Slow Wifi on Virgin

cunnas

Distinguished Member
Hi all, current setup is a SH3 from Virgin on 500MB - this is located in the front room and I have 3 devices wired to this (Xbox, Shield and Sky).

The speed I get from a wired connection is normally spot on when I have plugged a laptop in to run a speed test but I am struggling with speeds on wifi (even just right in front of the SH3).

I have previously had a Tenda Mesh system but no longer have this - the speeds on that didn't seem ideal either but it was a while since I have had it and was on a much lower VM speed at the time.

I have since received a couple of the new VM wifi extenders and have these plugged in - in terms of wifi coverage, this is fine, I tend to get full bars on wifi on my phone all over the house. However, when I am working from home I am on a PC that is just a couple of meters from the SH3, albeit round a corner, but still in the same room. When I run a speed test from the PC, I sometimes get 300MB but today I have been getting 1(!) MB, sometimes 30MB, or now, just 80MB - either way, very random, very low and nowhere near what I should be getting. Same experience on phone and other wifi devices around the house - common factor is the speed is low.

I have a VM tech callout booked on Monday next week - would a new SH improve things? What might be causing the slow speeds on wifi (but not wired)? I have asked this question before and have searched the forums for answers and it generally seems to be a "how long is a piece of string" answer - its never that simple.

But stripping back and ignoring wifi extenders etc, if I am say on my phone, or laptop, right next to the router, I should get a decent speed surely (which I sometimes do on speed test but definitely not all the time). What would cause such a massive slow down on wifi which seems to be consistent throughout the day? Would a different router help and just stick the SH3 in to modem mode?
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
Having done a lot of reading up on this it seems the issue is incredibly common (good wired speed, awful wifi) and most fingers are pointing to the SH3 (but seemingly it is an issue with all versions).

The question I then have is if I was to go down the new router mode and stick the SH3 in to modem only - what router would you go for? Again, I assume the answer might be very open ended but if budget is dictating I would say £200 absolutely max is what I would spend (ideally on Amazon monthly payments)
 

Marshall Mike

Well-known Member
If it helps at all, I use the BT whole home wi-fi discs with my Virgin BB. I've had them a few years now and found them to be very reliable. The first disc goes into the router and spread the others around your home as required.

 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
Thanks mate, I think this is where I am at the moment, do I go mesh, new router or both. Any recommendations for either system will be gratefully received
 

Marshall Mike

Well-known Member
I suppose it depends on how big the house is and how many rooms you would have dead spots in.

With the BTWH discs, my phone gets full speed at the main disc plugged into the router, which is the 380MB package.

When my phone is connected to one of my other two discs its around 150MB I think. My NAS is plugged into one of the second discs and both my Apple TV's can stream my BluRay rips over the network no problem.

I also have a fourth disc at the very back of the house that connects to one of the second discs via daisy chain and my phone usually gets around 90MB at that location.
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
I think I need to buy a router and test it to be honest. This one gets good reviews, inc from AVF...

Amazon product

Tempted to buy it, stick SH3 in modem only mode and see what this router offers in terms of coverage and speed. Then maybe look at mesh from there...
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Before you buy Optimus Prime's head it's worth doing some checks to make sure there is no underlying problem.

So you should check that there is no interference from your neighbours using a WiFi scanning tool. Too much stuff trying to compete on the same channel and you get issues.

Is your wired connection also suffering at the same time? If it does then suggests a problem with the VM connection, which is more common than you think. (Downstream power levels could be off, you can check in the router status)

Also, ensure that the channel width is also set to at least 80MHz on the 5GHz network as otherwise speeds will be limited to less than 100Mbps.

None of the above will necessarily be solved by buying a new router.
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
Wired connections to the SH3 are solid, always at (almost) full speed and the connection has never dropped once.

From what I remember, when I had wifi disabled (not in modem only mode) and used the Tenda mesh system, wifi speeds were decent (or not bad enough for me to run speed checks daily as I am now - certainly never noticed anything too bad).

Checked SH settings and 5GHz set to auto bandwidth (which inc 80MHz)
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Have a look at the channel congestion using something like WiFi analyser to get check who is your in area on what channel. Sometimes auto can sit you on the same channel as your neighbours and WiFi is a it like multiple trying to hold a conversation. If somebody is speaking louder\shouting then you don't hear the others.
 

Oswald

Well-known Member
Would a different router help and just stick the SH3 in to modem mode?
Yes!
(I currently use Netgear Orbi mesh but I don't think most people need it unless you've got a particularly large property).
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
In terms of property size is is not massive, but is a fairly big 3 bed house (not new build). The VM extenders have worked well and I am more than happy with them in terms of coverage around the house - especially as they were free. It is the speed that is the issue - not all the time as I mentioned, I can get decent speed on wifi (never 500MB but sometimes around 400) but that is rare, it is often 30-80.

