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mysterious new cabinet?

reflec

Casual Member
This small green box appeared about 20m from my house a few months back. Virgin are the only FTTP provider in my area (i believe), so wondered if this could be a potential upgrade to XGS-PON based FTTP? I'm in Berkhamsted, quite close to Hemel (mentioned here).

(That said I'm with a very reliable BT FTTC service and jumping to Virgin could be a... gamble)

20230710_0842432.jpg
 
I'm actually kind of curious how Virgin's actual 'full-fibre' performs. Their coax network was sort of held back with the limitations on channels and upload that come with DOCSIS. I wonder if their network is actually highly reliable now they're moving across to full fibre.
 
This small green box appeared about 20m from my house a few months back. Virgin are the only FTTP provider in my area (i believe), so wondered if this could be a potential upgrade to XGS-PON based FTTP? I'm in Berkhamsted, quite close to Hemel (mentioned here).

(That said I'm with a very reliable BT FTTC service and jumping to Virgin could be a... gamble)

View attachment 7231
Yes, that's exactly what that is. It's a distribution cabinet for customers to connect to. There'll be a duct between it and the chamber in front of the existing cabinet.
 
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thanks.. that's positive i guess! am I right to think its completely unknown if/when/whether i can get that service? Virgin site doesn't seem to offer anything that looks "special".
 
thanks.. that's positive i guess! am I right to think its completely unknown if/when/whether i can get that service? Virgin site doesn't seem to offer anything that looks "special".
And having to deal with Virgin "customer service" can be difficult.
 
I would be interested to know whether/how you can tell from the virgin website whether what you're being sold is HFoC, RFoG or FTTP/XGS-PON
 
I would be interested to know whether/how you can tell from the virgin website whether what you're being sold is HFoC, RFoG or FTTP/XGS-PON
I think if its XGS-PON the hub image is a hub 5 and if it’s any other product it shows a hub3/4 but I may be wrong on that part.
 
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Humm, so I have the new local VM cabinets as per the pic above. The image I get when reviewing VMs lovely expensive broadband is a Hub3/4 on anything below a gig, but on a gig I get this ...

Screenshot_2023-07-10-17-41-40-599-edit_com.android.chrome.jpg


And

Screenshot_2023-07-10-17-42-30-139-edit_com.android.chrome.jpg


"Hardware images are for illustrative purposes only..."
 
Quite a while to go between cabinet going in and service being available. You can tell but it does involve using the developer menu on your browser.
 
That's definitely a Virgin box - the ones locally have similarly formatted code numbers painted on them like that.

I'm also able to get "Gig1", but as far as I'm aware there's been no upgrades to the network into houses here and it's still delivered over coaxial cable rather than actual FTTP.
 
And having to deal with Virgin "customer service" can be difficult.
this 10000000000%
For me with Nexfibre, I'd be patient with what you have until another provider starts using their network. There's a risk a small player might actually have decent support. The other half is on her 4th call now for a house move, Move went fine - installer was great. They've screwed billing, recontracted, and more than doubled the price. If you want anything fixing you need to go through to retentions in my experience as they have the ability to actually do stuff.

I wonder if their network is actually highly reliable now they're moving across to full fibre.
In my experience they have issues throughout their network not just last mile to you. I'm on an FTTP line that VM took over and in general the best opinion I could give the connection is "meh". You can max the line out on certain services (like Steam). Youtube will auto select potato quality if you don't pre-set it and Spotify is laggy vs mobile let alone a "proper" provider.

edit: my opinion also includes it feels like VM don't understand you're paying them to use the service. They treat you like they're doing you a massive favour by allowing you onto their network. How dare you be upset they decided to push router upgrades out at 2pm?

Virgin are the only FTTP provider in my area (i believe),

(That said I'm with a very reliable BT FTTC service and jumping to Virgin could be a... gamble)
bidb.uk will give you an idea of works being done over the next few weeks and what's available without running around.
 
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I'm wondering if this is a fwnetworks.co.uk installation.
There are loads of "[FW]"; "[F+W]" and "[FNW]" marks spray painted adjacent to utilities chambers along Cross Oak Road area in Berkhamsted.
 
You can max the line out on certain services (like Steam). Youtube will auto select potato quality if you don't pre-set it and Spotify is laggy vs mobile let alone a "proper" provider.
This was very much my experience when I was with VM about 5 years ago.

The connection speed was excellent but then the reality of actually using it was very different, similar issues where some things would be inexplicably slow. Plus there was that whole Puma chipset thing which didn't help.
 
hey great advice thanks all! I ran by another of the now-less-mysterous green boxes where the side panel had fallen off. It looks empty inside (just a metal rack) - which made me wonder if they just installed empty boxes and its pending any real work.

Seems there is really some hope though:

I'm wondering if this is a fwnetworks.co.uk installation.
There are loads of "[FW]"; "[F+W]" and "[FNW]" marks spray painted adjacent to utilities chambers along Cross Oak Road area in Berkhamsted.
Their website states "Our full fibre network will be coming to your area soon".. this seems alot better than BT FTTP which says "no plans for your area".

