Best router to use alongside Virgin Homehub?

JamieLH44

Novice Member
I've currently got Virgin Media 350 Internet and have got to say WiFi performance is extremely poor. After doing a bit of research it seems that the home hub 3.0 isn't the best at handling network traffic and many virgin customers have put their home hub into "modem mode" and have brough a dedicated WiFi router to handle all network traffic.

My question is which router should I go for? I keep seeing recommendations for various Asus routers and understand the Nightgear Network range are good also? I do console and PC gaming, have 2 sky Q boxes, the kids all have a Roku stick in their rooms and steam Netflix and Disney+, we have a couple of TVs that use wifi, some Alexa devices, a wifi printer and 4 mobile phones that also use the WiFi.

I want something that will boost wifi range, improve stability and reduce lag and if possible improve my connection for gaming.

I know some of the better routers are £200-£400 and dont mind paying for something that will improve my home network and stop the other half saying "virgin media Internet is sh*t" nearly every day".

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
 

Fe_man2000

Well-known Member
I have the same package and have no issues with wifi on mulitple phones and tablets but of course it down to other factors usually . Have you checked the wifi signals using one of the apps to see what your neighbors are pushing out ? (Wifi Analyzer for example is free) As all wifi devices are legally bound on there "strength" is mostly about positioning and how many access points you have and how there all connected that makes the most difference/improvement.

What situation are you finding poor performance e.g are you 2 floor ups from the Super Hub or is it closer but your streaming video to the TV ?
 

JamieLH44

Novice Member
I have the same package and have no issues with wifi on mulitple phones and tablets but of course it down to other factors usually . Have you checked the wifi signals using one of the apps to see what your neighbors are pushing out ? (Wifi Analyzer for example is free) As all wifi devices are legally bound on there "strength" is mostly about positioning and how many access points you have and how there all connected that makes the most difference/improvement.

What situation are you finding poor performance e.g are you 2 floor ups from the Super Hub or is it closer but your streaming video to the TV ?
I finding performance poor across the board. For example I can move one room away from where the hub is located and my speed can drop around 200mbs and the only thing between me and the router is a stud wall. However, the biggest issue is the lag we experience when there is use of multiple devices on the network at any one time. Im interested to see which router people recommend to use alongside the hub 3 to improve things and add stability?
 

JamieLH44

Novice Member
What are peoples thoughts on these routers?

Asus GT AX11000 ROG Rapture
Netgear Nighthawk AX12
TP Link Archer C4500X
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
If you put ten Internet commentators in a room and ask them which is the best Wi-FI router, you're likely to to get ten different answers!. However, a US site called SmallNetBuilder reviews a lot of SOHO kit and does a better job than most of objectively testing them and he tabulates the results by various performance metrics. You could do worse than look there, though bear in mind he is US based if you are outside that territory and the exact specs of kit my vary elsewhere (though often it's just the PSU.)

As @Fe_man2000 states, Wi-FI transmit power is limited by law and most kit is, and always has been, at or close to the permitted max. There's no magic "uber-router" out there with "much better signal" than everyone else's - if there were, everyone would be buying them.

And of course, Wi-Fi is a two-way "conversation" like walkie-talkies between communicating peers, not a one way "lecture" like television. Any "better signal" from your router would need to be matched with "better signal" from the clients, - all your phones, tablets, laptops, etc.

A different router might give you better coverage, might be the same or might be worse - it's basically a gamble. Even if there is an improvement, it's unlikely to be dramatic. However, for the same money as a new your router, you could instead keep the existing one and deploy a second (third, fourth, etc) Wi-Fi hotspot and get a guaranteed 100% coverage area improvement for each additional hotsopt. Additional hotspots can also improves the air time contention ratios (in each Wi-Fi hotspot, only one thing at a time can transmit) by sharing out the clients between hotsopts - though it's somewhat dependent on how one llinks the hotspots together (of which, more below.) It's not for nothing that on big sites we put up dozens/hundreds of hotspots.