@ChuckMountain I have checked that wifi analyser thing before and it confused the life out of me. With regards to channels, is it maybe best to set a channel to use rather than going auto or will that likely cause issues? As you can tell, I am very much a wifi/network novice.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Yes!
(I currently use Netgear Orbi mesh but I don't think most people need it unless you've got a particularly large property).

While we acknowledge the SH3 isn't the best router in the world, standing next to it only get 1Mbps a second means there is something wrong. Need to eliminate that thing first as the router itself might be broken or an environment specific issue that a new router might be a bit better but would be a lot better if that was fixed.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
@ChuckMountain I have checked that wifi analyser thing before and it confused the life out of me. With regards to channels, is it maybe best to set a channel to use rather than going auto or will that likely cause issues? As you can tell, I am very much a wifi/network novice.

The challenge is you don't know what channels are already in use\saturated without a tool. So yes you can set it to a specific channel but you might be competing against somebody shouting really loudly.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
I have asked this question before and have searched the forums for answers and it generally seems to be a "how long is a piece of string" answer - its never that simple.

Correct: It's complicated and there is rarely a simple solution.

Would a different router help and just stick the SH3 in to modem mode?

"Modem mode" is never a "fix" for Wi-Fi problems. This seems to be a new "Internet Myth that refuses to die." Modem mode is for addressing other issues (generally to do with routing.) If your router is routing well enough - which it would seem it is if it working on wired links - then there's no reason to junk it or use modem mode to address it. If you have a Wi-Fi issue, it needs a Wi-Fi solution, not some "magic" new router. It may well be that it's a better use of your money to buy a replacement or additional Wi-Fi provision and leave your router as is.

The symptoms described just scream of an interference issue (which a new router won't "fix") but they are difficult to assess using the free tools available. Unfortunately, there's a lot of things use the same radio frequencies as Wi-FI that freebie "Wi-Fi scaners" don't detect. The sort of checks Chuck advocates would be a good starting point, but it's by no means exhaustive. It could even be one of your client devices jamming the airwaves - you could try turning them all off (really off, not just flight mode or whatever) then test them one by one and see if one of them gums up the works (could be something with some mal-ware for example - but without evidence I'm just guessing.)

Wi-Fi is facilitated by "Access Points" not "routers." This is not just hair splitting over nomenclature, in the field of data networking a "router" and an "AP" are very different things. The SOHO "get-you-on-the-Internet" omni-box happens to contain both (and a lot more besides.)

If you think your routers built in AP is not working well and want to try something else and everything else in your router is working fine, then just turn off the routers built in Wi-Fi AP - it's rarely more than a couple of clicks (a few models I've seen have a "radio on/off" setting for each Wi-FI waveband - it's literally that "easy") - you do not want "modem mode."

Trying an alternate Wi-Fi solution would be a worthwhile test. If you have an old router lying around, or could ask around friends and family to see if anyone else has one they could lend you, then you could connect that up to your SH and try that instead. If you connect any additional routers to your SH, you'll need to "cripple" the additional boxes so they "just" function as an AP. It's no hard, but there's a few hoops to jump through. How to do so is described in the "Using Two Routers Together" FAQ pinned in this forum.

If you want to try an alternate Wi-Fi system, then you just need to buy an AP to use in addition to the AP built into your router, or as a replacement for it (just turn off the SH's radios.) Or you might add one of the "whole home" type systems (again, disabling the SH Wi-Fi.) That might be a better use of your money and will save you a whole load of hassle with IP address changes and getting a (forklift) replacement of you SH to work with your ISP.

Also, can you spell out how you are checking your speeds - are you looking at the link rate reported by devices or are you using some kind of "speed test" site...?
 
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Oswald

Well-known Member
While we acknowledge...
Who's this "we"?
...the SH3 isn't the best router in the world, standing next to it only get 1Mbps a second means there is something wrong. Need to eliminate that thing first as the router itself might be broken or an environment specific issue that a new router might be a bit better but would be a lot better if that was fixed.
Normally I'd agree, but the SH3 is junk in my opinion (having tried using one in two different properties).
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
thanks @mickevh - you have responded to similar queries in the past and I get what you are saying with the modem mode/wifi off - I meant the latter.

If this is an interference issue, how do I fix this? If possible please keep the explanation as dumbed down as possible as I really, truly am a novice with this and didn't understand most of what you put in your post above sorry.

What I don't understand though is when I have googled "Virgin Media slow wifi" so many forums, posts, tweets, reddits etc have pointed to the SH being the issue and replacing it with a better router has solved all their problems. When I have read what they have said about their problems, they mirror what is happening with me.

