There’s a lot you can do to get the very best wireless range and performance from your Super Hub. This article guides you though how to:
- Speed up your wireless
- o Check and change your wireless channel
o Make sure your devices are wireless “N” compatible
o Switch to 5GHz (requires 5GHz compatible devices)
- Improve your wireless range
- o Reduce the impact of obstacles & interference
o Experiment with 145Mb/s
- Troubleshoot your connection
Finding a happy home for your Virgin Media Super Hub is really important so that you get the best wireless signal – and our fastest ever wireless broadband. For some tips, take a look at our step-by-step, interactive guide.
Speed up your wireless
Check your wireless channel
A prime cause of wireless slow-down is interference from other wireless networks in your area.
Your Super Hub sends its wireless signal on a set frequency, or channel. So if someone in your area is using the same channel, the signals may interfere with one another and could reduce your wireless performance.
Check our 'How to' video on changing your Super Hub's wireless channel:
Windows – inSSIDer.
Mac – KisMAC to find out how to install and use KisMac, click here.
Android – PinApps WiFi Scanner
After downloading a WiFi scanner, you can run it to find the least congested channels in your area.
Pick a clear channel
There are 13 wireless channels to choose from in the 2.4GHz band, or 4 in the 5GHz band. To find out more about the different bands, click here. In the 2.4GHz band, several channel frequencies overlap each other. Even unused channels in your area can have a small amount of interference from overlapping channels. There are, however, three channels; 1, 6 and 11 that are not overlapped by any other channels. If one of those isn’t being used in your area, setting your Super Hub to one will give the best chance of minimising interference.
This scan shows channels 1 and 11 in heavy use, while channel 8 looks to be least congested:
Once you’ve scanned your local WiFi signals, make note of any empty or less congested channels, check How do I change the Virgin Media Super Hub's wireless channel/frequency? to find out how to change your Super Hub’s wireless channel.After changing the Super Hub’s wireless channel, you can use the WiFi scanner to measure your new signal strength. This is measured in –dB with a lower –dB reading meaning a stronger signal. Try experimenting with other channels to see which gives the strongest signal.
If you’d rather not download a WiFi scanner, it’s still worth trying out different wireless channels and testing your connection until you see an improvement. To find out how to change your Super Hub’s wireless channel, check How do I change the Virgin Media Super Hub's wireless channel/frequency?
Make sure your device is Wireless ‘N’ compatible
In techno-speak, the fastest wireless technology is 802.11n, which we call wireless 'N'. In theory, this means it supports transfer rates of up to 300Mb/s. In the real world, obstacles and interference tend to bring this down to around 100Mb/s.
Benefits of wireless ‘N’ include:
- Better coverage – your wireless signal is likely to be stronger around the house, compared to wireless 'G'.
- Better range – the signal will travel further than a wireless 'G' signal, so your computers and devices won’t need to be as close to the router as before.
- Better speeds – wireless 'N' gives you the fastest possible wireless broadband experience, so it’s the ideal partner for Virgin Media's superfast broadband.
Wireless 'G' devices
If your computer & other devices do not support wireless ‘N’, they’re likely to be wireless ‘G’. Wireless ‘G’ devices can transfer data at up to 54Mb/s, so setting your Super Hub to Wireless ‘N’ means the potential 300Mb/s transfer rate of wireless ‘N’ is shared between your wireless ‘G’ devices. This means that if you have two wireless ‘G’ devices connected to the Super Hub, they can each transfer data at up to 54Mb/s.
Alternately, you could plug a wireless 'N'-compatible USB adapter into a USB 2.0 (or higher) port of your computer to get the best performance. If your computer has a USB slot and you’d like to buy a wireless-‘N’ adaptor, click here here.
Switch to 5GHz (requires 5GHz compatible devices)
Your Super Hub can use one of two frequency bands to transmit its wireless signal – the default 2.4GHz band or the faster, less congested 5GHz band.
