Virgin Media Superhub 3 may be superbad after Intel issue identified
One of the problems for cable broadband users in the UK is that you are usually tied to using the broadband hardware they supply and there has been a steady stream of people upgrading and getting new hardware and finding things are not as good as their old Virgin Media product. Well The Register has some information on what might be the cause, and it may not be a case of blaming neighbours from using the Internet too much but some Intel Atom x86 processors which sit at the heart of the Virgin Media Superhub 3.
There has been some evidence of a software related issue with Virgin Media CPE as a number of users have found that restarting their hub improves the state of the Broadband Quality Monitor graph, and the new research suggests that firmware and how the Intel CPU manages what its doing is one of the reasons for poor gaming and a general slug like performance at times.
We have no idea if this is linked to the general single download performance issues our speed test results are showing, which appear to be getting worse, but it is conceivable that a single download is not taxing the CPU enough so it continues its housekeeping that is generating lag and packet loss, but multiple threads override the behaviour.
So what happens now? It seems that a firmware update from Intel may be a core part of the solution, but that upgrade would need to be integrated into the different CPE affected, so its not likely to be something fixed before Christmas.
For now though it looks like we will still see people downgrading from 200 Mbps cable products to much slower VDSL2 services and praising the stability for gaming, streaming and snappier web browsing.