I respect your knowledge though so happy to listen and try what you suggest - though when I say a new router, I am meaning to use this as a new wifi provider, as you have suggested. My concern though is the coverage this will bring (as in, will it be better than the SH3) and the speed concern (will it provide a consistent high speed over wifi). For the latter, if I have understood correctly, if my issue is to do with interference then this router will not solve this problem as the interference will still exist.
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
Who's this "we"?

Normally I'd agree, but the SH3 is junk in my opinion (having tried using one in two different properties).

Definitely seems to be the consensus on the web that the SH3 (and others) is the cause of a lot of problems
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
thanks @mickevhIf this is an interference issue, how do I fix this? If possible please keep the explanation as dumbed down as possible as I really, truly am a novice with this and didn't understand most of what you put in your post above sorry.

In the business, we call (some) interference issues "fire truck syndrome." Because it's like someone parking a fire truck outside your house, turning on the siren and stopping your hearing the tele. There's nothing much we can do about it as the source of the interference is outside our control. New kit inside our home will make no difference.

However, instances of such are pretty rare as the maximum transmit power is limit by law so unless you parked a video sender or a baby monitor or some other RF source near your router, I doubt you're suffering such - but we cannot rule it out either. It's one reason I'm curious as to how you are assessing your "speeds."

I live in flats and the "bleed through" from adjacent properties, not to mention all the passers by on a footpath near me, are a nightmare: There's no chance of me getting a radio channel all to myself and we have to "share" and play nice together, If someone starts monopolising the airwaves, it can really kill it. Again, new kit just won't fix this. I simply have to be a bit "zen" about it.

What I don't understand though is when I have googled "Virgin Media slow wifi" so many forums, posts, tweets, reddits etc have pointed to the SH being the issue and replacing it with a better router has solved all their problems. When I have read what they have said about their problems, they mirror what is happening with me.

Yes I know they get a lot of hate, as do many other ISP's kit. There's a lot of ill informed opinion out there as to how to "fix" (perceived) Wi-Fi issues written by people who have literally no idea how this technology works. A big red flag is whenever anyone says words to the effect of "put your router into modem mode and go and buy router X." You really don't need to drop 200-300-400 GBP (or whatever) "just" to fix a Wi-Fi problem you could fix for as little as 20-30-40 GBP by buying an AP - plus it will be much less hassle to set up. Modem mode is not for fixing Wi-Fi issues. (Thinks: Maybe I could write an FAQ about it with pictures....?)

As I may have mentioned previously, it would be like dropping several thousands on a new car because the stereo isn't working in the incumbent, when you could spend a lot less money "just" replacing the stereo.

I respect your knowledge though so happy to listen and try what you suggest - though when I say a new router, I am meaning to use this as a new wifi provider, as you have suggested. My concern though is the coverage this will bring (as in, will it be better than the SH3) and the speed concern (will it provide a consistent high speed over wifi). For the latter, if I have understood correctly, if my issue is to do with interference then this router will not solve this problem as the interference will still exist.

No worries - you can use a router as an AP: It can be a cheap way acquire an alternate Wi-Fi solution (I once bought a router for 20GBP in something of a fire sale) or see if you can beg one from somewhere. Just follow the instructions in the FAQ I mentioned if you want to cripple a router to use as an AP. If just doing this by way of a test, I wouldn't want to spend hundreds unless you want or need the latest greatest Wi-Fi tek.

By way of exemplar, if you spend 2-300 GBP on a shiny new AP/router and it makes no difference because it isn't you SH that's culpable, (maybe it's a client or an endemic signalling conditions issue) you are out of packet a lot of money for no gain at all. This is why I'm suggesting seeing if you can beg/borrow "something else" or buy something real cheap in order to assess whether you SH is culpable before pulling the trigger on something more expensive.

Also, I think Chuck mentioned earlier, you could also (methodically) try using different radio channels on the incumbent - it may be that a simple channel change sorts you out and that'll cost nothing,
 

Ged

Active Member
From my limited experience of having issues similar to this, I've too have noticed speed issues with a PC in a bedroom whether using a dongle or home plug.
In my case, the issue was with a power supply unit creating a lot of noise and killing the signal, I moved the homeplug about 6 feet away and the issue resolved.
I read an article a while ago where someone suggested using a portable radio tuned into a certain MW frequency and walk around the house, sweeping past equipment. It was like using a metal detector with certain devices creating far more noise.
I would try and give your equipment a bit of free space (if you haven't).
 

Ged

Active Member
For info, I have the Virgin hub in modem mode and use a Netgear Orbi, Router and one satellite which has proved mostly reliable and great coverage.
 

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