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Fibre broadband via Virgin Media

  • IT

I’ve recently migrated my internet to Fibre broadband from Virgin Media, after using BT for several years, so thought I’d leave my own thoughts / reviews in terms of the service and what I’ve received so far relating to it. This review is unbiased, as I have never had internet through any other provider other than BT in the UK. This ISP is the first time I’m trying them out with internet, so these are my below thoughts.


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You can sign up to Virgin Media Broadband with this link and receive £50 credit


Is Virgin Media really full fibre?

Virgin’s network is NOT full fibre in the traditional sense. A full fibre network is Fibre optic cable that runs directly into your house. Virgins network seems to be a Fibre cable running to a box, than a Coax cable from the Fibre box to the Superhub 5

From reading up, Virgins Full fibre internet is actually over Cable not Fibre optic cable. It seems to run via a methodology called DOCSIS. In a sense DOCSIS can support high speeds, but compared to fibre optic, latency is an issue. DOCSIS internet is good for multiple channels because it allows you to split everything up over around 32 channels (so a 1Gbps connection over 32 channels would be ~31Mb/s) for each channel. Which is great for internet, Netflix, video conferencing, etc. I THINK what happens is when the channels aren’t being used, then the speed is bursted for the channel with priority. Looking at the hub it maybe bursts around 4.6Mb/s each time. Hence why when running speed tests, it doesn’t seem accurate, as it goes slow, then ramps up the more it goes on

I imagine one of the main problems here is going to be latency. Given that Fibre optic internet is essentially light inside of a glass tube, when you have internet, you’re just shoving the entire lot in one go. In theory a true Fibre optic connection should beam the light to it’s destination in less than a hundredth of a second (1ms). I can’t remember exact numbers, but believe light travels around 300,000 metres per second in a vacuum. Fibre is new technology for me so can’t quote that. Just the ping times seem way too slow for me than what I’d expect for a full fibre connection. It could be the engineer maybe terminated differently. I did see them removing the sheath on the fibre cable, but not the termination, maybe it was a poor termination, poor cleave, etc. Any number of reasons. However this is the trade off, because it’s not a true fibre connection, I get near enough Fibre speeds at a minimal price. So the best of both worlds.

Was my internet easy to install?

For me, very. After the ballache I had with BT when I was first getting internet installed when moving to my old home. I put the internet at the most basic point near the window so engineers just had to route the main cable. The Virgin media fibre broadband is installed in two phases. The outside phase where engineers come up and dig up the street, (or in my instance run cables via a Telepgrah pole). This is actually determined by a questionaire you get when you sign up.

Then about 1 week later, the installation engineer who comes with your router and installs it all for you. The engineer come promptly for his timeslot, communciation via a text message to advise, and everything was done within 30 mins. He basically drilled a hole through the cavity wall, ran a fibre cable from the junction box outside, to the one internally. He then hooked up a coax cable from the junction box to the router.I did make an enquiry about buying a longer cable, as I talked about moving the router to another point in the room (maybe 2m away), and asked the engineer if this was OK. This wasn’t an issue, as I wasn’t sure if I could unplug the connection or required an engineer for this. It was either or basically. If I’m OK to do it myself I can, if not, I can use them. It’s easy enough since the cable I was referring to is a coax from the junction box to the router. Obviously his only point is to make sure it’s a high quality one to prevent any interference which I understand anyway.

Again for simplicity I chose to have the connection as near as possible to the entry point. This made it easier for the engineer to install, and less hassle when some refuse to do it. All I did was run a Cat6a network cable to my bedroom switch for all the networking, I did the hardwork which leaves them with the easy job. Then it’s my responsibility to look after my internal LAN which is how I want it. This then leaves Virgin to look after their own network without interference from me. I simply plug a network cable into the back of their home router.

How fast is the speed I’m receiving on my 1 Gig broadband?

SIDE NOTE : Please note whilst writing this article, you need to understand the difference between Bytes and Bits in internet terminology, since there are 8 bits in a byte. Internet speed (in this context) refers to Megabits per second Mbps. This is because it’s measured in bits per second. A lot of people see speeds like 100MB/s for their internet and think they’re being duped. As your computer reports in Bytes, but internet is provided in Bits. It’s very important to note the capitilisation of the letter b after the M to know if you’re working in bytes, or bits. Since it makes a big difference in terms of broadband speed. The below information should help you understand the speeds in my article a bit better

  • In order to convert Mb/s (Megabits) to MB/s (Megabytes) you divide by 8 – eg 1000Mb/s is 125MB/s
  • In order to convert MB/s (Megabytes) to Mb/s (Megabits) you multiply by 8 – eg 125MB/s is 1000Mb/s

Now, take these numbers below with a pinch of salt, and purchase Virgin Media broadband if it’s more something you want to try out. I live in a small village, so have limited internet availibility. I simply opted for Virgin Media for the higher speeds, as we’re modernly moving towards more speed needed for working from home setups, and huge downloads on modern games consoles for updates, etc.

