Virgin have upgraded me to 100MB broadband - but to use it I need to be
able to receive 5GHz. My tablet does but my laptop and desktop won't. The
limitation seems to be the WLAN Card.
Could I get a plug in USB WiFi dongle thing that will receive 5GHz - or
will this merely find another bottleneck?
Fortunately the Vigin Hub outputs 2.4GHz as well so I am no worse off.
I doubt you would notice the difference most of the time.
I've have both 5G and 2.4 G WiFi and would be hard pressed to spot the
difference in speed unless I measured it. It isn't unusual for there to be
5 or more machines using the internet at the same time here. I've often got
a couple running then there is the family.
I do prefer wired connections for fixed machines, including TV and other
media devices. I wired the house with Cat6 cable to all habitable rooms
some years back.
The size and construction of the house requires several Wifi points to get
get coverage, 5G doesn't like solid walls. With careful choice of channels
I avoid interference.
On Tue, 14 Jul 2015 19:38:48 +0000, DerbyBorn wrote:
5GHz, being a totally different frequency to 2.4GHz, requires different
hardware - it's a newer standard, so 5GHz kit is usually backwardly
compatible to the older stuff, but obviously not vice-versa.
But the frequency doesn't tell you the speed. The standard being used
does that bit.
802.11B was the original (to all intents and purposes). 11Mbit. Used to
be just fine, but you can see how it might be a limitation these days...
802.11G is the usual default these days. 54Mbit. Woo. Except...
801.11N is your most modern 2.4GHz - 300Mbit! And it's also on 5GHz...
2.4GHz is crowded in urban areas - lots of interference from the
neighbours routers. 5GHz is currently much less crowded, not least
because nobody's really using it yet, but also because it's shorter range
and doesn't penetrate walls as well.
You can get 100Mbit max from your broadband. Great. But... Unless you're
actually doing huge downloads, you won't notice the difference between
54Mbit and 100Mbit - stuff will just be there. Now.
Not that you'll actually get either 54Mbit anyway.
Basically, ignore the frequency, unless you can see a LOT of wireless
networks. If you're on 802.11N on your laptop/desktop, you'll notice no
difference. If you're on 802.11G, you might, but it'll be negligible
unless you're downloading huge stuff.
On Tue, 14 Jul 2015 22:11:23 +0000, DerbyBorn wrote:
Or, to put it another way - you bastard. I hate you. Can I please have
your 100Mbit connection in exchange for mine, 1.5Mbit on a good day?
Wireless speed is much less of an issue on this, I promise you...
Is fibre promised for your area in the future or are you connected
direct to the exchange?
We've been promised fibre for about the last 2 years, no sign of it
happening as yet. We get 6.5 down and 0.75 up at the mo (ADSL+).
My mobile reception (4G) puts the landline to shame, at times I get
65 down and 4 or more up.
If THREE would allow unlimited tethering I'd ditch the landline.
According to SamKnows, all 500 subscribers are direct to the
(sub)exchange, just over 2km away straight-line. The wet string doesn't
come in a straight line, of course. Oh, and there's a big river in the
The main exchange (in the town over the border, which makes for all sorts
of "not our problem" shenanigans usually) was upgraded this year, and our
sub-exchange is promised by the end of the year. Everybody on the
exchange is promised at least 2Mbit - we're actually fairly lucky
compared to many. Some don't even get anything, and are still on dial-up.
Welcome to the late '90s.
We don't have a mobile signal. On any network. For voice, let alone data.
There is a local line-of-sight wireless broadband setup, bouncing off
church towers and barns - but somebody put some wobbly-upwards land with
a heck of a lot of rather large trees between us and the village's bounce
point. There's talk of those trees coming down - but there's also talk
that the wireless isn't all it's cracked up to be.
On Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:24:01 +0000 (UTC), Jethro_uk wrote:
Depends how you measure it. Phase 1 of the County Councils/BDUK/BT
work will have 93% of "homes and business's" within reach of
"Superfast" that is > 24 Mbps download (>15 Mbps peak time),
broadband by the end of the year. Phase 2, when its sorted out ought
to add another 2% to that. The remaining 5% are left with the
"universal access" level of at least 2 Mbps.
