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Virgin Media delivers 1.5Gbps cable broadband to TechHub
Monday 25 July 2011 02:22:40 by Andrew Ferguson

Virgin Media announced a trial for a 1.5Gbps cable broadband service back in April this year. Last week saw the firm demonstrating the successful delivery of the service and showcasing some of the services created by technology entrepreneurs at Tech Hub.

The service works by bonding together 32 channels on the DOCSIS 3 network that Virgin Media rolled out when it introduced its 50Mbps service a couple of years ago. The 1.5Gbps download with 150Mbps upload is a long way off from being a consumer product, but Virgin Media are planning a consumer trial (likely to be in the East London area) to see how people utilise the service.

"As people are simultaneously connecting more gadgets to the internet and doing more online than ever before, we wanted to explore what our unique fibre optic network is capable of. At speeds of up to 1.5Gb, Virgin Media is delivering some of the fastest broadband in the world and, thanks to our ongoing investment, we're able to anticipate and lead the way in meeting growing demand for bandwidth as future services and applications come online."

Jon James, Executive Director of Broadband, Virgin Media

A natural limitation of any service delivering over 1Gbps, is that most computers still only support 1Gbps Ethernet connections, and wireless networks are a lot further behind in being able to service this sort of capacity, however connections of this speed are generally best suited for multiple-user networks and the demonstrations focused on showing how several computers could be downloading and uploading lots of data, while still supporting 3D and HD TV IPTV streams. In theory while many computers should cope with 1Gbps data feeds, video cards may not cope with rendering that much data, or writing this to disk may prove to be the bottleneck rather than getting the data from a remote server into the computer.


Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
An interesting gimmick, but a gimmick nevertheless. Given that 10Gbps Ethernet services are availeble in the area already over fibre, and that it is not really practical to deliver this over the cable network in any scale due to bandwidth limitations, its not really obvious what this achieves?

In reality the current cable network will struggle to cope with any significant take-up of the 100 and 200Mbps services, with people already complaining of congestion, lack of backhaul etc even before the latter is introduced. So what purpose does this demonstration serve?
Posted by epyon over 5 years ago
Bit confused why video cards would have anything to do with this ? anyways another marketing sceme as the backhaul just can't handle this type of speed with a wide user base ....meh even there current userbase
Posted by epyon over 5 years ago
Is useless for there current speed they need to invest more
Posted by timmay over 5 years ago
What speed are VM actually going to offer? 1.5Gbps is the total speed but end customer speed will be less. Just like now 50Mbps runs on a 400Mbps (4 channel) configuration. I wouldn't expect VM to offer more than 400~500Mbps to the end customer.
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
VM - the kings of willy waving. So - does each street nominate the lucky winner or do they take it turns to be king of the street?

Sure as hell they can't all have 1.5Gb/s at the same time, lol.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
I guess people don't understand what a tech demonstration does, shows what is ultimately possible and starts the hardware developement ball rolling on the hardware to suppport this sort of thing.
Posted by Dixinormous over 5 years ago
Just as a note as per with cable it isn't backhaul that's the problem it's the shared nature of the access network.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Its both isn't it Dixi? Backhaul + shared access network
Posted by superhighway over 5 years ago
Anyone hasten to add when you would fall foul of the FUP. I'd say a couple of secs before you get restricted to 10mb for 4 hours :-)
Posted by c_j_ over 5 years ago
"shows what is ultimately possible and starts the hardware developement ball rolling"

That kind of thing can in principle be done without what AndrueC calls "willy waving". But that usually wouldn't be the corporate way these days.
Posted by Dixinormous over 5 years ago
No, VM have no issues with transport or core networks, the only place they run occasionally warm apart from access network is transit and peering, those by no coincidence being the most expensive parts of the network.

timmay - 4 channels is 200Mbps not 400Mbps. 4 x ~50Mbps.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Ok fair enough, I didn't mean it was specifically a problem in their core, more that it has to be factored in
Posted by djfunkdup over 5 years ago
gawd you always get a laugh @ the VM haters..the usual suspect's seam to que up waiting for any VM news story's so they can spout there usual pantaloons ;)...guys you should get out more..if you are allowed that is.. ;)
Posted by djfunkdup over 5 years ago
cont: if anything this should be looked @ as a positive means things are moving forward..yes agreed that this service is far away from being available as a domestic service...but it is good news.....don't be so negative ;)
Posted by Dixinormous over 5 years ago
Yes it's nearly as funny as the BT haters who launch into diatribes whenever anything positive is posted about BT.

VM have plenty of faults. This is an epeen exercise not a serious product.
Posted by Dixinormous over 5 years ago
I think some negativity is allowed to be honest. Large swathes of South West London don't even have their 10:1 upstream ratio upgrade and there are many there with overloaded and/or unreliable networks that are over 25 years old.

VM waxing lyrical about state of the art networks and having the time and money to do this while delaying upgrades to those networks for financial reasons rankles.
Posted by timmay over 5 years ago
@Dixinormous my bad for being up too early ... lol.
Posted by djfunkdup over 5 years ago
yea Dixi i will agree with you on the need for negativity regarding the UBRS that are waiting for the upgrades.but surely that is for VM users to complian about.the usual suspects dont tend to be VM users.

i am only making a point that any positive news is good news.. ;)
Posted by c_j_ over 5 years ago
The street next to me and others nearby (several hundred houses total) has recently been demolished and rebuilt due to 1960s concrete rot. It had previously had cable courtesy of Birmingham Cable, though it was one of the last areas in the city to be cabled.

Now, courtesy of VM, these new homes no longer have any kind of cable, not even TV or 10Mb broadband. The old street corner boxes are still there, and working to supply my street, but there was no interest in reconnecting the "new" development. Cheers VM.
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
I'll praise VM if/when they do something that improves access for a significant number of people. Speeds in excess of 50Mb/s won't do that. Extending their reach to new customers would.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
I don't think we'll see VM roll-out significantly further, as it would mean OFCOM would likely force wholesale on them. This would force their hand in significant network upgrades, whilst they would get a return they don't want to take on more debt (sensible really). Hence the open network stuff bandwagon they've hopped on.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Well they'll have to do something and I hope they do I'm not sure how well they can do just standing still (in terms of coverage) whilst increasing speeds that lets face it not many people actually want, not at the moment anyway.

Let just have done with the nonsense, get BT to open up and VM and have access to both and get some proper competition going. Because letting VM have access to other infrastructure whilst keeping its own closed is allsorts of wrong
Posted by chrysalis over 5 years ago
even VMS consumer trials are done under different conditions to live conditiosn, generally they get dedicated channels that are contended at much lower levels than live customers. I dread to think how high contention would be pushed to roll this out.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Probably no more contention than in South Korea. Which is suppossed to be be the best place for broadband or so some would have us believe
Posted by Dixinormous over 5 years ago
No andrew there is no contention anywhere else, everyone gets exactly what they pay for, even on 1Gbps.

There are some pretty loud complaints about contention on VM's 100Mb service, anyone not getting maximum performance or very close infact.

Meanwhile people simultaneously complain about traffic shaping, hidden limitations, etc..
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
Assume you're being ironic about no other country having contention etc?

According to surveys, the "city with the fastest average connection speeds for broadband" globally is Taegu in South Korea, with with average speeds of 18.36Mbps.

Whilst 18Mbps is reasonable, it is a long way short of the fantasy speeds some refer to, which appear to be based on sync speed and bear no relation to throughput.
Posted by ipv7 over 5 years ago
Well done VM for at least kicking BT's butt, BT has held back on speeds due to poor investment. And now I see BT addverts about fiber optic BB "OMG" 5 years to late.
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