Broadband News

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.

Comments

I think the single download problem is independent of this one as it affected me quite badly on the superhub 2ac.

  • watercooled
  • 9 months ago

@watercooled

SH3 only.

  • bartman007
  • 9 months ago

I recently joined VM and had huge problems with the Hub 3. I initially thought it was my service - I was intermittently getting about 4Mbps on a 50Mbps connection and downloads would start fast, but gradually slow down.

Switching it to 'modem mode' and using the Asus DSL-N66U router I'd previously been using on DSL fixed the problems. Reading this, it makes sense - in modem mode, the VM Hub is doing a lot less work, with the complicated business of actually routing traffic handed off to the Asus.

  • lissie
  • 9 months ago

The single thread download speed problem doesn't seem to be related to the Hub 3/Intel issue as it also happens with the older hubs, but the increased ping/latency are definitely Hub 3 specific.

  • cje85
  • 9 months ago

@bartman007: I was referring to the part suggesting this problem might be related to a different one which affects single thread downloads (third paragraph). My experience suggests otherwise. I.e. the single thread problem affected me on a SH2AC.

  • watercooled
  • 9 months ago

@bartman007

No, I had it on the 2 and the 2ac - it's not dependent on the SH3 only!. I never had a SH3 and literally it was with me until I left!

  • ZenUser27
  • 9 months ago

You had a Puma 6 specific issue on Puma 5 hardware? Interesting.

  • CarlThomas
  • 9 months ago

After the time it took VM to fix the dropping-the-LAN-connection-every-2048-seconds-in-modem-mode problem with the Hub 3 (like over 6 months, and never publicly acknowledged), good luck with a timely fix to that.

  • mpellatt
  • 9 months ago

@CarlThomas: As we've already explained, this is a *separate* issue, we are *not* talking about the SH3's jitter. The article author speculated they might be related, we are simply saying that doesn't seem to be the case because we experienced the single-thread problem (again, *not* the SH3-specific jitter problem) on the SH2/SH2AC.

  • watercooled
  • 9 months ago

Its not a hub3 problem but virgin, ever since i moved to vivid 200 single and even http6 is bad never reaching anything near 50Mb an i am using hub in modem mode and a ASUS router. The problem lies with congestion on the cable something Virgin do not seem to be willing to fix.

  • kevinv
  • 9 months ago

we are using Hub3 on business 200, no problems...

BUT! check all your switches are rated at least gigabit, as lower spec ones will not 'see' it, and downgrade the speed...

  • comnut
  • 9 months ago

Recommend monitoring https://www.dslreports.com/forum/r31122204-SB6190-TCP-UDP-Network-Latency-Issue-Discussion

Broadband Reports is somewhat more cable focused due to being in the US.

  • CarlThomas
  • 9 months ago

Had a hub3 sent, used it for one day and sent it back. Throughput slow and could not connect using Teamviewer so big fail for me. Back to SH2, no issues with that really.

  • tmcr
  • 9 months ago

@comnut: The issue we're describing seems area-dependent i.e. not everyone is affected. It could in fact be a minority of people but TBB's published speed test charts suggest it's at least enough to impact their aggregated results.

  • watercooled
  • 9 months ago

I upgraded to the SH3 about 4 months ago and I do not suffer with the problems suggested here. I regularly get between 160 and 200 Mbps daily with no sign of slowing down with downloads. Could this be an area thing like watercooled is saying? I must be very lucky as when a Virgin problem appears, I do not seem to suffer with them.
The only thing I would say is a problem is when I look at my Sam Knows monthly results, I notice packet loss has become more noticeable over the last 12 months, but that is it.

  • Toots3D
  • 8 months ago

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