Virgin Media nukes downloads after SuperHub 'upgrade'
But it's OK, only a few punters are spitting blood
Virgin Media has dismissed claims that a software update for its SuperHub kit is at fault after punters complained their downloads are being damaged.
A spokeswoman at the telco told The Register that it was too early to tell if the SuperHub's firmware upgrade from version R30 to R36 was the culprit for the reported data corruption bug. She claimed that the problem was isolated to a small number of customers on its broadband service.
Here's what one El Reg reader told us, details of which we put to VM:
Virgin Media has recently updated its firmware from R30 to R36 for its SuperHub for users on the 30, 50 and 100Mbps cable broadband product. Since this update a lot of users are reporting data corruptions when downloading files or trying to update apps on their smartphones and tablets.
To get around this some users have had to resort to putting the SuperHub into modem mode and then connecting their own router to bypass the router in the SuperHub. This appears to have resolved the data corruptions that people are experiencing.
Virgin Media has a troublesome past with its SuperHub router-modem combo box: some customers dubbed the kit "SuperFail" in 2011 when the gear slowed broadband connections down to a crawl for months. The ISP eventually fixed the problem apparently after a gentle nudge from Vulture Central.
The company admitted in August 2011 that its SuperHub still wasn't perfect. It was launched onto the market by VM in February that year.
Virgin Media gave us this official statement about the data corruption issues experienced by some of its customers:
We are currently investigating a recent issue whereby a small number of customers have been reporting corrupted downloads when using our broadband service. Customers have reported seeing this issue following a recent modem firmware update, however as this wasn't reported throughout beta or pilot, we are asking affected customers to get in touch through our community forums so we can get the full detail needed for our investigations. We apologise for any inconvenience caused in the meantime.
It's common practice for the telco to pilot a software update with a few thousand users before rolling it out further. That said, the SuperHub box has proved glitchy at various stages of its short life despite the telco's attempts to thoroughly test-drive upgrades before automatically thrusting them upon all Virgin Media-equipped homes. ®
Re: Why oh why
It's really a choice between two evils, BT or Virgin. Some people opt for ADSL and some for Cable, it's a bit like voting: everyone gets to vote, but, no one actually gets what they're voting for.
Not entirely true
Regarding all their kit being rubbish. I disagree. Having had a superhub for as long as they've been around I have no complaints for existing downloads at 100Mb. It's a great little 5Ghz wireless router and my old 2.4Ghz N router nicely daisy chains off it for legacy devices.
Similarly, the TiVo I've had since February 2011 is a great PVR and doesn't constantly reboot. Some of the older stuff like 1990s Pace boxes and the earliest Scientfic Atlanta TV Drives were indeed slow beyond usable.
Don't just assume that because you've heard from a forum that there are issues that they apply everywhere. And their customer service do exactly what I would expect a first line desk to do: whatever they can't fix they get an engineer out for.
We persist in using Virgin Media because actually their product is really rather good and 99.95% of the time delivers exactly what you've been promised.
Re: Why oh why
Because, as far as I know, they are the only one who deliver the actual speed you pay for. My mother is on Talk Talk 24Mb, she gets 2-6Mb at best. My father has Sky and get's about 8mb on a good day. I've got 30Mb on Virgin and I always get 30Mb.
Virgin have their customer service problems, but so do everyone. When my modem was on the blink I expected a long wait, but they couriered a new one out and I got it first thing the next day. Then again I lost FTP when they upgraded the modem, took me two days to realise that the modem had been upgraded as I only log in when I want to change something.
To me, it seems that they are the best of a bad bunch when it comes to broadband.