The "trick" with a "cellular" coverage pattern of multiple Wi-Fi hotspots, is how one established the "backhaul" link between the hotspots and the rest of the (wired) networks. "Proper" ethenet wired backhauls are the fastest and most reliable, alternatively one could consider using Powerline/HomePlug type technology or using WI-FI with "Repeaters" and so-called "mesh" systems - though Wi-Fi backhauls can have consequences for performance if "speed" is your thing.

These are topics discussed almost weekly in this forum, you might care to have a search for some previous debates on the topic.
 
Last edited:

Ged

Active Member
I’m no expert on these things but have a Netgear Orbi mesh and it mostly works well. It’s a RBR20 and a satellite system with the Hub 3 in modem mode, the Netgear sits next to it in the corner of the living room (front corner) and the satellite is in the corner of the rear kitchen extension with an 8 port switch. The two units are triband, using the third channel for communication.
Had an issue once when the satellite signal disappearing and once rebooted the system due to slow throughput.
 

JamieLH44

Novice Member
Thank you for your thoughts. I think I wanted somebody to say 'this specific router will fix your problems and improve your performance'. I was hoping that I could chuck £200 to £400 on a router and it would be like waving a magic wand.
I am intrigued about some of the claims these routers make such as 'reducing game ping' etc, but dont know if this is just marketing nonsense?
 

TheRealJetbootjack

Novice Member
I use an ASUS RT-AC88U with my Virgin hub in modem mode.

I did it because the Asus is so customisable and allows great control over the network and attached devices. If also supports several separate wireless networks - so I have a 2.4 and 5 ghz combined network, a combined guest network and a separate 2.4ghz network for smart home devices.

The router has a really easy to use UI and admin controls, has a great signal on all wi-fi channels (better than my virgin hub ever did) and has one of my favorite features - scheduled reboots.

If any of that sounds like features you'd like, then take a look...

sTeVE

P.S. it also integrates beautifully with my devolo power line network that extends my wireless and wired network all around my house seamlessly...
 

bubblegum57

Well-known Member
After speaking to Virgin, they suggested instead of using the wifi in auto mode, to set the 2.4 & 5 to different channels manually.

It seems to e better, but you have nothing to lose by trying.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Trying different radio channels may help, in each locale some channels are just "better" than others due to the way the different frequencies perform. However, if you've got neighbours (I live in flats for example) it can be a bit of a forlorn hope - you think you've found a good channel, then the neighbour's kit all "auto-tunes" and stomps over your carefully crafted channel plan. Or someone with a car alarm using the same frequencies parks outside and wreaks havoc. Sounds to me like the VM rep. is basically guessing.

Every "hop" in a data network adds some amount of time, (latency) and the time it takes a router to actually route a packet is small but finite. Some routers are just simply faster than others. But if you are into online gaming and "worried" about you "ping" times, it's likely that most of the effects are happening upstream of you out on the Internet where there's nothing you can do about it. Proportionally the effect of you internal Wi-Fi and ethernet hops and the time taken to transit you router up to your ISP is likely to be relative small compared to what happens to it elsewhere.

The real advantage of some of the flasher routers, including some that style themselves "gaming" routers is that they may include a degree of "traffic shaping" effectively prioritising the gaming traffic that a cheap ISP router may not offer (though check - increasingly ISP's are getting into this.) However, again, out on the Internet is probably having a much bigger effect and again, out on the Internet there's nothing you can do about it - it's all in the hands of the ISP's and the tier one carriers.

There are other reasons one might like a more feature rich router, but there's just no "magic" router the "cures all ills" at the flick of a switch. Just like medicine, where there's no magic elixhir tha cures all ills. It takes some analysis and diagnosis to determine what exactly the "problem" is to thence know what the appropriate treatment is most likely to work.
 

Similar threads

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Samsung HW-Q950T Soundbar Review, Filmmaker Mode, Disney+ $30 for Mulan, AV news and more
Top Bottom