Heck, even my mobile phone gets better internet speed than my old broaband connection (100Mb/s)

Is this a true representation of my speed? No, because there are many factors which can affect it. I just wanted to report the speeds I achieved through testing my fibre broadband connection with Virgin media, and my opinions of it.  Even just the time of day, and antivirus running can have an effect on the speed of the connection depending on the test being carried out

My preferred method is using a test site like Speedtest with Ookla. Or ideally using a website which hosts “test files”, these are basically files of a certain size which you can download to test out the internet connection. When I had the broadband connection installed, I did some tests. I managed to find a test site for Vodafone, and downloaded 3 of their 1Gb test files sequentially over http port 80.

The speeds I achieved using the test files added up to about 65MB/s download speed, if my connection was a true 1 gig connection running at 1170Mb/s this speed should have been closer to around 145MB/s. The speeds I achieved were closer to 520Mb/s (65Mb x 8)

The Virgin Media engineer did say the best site to use was “Samknows” as it’s compatible with the Superhub 5, at the time of writing this article, these were the speeds I achieved using this site (I have previously got results of 1170 so again, take this with a pinch of salt). I’m merely writing this article to give an inbiased review on Virgin Media broadband, neither negative or positive.


Virgin Media 1 Gig fibre broadband test 1 on Samknows
Samknows Test 1
Virgin Media 1 Gig fibre broadband test 1 on Samknows
Samknows Test 2 (less than 10 secs later)

These are my results from running speed tests on by Ookla, – you can see my average speed hovers around 400-500Mb/s which is closer to the results I achieved. This isn’t a negative, just a reflection. The same engineer when he installed the internet at the time was getting around 750Mb/s on his phone. Judging by the way the internet is finding the best server, I’m also summising the servers for Virgin are somewhere around Leeds/Manchester

My home broadband speed with 1Gig fibre

Have I had any problems with Virgin media broadband?

Nothing as such, connection has been OK from what I can tell. The only issue I encountered is that my home network when using the default router provided by BT the default Gateway (eg the BT router) which acted as a DHCP had an IP address of, and the router provided by Virgin has a default Gateway address of

This didn’t cause an issue for most of my equipment, as IP addresses are mostly DHCP assigned on my network, however I had a couple of pieces of equipment with static IP addresses (mainly CCTV), so had to manually change over the default gateway on these systems to reflect the new address so please make a mental note of this information, you may potentially need to resolve technical issues like this

The only other thing I noticed is the default DNS servers are changed to route traffic through Virgins DNS servers. I personally prefer to use servers provided by Google or Cloudflare. So amended my DNS to use these instead, since Cloudflare servers run far better protection than an ISP, and they’re more well known. My connection has been stable, even my speed can be a number of factors outside of the ISP influence

The only true negative I don’t like is that their Superhub 5 is a pile of garbage in my opinion. It’s too user friendly, and too locked down. You can see limited information like the max download rate (1.2GB/s) and upload rate (110Mb/s) and a few others, but after that you’re pretty restricted. You can’t amend the DHCP tables to change device connect names, so you see mac addresses. Which is really annoying when I want to change the name of known devices on my network. You also have limited control over what you can do. There’s probably a hidden admin function somewhere, if not I’ll most likely migate to my own equipment, maybe someting like an Archer, or Draytek. As I like to be in control of the hardware.

I have a thing about equipment managed by ISP’s. They like to mess around with them too much and reboot randomly which when I was on VDSL with BT it used to cause havoc for speed profile and connectios because it needs to resync, and as someone who likes to dabble with computer technology, there’s very limited things I can control on the router like for features I’d like to use. It works fine for what it’s intended to do, but doesn’t mean it’s not crap at the same time. More pieces of technology means more points of failure. I’d much rather have a router that supports a direct Fibre connection from the outside box rather than cable that goes to another box. It’s just more interference on the network which can slow down your connection.

Would I recommend internet through Virgin Media?

On a whole, I can’t really complain. The minimum guaranteed speed with Virgin Media in my contract (18-months), is half of my speed (which on a 1 Gig connection, they guarantee me 550Mbps). Whilst the speeds I’m achieving aren’t always this number, I do believe they’re around this value, and quite frankly. The internet I previously had with BT was always giving me speeds of around 37Mb/s down and around 7Mb/s up. So that’s a massive speed boost. Considering I was paying around £43 per month with BT, and I’m paying £45 per month with Virgin for my internet. So to be fair, I don’t really care about not getting advertised speed since 300-400Mb/s is more than enough for my internet connection as I get around 400Mb/s down and 100Mb/s up, which is great for my Youtube videos, and great for downloading big updates on the Playstation network (I downloaded around 400Mb/s for God of War : Valhalla), it took 3min for a 9Gb update!

Considering a move yourself? You can sign up to Virgin Media Broadband with this link and receive £50 credit towards your account


Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!