Broadband News

Virgin Media is having problems in UK - now fixed

Identifying outages when large chunks of the UK appear to be still online for a provider is not straightforward, but looking at the data we have since 5pm on 27th April 2020 for Virgin Media there appears to be people both offline based on social media responses and a higher than usual number of people running speed tests.

The speed test volume was perfectly normal until the 6pm analysis ran, suggesting things were probably ok prior to 5pm. The actual average download, upload figures are actually the second best day in the last ninety days at this time. This raises the possibility that services are coming back and people are seeing normal speeds. Another option is that unlike with some service issues at Virgin Media that have impacted our results other routes through Virgin Media and out to the wider Internet may be affected.

Our theory at this time is the outage/issue is affecting mainly central London and some, but not all of the surrounding area.

We did try to see what service status message is showing for the provider on its own pages, but the postcode lookup was failing for a number of attempts.

We will check in with our monitoring as the evening progresses and provide updates.

Update 27/04/2020 20:00: Virgin Media have been in touch to advise they are investigating the issue:

"We're currently investigating an intermittent broadband issue that lasted for a very short period of time earlier this evening. While services are currently back up and running, our teams are looking into the problem and will work flat out to fix it. We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Virgin Media spokesperson

Update 27/04/2020 20:25:The ping monitor graphs show 3 blocks of fully dropped packets at around 5:15pm 6:15pm and 7:15 pm. We have waited a few minutes to post this update to see if it occurs again but nothing so far. Average speeds and latency remain fine from the tests we are seeing.

Update 27/04/2020 21:24: Another outage seems to be happening, if the pattern of the previous outages continues probably all be back in 5 to 10 minutes.

Update 27/04/2020 22:21 No sign of an outage this time. It also looks like it is not just Virgin Media affected, Liberty Global in Ireland and Netherlands are seeing reports of problems at the time same times. A ping monitor graph shows the three outages so far this evening - this is a snap shot image so will not update. 

Update 27/04/2020 23:22 Outage is happening as we type this update.

Update 28/04/2020 09:45 A statement from Virgin Media declaring issue fixed and copy of BQM graph covering the period of the issue.

An intermittent broadband issue that started yesterday evening was fixed in the early hours of this morning. This was not caused by increased usage or a lack of capacity. We know how frustrating this was for customers and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Virgin Media spokesperson
linx-gw1.router.ntli.net

As you can see there was the pattern of five outages at approx 17 minutes past the hour then a few minutes after minute a shorter outage. Around 3am and 4am there was too spikes of packet loss with higher latency.

The statement from Virgin Media unfortunately does not give any clue as to what the issue was, but the problem was not confined to the UK, other Liberty Global operations in Europe such as Ireland, Netherlands, Poland and Romania were also affected.

While it is difficult to get a brand new line installed for those that two or more fixed line options at this time, those who worked from home prior to the COVID-19 pandemic or are planning to do so now should consider doing so to guard against other outages. Having a work line and house line into the property also means you can avoid in house battles when someone saturates the download or upload impacting on others. Some firms may be willing to pay for the second line or savings from not travelling to work can help pay for it, as a general rule you want to be using different providers and different technologies where possible.

Given the popularity of full fibre no doubt some will use this problem as an example of why the old UK copper networks are not fit for purpose. In this case the outage was nothing to do with the DOCSIS infrastructure that forms the Virgin Media local loop. The fact that mobile data and access to parts of the network from outside Virgin Media was breaking highlights the core nature of the issue.

What this does highlight though is if the UK had one national broadband provider the sort of impact if a previously unknown bug/problem/attack was to occur. Disruption for 5 million broadband customers while far from ideal is better than disruption to 24 million connections.

Update 28/04/2020 11:13: We did ask Virgin Media for more detail so that people can be reassured that the problem is truly fixed and also give the technical readers some idea of what went wrong, but beyond saying the technical fault has been fixed nothing else is forthcoming. We know that while admitting the cause of faults can sometimes be embarrasing or be covered by confidentiality clauses with suppliers letting the wider broadband community know is often useful as practices can be changed to ensure that the same does not happen at other providers, or extra caution be taken when changing hardware/software in the core network.

Comments

Out in South Wales as well in the Neath/Swansea area. Seems to be a country wide issue at the moment.

