Virgin Media Super Hub review
Virgin Media’s Super Hub, also known as a Netgear CG3101D, is a combined cable modem and router. It comes as part of the standard installation package for new 100Mbit/s, 50Mbit/s and 30Mbit/s customers, or as a £30 upgrade for existing 20Mbit/s subscribers – you need the new router to take advantage of speeds faster than 20Mbit/s.
As the cable modem is now built into the Super Hub, you won’t need a separate Ethernet router. The Hub has a coaxial WAN input, four Gigabit LAN ports and dual-band wireless networking. It can’t do simultaneous dual-band networking, though - you can have either 2.4GHz, which is widely supported by almost all wireless devices, or 5GHz, which is typically faster and has a wider range of available channels. Using our Centrino laptop, we got up to 42Mbit/s throughput on 2.4GHz, but it dropped off sharply above 10m. 5GHz was much more impressive, with a minimum throughput of 19Mbit/s at 20m and a maximum of 81.3Mbit/s at 1m.
The Hub can broadcast two guest networks but only on the same band as your primary WiFi network. The guest networks have their own fixed IP ranges, which prevent you from switching the router’s main IP range to the 192.168.1.x and 192.168.2.x ranges. This can be irritating if you just want to slot it into a network that already has static devices on those ranges.
Advanced wireless settings allow you to disable the wireless radio and apply MAC filtering to ensure that only authorised devices are allowed to connect to each of your wireless networks. Confusingly, a different MAC filtering option on the main Advanced menu controls which devices are allowed to connect to the internet and allows you to set daily and weekly access schedules for each - handy if you want to limit the kids’ time online. You can also define schedules by IP address. Other Advanced options allow you to block and forward ports, enable remote management and create up to three static subnets, so you can have separate networks for different household members. However, the router is conspicuously lacking QoS, the ability to filter incoming connections to an open port, or support for any DDNS providers.
For most users, the Super Hub will be very convenient - everything in one place, easy-to-secure WiFi and any necessary repairs or support provided by Virgin. It’s not perfect; it’s missing several options we like to see on our routers, we were unhappy about its 12.7W power consumption and it’s easy to knock over. Being tied to this router is a pain if you have specialist VPN, firewall or DDNS requirements, but it's possible use a second router between the Super Hub and your network if you're one of the few users who needs these particular features.
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