Virgin Bonds With 200 Mbit/s Trial

U.K. MSO Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) is snagging some bragging rights after booting up a Docsis 3.0 field trial that will produce downstream bursts of up to 200 Mbit/s. (See Virgin Vets 200 Mbit/s.)

Virgin, which introduced a 50-Mbit/s (downstream) wideband tier late last year, is allowing 100 "lead adopters" (a.k.a. "lucky duckies") in Ashford, Kent, to put the 200-Mbit/s service through its paces for at least six months. The MSO is using modems and cable modem termination system (CMTS) gear from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

To hit 200 Mbit/s, Virgin is bonding four 8 MHz channels, each outputting roughly 50 Mbit/s, using EuroDocsis. The North American Docsis specs use channels that are 6 MHz wide, with each channel pumping out roughly 40 Mbit/s.

The commercial introduction of such an offering is likely "years away," an MSO spokesman acknowledges. Virgin is using the field test to "push the boundary and see what it [EuroDocsis 3.0] can do."

As it stands, Virgin expects to have its 50-Mbit/s wideband service available across the board by this June. (See Virgin Media Readies 50 Mbit/s Service .)

Although Virgin's is a pilot effort, the purported downstream speeds it will produce will outpace recent Docsis 3.0 deployments around the globe, including the Jupiter Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (J:COM) 160-Mbit/s service in Japan, and the new 101-Mbit/s offering from Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) in systems serving portions of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. (See Cablevision Debuts 101-Mbit/s Wideband Service, J:COM Does Docsis 3.0 All Over, and Wideband: Priced to Move .)

On the technology side, Virgin wants to assess the limitations of in-home gear, pointing out that the wireless routers in use today will become choke points; they can't handle speeds of 200 Mbit/s even if the access network allows such bursts. Most PCs can't handle such rates either, Virgin says.

Virgin's test drive has a market research angle, too. In addition to seeing how consumers use 200-Mbit/s connections, the MSO will be testing applications that can take advantage of those speeds, including hi-def video streaming, 3D video, and video conferencing.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

popper 12/5/2012 | 4:05:08 PM
re: Virgin Bonds With 200 Mbit/s Trial

Jeff , of all places on the net id expect to look harder and deeper, asking the difficult questions of the CEO's to air the real picture, i thought it would be you and light reading, alas it appears you missed the reality from the paying customers POV rather than the VM Companies PR POV. when you stated "Although Virgin's is a pilot effort, the purported downstream speeds it will produce will outpace recent Docsis 3.0 deployments around the globe,.."


you totally missed the fact, that in reality all of Virgin Media's consumer packages have the worst upload ratio to download ratio virtually anywere in the world....today

the currently active, so called 50Mbit Virgin media package, is in reality a 51Mbit download, BUT a mear 1.7Mbit Upload rate, barely enough to service a single TCP binary download with its required upload return ACKs....

forget a whole household with several devices actually using this or the new trial upload/upstream pipes..., and Why NO Mention of the UPLOAD rates of this NEW 200Mbit download/ upload? trial, and why didnt you push for the answer... you know everyone that cares (CF UK VM users etc)wants to officially know?

i assume this "On the technology side, Virgin wants to assess the limitations of in-home gear, pointing out that the wireless routers in use today will become choke points; they can't handle speeds of 200 Mbit/s even if the access network allows such bursts." is one of Neil's (CEO Virgin Media UK)quotes...

Again you miss the fact IT IS VM themselves insisting that all the 50Mbit/s-1.7Mbit/s customers buy the official VM 11n wireless router that ONLY have a mear 10/100Mbit fast ethernet WAN/LAN SOC Onboard , rather than a common/current 10/100/1000 1gig 11N router that any wise long term cable operator would be be seriously advocating for long term problem solving of this so called underpowered router problem.....

it appears it's good to talk up these so called 3rd party home CPE HW limits in your PR as long as the worlds news outlets taking your company PR dont realise or care? that your the one actually officially supplying these very same underpowered CPE router kit your making widespread PR news coverage on

we on


have said this, and far better upload ratio's etc ,is a BASIC long term requirement many times to VM personel ,but to no avail.

The reality is: VM are giving you NO choice but to buy these underpowered 10/100 fast ethernet 11n routers for official USE of the VM 50Mbit services, the very same CPE Kit they will expect you to use for the later faster packages...

we all know that even the cheap EuroDS3 CPE kit VM supply in the rental price is perfectly capable of 4x4 bonded channels to 160/120, but your Never going to get better than 90Mbit/s at the very best (more like 60Mbit/s download or less on average) from these offical VM wireless 11n routers....


did you also know Virgin Media refuse to allow more than one single Cable modem per users account, so you cant even buy several BB services for your home, and so somewhat bypass the bandwidth per CM limitations VM are intentially placing at the end users door as the root cause of the underpowered CPE kit problem...


remember the UK Cable IS Virgin Media, there are NO other cable vendors to move to, so we are locked in if you want/need or have no other choice...


