Virgin Media has announced details of a new trial, which seems designed to show-off the colossal headroom available in its fibre broadband network. After launching gigabit-capable connections last year, Virgin Media has slowly expanded the ultra-fast connections to seven areas across the UK – a total of 3.7 million homes. By the end of next year, Virgin Media plans to have some 15 million premises hooked-up to its gigabit speeds.
Of course, this might not seem all that impressive. After all, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) including Hyperoptic and BT also offer gigabit broadband connections. Well, that’s where the latest trial comes in.
Virgin Media is conducting the latest test to showcase the sheer capacity within its fibre cables. In the small-scale trial, Virgin Media was able to deliver eye-watering 2.2Gbps speeds using its existing infrastructure – revealing just how futureproof its new gigabit network truly is. The Virgin Media Hub 4, which is currently shipping to customers who order the Gig1 bundle, was also used in the trial to deliver these staggering speeds. As such, don’t expect the Hub 4 to be replaced with a newer model anytime soon as it seems to be able to handle some serious speed.
For context, the 2.2Gbps speeds achieved in the trial are around 34 times faster than the UK’s average broadband speeds, which stands at 64Mbps.
The proof-of-concept trial was designed to confirm that Virgin Media’s existing network will be handle emerging technologies, like 8K video game streaming, as well as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications.
These all require a serious amount of bandwidth – something older copper cables simply won’t be able to handle as more and more people want to stream huge graphically-intensive games on next-generation consoles, watch movies in 8K, and use AR and VR apps at home.
The hyperfast speeds have been independently verified by SamKnows – Ofcom’s technical partner – which measures broadband performance.
Phil Thompson, a Virgin Media customer from Thatcham, Berkshire who took part in the trial, said: “The multi-gigabit speeds were a step forward and it was a big help in bringing the office into the home space. I have to do a lot of work video calls and with the 2.2Gbps speeds they were in near real-time, whereas my colleagues were lagging behind on their connection. When my son – who is a big gamer – came to visit, he said that the speeds were ‘ridiculous’ as there was low ping and jitter – which meant he had a great gaming experience.”
Virgin Media Chief Technology and Information Officer Jeanie York said: “We invest more than £1 billion into our network every year and this innovative trial demonstrates how Virgin Media’s existing future-proof cable network can deliver lightning-fast, multi-gigabit broadband speeds. We stand ready to power our customers’ connectivity needs for whatever comes next.
“We’re leading the charge to make the UK faster and we’re on track for rolling out gigabit broadband speeds across our network by the end of next year. With this next-generation connectivity, our customers can experience the best from their broadband – whether that’s 8K gaming, instant streaming, high quality video calls or uploading files in a flash – all in the same home at the same time.”
For the moment, Virgin Media customers will have to settle with a maximum of 1Gbps speeds. However, that is still a huge leap compared to the average connection speed in the UK from rivals like Sky, NOW TV, EE, BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk and Vodafone.
Virgin Media Gig1, which is only available in a few postcodes for the time being, offers an average peak-time download speed of 1,104Mbps and an upload speed of 52Mbps. For comparison, that upload speed is almost as fast as most other provider’s fibre broadband download speeds.
With 1,104Mbps available in your home, Virgin Media reckons you’ll be able to download a 1080p HD blockbuster (around 5GB in size) in just 42 seconds – that’s less time than it takes to brew a tea to sip during the movie. With the UK’s average connection, downloading the same film will take 13 minutes.
Source:Daily Express :: Tech Feed