It’s a blockbuster few days for Virgin Media O2. Earlier this week, the newly-merged company announced new benefits for customers who use Virgin Media for their broadband and O2 for their mobile plan, including faster speeds at no extra cost, more 5G mobile data, and free roaming in 75 countries worldwide. And now, the company has started to offer some customers an upgraded router, dubbed Hub 5, that offers faster Wi-Fi speeds.
Until now, the best router available from Virgin Media was the Hub 4, which was announced alongside the launch of its eye-waveringly fast Gig1 fibre broadband plans. This router, which has an upright design – not dissimilar to the Xbox Series X, has been designed to support the 1,000Mbps speeds available with Gig1 plans.
Virgin Media’s Hub 4 supports Wi-Fi 5, also known as 802.11ac, and proactively checks your network connections to ensure that Wi-Fi speeds are being shared fairly between devices – boosting the signal to any devices that are further away from the router and might be struggling with speeds. Hub 4 supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
According to those lucky few customers who have been offered an all-new Hub 5, the upgraded router supports Wi-Fi 6. This is the latest wireless standard used across the industry.
If you’ve upgraded your smartphone, tablet or streaming set-top box within the last few years, chances are, you’ll already have a couple of Wi-Fi 6-enabled devices at home. If so, you should immediately see the benefits of switching to a new router with Wi-Fi 6.
First of all, Wi-Fi 6 is capable of faster speeds. In lab conditions, Wi-Fi 6 can achieve downloads over a wireless network at speeds of 9.6Gbps – that’s almost triple the ceiling on Wi-Fi 5, which topped out at a respectable 3.5Gbps. Of course, you’re unlikely to get those super-fast speeds on a single device.
However, that 9.6Gbps download speed is divided up across every device on your network. So, you should see faster speeds on every gadget connected to the router.
Wi-Fi 6 isn’t just about speed. It includes a number of new technologies designed to make juggling multiple devices on the same network more reliable. As we all add an ever-increasing number of Wi-Fi connected gadgets into our homes, from smart lightbulbs to wireless speakers, Wi-Fi could soon become essential for those with an Alexa-enabled speaker in every room.
We’re still waiting to hear confirmation from Virgin Media O2 about its roll-out plans for the Hub 5. Based on the comments on the popular Cable Forum, it seems those with the ageing Hub 3 router on slower packages – 50Mbps to 200Mbps – are being offered the new router. As well as the boost to speeds, Hub 5 relies on next-generation WPA3 encryption to improve security. All in all, this looks like a very exciting upgrade for current customers.
Express.co.uk has approached Virgin Media O2 about the mysterious new hub purportedly rolling out to select customers.