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Virgin Media tries to rustle up the broadband bandits
Wednesday 22 May 2013 13:02:42 by Andrew Ferguson

Sadly while WiFi was brilliant and fast in the home a few years ago for many people they are now finding that the old 2.4GHz band is becoming congested and giving very variable speeds particularly in more densely populated areas. The clever people have for sometime bought broadband routers that add the 5GHz band to their network, and Virgin Media will soon have available its new superhub model that supports both bands (and BT Retail has its own dual band HomeHub 4).

To highlight some of the problems and maybe help people work around the issues, Virgin Media has put together a tongue in cheek campaign around the Broadbandits who are chasing after your WiFi.

‘Broadbandits' wanted by Virgin Media for crimes against WiFi
(click image for larger version)

The broadbandits are identified as:

  • Crafty cordless phones
  • Broadband-blocking baby monitors
  • Malicious microwaves
  • Wiley wireless absorbing fish tanks

We are not too sure how bad the cordless phone problem is in the UK, as UK DECT handsets are not in the 2.4GHz band, and even old analogue cordless phones should not be, though imports from USA and elsewhere may be using the band. A big area missed out and this can be a major issue in cities is that some older CCTV cameras used the 2.4GHz band, as well as people using wireless video senders.

The advice to people is of some help, but we have modified it slightly based on our experiences and that of users on our forums.

  1. Wanted - more space: Don't hide your wireless router behind things or in a cupboard, they prefer to be higher than people (our high water content blocks the signal).
  2. Aim high: See number 1.
  3. Avoid other electrical devices which could hold your signal to ransom If you know you have devices that also use 2.4GHz and wireless is important, make sure the devices are as far apart as possible, or upgrade to 5GHz or buy a device that does not interfere e.g. repace a video sender with something like a Slingbox.
  4. Don't give up! Saddle your router to a few different locations and see which one works best for you. Given the Virgin Media connection is reliant on access to the coax feed this is a bit odd, but yes if you can locate your wireless router at an optimum location it will work better. A good option is to add a wireless access point to cover the black-spot in the home and reduce its power level to avoid interference.
  5. Change the channel Channel hoping can sometimes help, but if you can see four or five networks the chances of finding a wireless channel that does not overlap is rare. Some devices actually work better if sharing the exact same channel, than they do with overlapping, so put your lab coat on and experiment.
  6. If all else fails: Try the old switch off and on game. We know that some wireless network cards in laptops can be fickle and a kick helps.

At the end of the day, it is still difficult to beat an Ethernet cable for reliable and stable connectivity. The new devices with 5GHz do appear to offer better speeds, though this might change in a few years once a few more million WiFi devices are using the band. The downside to 5GHz is that it has a shorter range than 2.4GHz, so people may find they need two wireless routers to cover a property at decent speeds.

At the end of the day there is a good reason why our speed test recommends you use an Ethernet cable if testing your broadband connection and the graphs showing the speed over time should people to see if a wireless glitch might be behind a slower than expected average speed.


Posted by babis3g over 3 years ago
The wifi of the Superhub 2with both bands is way far more better then the SH 1
Posted by swt4ajp over 3 years ago
i hope you do realise that the next generation superhub isnt avaliable on general release and is still currently on trial.
more information will be avaliable via the virgin media forums.

Posted by undecidedadrian over 3 years ago
Our heating thermostat uses 2.4Ghz wireless as well as my deaf alert doorbell.

Also USB3 ports also emit in this region.

What do you expect with a free unregulated wireless zone that it wouldn't be over utilised or contaminated.
Posted by John_Gray over 3 years ago
I'm sure not even Virgin Media would spell "wily" as "wiley"!
Posted by herdwick over 3 years ago
Some car alarms use 2.4 GHz radar
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago

Have adjusted wording, when you feel you have known about a device for a while its easy to forget it is not out the door just yet.
Posted by bbluefoot over 3 years ago
given the current state of their network and terrible throttling, capping and massive latency issues (that finally seem to have become widespread knowledge), they're going to have to try a lot harder than this.
Posted by swt4ajp over 3 years ago
@andrew, sorry i could of worded my post a bit better instead of the way i did lol just didnt want people to get the wrong end of the stick and start flooding virgin with calls saying they want it when its not on general release at present :)
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
@swt4ajp Don't worry, I don't mind corrections and highlights in news.