as for "Most PCs can't handle such rates either, Virgin says." We all know thats a minor matter of a £4 10/100/1000 1 gig ethernet cards in whatever interface you want, hell, even the old pre-VM companies C&W/NTL/TW etc already supplyed masses of USB ethernet dongles in the past for official use, theres NO good reason they couldnt do the exact same thing for the required 1 gig ethernet cards again to bring any non 1 gig Motherboard ethernet upto Neils expected spec today too..... neil+PR monkeys ,own foot,shot again...

you really need to start questioning Neil, and VM PR copy HARD, and start focusing on the _UPLOAD_ rates....

help change the landscape and advocate far faster and better upload ratio's for ALL, if not you then who!




to recap: VM have the worst cable upload ratio's of the world. VM are causing the so called underpowered wireless router problem as they only supply one single official 10/100 Mbit 11n capable router without any other options, you cant buy the 50Mbit service without these routers, or officially use the 50Mbit service without them....

you cant buy an official second service to bypass these VM set upload limitations, or suppliment the primary download service, the reason apparently is they didnt allow for more than one single CM per customers home in their brand new billing system ,doh!


Virgin Media: the worlds fastest cable Broadband PR supplyer, Need a fast PR quote, VM can supply it , your actual upload ratio's will be the worlds werst though but lets not mention that as its bad for PR ;|


popper 12/5/2012 | 4:05:07 PM
re: Virgin Bonds With 200 Mbit/s Trial

HI Jeff, the fact is there is a lot of things that point to the fact VM have lots of bandwidth (including upstream)space available, and it's only getting better as time passes.

the Analogue cable TV turn off is progressing fine and for a long time now, it seems it's "PR monkey" and "Penny Pincher" being in charge over at VM cable towers boardroom ;)

come and have a chat/read with the http://www.cableforum.co.uk/board/12/33649620-virgin-trial-200mbit-broadband.html

thread users (far to many CF threads covering these points to give here) ,and get some long standing facts and insights into how VM management actually work the line.....

to try and get you up to speed etc. iv posted there, and pointed them to this thread too, incase the tech and user guys feel like posting here to help inform your other readers....

it seems it's in everyones interest's if all the news outlets (LR being Key OC) start refocusing others on all things UK upload rates, in all their coverage as VM PR Executive cant even seem to be bothered to try and beat the the "Be" ADSL 2.5 Mbit/s upload rates right now,no PR incentive you see, as they always seem to be able to NOT mention the upload rates in any of their or 3rd party PR.

we all know that even a single DS2 VM SOC CM channel can easly manage that, so DS3 Bonding is not required for that....OC


Not that VM have any DS3 certifyed bonded upload CMTSs/cards remember, its all still "bronze" Only certifyed i seem to recall, another thing to keep in mind when they dont mention that (and other)fact OC ;)


 quick tip Jeff, it seems your MB software doesnt always work with pressing enter, or opening a tiny edit window infact.

so use CTRL +M to put your carrage returns i/formatting in, i had to do that several times so far, as it didnt take first time and the URLs are now clickable as they should be.



Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:05:07 PM
re: Virgin Bonds With 200 Mbit/s Trial

With so much focus on the download speeds of the trial AND the commercially available 50 Meg (again, downstream) tier, evidently lost sight on the limitations on the upstream....talk about assymetrical -- 1.7 Mbit/s. If there's a system in need of some upstream help, this is evidently a great example. Of course, we're still waiting for upstream channel bonding to grow a bit more widespread than some initial work in Japan -- www.lightreading.com/document.... . Then again, we'll have to keep close tabs to see if there's much upstream capacity left to even allow for it in the U.K.  But if they're having trouble squeezing more than 1.7 Mbit/s today, it makes you wonder when/if the system will even be able to accomodate it.

Ignitionnet 12/5/2012 | 4:04:58 PM
re: Virgin Bonds With 200 Mbit/s Trial

Jeff, perhaps somewhat shameless self-promotion but have a read of http://onewayinternet.blogspot.com/ it may be useful.


I did notice a few interesting things, Cablevision releasing a 15Mbit upstream DOCSIS 3 service, Comcast 10Mbit upstream, neither with bonding. In Europe, UPC Netherlands have 60/6 and 120/10 EuroD3 services, and the worst asymmetry on their lower services is 10/1. Again no bonding.


The tech can do it, has been able to do it for years, Cablevision's DOCSIS 2 based 30/5 Boost tier for example, but upstream has never been a significant consideration to Virgin Media.


Something seriously telling, this from the Virgin HSI sales pages: http://allyours.virginmedia.com/websales/service.do?id=2


Click on the details for all the products, there's nothing about upstream speeds there at all. Infact the only way to find the upstream of the 10 and 20Mbit tiers is to look at the traffic management pages!


The config files are actually set at 53/1.75 - 20/0.768 - 10/0.512 - not great and as Popper says it's all about the headlines. VM aren't even using DOCSIS 2 upstreams yet, apart from probably this trial.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:04:57 PM
re: Virgin Bonds With 200 Mbit/s Trial Thanks, I noticed that as well...that there's no mention of the upstream at all on the internal site promoting the existing tiers. I did ask Virgin about when they might expect to try out upstream channel bonding...they couldn't give a date, of course, but would only say that they will be "experimenting with different upstream speeds." So it's on the radar...but they're not saying yet when and how fast.
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