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Old 19th May 2017, 09:50   #1
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Virgin Media?

Virgin are currently in the process of digging trenches all around the area where I live and so their fibre products will be available to us all in the not-too-distant future. I don't know whether they'll offer some sort of signing up discount or not but I thought I would ask for some personal experiences of them. We currently have a phone line through the Post Office and FTTC through Timico at a total cost of about £45 / month. The broadband is unlimited with no throttling / shaping etc.

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Old 19th May 2017, 10:44   #2
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We went from BT to NTL & back 15 years ago, as they were expensive and inefficient.
We left BT about 3 years ago as the long promised (slated for 'next year' the last 2 times we renewed with BT...) fibre broadband never arrived.
We were on old copper, a long way from the exchange, getting about 2.5MB/s
BT vision needed re booting almost daily. What finished it for us was our friends a short distance away moved to BT fibre, which made the broadband better, but the BT Vision TV was just as unreliable.
We bought ourselves out of the contract (they wanted money for the hardware that we had paid for on renewal, so kept them!) and went to Virgin with a Tivo and and middle package and up to 25 Mb/s.

Broadband is a lot faster and more reliable, TV waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better and we've only had 2 or 3 short outages in that time.

So, overall, more good than bad. Not had to us the much maligned VM customer services, all the outages were listed online by looking on my phone.
The longest one was about 3 hours; the worst evening of the kids' lives almost (apparently) No Wifi? The world had ended

TL;DR Yes, good stuff overall
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Old 19th May 2017, 10:53   #3
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I've got Virgin, (because my choice is 100mb Virgin or 2-3mb ADSL). I'm happy with it it's unlimited but there definitely is some traffic management going on (not that it ever really causes me a problem) but only speedtest.net seems to regularly register my full 100mb connection.

Reliability wise it's been okay although we've had a few instances where it keeps dropping out for a day and then the engineer fixes the issue and its fine again, (I've never actually had to call the engineer by the time I notice the problem it's always already showing on the virgin website as a known fault).

Price wise it's not bad, especially if you don't want to pay for a phone line but they do keep creeping the cost up so after 12 months you need to call them and negotiate a better deal or you'll end up paying a fortune.

In short if your happy with the cost and performance you have I wouldn't be in a hurry to change but if your not go for it!

Only other thing I would say is you can't get a static public IP address which is a little annoying and I'd steer well clear of the TV, Sky is much better if your paying for premium channels and freeview\freesat is better if your not.
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Old 19th May 2017, 11:02   #4
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Virgin usually establishes a local sales team - when the time gets closer you'll no doubt get a friendly leaflet through your door with your local sales rep's picture on.

Talk to this guy, all my best Virgin discounts used to come through our local rep, he used to apply his staff discount to get the sale.

I've not been with Virgin for a few years due to the slew of good BB deals there's been recently, but the bottom line is you should be switching provider every year, just like your energy provider and your mortgage.
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Old 19th May 2017, 11:07   #5
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Hmm - interesting. The lack of a static IP would be an annoyance but probably one I could live with / get around. I probably wouldn't be wanting to use their TV services - we quit sky a year or two ago and haven't missed it at all. We currently get ~35mb so a speed bump would be nice but I certainly wouldn't want to be paying more than we currently do. We would probably want to keep a phone line too as it's useful for one or two things (although increasingly fewer things). It'll be interesting to see what comes through the door.
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Old 19th May 2017, 11:31   #6
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Virgin Business packages have static IPs and aren't vastly more expensive than the consumer broadband, and customer support is miles better (or at least sales support is) and fault response SLAs (response... not fix, sadly)

Does anyone happen to know if Virgin's business packages have a less aggressive traffic management policy?
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Old 19th May 2017, 12:49   #7
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If you don't have a lengthy powercut, chances are your IP will stay the same when your lease renews.

I managed to keep one IP for over a year... failing that, DYNDNS is your friend
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Old 19th May 2017, 13:00   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD View Post
If you don't have a lengthy powercut, chances are your IP will stay the same when your lease renews.

I managed to keep one IP for over a year... failing that, DYNDNS is your friend
Chances of never having to reboot your virgin router are about zero!!

