Some customers on Virgin Media’s UK (VMO2) ultrafast broadband packages appear to have been given a surprise this week after they were offered the chance to upgrade their older DOCSIS routers to a Hub 5 “at no extra cost“, which is a previously unknown model that supports WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and WPA3 encryption.
Until today, the best router you could get on Virgin Media’s platform was their relatively recent HUB 4.0 (TG3492LG-VMB / Gigabit Connect Box) device (details), which launched in 2019 to support their new 1Gbps broadband tier (some customers on slower packages have also been able to take it – here) and was thus their only router with DOCSIS 3.1 support.
Suffice to say, we weren’t expected a new model (HUB 5) to launch quite so soon after the HUB 4 and seemingly without any prior warning (we haven’t yet heard of any large trials). Nevertheless, one of Virgin Media’s customers on their Community Forum recently received an email inviting them to claim one of the new devices “at no extra cost,” which was soon followed by two more reports on Cable Forum.
All the customers contacted so far appeared to be on VM’s older packages (e.g. 50Mbps to 200Mbps) with the HUB 3 router. The associated invite page includes very little detail and makes no mention of any trials or this being a beta product (highly unusual). But it does confirm WiFi 6 (802.11ax) support and improved security (WPA3 encryption is a given).
VMO2’s HUB 5 Message
Hub 5, our first powered by new WiFi 6 technology, handles a houseful of gadgets like never-before. All you have to do to get one for no extra cost is: Confirm your details below
Powerful home WiFiVirgin Media is home to the UK’s fastest widely available broadband. And the more speed your Hub gets, the more your WiFi can do.
Strong signal for everyone at homeSmall but powerful, our Hubs are made to handle our ultrafast broadband speeds and deliver WiFi to where you need it.
Built-in securityAll our latest Hubs come with encryption and the latest security features as standard. So you won’t have to worry about someone hacking or stealing your WiFi.
Fancy trading in your old one for a new Hub 5?Get your order in below (costs you nothing extra) and choose when you’d like the Hub 5 delivered. When it arrives, just send back the old one in the same pre-paid box.
The physical design of the new router is very similar to that of the ARRIS SVG2482AC, but the specs are too different and may be closer to the ARRIS TG6441 (CommScope). We are currently trying to get more details and are awaiting a response from VMO2. More updates to follow.
A credible source informs us that the HUB 5 also has a 2.5Gbps LAN port(s), which would make sense if they intend to launch a 2Gbps package in the not too distant future (here). But so far their 2.2Gbps trials have only made use of the HUB 4.
We’ve had no response from VMO2 yet, but it doesn’t seem as if any of the operator’s front-line staff are aware of the Hub 5 (not too surprising as they’re often the last to know – necessary to limit leaks). As above, our own sources within VMO2 have confirmed that the Hub 5 does exist and the limited specs are indeed as stated, but none of them were expecting it to be made available yet either (i.e. the emails took them by surprise too).
We’re starting to think the customer emails may have been issued incorrectly, but if so then they do at least give us a sneak peek of what is to come. We’ll update again once VMO2 responds.
A spokesperson for VMO2 has confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that the HUB 5 is indeed “coming,” but more details won’t be released until tomorrow. We will of course update this article once that happens.
Virgin seems to have removed (or made private) the original customer thread on their forum and without giving a clear explanation, which seems a bit pointless now that the details are out in the public domain. We’re expecting somewhat of a pre-pilot launch for the Hub 5 to be unveiled tomorrow.
UPDATE 20th Oct 2021
The new Hub 5 router has been announced (here).