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Broadband ISP Virgin Media O2 UK to Launch HUB 5 Router UPDATE4

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021 (8:08 am) - Score 47,376
Virgin Media O2 UK Hub 5 Router

Some customers on Virgin Media’s UK (VMO2) ultrafast broadband packages appear to have been given a surprise this week after they were offered the chance to upgrade their older DOCSIS routers to a Hub 5 “at no extra cost“, which is a previously unknown model that supports WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and WPA3 encryption.

Until today, the best router you could get on Virgin Media’s platform was their relatively recent HUB 4.0 (TG3492LG-VMB / Gigabit Connect Box) device (details), which launched in 2019 to support their new 1Gbps broadband tier (some customers on slower packages have also been able to take it – here) and was thus their only router with DOCSIS 3.1 support.

Suffice to say, we weren’t expected a new model (HUB 5) to launch quite so soon after the HUB 4 and seemingly without any prior warning (we haven’t yet heard of any large trials). Nevertheless, one of Virgin Media’s customers on their Community Forum recently received an email inviting them to claim one of the new devices “at no extra cost,” which was soon followed by two more reports on Cable Forum.

All the customers contacted so far appeared to be on VM’s older packages (e.g. 50Mbps to 200Mbps) with the HUB 3 router. The associated invite page includes very little detail and makes no mention of any trials or this being a beta product (highly unusual). But it does confirm WiFi 6 (802.11ax) support and improved security (WPA3 encryption is a given).

VMO2’s HUB 5 Message

Hub 5, our first powered by new WiFi 6 technology, handles a houseful of gadgets like never-before. All you have to do to get one for no extra cost is: Confirm your details below

Powerful home WiFi
Virgin Media is home to the UK’s fastest widely available broadband. And the more speed your Hub gets, the more your WiFi can do.

Strong signal for everyone at home
Small but powerful, our Hubs are made to handle our ultrafast broadband speeds and deliver WiFi to where you need it.

Built-in security
All our latest Hubs come with encryption and the latest security features as standard. So you won’t have to worry about someone hacking or stealing your WiFi.

Fancy trading in your old one for a new Hub 5?
Get your order in below (costs you nothing extra) and choose when you’d like the Hub 5 delivered. When it arrives, just send back the old one in the same pre-paid box.

The physical design of the new router is very similar to that of the ARRIS SVG2482AC, but the specs are too different and may be closer to the ARRIS TG6441 (CommScope). We are currently trying to get more details and are awaiting a response from VMO2. More updates to follow.

UPDATE 8:10am

A credible source informs us that the HUB 5 also has a 2.5Gbps LAN port(s), which would make sense if they intend to launch a 2Gbps package in the not too distant future (here). But so far their 2.2Gbps trials have only made use of the HUB 4.

UPDATE 11:25am

We’ve had no response from VMO2 yet, but it doesn’t seem as if any of the operator’s front-line staff are aware of the Hub 5 (not too surprising as they’re often the last to know – necessary to limit leaks). As above, our own sources within VMO2 have confirmed that the Hub 5 does exist and the limited specs are indeed as stated, but none of them were expecting it to be made available yet either (i.e. the emails took them by surprise too).

We’re starting to think the customer emails may have been issued incorrectly, but if so then they do at least give us a sneak peek of what is to come. We’ll update again once VMO2 responds.

UPDATE 12:29pm

A spokesperson for VMO2 has confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that the HUB 5 is indeed “coming,” but more details won’t be released until tomorrow. We will of course update this article once that happens.

UPDATE 5:47pm

Virgin seems to have removed (or made private) the original customer thread on their forum and without giving a clear explanation, which seems a bit pointless now that the details are out in the public domain. We’re expecting somewhat of a pre-pilot launch for the Hub 5 to be unveiled tomorrow.

UPDATE 20th Oct 2021

The new Hub 5 router has been announced (here).

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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.
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47 Responses
  1. David Wheatley says:

    Just as I shifted to Gig1 and was excited to get the “new” Hub 4…

    I do find the fact that there have been no trials quite surprising, unless maybe this is the trial, of course.