That's the other thing with virgin, if you use there superhub in default mode expect to reboot it most days, if you use it in "modem mode" and use your own router it'll work just fine only requiring an occasional reboot!
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Old 19th May 2017, 13:03   #9
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But even after a reboot, you might have days left on the lease so it's only an issue if your router is off for the entire length of the DHCP lease.
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Old 19th May 2017, 13:41   #10
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Chances of never having to reboot your virgin router are about zero!!

That's the other thing with virgin, if you use there superhub in default mode expect to reboot it most days, if you use it in "modem mode" and use your own router it'll work just fine only requiring an occasional reboot!
I've had to reboot my Superhub maybe twice in the four years or so that I've had the current model. And that's in default mode, not modem mode.
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Old 19th May 2017, 13:43   #11
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But even after a reboot, you might have days left on the lease so it's only an issue if your router is off for the entire length of the DHCP lease.
I don't think that's how virgin assign IP addresses to domestic customers as I get a new IP every time I reboot the router.
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Old 19th May 2017, 13:57   #12
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I never used to have to reboot my superhub, now I have to do it around once a week. So far as I can tell, nothing has changed to cause this
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Old 19th May 2017, 13:59   #13
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Been on Virgin ever since they took over Telewest Blueyonder, can't say I have many complaints. You get the odd down time but really it's once in a blue moon and usually at like 2am or something. I've not had to call up customer services as usually any downtime info is stated on their webpage (mobile internet ftw).

On their 200Mb package ATM, boy is it fast, the speed usually sits around 230Mb. If there is an aggressive traffic management system, the speed is so fast I certainly don't notice it. Even the largest games/movies download in only a few minutes, and more often than not any P2P stuff I may use is limited by the number of seeders and their speeds vs mine.

So personally I've got no real reason not to recommend them. If not pushing for TV or a landline their pricing is good too.
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Old 19th May 2017, 14:05   #14
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The Business packages are simply that, a Business Package so you don't get any throttling of any kind as far as I am aware and generally will only cost a little more but you do get better customer services etc.

The only Traffic Management that is done is on the Upload which iirc is on weekdays from around 5pm to 11pm and then on weekends practically all day, and it will reduce your speed by around 50% on the Upload but that I believe is only on Residential connections and not Business connections.

I believe that the Business Connections have no traffic management on them because they are Business connections and as such will be used for both upload and download.

On my Residential connection I can download all day long and night long at full speed without issue, but uploading does get slowed down, on another connection that I cannot mention what type/speed it is I can download and upload with no issues.

The Superhub that you would get now on Residential is practically the same as you get on Business, it's just a different colour normally and to be honest the only difference is the software, but both of them are perfectly fine for both wireless and wired.

I have no issues with Wireless from the connection upstairs or the other connection, any where in the house and generally will still have a connection to my wireless when I go in to the back garden or round to my, grandads house 1 house down the street although it is weaker and generally easier to use 4G at his house or connect to his wi-fi.

To be honest if I was looking at getting a connection at the moment and wanted just the broadband I personally would be going for a Business connection, because it's faster and has more features that I might want over a Residential connection.

If Traffic Management is a issue you could always call the Business sales line and ask them about it, as they should be able to tell you but unless you are going to be uploading more than 2GB to 4GB or it's 2Gb to 4Gb of data every other hour then the traffic management on a residential connection shouldn't be an issue.


***Edit***

As for rebooting the Superhub, I have only had to reboot mine once since I got it that was required and that was when I got a upgrade in speed, other than that it has been rock solid and not required a reboot.

The only times I have rebooted it, is when I have unplugged everything due to moving stuff around and the last time that happened was about 3 months ago and since then it's been plugged it and has not been rebooted since.

As for Speedtest.net do not let it pick the server for you, change the server to one not hosted by Virgin Media as that will give a more realistic speed of what you get on your connection, since iirc Virgin were caught prioritising traffic to the Speedtest.net servers that they hosted but I don't know how true that is so take it with a pinch of salt but, I always choose Bournemouth or somewhere round there.
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Old 19th May 2017, 14:09   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maki role View Post
On their 200Mb package ATM, boy is it fast, the speed usually sits around 230Mb. If there is an aggressive traffic management system, the speed is so fast I certainly don't notice it.