Think of 2.4GHz as a two-way road, with data being sent down one lane and received along another. The 5GHz range doubles the number of lanes, giving you the potential for higher and faster traffic flow.
The 2.4GHz band is the most commonly used and is supported by just about all wireless devices. The downside to its popularity is interference from other wireless devices is more common than on the 5GHz band.
While the 5GHz band allows for higher transfer rates and often improved range, one thing to note if you plan to use 5GHz is that all devices you connect to your Super Hub must be 5GHz compatible. It is really important to know that if you set your Super Hub to 5GHz, any non-5GHz devices will no longer be able to connect to that Super Hub until you change it back to 2.4GHz. Check with the manufacturer to see if your device supports 5GHz.
To find out how to switch your Super Hub to the 5GHz band, check How to switch your Super Hub to the 5GHz band.
Improve your wireless rangeReduce the impact of obstacles & interference
Your wireless signal is strongest when you’re in line-of-sight of your Super Hub. Large dense obstacles like brick walls or fish tanks reduce its strength, and sources of electrical interference like cordless phones or baby monitors can cause interference.
It won’t always be practical to keep your Super Hub in line-of-sight, but there are ways you can make sure you’re getting the best possible signal.
Super Hub positioning options are limited by the location and length of the coaxial cable that comes into your home, however, for its wireless signal to be distributed effectively, make sure your Super Hub isn’t crowded by other items or devices. It might be easier to reposition easily movable obstacles and sources of interference away from the Super Hub rather than moving the Super Hub itself.
Try to keep the Super Hub as far as you can from:
- Large or dense objects – avoid items containing metal or water
- Reflective or shiny surfaces – the signal can bounce off windows, mirrors and tiles
- Electrical equipment – particularly TVs, cordless phones, baby monitors and other equipment that sends out radio signals
- Walls – especially thick ones made of concrete or brick
- Give it space – the more space immediately around your Super Hub, the better its signal can spread
- Keep the front clear – your Super Hub broadcasts from its front panel (the side with the illuminated Virgin Media button), so try not hide it away on a bookshelf or behind the TV
Experiment with 145Mb/s
Your Super Hub has a setting called 802.11 mode with three options; 54Mb/s, 145Mb/s and 300Mb/s.
You could compare your Super Hub’s 300Mb/s signal to a group of people walking side-by-side along a busy street. Although they may reach their destination quicker, obstacles like lamp posts and other pedestrians (or in the Super Hub’s case, wireless interference) could throw some of the group off course. If the group were to walk in single file, 145Mb/s style, they’d be less susceptible to obstacles or interference and would all reach their destination with less chance of getting lost.
In areas with little wireless interference, 300Mb/s is ideal. However, its wider signal band can be prone to picking up interference in more congested areas where you might find that switching to 145Mb/s improves your wireless range.
One thing to note if you’re on our 100Mb or above services, is that switching to 145Mb/s mode could reduce your maximum download speed.
The lower congestion levels in the 5GHz band make it ideal for using with 300Mb/s – but remember, to use the 5GHz band, all your devices must be 5GHz compatible.
To find out how to switch the signal band on your Super Hub, check How to change your Super Hub's signal band.
Add a repeater or use Modem Mode
You might want to think about adding a wireless repeater to your network, or using the Super Hub’s Modem Mode to improve coverage in hard-to-reach parts of your house.
Super Hub’s Modem Mode lets you set it up to act as a modem, which switches off the Super Hub’s wireless signal, allowing you to connect to a router of your choice, situated in a prime location; high in the house – maybe the loft, and away from solid obstacles such as brick walls and concrete floors.
If you switch your Super Hub to Modem Mode, you’ll need to connect it to the new router using an Ethernet cable. You could either run a cable between the two, or look into using a Powerline adaptor to avoid trailing wires around your home.
To find out how to switch on the Super Hub’s Modem Mode, check How do I set up Modem Mode on my Super Hub?
Troubleshooting connection problems
If you’re having problems with your Super Hub’s wireless or Internet connection, check Troubleshooting the Virgin Media Super Hub.