  • Radeon123
  • about 1 month ago

Two outages. A colleague working from Kent dropped off our conference call at the same time as me and revealed he was with Virgin Media as well. I’m in Telford, so definitely a countrywide Virgin Media issue.

Here is my BQM graph for today...

[url=https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality/share/b948fc8e3bce8aee32d2ce5f5da542441aa2cd82]My Broadband Ping[/url]

  • loaderladdy
  • about 1 month ago

It is not just the London area. I'm having intermittent problems in Derby. The sites affected seem to be mainly in the USA.

  • pfvincent
  • about 1 month ago

@thinkbroadband When are they not

  • @jamilemon
  • comment via twitter
  • about 1 month ago

Beleived to be DNS related, but thats not certain yet.

Been having intermittent issues with connections dropping, but have seen things come back.

Devices configured with 3rd party DNS seemed less affected than those configured by router.

  • mlmclaren
  • about 1 month ago

My BQM shows two outages here in Cambridge, one at around 5.30 and a second an hour later. Appears to be back to normal now.

  • Darksidecat
  • about 1 month ago

I spoke too soon, it’s just gone again

  • Darksidecat
  • about 1 month ago

Same problem in Scotland Uddingston area

  • martindee
  • about 1 month ago

@thinkbroadband Thanks for confirming. I'm broadcasting on LBC from home and it keeps cutting out grrr

  • @hhukradio
  • comment via twitter
  • about 1 month ago

Same in Dunfermline. Two outages in two hours. Virgin Mobile down too.

  • paulby
  • about 1 month ago

  • paulby
  • about 1 month ago

I’m using 3rd party DNS, it’s not that.
My BQM looks identical to the above mentioned ones and I’m in Woking.

  • chrisrpriceuk
  • about 1 month ago

In fact, their own website is down too

  • chrisrpriceuk
  • about 1 month ago

Yeah I take back the DNS mention.

  • mlmclaren
  • about 1 month ago

Issues in Edinburgh too.

  • lthrpart
  • about 1 month ago

I would say it was having issues everywhere

  • Negduke
  • about 1 month ago

Should behave again soon-ish.

  • CarlThomas
  • about 1 month ago

Just happened again for me near Northampton

  • RandomUserbane
  • about 1 month ago

Down again, looks like its happening at 15 minutes past the hour?

  • philce
  • about 1 month ago

Showing the 3 outages earlier and another spike moments ago. Not long enough to kick us out of the like of netflix just a few seconds of buffering.

  • belmthemus
  • about 1 month ago

there is a lot of drops the last 10 min around N19 area

  • noface
  • about 1 month ago

Badly affected here in L25 just had another outage

  • guruchill
  • about 1 month ago

Same for me in Hemel Hempstead. Definitely a major outage. I also observed all responses stopping at around 1715, 1815, 1915 and now 2115!

  • crowe99
  • about 1 month ago

Same here in sheffield seems to be the DNS

  • RockerSBM
  • about 1 month ago

Virgin Mobile data goes off at the same time as the fixed broadband outages so can't use mobile data either!

  • paulby
  • about 1 month ago

I dont think its dns, it broke a live stream I was watching, Geoff and Vicky, 'all the stations' chat

  • ggremlin
  • about 1 month ago

If was just DNS failing then BQM graphs would not show it since they use the IP address of the host usually and even if using a host name it will be resolved outside the virgin network since pingbox is not on the virgin network

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 month ago

Issues showing for multiple sites and ISPs at downdetector.co.uk that seem to coincide with the VM reports, so wondering why only VM customers are complaining as it looks more widespread. I am a VM customer and have experienced the outages at 5:15pm, 6:15pm, 7:15 pm and 9:15pm.

  • Sca1972
  • about 1 month ago

I got exactly the game as Sca1972 above, Greater Manchester area

  • Chaykin
  • about 1 month ago

I'm also Greater Manchester, but it is clearly a UK wide issue and VM have acknowledged the outage here: https://www.virginmedia.com/help/outage

  • Sca1972
  • about 1 month ago

Just gone down again (fifth time) for me. Croydon area - south of London.

  • Davfox
  • about 1 month ago

23:15 and another outage. They went from hourly to every two hours. Writing via my mobile data.

