no longer works on DFS channels is also an interesting addition with this update.

      Ooh and nearly forgot, the open source information has disappeared from hub info link too.

      I’m starting to get tired of Virgin messing with things and breaking them, I’ve only been using them as a main provider for 6 weeks and they’ve really started get on my ……

  3. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

    If only Virgin media itself was as intelligent as its router firmware……

  4. Avatar DaveD says:

    Plume is really decent, TalkTalk gifted me with some in one of their trials, must be years ago.. but it never seemed to grow any legs and get offered widely as a service.

  5. Avatar Richard Smales says:

    Plume hasn’t been integrated with the Virgin Hub – the setup instructions ask users to connect Plume with an ethernet cable so it’s effectively a standalone mesh system albeit Virgin is billing for it.

    This is a bit of a shame but probably a good thing given Virgin’s inability to get their Hubs working properly – let alone working properly with Mesh embedded.

    Reviews of the Plume solution suggest it’s pretty hit and miss.

    1. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

      Thanks for this info.

    2. Avatar Aqx says:

      The same kit offered by Virgin is £99 a year from Plume, you’re paying £60 over 12 months. That’s a substantial saving.

    3. Avatar Ben says:

      The instructions on the help site say you don’t have to connect via Ethernet:


      “Your WiFi Pod is ready to go straight out of the box – you’ll just need to plug it in roughly halfway between your Hub and where you are experiencing poor WiFi.”

    4. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

      Thanks for the sales pitch. It’s likely garbage is what I’m hearing.

    5. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

      I must say my hub 3 is showing signs that something is using more resources, and the fact that DFS has now stopped working is additional interesting issue.

  6. Avatar VM are bad says:

    Tried to order them today for my gig1 package and was told area fault causing my bad wifi… not a clue…

    1. Avatar Aqx says:

      Agents can’t book anything like boosters etc during outages. Need to wait until it’s fixed.

  7. Avatar Ryan Arbuckle says:

    Has anyone on Gig1 got this? Ive an old wifi extender which is useless

    1. Avatar Ryan Arbuckle says:

      I got a set coming Sat 🙂

    2. Avatar Peter says:

      Their 1Gig service isn’t worth it as you can’t make full use of the speeds with your own equipment.

    3. Avatar Ryan Arbuckle says:

      Isnt worth it? I get 950/55 all day 🙂 for £54 with phone. 🙂

  8. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

    Funny how the hub 3 no longer works with DFS channels, it doesntnevwm try to select them.

    Worked before the firmware update, I smell a rat.

  9. Avatar shaftandspanner says:

    What does Plume use for a backhaul to the hub to setup the mesh? Is this using existing wifi bandwidth, using a different frequency, or just a glorified powerline?

  10. Avatar everybody at ARC (Animal Rescue Cheshire) says:

    Are you offering free ISPs or not this is what we asked microsoft for. They NEVER GIVE US WHAT WE ASK FOR. thats why we are moving. Perhaps someone can tell us where to get a free ISP. Just an ISP. no TV,broadband orjunkmail.

  11. Avatar Paul Freeman says:

    What they fail to mention is that the Connect App does not work with the Intelligent Wifi pods. whenever your phone is connected to the pod (rather than the Hub 3.0) there is an error message stating “Please connect to your Hub or Wifi Booster – It looks like you are connected to your home network via an unrecognised access point. Please connect to a Hub or Wifi Booster to scan your home”.
    I am connected to the wifi-pod !!!!
    hugely frustrating when trying to find blackspots

    1. Avatar Joshua says:

      The wifi pods work under the network SSID of the Hub 3, so the connect app from what I know won’t typically recognize the pod as something external from your Hub 3.0, such as a wifi extender/repeater.

  12. Avatar Anthony says:

    If they are plug and play will they work with a 3rd party router on VM with their (not so) superhub in modem mode?

  13. Avatar David Eves says:

    How can I remove this upgrade? It has stopped my honeywell evohome central heating system from working.

  14. Avatar Richard Reeves says:

    After you plug in the wifi pod how do you know its connected to your vigin HUB 3 and not your neighbours ? using the Vigin APP connected wifi devices do not show a wifi pod is connected – is there a specific name as i cannot find any information from VIRGIN on this?

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