We would rather people engage, voice opinions etc. I learn a fair bit that way and hopefully others do.
Posted by swt4ajp over 3 years ago
:) thats brill hope to engage more in virgin media talks :)
Posted by swt4ajp over 3 years ago
one good thing about it (because im a trialist) is the wireless (even though i am experiancing an issue which im trying to prove what could be the issue to virgin) but when the wireless works on my hub it is brilliant :)

and i would recommend it to people when it becomes avaliable on general release :)
Posted by roph over 3 years ago
I'm also in the SH2 trial, the wi-fi is much better than the SH1. I can use my wifi in the chippy around the corner :)

Now if only virgin would stop committing crimes against their customers with their most recent pathetically harsh speed limiting STM policy.
Posted by swt4ajp over 3 years ago
@roph :P lol would love the ability to go to the chippy and still able to connect to the ngsh :P

and i agree with the stm but it is more lax now with the 1 hour punishment apart from the 2nd hour for the above 30mb packages
Posted by Northwind over 3 years ago
Re: poster, if someone's microwave is interfering with their 2.4 GHz wifi then they'd better have the oven's shielding checked!

Re: 5 GHz, yes the bands are nice and clear at present but attenuation through interior walls is very abrupt. And I have polystyrene cavity insulation that means it cannot reach into the garden.

The upper channels of 5 GHz ( 48+ ) are crowded with various high-power users like radar.
Posted by ravenstar68 over 3 years ago

That's why the 5GHz band has to have TPM and DFS in order to allow it to use 48+. The SH2 if aske to use the high channels will monitor for 60secs to make sure that there is no radar detected. The older 5GHz devices had to be limited to the lower channels as they did not have this.
Posted by ian72 over 3 years ago
Like the idea of "channel hoping". Also "5GHz do appear to other better speeds" - offer rather than other.

Now to the point. Slingbox is fine but if you are slinging to a TV then you either need to connect a PC/laptop/whatever or you need a sling catcher. Can be inconvenient.
I ended up going to a 5Ghz sender (although can be difficult to find) rather than moving wireless. That way the microwave doesn't interfere with the TV either.
Posted by snout12 over 3 years ago
Hey guys, the NGSH Or SH2 is superior on the wireless front compared to the sh1. I'm running the 5g band Channel 108 and its fantastic. The plus point for me is that i no longer have to use a third party router anymore. The SH2 will i think Get VM much better praise this time around.
Posted by colinbarrett over 3 years ago
Channel hoping? Yes - we all live in hope!
Posted by chris_the_geek over 3 years ago
Hello - is that the Virgin Media helpdesk? I've followed your advice (point 6 above) to kick my laptop because its wifi wasn't working properly and now it's broken. Can you replace it, please?

Posted by KeithCP2 over 3 years ago
How very Interesting a new version of the superhub is being tested, I have the superhub on ethernet and have had nothing but problems with it, its always slow I can't get anymore than around 10mb and its supposed to be on 60mb now, the CEO tells me I am being traffic managed, I thought that was only certain hours of the day,not 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, if you don't want people to download don't say you can download in seconds, it is not true

Posted by KeithCP2 over 3 years ago
(Cont. it was too long)

furthermore the old hub was the 30mb one which after an engineer installed and set that up to replace a obsolete reconditioned modem and took 6 mths to sort out, the 30mb hub was giving me 20mb, at that time I was on 20mb so that was fine, I have supposedly been on 60 mb since december, what a joke, I am an old ntl customer and back in 1999 when I joined them I was on dial up then 2mb, and even the dial up was faster than this so called superfast broadband, I would call it superslow

Posted by JonasT over 3 years ago
I wish they would concentrate on fixed year old utilization issues rather than trying to get new customers with new hardware promises.

Wired SH1 user nothing but issue, but that is my area being oversubscribed, to many users not enough bandwidth.

Fobbed of left right and centre, really annoys me :(
Posted by JonasT over 3 years ago
concentrate on fixing***
Posted by mcompton69 over 3 years ago
I have used about 15 different wireless routers in my lifetime, from free ISP to Cisco's best. I think WiFi is NOT a great technology! I use it for phone/tablet/laptop internet use - But for anything more than internet traffic its not worth effort or cost of "high end" APs.

Power Line is MUCH simpler to setup and it just works, even up to HD streaming (1080p compressed with DTS).

Whether Power Line bandwidth increases sufficiently for 4k video & future I doubt – But WiFi definitely won't - 802.11ac falls FAR short of promises.

Happy birthday Ethernet, you are still king after 30 years!

Posted by francisuk20 over 3 years ago
Wireless is another version of Dial-Up
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