What is traffic management?
On any given day, more than 95% of our customers, those who use broadband for emailing, browsing, gaming, listening to music and watching films and TV online won’t be affected at all by traffic management. Traffic management is only applied to a small minority of customers during peak times.
There will always be some broadband users who do a lot more on their connection than most of us. Without traffic management this small number of people would flood the network with data traffic during peak times, which can slow things down for everyone else.
We think there is a fairer way of doing things so we use traffic management to put a temporary speed restriction on the heaviest users during peak times only. We don’t limit the amount of data they can upload, or in the case of customers on our 20Mbps or below services what they can download, just the speed at which they can do it during peak times. We think it’s the best way to make sure everyone can enjoy the consistently fast broadband speeds across our network.
How does traffic management apply to me?
If you are one of our customers using broadband for emailing, browsing, gaming and listening to music it’s highly unlikely that traffic management will apply to you.
If you're on our 30Mbps or above unlimited services you will only ever be traffic managed if you’ve been uploading a very large amount of data during peak times, and reached the limit set for your broadband tier.
If you're on one of our legacy 20Mbps or below unlimited services, you will be managed if you've been uploading or downloading a very large amount of data during peak times, and reached the limit set for your broadband tier.
If you're on one of our tiers with a specified usage amount then you will not be traffic managed as you have bought an amount of data as part of your service
To see in detail how our traffic management works in practice:
If you can’t remember which speed you’re on you can find these details on your bill. If you're an eBilling customer and view your bills online, just sign in to your My Virgin Media account and select My Bills. If you can't remember your username or password, see How do I sign in to My Virgin Media?
If you receive a paper bill you can find your Broadband speed on page 2.
How do I avoid traffic management?
Save heavy activity for overnight. Just leave your computer to do it overnight, from 11pm onwards. The best bit is waking up the next morning to find it all done.
This is important if you use peer-to-peer (P2P) networks a lot. P2P is software such as BitTorrent which allows you to download files that are stored on the hard drives of other users, and upload those files to other users.
These can use up large chunks of your broadband connection. To stop this many P2P programs have a scheduler already installed or available as a plugin, allowing you to control the times and speeds of your activity.
For more tips on managing your activity, see: How to schedule downloads
Are there any other traffic management measures I should know about?
We implement some other reasonable traffic management measures across our network in order to comply with our legal obligations, ensure the integrity and security of our networks, make parental controls available to you and to provide you with the services you have asked us to provide. In particular:
- We may block access to child abuse material and websites that the Courts have ordered us to block. You can find out more here.
- If you have Websafe switched on, then depending on what you have chosen to apply to your service, we will attempt to block: (a) websites which are inappropriate for children (Child Safe); and/or (b) websites that may be fraudulent or contain viruses. You can find out more here.
- In order to preserve the integrity and security of our network, we use DDoS detection and mitigation technology, and in the case of a suspected attack, we will attempt to screen out malicious traffic.
- We monitor usage to identify your total volumes of data usage (but not specific applications or content). Where we have agreed with you to provide volume based billing we may use reasonable traffic management to enforce any agreed caps on data usage.
- We use a number of load balancers in our datacentres to balance traffic and provide you with the best possible service that we can.
How do I find out information about speeds and what can I do if I’m not happy with the speeds I’m getting?
We monitor the performance of our network using a panel of real Virgin Media customers. You can find out all the stats, figures and FAQs about Virgin Media’s speeds from virginmedia.com/ourspeeds.
Of course, lots of different factors may affect the speeds you get. We’ve put together a handy guide to checking your broadband performance with some tips on how to ensure you’re getting the most out of your service. You can find it here.
If you are still not happy with the speeds you are getting, then you can find more advice and details of how to contact us here.