Virgin Media 50MB Broadband is simply wonderful

I just moved house and had rung BT to move my two lines over to the new address. BT’s website said I could expect 8MB broadband from them at my new address. O2’s website said I could get 20MB broadband, although i’d have to wait until my BT line was actually installed before I could apply – and then i’d have to wait at least another 10 days for my broadband to be operational.

I had already charged up the Sim in my ‘3’ mobile USB broadband dongle and knew i’d at least have slow internet access while things got setup. Then I remembered that broadband over glass fibre always beats copper for speed, so a quick search for cable broadband turned up Virgin Media. Imagine the big smile that crossed my face when their site said I could have a 50MB link at my new address – all for not much more that I was paying BT for line rental & packages, and Orange for 8MB broadband.

The installation all went more or less as planned. The engineers setup the Wireless Router for me , ran a few speed tests, and left.

This site is all about less radiation, so i’d already bought a DSL 4 port wired router from eBay for £13.99 (search for ‘virgin media wired cable router’ and you’ll see the TP-LINK model). I asked whether this model would get the most out of the 50MB account, and was told it would. The wired router was a doddle to setup and the wireless router’s now back in its original box – if the router didn’t remain Virgin’s property, i’d sell it. The TP-Link model seems to have all the functionality of my old ADSL DG834 Netgear, maybe more.

I tried to turn off the Wireless features of the Dlink DIR-615 they supplied, but all you could do was drop the signal strength to 12.5% of max power and the Beacon down to once every second – this isn’t enough for me, sorry guys.

My Powerline ethernet-over-mains adapters work fine, and my son now has the PS3 running Little Big Planet on the big TV downstairs. He can happily download new levels and characters from the Net. I can also use BBC’s iPlayer on it, to catch up when they occasionally put something worth watching on TV.

My Speedtest screengrab is below:

Speedtest of Virgin Media 50MB Broadband

I managed to download the DVD of the latest OpenSuse Linux in about 15 minutes – about 4.6MB a second, where on my old 8MB link i’d top out at 700k.

The only bugbears about the service are with the phone line. For all their 50MB magicness, my local cabinet doesn’t support Caller ID on the phone line! You don’t realise how much you take caller ID for granted.

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