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Virgin Media trial 1.5Gbps cable broadband
Wednesday 20 April 2011 09:30:35 by John Hunt

Virgin Media have announced that they are to start a trial this month with four companies in Old Street, East London, to test 1.5Gbps broadband over the same cable network they use to deliver broadband to residential customers. The connections will offer customers super-fast broadband which is fifteen times faster than the current 100meg broadband that Virgin can deliver. The UK average broadband speed at the end of last year was reported by Ofcom as 6.2Mbps, but this trial will see the companies connected receive a connection 242 times faster. The upload speed of the connection will be 150Mbps.

"Demand for greater bandwidth is growing rapidly as more devices are able to connect to the internet and as more people go online simultaneously. Our growing network provides a highly competitive alternative to the fastest fibre networks of the future and, with our ongoing investment plans, we can anticipate and meet demand as it develops over time, ensuring Virgin Media business and residential customers continue to enjoy world-class broadband."

Jon James, (Executive Director of Broadband) Virgin Media

This test by Virgin is a real step forward into next-generation broadband and goes to show the future-proof capabilities of their cable broadband network using DOCSIS 3.0. They report that it will be the worlds fastest cable broadband connection when live. This could scare BT who will be aware that they will only be able to match these speeds from Virgin through upgrades to their fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments. New fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) installs which BT are using for the majority of their 'next-generation' connections are generally limited to around 100Mbps but have been able to attain speeds of 500Mbps in trials by Ericsson, but this required bonding of 6 telephone lines together. Full fibre-to-the-home will be the only way to really compete with faster connections.


Posted by acpsd775 over 6 years ago
lol even if they made this wide spread and could actually handle it and people actually did buy it my guess is it would be like 750 a month lol. That been based on the current price of 50meg with a phone line timed by 30 (1.5gig/50meg). Still be quite cool to see though
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
Lets hope they get their SuperHub firmware glitches sorted...

People who upgraded from the 20Mbps product to the 50Mbps have seen a drop in performance.
Posted by crikeymate over 6 years ago
wow this is great, ...imagine being able to access all those sites and services sat on 100Mb ports.

laughable and un-necessary imho
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
That's impressive as a technology demo but probably impractical for home use. Pretty useless at the moment as well.

Still the rest of the report courtesy of TheRegister suggests that they are seeing more interest in their high-speed products.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
Presumably this uses most if not all of the bandwidth on a bit of coax, so isn't a traditional shared coax solution but effectively a leased line ?

600 MHz * 3 Bits/s/Hz = 1.8 Gbits/s ??
Posted by farnz over 6 years ago
DOCSIS 3 is about 6 bits/s/Hz downstream, 4.5 bits/s/Hz upstream (usable bits, rather than transmitted bits - DOCSIS has lots of overheads of its own). This makes this deployment about 270MHz downstream, 35MHz upstream - so two users per coax segment before you have contention.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Usenet supports upto 1GB currently.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Posted by farnz over 6 years ago
Looked at differently - BT can't match this on their current PON technology (G.984) - they'll need to go to G.987 to match this on PONs. At that point, they can do 10G down/2.5G up shared between all customers on the splitter, so could offer 2G/200M on their normal 32 way split with better contention ratios than VM can offer.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
"Demand for greater bandwidth is growing rapidly as more devices are able to connect to the internet and as more people go online simultaneously." Errr want to tell that to your customers who aren't taking on even 50Mb? Chasing more silly headline speeds <sigh>
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
This announcement gives Virgin the current highest speed for a UK broadband pilot vs. the 1Gbps announced by BT previously. Presumably we'll see a 2Gbps pilot from BT next and then IIRC a pause given it will go beyond the max available bandwidth on coax.
Posted by JonasT over 6 years ago
well i can safely say from my experience(and many others on virgins forums) that they cant even provide the service they are currently running, they should stop focusing on providing FASTER internet connections and provide the stability one expects cable broadband should provide. i went from ADSL2+ on O2 where i got about 15Mbps and a near constant ping and no jitter to most of the world, to virgin 50Mbps Fibre optic cable and see regular high pings to local servers and jitter that makes the internet unusable at most times
Posted by YaZiN over 6 years ago
It's just a ewilly waving contest between Virgin Media and Openreach. All c**k and no b**ls. Virgin Media are of no use to 50% of the country until they expand the cable network.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 6 years ago
The 1.5Gbs product is aimed at business users. Virgin cover most of the major business areas of the UK already.

Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
I wonder how many small businesses have this sort of bandwidth requirement? Difficult for Virgin if they do as coax would struggle to support more than one or two customers for the service at a time without contention, and that assumes that they are the only customers using any services at all.

Feedback from existing users shows that they are already experiencing congestion as 50Mbps is rolled out, so interesting to know how anything like the speeds mentioned above could be delivered credibly without FTTP.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I struggle to see how many businesses even require this amount of bandwidth.

I know of some large business sites than have over 2500 staff all using off-site hosting applications, IPT, Internet web browsing etc and they have a 500Mbps pipe, they could go up to 1Gbps but its not needed
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

£100k cheaper (AAISP ethernet checker) for 500Mbps than 1GBps.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Sure.. I'm saying that they could go up to 1Gbps but there is no demand, they don't even use 500Mbps and all of their IPT is based off site, only the phones are on-site
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
I presume the last few comments above relate to uncontended, Ethernet or similar services?

It would be interesting to know what sort of overhead is lost on the "1.5Gbps" broadband trial in the story in order to handle contention for the bandwidth available on the coax, before considering backhaul contention impacts?

I don't know how efficient DOCSIS 3 is at handling contention like this, given each customer connected is able to consume almost all of the total bandwidth on the cable in one go, so contention is guaranteed virtually all of the time.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago

Will throughput slow down dramatically to accomodate the contention, like it can with some LAN protocols? Will this simply prove that FTTP is a far better solution for very high bandwidth services, and is already proven in this context?
Posted by Keyholder over 6 years ago
of course FTTP- FTTH is alot more reliable if it wasnt the japs wouldn't of done it from day one ;)
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
DOCSIS handles contention in a similar manner to PON.

FTTP is obviously the gold standard. Only Openreach haven't bothered with FTTP so it's not really an issue right now outside of a few trial areas and they are only planning to do about 1/4th of the area VM pass.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
True in terms of the relatively limited FTTP coverage for now.

However its not really a relevant comparison if cable can't support more than a handful of customers at speeds above 100Mbps, as I'd expect to see FTTC hitting that sort of speed anyway, and without suffering from the contention issues on the shared coax path that will increasingly hit cable as more people opt for higher speeds.

We'll probably see large numbers of people with high sync speed and low throughput, putting a new slant on the "up to" debate started by Virgin.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

The problem with cable is local congestion, that isn't an issue with BTW FTTC, each user is dedicated 15Mbps at the cabinet, which is a lot compared to VM which under DOCSIS was about 38Mbps for the whole cabinet :/

Throughput is only an issue for the **** ISP's, those that choice the premium ones will have a good service as usual.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Posted by stclares over 6 years ago
It would be better if ISPs were to increase their HS broadband coverage to those parts of the country who are still living in the dark ages rather than trumpeting their SUPER SUPER HS systems that the vast majority of the population do not need could ever make full use of or want.
I would be over the moon to get twice my present speed 1.7Gb/sec so video isn't constantly buffering.
Posted by stclares over 6 years ago
Correction 1.7Mb/sec
Posted by ronana over 6 years ago
I work for a small (<50 staff) engineering consultancy and we use 2 100Mbps leased lines and I don't think we're unusual in the engineering world. This kind of technology would be of interest if it's cheaper than leased line
Posted by sylvantos over 6 years ago
They should concentrate on fixing the serious problems they have with huge over utilization on their ubr's including fixing their seemingly permanent dns servers.
Once again this week ping rates to certain gaming servers is intolerably high, and their estimate for a fix is 3 days away?

Fix your clearly screwed up infrastructure and stop over subscribing people!
Posted by sylvantos over 6 years ago
seemingly permanently broken dns servers.
It's one thing to babble and gush about all your new and pointless about fixing that which has been broken for a long time!
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
@sylvantos yeah their gaming forum is rife with complaints lately, Xbox Live, PSN etc etc totally unplayable have been for a few weeks now
Posted by creakycopperline over 6 years ago
@gman99 i bet if it was BT you would probably have your tongue stuck their proverbial backside.
i have yet to see a comment from you that goes against bt.
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