So personally I've got no real reason not to recommend them. If not pushing for TV or a landline their pricing is good too.
There are two different 200Mbs packages, one with throttling and extra shite upload and another with no throttling and 20Mbs upload (which is still complete rubbish upload speed but at least a tiny fraction faster than what you get from openreach FTTC), so depends which one you are on.

Phone and broadband is actually cheaper than just broadband with VM.

Current prices on VM website:

100Mbs down / bugger all up + Phone = £32 a month
100Mbs down / bugger all up + No Phone = £32.25 a month
200 Mbs down / bugger all up + Phone = £37 a month
200 Mbs down / bugger all up + No Phone = £37.25 a month
200 Mbs down / 20 Mbs up + Phone = £42 a month
200 Mbs down / 20 Mbs up + No Phone = £42.25 a month

(prices for first 12 month, more after that in all cases)
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Old 19th May 2017, 14:16   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield View Post
There are two different 200Mbs packages, one with throttling and extra shite upload and another with no throttling and 20Mbs upload (which is still complete rubbish upload speed but at least a tiny fraction faster than what you get from openreach FTTC), so depends which one you are on.

Phone and broadband is actually cheaper than just broadband with VM.

Current prices on VM website:

100Mbs down / bugger all up + Phone = £32 a month
100Mbs down / bugger all up + No Phone = £32.25 a month
200 Mbs down / bugger all up + Phone = £37 a month
200 Mbs down / bugger all up + No Phone = £37.25 a month
200 Mbs down / 20 Mbs up + Phone = £42 a month
200 Mbs down / 20 Mbs up + No Phone = £42.25 a month

(prices for first 12 month, more after that in all cases)
The upload speeds are low because of the platform used currently and the cost of bandwidth on connections, on the links to other countries and around this country when connecting to another companies network.

To be honest there is no LEGIT need for more than 10Mbp/s to 20Mbp/s upload speed on a residential connection, unless you have a massive Youtube Channel in which case you will be earning enough to pay for a better connection.

I easily make do with 20Mbp/s Upload speeds, and before that 12Mbp/s and even with more than 10 people connected to my connection when family come round, I can still game and stream quite easily with no issues, whilst they all use the connection.


I don't work for VM anymore but I am hoping to be working for them again in the near future, and after my previous job with them I have abit more of a understanding as to why the speeds are what they are.

I know certain things and all I can say is that if VM were in the position to give faster upload speeds right now they probably would.
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Old 19th May 2017, 14:23   #17
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Currently on the 'gamer' 200mbit package (to avoid traffic shaping).
Pros:
- Fast, will generally actually achieve rated downstream speed if the remote host can supply it.

Cons:
- Support is execreble, as expected. Any outages and all you will get is basically "It's broke, we'll fix it at some point" until it's fixed, which can be anything from an hour or two to a few days.

- The 'Superhub' is a piece of utter garbage, and you cannot use anything else.
If you intend to use it as your actual router I hope you like pain. Enjoy any basic action taking around a minute to wait for the page to refresh (during which time your login will timeout, requiring you to log back in and start again. The login wait time can also be longer than the login timeout, leaving you stuck in a loop and unable to do anyhting). Enjoy the hub taking between 8 and 10 minutes to boot up from power off, and that if you try and log into the interface as soon as it is exposed it will get very confused and block you out until you have pwoer-cycled (boot hub, wait for interface to appear, then wait another 10 minutes to actually try logging in).
If you intend just to switch it to MODEM mode and use it as a dumb DOCSIS 3 MODEM, you will need to deal with the latency spike issue for several more months at the inside. VM's previous fix for another MODEM mode issue (total packet loss after a few days running) took over a year between initial confirmation they were working on a fix to that fix actually being deployed, so I wouldn't hold my breath.
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Old 19th May 2017, 14:39   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD View Post
If you don't have a lengthy powercut, chances are your IP will stay the same when your lease renews.

