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Virgin Media launches fastest wireless hub in the UK

Tags: Virgin (NASDAQ:VMED), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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PRESS RELEASE

  • Outclasses all other ISP next generation modems and routers
  • Dual band concurrent technology delivers best connectivity yet

Virgin Media has launched a next generation Super Hub that delivers unrivalled connectivity in customers' homes.

Powered by the latest dual band technology, Virgin Media's new Super Hub enables concurrent access to both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz wireless channels, ensuring customers get the best possible experience from their superfast broadband connections.

Farncombe's independent WiFi testing service, working in partnership with researchers at the University of Bristol, a leading centre for WiFi research, tested the new Super Hub alongside hubs from BT, Sky and TalkTalk and found the new Super Hub to be the fastest WiFi device, outperforming competitors on speed and range1.

The new Super Hub boasts an unrivalled technical specification2 thanks to an extra antenna on the 5GHz channel that improves range as well as speed, making it ideal for homes where three or more gadgets are connected to the internet at the same time. The equipment offers best in class 2.4GHz performance and was found to typically be 6-9% better than the competition during testing. In the 5GHz band the new Super Hub sets a new performance benchmark.

The next generation Super Hub joins Virgin Media's wireless hub family alongside the original Super Hub, which will continue to be supplied to customers on up to 30Mb speeds.

The new Super Hub will be available to:

  • All new customers on up to 60Mb or up to 100Mb broadband speeds
  • Existing customers already on or upgrading to 60Mb or 100Mb broadband speeds can request a new Super Hub, though an installation fee of £49.95 will apply for these customers to ensure they get the best in-home set up

The original Super Hub will be available to:

  • All new and existing customers on up to 30Mb broadband speeds

Joe Lathan, director of broadband at Virgin Media, said: "As the number of gadgets that connect to the internet grows, the more people need superfast broadband so everyone in the home can get online at the same time. Our Super Hubs are designed to help customers get the most from their fibre connections and we've designed our new Super Hub to deliver the best in-home WiFi experience for customers on our fastest speeds - those who regularly connect lots of devices to the internet at the same time."

To help web users get the most out of their wireless signal, Virgin Media recently released details of seemingly innocent household items that have been identified as being among the worst culprits for causing WiFi interference in homes and has compiled the following useful tips:

  • Create space: Leaving space around your router helps its signal to spread far and wide, ensuring a stronger connection.
  • Aim high: Many wireless hubs are best kept off the floor on high, uncluttered places like a windowsill - just make sure you don't bury it on a bookshelf or behind the TV.
  • Avoid other electrical devices: Especially ones that send out a signal using radio waves on the 2.4GHz band, like baby monitors and cordless phones.
  • Don't give up: Try a few different locations and see which one works best for you.
  • Change the channel: Your wireless hub or router transmits signals on a particular channel. If another nearby wireless device (even your neighbour's wireless router!) is transmitting on the same channel, the two devices could be competing for airwave space. Try changing the channel on your wireless router to avoid congestion3.
  • If all else fails: Turn off your computer and router, have a 60 second siesta and then turn them back on again (router first, then your computer). This ensures that the connection to your network is refreshed, which should spur your network speed back into action.

More information on getting the best from WiFi can be found at: virginmedia.com/discoverbroadband

1 Based on independent research (University of Bristol and Farncombe), Virgin Media's new Super Hub outperformed competitors on speed over a variety of ranges. The new Super Hub was benchmarked against competitor hubs from TalkTalk, Sky and BT (Home Hub 3). A graph showing the results of the independent testing is available on request. In the 5GHz band BT's Home Hub 4 is capable of speeds up to 300Mbps using two antennas compared to speeds of up to 450Mbps using three antennas on Virgin Media's new Super Hub. Independent testing of Virgin Media's new Super Hub against BT's Home Hub 4 will take place over the coming weeks.

2 Product specifications for the new Super Hub can be found below:

  • Cable Chipset: Intel Puma 5
  • Maximum: 8x4 DOCSIS 3.0 channels
  • 2.4GHz Wifi Radio: Qualcom Atheros AR9344
  • 2.4 GHz Antennas: Two Spatial streams (2x2)
  • 5GHz Wifi Radio: Qualcomm Atheros AR9580
  • 5 GHz Antennas: Three Spatial streams (3x3)*
  • 4 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports**
  • 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Size: 215mm high x 69mm Wide (at widest point) x 195mm Long
  • Weight: 520g (unit without PSU)

* BT's Home Hub 4 has two spatial streams

** BT's Home Hub 4 has 3x 100Mbps Fast Ethernet Ports and 1x Gigabit Ethernet port

A comparison of the new Super Hub's specifications against BT's Home Hub 4:

 

Virgin Media next-gen Super Hub

BT Home Hub 4

Dual Band Dual Concurrent

Yes

Yes

2.4 GHz Wi-Fi

300Mbps

300Mbps

5 GHz Wi-Fi

450Mbps

300Mbps

LAN - Ethernet

4x Gig

3x FE + 1 Gig

WAN - Ethernet

-

1x Gig 

3 Virgin Media customers can learn how to change the channel on their Super Hub here www.virginmedia.com/channelchange

About Virgin Media:

Virgin Media is the first provider of all four broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services in the UK.

The company delivers ultrafast broadband connections to over half of all UK homes, with speeds of up to 120Mb, and is expanding this cable network - the result of a multi-billion pound investment - to reach thousands more people across the country.
 
Virgin Media has developed the most advanced interactive television service, bringing together broadcast TV, thousands of hours of on demand programming and the best of the web in a single set-top box powered by TiVo. The company was the first to offer HD TV and 3D on demand to millions of UK households.
 
Virgin Media also operates the most popular virtual mobile network in the UK which, when launched, was the world's first such mobile phone service. It is also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the country.
 
Virgin Media Inc. is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market and the London Stock Exchange (VMED).

For more information, go to www.virginmedia.com.

About Farncombe:

Farncombe provides independent world-class strategic consultancy, engineering and design services to leading innovators representing all areas of today's digital TV value chain. With offices in the UK, France and Germany, Farncombe's roster of clients includes many of the world's leading broadcasters, platform operators, telcos, hardware and software technology providers as well as government and regulatory bodies, private equity companies and other industry stakeholders. For further information, visit www.farncombe.com.