Virgin Media turns 100k+ Home Routers into Public Wi-Fi Hotspots

Ink

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Jan 8, 2011
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Opt-in by default

Virgin Media has finally begun converting customer Super Hubs into public Wi-Fi hotspots. Some customers have reported receiving an e-mail from Virgin, letting them know that their home router is now broadcasting a public Wi-Fi signal. Virgin Media is opting in "hundreds of thousands" of customers by default, but you can opt out after the fact.

Security-wise, the Super Hub probably creates a separate VLAN for the public Wi-Fi network, just like BT Wi-Fi with FON. In theory, there will be no crosstalk between the two networks, ensuring all data that flows across either network stays private.

One remaining issue, though, is that there will be more local Wi-Fi congestion. Even if you have a dedicated 200Mbps connection to the Internet, if someone outside is hogging the Wi-Fi your laptop might not be able to connect to the router at 200Mbps. Modern 802.11ac MIMO devices should be fine, though.

We've asked Virgin for more details and will update this story if we get a response.

For now only Virgin Media customers with the latest Super Hub 3 (Hub 3.0) are being opted into the new public Wi-Fi service. Virgin is trialling an update to the older Super Hub 2ac routers, too. The ISP says it will add "hundreds of thousands" of hubs by "later this year."
 

Myriad

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Hmmm .

And this is the same company who send out their routers with identical Admin passwords, right out of the box !

I'm not going to give it here , but it is very easy to guess :)
 

Arequire

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Heading to my profile right now to opt-out. I don't put a single ounce of trust in Virgin Media to adequately secure the connection between the public network and my LAN.

I'm not going to give it here , but it is very easy to guess :)
It's obviously pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
 
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Amelith Nargothrond

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One of our ISPs did this and doing this for the last few years. They market this as UPC WI-FREE so that you can have free WIFI outside your home. Obviously they do this to attract new customers.
Basically, UPC customers woke up one morning, having their firmware updated and this functionality enabled, unable to turn this off (don't know if now this is still true). They say it will not affect your bandwidth (lol). Actually, this affects not only your bandwidth but the router on hardware level as well. In very short, at least one of your antennas is dedicated to this service, lowering your router's performance (not to mention the resources like memory usage for the new functionality).

My advice: shove their "free" wifi router up their *ss and get yours (if possible).
 
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kev216

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Seems like I'm the only one that finds this a good idea. In belgium, we have this too. I find it very easy that you can have wifi everywhere and I use it daily. The main thing why I like it that much is of course that my ISP has so much of these homespots that in almost any street you walk, you have wifi. You only need to login once on a device and you are free to go. This saves me a lot of mobile internet money. Even if I went to the netherlands last summer, I could use the homespots of a partner company without hassle.
It may have some effect on the usage of the antennas indeed, but in terms of bandwith that is lost, there is close to none here. Those homespots are limited too in bandwith and they don't affect my speed on my private home network. And even if it should affect it with a few mbits, I wouldn't mind because of the handy service it offers me outside my house. You can also choose to disable this service btw.
 

Myriad

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May 22, 2016
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Seems like I'm the only one that finds this a good idea. In belgium, we have this too. I find it very easy that you can have wifi everywhere and I use it daily. The main thing why I like it that much is of course that my ISP has so much of these homespots that in almost any street you walk, you have wifi. You only need to login once on a device and you are free to go. This saves me a lot of mobile internet money. Even if I went to the netherlands last summer, I could use the homespots of a partner company without hassle.
It may have some effect on the usage of the antennas indeed, but in terms of bandwith that is lost, there is close to none here. Those homespots are limited too in bandwith and they don't affect my speed on my private home network. And even if it should affect it with a few mbits, I wouldn't mind because of the handy service it offers me outside my house. You can also choose to disable this service btw.

No , you are not the only one who thinks that :)

I'm playing " Devils Advocate " a little with this : -

I was in the UK a few years ago when Fon was becoming a hot topic .

It was only a real benefit for a smallish group of users who travel a lot , or own a motor-home etc
and whose home ISP is part of the Fon network (and it is pretty widespread in Europe ) .

They can get onto any Fon enabled network within range , but access is limited .
Download speed is throttled and there is a max connect time of 2 hours per day , IIRC.
I think there is also a limit to prevent bandwidth hogging ( like 10 % max ? ).

It's a bit like "wardriving" , but with permission by default .

None of this means that Fon is " a bad thing " , it's a personal decision , but I've seen plenty of examples
where Fon became enabled by default by the ISP , with no notification to customers ( as mentioned in an earlier post ) .

And that definitely is " a bad thing " , in my opinion .
 
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Amelith Nargothrond

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If torrents are permitted, even throttled (in terms of speed) on a wifi router, it's not the bandwidth that "kills" the router, but the number of connections the torrent client makes. Seeds and peers, each of them means one upload stream and one download stream for the wifi router. That is what kills the router, if that number gets very high and the router hardware is weak, not to mention it can get really hot, temperatures will go up. And torrent clients constantly seek new connections, this also affects the router's performance.
 
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Entreri

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May 25, 2015
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It should be an opt in policy, not opt out.

Can you really trust these ISP's to keep your connection secure? Not to mention that consumer routers are pretty pathetic in terms of security.
Worse case scenario, you get charged with crime...but it wasn't me. That damn worthless hotspot could do you in, and I wouldn't trust the "competency" of cops either to find the truth.
 

Marko :)

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We don't have this kind of service, at least, for now. The idea is good but there should be speed limit if there isn't one already. Also, in countries where downloading torrents is ilegal (like Germany), torrenting should be disabled because some users could get into problems if someone connects and starts downloading them. However, there should always be opt-out option because some people don't like sharing network and ISPs should inform users about the service.
 

Dean Winchestere

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Mar 9, 2017
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Well, this is why you always BYOD. Get your own router/modem and hook it. It is unacceptable from a security standpoint to do this, among other reasons. If my ISP did this, I would immediately discontinue service.
 

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