And nice suggestion to check: https://bidb.uk/ .. it appears to confirm something is going on with FW as you said:

"Fibre & Wireless Networks
24/07/2023, 00:00:00 - 26/07/2023, 00:00:00
Status: Granted
Reference: C8009BER-C1-SJ25712-02"

What ever granted means .. but its in 11 days time! (edit: although could just be installed more empty green boxes for fun)

My BT contracts ends in 22 days, so I think will resist getting into another 2 year contract at least.
 
https://www.virginmedia.com/broadband/existing-customer-deals/hub says only the Hub 5x supports XGS-PON. Plus i assume the upload and download speed would be symmetric.
I bumped into an engineer in the street meddling with one of the new VM fibre cabinets and asked what the state of the local infra was and he said he was doing one of the final stages of testing but as usual couldn't say when anything would be ready to order.

So I am not certain that the images of the hubs do help to tell if virgins full fibre is available but this is what my order page shows in a not quite ready for service area.

Screenshot_2023-07-14-07-35-38-462-edit_com.android.chrome.jpg
Screenshot_2023-07-14-07-35-05-690-edit_com.android.chrome.jpg
 
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In Berko as well. What I know -

1. I've been on Virgin for 5 years since I got here. Did have about one full week a year downtime initially (never bothered me that much as I had 4G as backup for that purpose), but past couple of years they've been pretty solid bar the odd few hours. On 1gig via volt. Pretty much never slows down, I use at a guess 2TB a month. I've got the fabric hub that they gave me when I went from 500 with volt. Tests at 1100/110 on a 2.5G network (hub is modem mode)
2. Funnily enough ... About a month ago the latency improved a lot - saturday night now, on wifi and it's showing 12ms on fast.com. I'd not tied that to the new cabinets.
3. We were on the plan for Netomia (YouFibre), I was a bit annoyed when that disappeared a few months back
4. Hey!Broadband (via F&W) are building, first I knew was people pulling fibre up the Kings road but assumed it was for the new stuff at the top until I saw them do the other side of the road too. They are using the oprenreach ducts (you'll see the white F&W painted next to the existing BT grates), i've ordered on a pre-order deal, but it looks like it's a tentative thing that is cancellable. 900/900 for ÂŁ40 without the Virgin renewal dance would be great
5. Openreach/F&W and one other i've forgotten have been live in Hemel for a good while now.

There's some Virgin work booked on my street (near Cross Oak/Grahamesdyke) next weekend ... i'd pondered if that was F&W using the Virgin ducting for the last bit (Openreach is on poles tangled in the trees), but sounds like it might actually be virgin pulling fibre, especially as F&W have not installed anything other than cables so far.

My Virgin contract is up in a few weeks, so i'll be holding tight until it all settles.
 
In Berko as well. What I know -

1. I've been on Virgin for 5 years since I got here. Did have about one full week a year downtime initially (never bothered me that much as I had 4G as backup for that purpose), but past couple of years they've been pretty solid bar the odd few hours. On 1gig via volt. Pretty much never slows down, I use at a guess 2TB a month. I've got the fabric hub that they gave me when I went from 500 with volt. Tests at 1100/110 on a 2.5G network (hub is modem mode)
2. Funnily enough ... About a month ago the latency improved a lot - saturday night now, on wifi and it's showing 12ms on fast.com. I'd not tied that to the new cabinets.
3. We were on the plan for Netomia (YouFibre), I was a bit annoyed when that disappeared a few months back
4. Hey!Broadband (via F&W) are building, first I knew was people pulling fibre up the Kings road but assumed it was for the new stuff at the top until I saw them do the other side of the road too. They are using the oprenreach ducts (you'll see the white F&W painted next to the existing BT grates), i've ordered on a pre-order deal, but it looks like it's a tentative thing that is cancellable. 900/900 for ÂŁ40 without the Virgin renewal dance would be great
5. Openreach/F&W and one other i've forgotten have been live in Hemel for a good while now.

There's some Virgin work booked on my street (near Cross Oak/Grahamesdyke) next weekend ... i'd pondered if that was F&W using the Virgin ducting for the last bit (Openreach is on poles tangled in the trees), but sounds like it might actually be virgin pulling fibre, especially as F&W have not installed anything other than cables so far.

My Virgin contract is up in a few weeks, so i'll be holding tight until it all settles.
This is pure speculation but through a thread I started we figured out that VM is not losing customers only due to the fact that they are constantly expanding their network both FTTP and non-FTTP. In other words they are actually losing customers in old coverage areas and gaining some new ones on some new areas which leaves them in a net positive. This would in turn suggest that their traffic is being spread more evenly in their network which is probably why there are suffering less contention issues and latency has improved.

Below is my VM broadband monitor. Last year I would have certainly seen the max and avg spike on Saturday night, as people sit down to watch streaming services, game, etc. Thoughout the week I am also seeing less spikes. May be it's the summer but I doubt it, I seem to remember seeing the same spikes last summer too.

85706517ff49e1d2447baf7245088d6f46d43051.png
 
Is there anyway to tell if the 1Gig/1130Mbps package is either DOCSIS or XGS-PON? I assume they would tell you somewhere on the website when its available. According to ISPreview news I'm in one of the first areas to be able to order it soon at the end of the year, and can already order the DOCSIS version :unsure:
 
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