On Thu, 16 Jul 2015 00:11:30 +0100, Dave Liquorice wrote:
It's nice to know that my basic 30Mbps down / 2Mbps up Virgin Media
service exceeds "Superfast", and by a wide margin. I just checked using
SpeedTest and got 33.95Mbps down and 2.00Mbps up which accurately
reflects the Superhub's reported connection speeds of 35,000,000 bps down
and 2058000 bps up.
The down speed used to be reported as 30000000bps (or perhaps it was
33000000bps?) about a year ago and I'm still awaiting the free d/l speed
upgrade to 50000000bps (but same old 2Mbps up) promised just about a year
back as being in the pipeline sometime over the next 12 to 18 months...
Any day RSN!
In the meantime, any new VM customers if past experience is anything to
go by, will get to enjoy the benefit of the long promised upgrade
straight away. So much for 'customer loyalty' :-(
BTW, is it just me or does everyone experience that "Cliff Hanger"
feeling whilst watching the upload speedtest progress bar?
They sometimes need reminding;!. Call the retention's dept and that
usually gets results.
Still I know people who'd neigh on kill to be on their network, those
out in the wild sticks near towns, that Fibre's a long time coming;!...
On Fri, 17 Jul 2015 12:06:30 +0100, tony sayer wrote:
I was tempted to try that the last time VM promised all of us 10Mbps
users a 'free upgrade' to a 20Mbps service RSN when their A4 junk
mailshot, addressed to "The Occupier" revealed they were not only
trying to attract new customers with a really cheap first six months cut
rate offer (a fair enough tactic on its own) but also providing them not
with a 20Mbps service (as promised to existing customers sometime in the
next 12 or 18 months) but, in fact, a 30Mbps service!!!
Since my complaint wasn't really within the remit of the retentions dept
(I wasn't having a problem over paying the not unreasonable 22 quid a
month charges at the time which would be the normal reason to land up
being referred), I took it up with customer support to explain that I
wasn't at all happy that existing loyal customers were effectively being
penalised by being made to wait for a 'free upgrade' to a 20Mbps service
whilst they were providing new customers, not only the benefit of a
special introductory 6 month rate but an immediate speed upgrade that was
50% faster again.
In the end, once it was clear that the best they could do was to provide
me with a 60Mbps service (3Mbps upload) for a mere 5 quid a month extra,
I took them up on that offer with the intention of 'downgrading' a few
months later to what I hoped would be at least the 20Mbps service, if not
the 30Mbps one. As it turned out, those few months turned into 11 months
before I downgraded to the current '30Mbps' I'm now on.
In the meantime, the 22 quid a month was raised to 26 quid and a few
pennies shortly after that and then increased again (all as a result of
inflationary adjustments) to the 27 quid and some pennies a month that I
now find myself paying. The way things are going, I may well get myself
referred to the 'retentions department' in a year or two's time to save
spending money on what is *now* quite clearly an overkill solution in
regard of internet connectivity.
Yes, it's quite nice to be able to download the latest 1.5GB Linux Mint
iso image file in less than ten minutes from the university of Kent's
servers at 2 in the morning (the only time of the day when their server
seems prepared to match the almost 4MB/s bandwidth of my local connection
to VM's internet gateway) but this is a luxury I could well manage
As best as I can surmise, a retentions connection now runs at 10Mbps
meaning such downloads will take a little bit longer, just under half an
hour in similar circumstances with a less proportionate loss of speed
during busier periods compared to the 50Mbps and faster services (I'll
not feel the pain of the internet's bottlenecking during the busy periods
quite so much - at least as far as simple one to one downloading sessions
are concerned, Torrented downloads, otoh *will* suffer from the lack of a
high speed connection but that's not such a big deal when the torrenting
happens to be offloaded onto a 24/7 NAS box).
That's ever so true. What often surprised me when dealing with my local
customers was the number of times I found myself having to recommend
switching from ISPs such as Sky, BT and Talktalk, relying on "Poor Man's
BroadBand" to VM's cable network service available right outside of
their own front gate.
