Find out all about the wireless router that comes as standard with all Virgin Media broadband packages, including what features and settings it has, how to set it up, what it does and how it works.
Routers allow you to connect your home computer, as well as other devices such as tablets, smartphones, games consoles and smart TVs to the internet.
Traditionally, you'd need a modem for broadband and then a separate wireless router to connect to the internet wirelessly. However, all-in-one routers, which combine both into a single device, are now commonplace.
It's pretty chunky as routers go, approximately 19cm wide, 2cm deep and 18cm tall. It's designed to stand upright, so make sure you place it somewhere with enough space to do that.
On the front of the device is a big round button emblazoned with a light-up Virgin Media logo. This isn't just decorative - it allows for Wi-Fi protected set up (WPS), which means the Super Hub can connect to certain devices without you having to enter a password. If the button is flashing, the router is searching for compatible devices. Once a connection has been established, the logo should go blue.
The button has some additional functions. Holding it down for six seconds will shut down the wireless signal altogether. This is really only recommended if you know what you're doing, however, and Virgin Media recommends you leave the settings as they are.
The router's indicator lights can be found on its side:
- The top button, with the double-headed arrow, is illuminated when it data is being transferred
- The second button, marked with a tick, lights up when the Super Hub detects it has successfully connected to the internet
- The lowest button, with the aerial logo, comes on when the Super Hub is able to make a wireless connection, allowing you to get online using any Wi-Fi-enabled device
On the other side of the router are the reset and power buttons. Using these to restart or turn the router off and on again - à la The IT Crowd - is likely to solve the majority of connection problems you may experience when using the router.
All the main connection points are clustered together on the back of the router. The four yellow sockets are ethernet ports. It's possible to link four computers to the router with ethernet cables - Virgin Media supplies one with the router - for a wired connection. A wired connection is faster and more reliable than a wireless one, but comes at the expense of mobility.
Next to the ethernet ports is the connector for the coaxial cable that runs into your house, which screws into this socket. This is how the router connects to the internet, and the cable should be screwed in tightly with the spanner Virgin Media supplies in its welcome pack. To the side of the cable port is the socket for the power cable.
Above all the ports are the sign-in details for your Wi-Fi. The first set of details are the default wireless settings, including the passphrase and pin - certain devices may request the latter - which can be changed if necessary. The second username and password are for accessing the router's administrative settings.
The Virgin Media Super Hub is designed for Virgin Media's superfast fibre optic broadband. The router is essential if you want download speeds greater than 20Mb - the slowest Virgin Media cable broadband package available offers download speeds of up to 30Mb.
The device has a 'Push 'N' Connect' feature that uses WPS. After pressing the button on the front of the router, you can connect WPS-compatible devices with the internet without entering a password, making it less of a hassle to get online wirelessly.
The Virgin Media Super Hub comes free with the Virgin Media 30Mb broadband package. All other Virgin Media broadband packages come with the New Super Hub.
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When Virgin Media is installing cable broadband in your house, one of its engineers will handle the initial set-up. However, should you want to do it yourself it's straightforward enough if you use the guides provided, which also available online. No set-up CD is required to set up the Super Hub.
What do I need to use a Virgin Media Super Hub?
Your computer will need a wireless adapter to establish a connection with the Super Hub. If your computer doesn't have one built-in you may need to buy one separately - you can order one directly from Virgin Media.
Wireless adapters come in two forms - USB adapters and plug-in cards. A USB adapter plugs into a USB port on your machine, whereas a plug-in card slots into your desktop or laptop computer internally.
With wireless broadband, you can access the internet from anywhere in your home without wires or cables. The Virgin Media Super Hub acts as an intermediary between your computer and the internet, connecting you to the web and sharing the connection with your computer and other devices wirelessly.
The Virgin Media Super Hub uses radio waves to send and receive information, in much the same way as mobile phones and walkie-talkies. However, the former transmits at frequencies of 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz, which is considerably higher than frequencies used fby the latter, allowing it to carry more data.
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