  • Chaykin
  • about 1 month ago

On the Cheshire / Merseyside / Gtr Manchester border it's been going down at the same intervals (hourly, then two-hourly).

https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality/share/7241ec48b469189a5c7764908604e27e572872a5-27-04-2020

  • sideiron
  • about 1 month ago

WEST YORKS: https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality/share/1c22ab90dd3475cbbd020b2666abd83c18e871ca.png

  • Brunel
  • about 1 month ago

Same intervals in the South Wales area.

https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality/share/thumb/b417b5c7b7126c35c6e63f5411b89b727a46b99e-27-04-2020.png

  • Radeon123
  • about 1 month ago

Liberty global have got an LDP bug in their core at telehouse that’s causing it to crash after an hour. Fuck sake

  • mrorea
  • about 1 month ago

CB22 area near Cambridge, further short outages overnight. The service until now has been very stable here for several months giving low packet losses and the advertised (FTH) speeds. BQM graph as it is presently:

https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality/share/0c7b5c9e7848d6a93ce5fdf9bdf08e7d6047f2a7-28-04-2020

  • StuartGMC
  • about 1 month ago

Still affecting me in Brighton. Outages from 15:00 yesterday till just before 7:00 this morning

  • mannakin
  • about 1 month ago

Yeap, 8 outages on the BQM between 17:00 and 04:00 the next day. Just outside Belfast.

  • Adduxi
  • about 1 month ago

It seems outages may have stopped here in Gosport so far.

However, single thread speeds are poor compared to before:

https://single.speedtest.net/results?sh=ed078be930bbb0a6b4ebffd0d767a146

  • mrmarktigger
  • about 1 month ago

I have a theory the outages were linked to some kind of authentication system. Connections did actually drop (not just DNS queries disappearing), both on our VM broadband and my VM SIM. However, my partner's SIM, also Virgin, wasn't affected. The difference? My SIM is included/linked to the fixed line, whereas her SIM is not. I can imagine a scenario where authentication for my SIM is connected to authentication used on the fixed line.

Just a theory!

  • TrustMyUnit
  • about 1 month ago

Am not convinced it’s fixed as just ran a number of tests via EE 4G and VM tell me I’m having problems on VM M350 connection.

[url=https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality/share/b948fc8e3bce8aee32d2ce5f5da542441aa2cd82]My Broadband Ping[/url]

  • loaderladdy
  • about 1 month ago

My last outage was last night about 23:20 but been OK since.

Since lock-down my down speed has suffered by about 15 to 20 Mbps slower but since the outages the speed seems to have returned to normal at 112 Mbps.

  • cks22
  • about 1 month ago

@TrustMyUnit

I dont agree, we have a SIM on the account that comes with the package, it was offline last night at the same time as the broadband.

  • philce
  • about 1 month ago

In Coventry been having this problem on going for 2 weeks and its either 15 minutes past the hour or 10 minutes before the hour. Just had 3 outages this afternoon from 1415 onwards. I think virgin needs to check all areas now.

  • sunjamm222
  • about 1 month ago

It really isn't fixed - my connection is still utter garbage.

  • kerman19
  • about 1 month ago

Installations may be on hold, but they're still digging up the road to cable new areas: C-Plan are still working in my area (on behalf of Virgin Media). Pretty sure that's not essential work.

  • andrum992
  • about 1 month ago

Nothing to do with authentication or a single router in London crashing, but interesting seeing people theorise!

  • CarlThomas
  • about 1 month ago

So Virginmedia issues in the Telford area where down to a major telecom infrastructure cable being cut through. Didn’t just affect Virginmedia though, as lots of Openzone supplies ISPs were also affected, as well as some mobile service providers.

Shows it’s all highly integrated these days

  • loaderladdy
  • about 1 month ago

https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality/share/d72d2814d4e4a8a91c3318ead207d93b0243316e-29-04-2020

  • loaderladdy
  • about 1 month ago

interesting.... https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality/share/6d0963e7ea09e840b8a44d967a9bb02f31627159

  • Ryu89
  • about 1 month ago

Doubt it is fixed, had an outage in Warwick at 8am this morning.

  • bigluap
  • about 1 month ago

The problems affecting the whole network do appear fixed

https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality/share/0d9becdb19af74ede28c1df3b07a8035615de516

Of course individuals and areas might still have their own issues indepedent of what went on the other day.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 month ago

Nope, defo not fixed. I'm trying to work from home but the connection keeps dropping & the latency is really high. It's a nightmare!

  • Dave_Byron
  • about 1 month ago

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