    1. David sobis says:

      No thanks I just cancelled virgin a month ago won’t be going back as 5g and 6g home broadband is the future plug and play. .

    2. Winston Smith says:

      It does appear to effectively be a trial.

      It’s slightly odd to give hubs with 2.5GbE ports to customers on anything less than Gig1. Maybe these are people who are saturating their WiFi connections and have WiFi 6 capable devices (assuming VM’s telemetry can tell them that.)

    3. David Wheatley says:

      I don’t *think* VM’s telemetry can see what the capability of devices are, but it might be possible that you’re right with the usage-related suggestion.

  2. Jon says:

    Damn. I’m getting my Hub 4 in 3 weeks to go with Gig1.

    I wonder if these have Puma or another CPU in them…

    1. Rich says:

      Previously they have rebranded and reboxed Arris Touchstone devices. If this is what they have done again, then this could well be a TG9452 – seems the most likely upgrade path.

      This would provide 1×2.5GbE port, 802.11ax wifi, and most excitingly, a BCM3390 SoC rather than the intel puma trash of the hub 3 + 4.

    2. Rich says:

      https://fccid.io/UIDTG9452/Internal-Photos/Internal-Photos-4682482.pdf

      This is the internal of the TG9452, it looks like it could fit in the hub5 form factor to me.

    3. Jon says:

      Yes – the 9452 is the most likely as it is one of only a handful with the above-mentioned features PLUS the VoIP ports.

      Fingers crossed (both that it is this, and that I can somehow manage to get one instead of the Hub 4 that I’m due on the 6th!).

    4. Mark Jackson says:

      The TG9452 is sold for the North American market, not the EMEA, so I’m not yet convinced they’d use that as their basis (this is why I mentioned the TG6441 instead). But specs wise, it’s a fair guess.

  3. Adam says:

    Pretty annoying as I only recently paid £35 to upgrade to a Hub4 for Gig1.

    What’s the point in offering this to customers on 50mb or 200mb packages? Some Gig1 customers would actually get an extra 100Mbps or so out of this with the right equipment.

    1. anonymous says:

      @Adam, it’s easy. The management haven’t a clue what they are doing.

      The 1GB customers should have been first as they are only ones using DocSIS 3.1 which the modem clearly supports and would want the faster WIFI speeds to support 1GB if using the router! Currently, 1Gb customers are not getting the full whack because of LAN ports being “1GB” (less overheads) on the HUB4 (unless they bond LAN ports to a router that can do this).

      (I am NOT a 1GB customer).

  4. Jon says:

    If this was a beta

    1. It would be a private invite or application process via their community forums asking for beta testers.

    2. You definitely sign a NDA agreement and your given very basic information on the hub 5.

    3. Carry out whatever they ask you from speed tests and range and give feedback and any issues efficiently.

    So my thoughts here is the beta test for this hub 5 has all been done in house and for employees only

  5. Randy says:

    Smart move on the 2.5Gb port. No more of that stupid balance-rr rubbish in order to get full bandwidth over ethernet cable.

    1. Adam says:

      A smart move if they actually let Gig1 customers upgrade to it anytime soon…

    2. Randy says:

      yeah true. They’ll no doubt only let new customers have one, and everyone on hub 4 will be left there for quite some time i’d imagine. Although they did run a program to let hub 3 owners upgrade for free, not sure if they still do that or not.

    3. drevilbob says:

      I see them allowing 1Gig customers being upgraded and the Hub 4 being the replacement for the hub 3 as it’s getting long in the tooth

    4. Laurence 'GreenReaper' Parry says:

      They were still doing the free upgrades to the Hub 4 two months ago; we got one. Unfortunately while the UI is somewhat faster, it didn’t help the big weakness, Wi-Fi range. Hope this will.

      2.5GbE port(s) are also a very nice to have, and makes it feasible to offer >1GbE without tons of support requests asking why people aren’t getting what they paid for – though they may find many servers stuck at 1GbE as well.

