How to fix Virgin Media’s mistakes

Living off campus? Decide Virgin Media was the best option for broadband internet? Having serious problems with the service? You’re not alone. For the second year running I chose the 9-month 10Mb package for my 6-person house. Last year it worked well, but this time it’s a different story.

This year Virgin Media have introduced a new all-in-one hub device, which they advertise as being more reliable and offering a larger range. What they have conveniently ignored is the large number of customers experiencing problems with this new hub. Common issues include the temporary loss of connection for no apparent reason and, more seriously, a complete lack of service to any other computer if one person is downloading a large file, or using a service like Skype. Sadly, the company appears to be in complete denial that this problem exists, despite their own customer forums being full of posts begging for help.

I spent hours on the phone to India trying to solve these issues and, two replacement devices and a lot of tinkering later, my connection is now stable. If you are having the same problem there are some simple steps to take to fix it:
1. Log-in to your hub device by going to the website: http://192.168.0.1 and when prompted entering the username ‘admin’ and the password ‘changeme’
2. On the left hand side, click on ‘Wireless Settings’ under the subheading of ‘Setup’, and change the channel from ‘Auto’ to ‘11’, then click ‘Apply’.
3. On the left hand side, click ‘Services’ under ‘Content Filtering’, then untick the first box, ‘Firewall Features’. Before clicking ‘Apply’, ensure that each computer on the network is protected by its own Firewall, or you will be open to security threats (a free firewall is provided by Virgin Media on their website).
4. Finally, click on ‘Wireless Settings’ under the ‘Advanced’ subheading, and tick the box labelled ‘Disable Gateway’s PIN’, then click ‘Apply’.

Following these simple steps should fix your internet connection. One final obstacle may remain: your neighbours. Unbelievably, if they too have a Virgin Media hub and have not changed the settings, it may actually interfere with your network. This most recent discovery (made when my neighbours had a new Virgin hub installed) shows the new hub to be even more broken than first thought. Despite this, Virgin Media are sadly refusing to give up on it, although it must only be a matter of time before enough consumers complain for them to take notice.

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