When you live in an area already cabled for TV and internet services,
it's a no-brainer to eschew the many tempting offers by VM's competitiors
when you have such an opportunity to utilise such a trouble free and
consistently high speed internet connection. The only edge these
purveyors of "Poor Man's Broadband" have is on their service rental
charges being considerably lower to mitigate the costs in reliability and
performance their customers have to pay (costs go beyond mere monetary
I haven't seen what service rental rates are for someone on a
"Retentions Account" with VM. I suspect these rates aren't freely
published since they're only available to existing customers threatening
to leave VM's clutches, typically due to financial difficulties in
meeting the normal service rental charges. More to the point, they
probably depend on what competing ISPs have to offer by way of cut price
deals on their "Poor Man's Broadband" service in any given area.
I'm surmising that any VM customers who do get themselves referred to
"The Retentions Department" will find themselves haggling over the price
and maybe even having to sign a NDA over the whole deal.
My advice (to self as much as anyone else) is if, as an existing VM
customer, you feel they are 'taking the piss' re the monthly charges,
make sure that you're armed with full knowledge of exactly what each and
every viable alternative ISP in your area has to offer by way of economy
packages. That way, when you do finally confront the "Retentions
Department", you can demonstrate both a genuine intent to leave and
knowledge of benchmark price points giving you some leverage in haggling
the monthly retention package rate down to the lowest possible.
Virgin Media are obviously well aware of the truth of the adage, "It's
easier to hang onto a customer than it is to find a new one.", despite
their cynical abuse of their existing customer base as per the practice
used so blatantly by insurance companies, otherwise they wouldn't have
gone to the trouble of setting up a whole department dedicated just to
the business of hanging onto their existing customers. VM are simply
trying to "Have their cake *and* eat it."
When the attraction of "silly high speed" internet connectivity starts
to pall, especially when you have no need of the dubious benefits of the
TV and phone 'Value-add' packages, I'm sure a session with the
'retentions department' can prove a very fruitful cost cutting exercise
if you put you mind to it. Just how fruitful, I couldn't say (and, I
suspect, neither can any who have already availed themselves of this
I'm not sure what to make of that reply but the point I was making
was that whilst the download speedometer quickly reveals your final speed
to within a percent or two, that doesn't seem to be the case with the
upload speed test where the speedo quickly climbs to about half to two
thirds in the first two or three seconds leaving you to watch its antics
over the next 20 seconds or so as it struggles to approach the advertised
upload speed limit of your connection.
 We first acquired a broadband connection nearly 15 years ago when my
daughter signed up to NTL's digital TV and 512Kbps broadband services
(using, unbeknownst to me at the time, the fiction that her bedroom was
"Flat 3" at our home address), primarily for the broadband cable
connection - standalone cabled internet connections weren't yet available
at that time.
I offered to subsidise part of the monthly rental as an inducement to
persuade her then boyfriend (now my son in law) to configure a spare PC
running Debian Linux to act as a gateway router to the pre-existing
10Mbps cheapernet house LAN I'd installed a few years earlier. Thus it
was that I got hooked onto a "Real, 'always on' Internet Connection' and
the joys of a properly firewalled internet connection available to all
the PCs hanging off of the LAN.
When my daughter left home a few years later, I took over the NTL
account and immediately downgraded to a 128Kbps service to minimise the
costs. Even a mere 128Kbps connection was better than a dial up
connection providing at best one third of that speed whilst tying up a
phone line with the loss of a simple firewalled internet sharing facilty.
About a year after that, NTL started advertising a cheap introductory
offer for an internet only cable package (15 quid a month for their
128Kbps service, long since 'upgraded for free' to the current 30Mbps
service of today) so I arranged to have my TV and internet package
'downgraded' to this new internet only service.
Unfortunately, when NTL's engineers turned up to complete the
conversion, I was in hospital. When I finally returned home, just a week
or so before Christmas, I discovered that they'd simply recovered the
Pace STB, neglecting to replace it with the all important cable modem,
leaving us without an internet connection, despite their obvious cock up,
until mid to late January the following year. If I had been there to
watch what they were doing, I'd have not let them recover the STB until
they returned with a modem. Unfortunately I wasn't and the missus, bless
her heart would not have realised NTL's cock up until way too late.