    5. drevilbob says:

      I would love the 2.5Gbit port for my plume wifi 6 pods would be nice to get 1.1Gbits over wifi

  6. drevilbob says:

    I could see this as a preparation for opening the network for wholesale as well because the Hub 4 is utter crap and they wouldn’t to action a modem for the network.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      ISPs on their future wholesale platform won’t be tied to the same router choice as VM themselves make, but still awaiting final details on how they’ll handle everything.

    2. anonymous says:

      Has nothing to do with wholesale access. Wholesale access is unlikely to happen before going fully FTTP instead of Hybrid Coax as the DocSIS kit is closed source in UK and only provided by VM. They are unlikely to open up to anyone else providing cable modems.

      The “future” FTTP network (not the current VM FTTP RFoG networks) wouldn’t use the Hub 5 as they would use something more general (like PPOE) and would be an ethernet to your ONT at the wall socket rather than coax F plug. The 2 networks will be separate. If TV is still offered on the new network then its likely to be IPTV/streaming style rather than DVB-C.

      I guess selling a 1GB service with the fact that the Hub4 can’t actually do 1GB speeds because of overhead has made them think. BT don’t market as 1GB for example because they are in same boat as smarthub 2 only has 1GB LAN ports (less as overheads) so they typically use 900mbps. VM prob could get away with saying “950” service with HUB4 at best. There are ways round the download speed limitation on Hub4 by using aggregated LAN ports to another router that supports this but its not exactly out of the box for joe public…

    3. Winston Smith says:

      @anonymous The Hub 4 can definitely do over 1 GB speeds as it has four 1GbE ports and WiFi. You can actually get around 946 Mbps from a single port.

  7. Martyn Reed says:

    I want one now !!!

  8. Phil Rogers says:

    This has got to be one of the most leak-free of a new product launch!

    I got the email yesterday afternoon and clicked through and filled in my details, submitted then wondered if it was a phishing email after googling ‘virgin hub 5’ – but checked the links and it’s definitely VM

    I went for the first available day, and it’s being delivered on Monday by Yodel (so hopefully in one piece…) – and apparently is just a case of swapping out the existing one (Hub 3) and putting the new one in.

    I’ve had lots of random reboots recently, most likely from lots of usage, so wonder if I’ve been targeted as someone who would benefit from it.

    Not a VM employee/beta tester or anything – so looks like it is a real thing, but to a very limited audience.

    If I remember I’ll pop back on here next Monday with feedback!

    1. Rob says:

      I hope I get one then as my connection seems to go off every other day for no apparent reason.

    2. Phil Rogers says:

      Yeah mine would reboot several times a day for no reason, though that calmed down a bit after ‘planned work’ late last week.

      Never really had the time to get round to figuring out what was happening before calling them, so hopefully the Hub 5 is more reliable…luckily there’s a Three 5G mast at the end of the road so just switched to that when Virgin failed!

  9. Gordon says:

    Well just had my thread on the VM Community Forums either locked or deleted, but in typical VM Forums style no one has bothered to PM me to tell me this, it’s just gone.

    I knew there was a reason I stayed away from them unless I really needed to.

  10. stuart says:

    I cancelled virgin media, hated the service they provided, Internet has been up and down CONSTANTLY for the last few years, and hasn’t been any different no matter where I lived previously. I also had the 1gig service and gaming and downloads were certainly never always consistent at all (probably that puma chip).

    Now, they are releasing a hub 5 which means the hub 4 had problems which I expected because, it ran too hot, it slowed down after days of use, it had a very buggy router UI. WiFi was also buggy as anything.

    I am with Vodafone (cityfibre) on 900/900 symmetrical line and it has to be the most consistent Internet I have ever used, never had any slowdowns during peak times (not too sure if that is temporary due to it being new) and the speed tests have been pretty much the same with either 1 or 2 ping and between 0-1 jitter.

    So yeah, I think no matter what speed increase virgin brings on board here, they will never match true FTTP on price nor with consistency.