I managed to keep one IP for over a year... failing that, DYNDNS is your friend
DYNDNS was exactly the service I was looking into to get around the 'no static IP' problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sp! View Post
Chances of never having to reboot your virgin router are about zero!!

That's the other thing with virgin, if you use there superhub in default mode expect to reboot it most days, if you use it in "modem mode" and use your own router it'll work just fine only requiring an occasional reboot!
I would still want to use my AC68U and so I would definitely use their router in modem mode - good to know that's an option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maki role View Post
Been on Virgin ever since they took over Telewest Blueyonder, can't say I have many complaints. You get the odd down time but really it's once in a blue moon and usually at like 2am or something. I've not had to call up customer services as usually any downtime info is stated on their webpage (mobile internet ftw).

On their 200Mb package ATM, boy is it fast, the speed usually sits around 230Mb. If there is an aggressive traffic management system, the speed is so fast I certainly don't notice it. Even the largest games/movies download in only a few minutes, and more often than not any P2P stuff I may use is limited by the number of seeders and their speeds vs mine.

So personally I've got no real reason not to recommend them. If not pushing for TV or a landline their pricing is good too.
Good to know that if there is a traffic management system it's not all that noticeable

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield View Post
There are two different 200Mbs packages, one with throttling and extra shite upload and another with no throttling and 20Mbs upload (which is still complete rubbish upload speed but at least a tiny fraction faster than what you get from openreach FTTC), so depends which one you are on.

Phone and broadband is actually cheaper than just broadband with VM.

Current prices on VM website:

100Mbs down / bugger all up + Phone = £32 a month
100Mbs down / bugger all up + No Phone = £32.25 a month
200 Mbs down / bugger all up + Phone = £37 a month
200 Mbs down / bugger all up + No Phone = £37.25 a month
200 Mbs down / 20 Mbs up + Phone = £42 a month
200 Mbs down / 20 Mbs up + No Phone = £42.25 a month

(prices for first 12 month, more after that in all cases)
The 200Mbs down / 20Mbs up + phone would definitely be the package I went for based on that - it'd save us ~£3 per month but would give us about 5x faster downloads and 3x faster uploads
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Old 19th May 2017, 14:41   #19
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Originally Posted by edzieba View Post
If you intend just to switch it to MODEM mode and use it as a dumb DOCSIS 3 MODEM, you will need to deal with the latency spike issue for several more months at the inside. VM's previous fix for another MODEM mode issue (total packet loss after a few days running) took over a year between initial confirmation they were working on a fix to that fix actually being deployed, so I wouldn't hold my breath.


How can you blame VM for a issue that is out of there hands and is caused by the hardware made by Intel?

Quote from the article

Quote:
Big spikes in latency, even if only occurring for a moment, are no good for response time sensitive Internet applications like fast paced multiplayer video / computer gaming. At the time Intel said they were “aware of an issue with the Puma 6 system-on-chip software that impacts latency and are working to address it.” Virgin Media does have a partial fix for this but the full solution still needs to come from Intel.

The fix is either issued now or still in testing with the firmware development team, since the issue affects not just residential hardware but business hardware as well, and they need to make sure that when they issue the firmware update that it fixes the issue.

As for the slow loading times on the web interface you might want to give VM a call, as yours sounds like it's taking far longer than it should so it might need to be checked, I know the software is slow but for me normally I can log in to mine within a about 10 seconds to 30 seconds.
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Old 19th May 2017, 15:26   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sp! View Post
I don't think that's how virgin assign IP addresses to domestic customers as I get a new IP every time I reboot the router.
I'm not sure which package you are on, but I've just been upgraded from a SH2 to a SH3, the router has been rebooted (so not powered off for any extended period) plenty of times and I still get the same public IP address. I'm on the 200Mb Vivid (non-gamer), I have hit their upstream limits once or twice (10GB in an hour) which throttles your upstream by 50% for an hour. Downstream doesn't get throttled BTW.

Just to add, on the Vivid 200Mb gamer package, they don't throttle upstream at all and you go from 10Mb to 20Mb

Virgin Traffic Management Policy 2017
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