That was the one and only serious cock up I've ever had to contend with
so far in my dealings with NTL/VM over the past 12 years or so. The issue
was finally resolved with a generous refund covering the lost 5 or 6
weeks of service plus a discount over the next 6 months rental period to
compensate for the inconvenience caused. Not too bad a result but it's a
great pity that they weren't able to see fit, in view of it being a cock
up on their part in the first place, to squeeze another engineering visit
during what was obviously a very busy schedule of new customer
Anyhow, all that aside, I started receiving junk mailshots addressed to
'the occupier' of various flats to the extent that I spoke to customer
services to advise them that no such addresses existed and that I was
already a customer so no more such junk mail please! I don't think the
message got through to their marketing department since I still get VM
junk mailshots every two or three months or so.
Ever since I was alerted to the outrageously preferential treatment to
new customers, at the expense of existing customers, I'm not so bothered
since it keeps me advised of VM's latest marketing tricks where existing
customers are last in the queue for any promised upgrades that are given
immediately to the "Johnny come lately" newest customers.
The problem stems from the fact that they know they can afford to take a
cavalier attitude to their existing customers since the competing ISPs
have so much less to offer (and the Retentions Department provides a
backstop insurance against customers deciding to 'vote with their feet').
 "Poor Man's Broadband" is an expression I started using when I was
still signed up with zetnet, a small but excellent ISP which was to
eventually be consumed by an asset stripping company, Breathe Networks
Limited (BNL), back in 2008. A wikipedia article here
Offers a brief synopsis of zetnet's history.
When I first signed up with zetnet, I was using their Lo-call dial in
service (a penny a minute off-peak call rate number) but once I had
access via the NTL BB connection, I was able to make use of a recently
enhanced connection feature of zetnet's proprietry ZIMACS email client/
news reader user interface which allowed me to connect via any other ISP's
Point of Presence dial in number, including broadband connections.
Thereafter I never had to dial up a zetnet connection ever again. I
considered zetnet to be my value added ISP (it had a USP of which BNL
seemingly remained totally oblivious to) with NTL merely providing a
broadband connection to the internet, albeit only a mere 128Kbps service
at that time. Also, around that time, zetnet were reselling BT's ADSL
connections to their customers, who like me, could, if the occasion
demanded, still fall back on the dial up connection which was just as
well for those using ADSL since they, unlike myself, were often obliged
to make use of it on account of the never ending problems, countrywide,
As a cable broadband connected customer, I soon realised that "I'd never
had it so good." to borrow a phrase from elsewhere, and dubbed the
troublesome ADSL offerings as "Poor Mans' Broadband" in recognition of
that fact. It's a description that still rings true today.
 The only thing that comes to mind being that it's because you're
using an SDSL service of some kind (otherwise, pass!).
Agreed, I've been with them for ages now, and last year managed a
speed and router upgrade for less money, eased by my having been
on a 20 MB tariff they were trying to phase out.
It is sad but true, that you have to keep doing this from time to
time to keep costs down. Just saved nearly £20 on my AA subs.
Chris J Dixon Nottingham UK
And we're not using SDSL either just plain ole VM ...
Seems much the same either way round most all of the time. However one
Fibre we have at Ely in Cambridgeshire is very good most all the time,
70 odd meg, but the upload can be really slow sometimes around 18 on a
good day but I believe its because its not a main exchange but a branch
one with limited backhaul capacity..
<snipped a bit more of a tale of Telco services;!>...
On Sat, 18 Jul 2015 20:29:17 +0100, tony sayer wrote:
The download plot is pretty well flat topped from start to finish rather
akin to a super car accelerating from the hard shoulder onto a quiet
motorway with the cruise control preset to 79mph.
The upload speedo behaviour, otoh, (I don't see a speed plot) is more
like that of a Trabant driver's attempt to beat his own personal best
speed record along a 1 mile stretch of runway.
I've just repeated this morning's test and, just like before, I managed
to edge the upload speed to 2.00Mbps on the second attempt (it didn't
quite make it the first time round - just 1.97Mbps).
The D/L speed on this second attempt shows 32.49 Mbps (ping time 9ms btw)
I forget what the first one was. When the D/L speed results consistently
hit the 32/33Mbps mark, the novelty of it all gets old rather fast. I
suppose it'll start to look more interesting when (assuming I haven't
struck a deal with 'Retentions' before then) VM finally do get around to
upgrading my line speed to 50Mbps as promised over a year ago now. :-(
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