    1. Peter Smith says:

      I wished I could get City fibre, sounds pretty good especially for gaming but unfortunately a lot of us can only get VM and feel lucky to have that. There are no other isp in my area only through the phone line, tried that not even 1meg so I’m on the 1gig hub 4, no other choice

    2. Matt says:

      I have to admit when I 1st set it up my phone wouldn’t even play nice with it but it was propley my phone as it has been dropped a few times other than that the only complains I have of hub 4 is WiFi yet again I feel thay do this on perpose to push thows WiFi pods which also suck as thay add unnecessary lantncy to you WiFi connection but run hot did u bye any change put it in an enclosed space or small space you do relize that tech needs to breath right coz it dose not run hot your telling fibs to make them look bad but I also agree I’m pissed thay are launching the hub 5 just arfter I get the hub 4 Iv waited 1 2 years for

    3. Matt says:

      Well no shit now you just sound dumb of course full fiber is better as light can’t be interfered with like copper can well virgin are upgrading the entire network to full fiber soooo but if someone elz lays it 1st hear I will jump ship

  11. Malcolm says:

    ISP supplied routers are traditionally awful, If be surprised if the 5 was any different

  12. Jim says:

    Virgin have fantastic speeds to their Hubs but from there trying to get a decent signal strength more than ten feet away is a challenge. I have three boosters around the house just to be able to get a reasonable signal to access the Internet. No point in Virgin upgrading their Hubs if they can’t provide signal coverage over an average house.

  13. Ackers says:

    Instead complaining about hub witch is free get your own hub resolved all the Wi-Fi issues and the speed is perfect

    1. Kane says:

      Why should the customer have to pay more for good WiFi? To get a router that provides a good signal in every room of your home without using any separate WiFi extenders is going to cost about 200 quid and there’s no guarantee its going to fix the issue. That’s a big risk for someone to take.

    2. Peter says:

      Because they are a internet service provider and not a managed network provider

    3. Ackers says:

      That’s correct Wi-Fi is your issue not isp they don’t no what in your walls ceilings and how big the house is

    4. Matt says:

      Free your joking thay charge you for the delivery so it’s not free also there kit if so inferior anyway it just ends up in modem mode anyway

  14. Neil Johnston says:

    I just been put on the new hub 4 yesterday so why don’t i get email been on hub 3 for 4 years why VM so ONLY NEW CUSTOMERS THEY CARE ABOUT IS MORE MONEY NOT SPEEDS AS IM GETTING 350 SPEED WITH A HUB 4 REALLY VM AND WONT COME FIX PROBLEM AS THEY CLEARLY IS

  15. Daniel Phagoo says:

    Please send me the new Hub 5

  16. Rich Branston says:

    Please oh please let this finally be the reliable upgrade from a Super Hub 2ac. I use my own ASUS router but still never trusted the SH3 or SH4 not to drop packets or otherwise increase latency vs the 2ac in modem mode.

    If I can use the AX WiFi on this reliably (got a mixture of AX and AC capable stuff) I might even drop the ASUS and save some electricity. If the power supply 13amp plug is less deep and beastly sized than the 2ac’s, better still.

  17. Matt says:

    I just got the f ING hub 4 and had to get the 1 gig for it but alas it will be put into modem mode like the rest

  18. Christopher Hartley says:

    Please could I be considered to recieve the hub 5.

    Thank you.

  19. Malcolm McKinney-Brooks says:

    I would love one. Because we get a lot of Buffering on phone and tablets

  20. Phil Rogers says:

    OK it’s arrived.

    On the bottom it has: HUB 5/Model: F3896LG-VMB and made by Sagemcom but nothing obvious about that on the internet.

    Not going to have time this afternoon to swap it out (claims up to 30 minutes to activate) so will leave it until the morning so at least there’s a whole day to deal with problems.

  21. Mr Kevin Robins says:

    Yes I would be great full thank you as soon as possible please thank you

  22. Mr Kevin Robins says:

    That would be great

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