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Virgin Media preps firmware update for glitchy SuperHub

Promises 'modem mode', calls for beta testers

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Virgin Media plans to release yet another firmware update for its oft-criticised SuperHub modem/router combi kit in the next few weeks.

Since the box landed in February, there have been many complaints about the SuperHub.

Virgin Media told The Register that it had so far installed more than 400,000 SuperHub devices, and claimed that the "vast majority" of users enjoyed "a flawless service".

Despite that, many users have been hampered by connectivity problems - leading to some customers labelling it the "worst damned piece of hardware I've ever seen", "SuperFAIL", and "BlooperFlub" among other things.

Virgin Media has admitted ongoing problems with the SuperHub, which is in part why yet another firmware update is in production.

"We're working on making the Superhub a fantasic piece of kit, I'm sorry it's not perfect just yet," admitted a Virgin Media rep on the company's Twitter account last week.

The telco said its customers had been "fully engaged" in helping Virgin Media troubleshoot the ongoing issues with its SuperHub boxes.

The firm added that a key new feature requested by many customers has been delayed while the tech team works on the various glitches reported by users.

A function to allow punters to run their SuperHub in modem mode so that they can link it up with other networking hardware has been awaited for months. Some customers would prefer to use a separate router to handle dynamic DNS, port filtering and so on.

"This has been delayed as we have been prioritising issues that customers have reported including working on new wireless drivers for the SuperHub to address an isolated issue that occurs when there are a significant number of other access points (such as from neighbours) in the vicinity, interfering with wireless performance, sometimes requiring the modem to be reset," explained a Virgin Media spokesman.

He said that the company has been testing its firmware R29 beta with customers, who say the sluggish Wi-Fi problem has been resolved.

But it's not all good news on R29, as Virgin Media encountered a separate problem during the beta test that strangles performance when the 5GHz band is used, forcing the firm to abandon the release of R29.

El Reg has been informed that a new firmware update (R30) is in the pipeline, and that Virgin Media plans to open up that test build to its beta community later this week.

"We've been working hard to address some issues that some customers have been reporting when using wireless on the new Virgin Media SuperHub. These issues affect certain customers due to the proximity and number of other wireless devices in the vicinity," said the company.

"We're currently testing a firmware update to resolve these issues which we expect to release in the coming weeks following feedback from our beta testers.

"In the meantime, as there are other customers with SuperHub that have been patiently awaiting a new feature in the new firmware – modem mode – we are re-opening our call for beta testers to allow customers waiting for this feature to get the firmware ahead of full release." ®

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