Virgin Media launches Intelligent Wi-Fi – but check you're on the best deal first
Virgin Media is promising better in-home connectivity for millions of customers with its latest broadband kit – but you should check if you can get a cheaper deal first.
The telecoms giant has today launched 'Intelligent Wi-Fi', which offers to improve Wi-Fi speeds in hard to reach areas of the home via a free upgrade to its latest broadband router – the Hub 3.
Anyone with the Hub 3 will have already received the update, but Virgin Media says those with an older Superhub 1 or 2 router can upgrade to the Hub 3 for free, without signing up to a new contract.
But as the Hub 3 was introduced more than 18 months ago, if you've got a Superhub 1 or 2 it's likely you're out of contract, and so should check ASAP if you can save by switching to a better deal. Even if you've got a Hub 3 but signed up a while ago you could be out of contract and free to move to a cheaper deal – so always check.
What is Intelligent Wi-Fi?
There are a few elements to Virgin Media's new offer:
- Hub 3 software upgrade. The free upgrade improves Wi-Fi performance by enabling the router to automatically optimise its connection, and share the signal evenly across connected devices. Virgin Media estimates this could improve speeds by up to three times in certain rooms.
- Connect App. The app lets you control the Intelligent Wi-Fi features. It will let you test the strength of your Wi-Fi in each room to detect any blackspots or weak areas and will attempt to fix it by re-configuring the router's settings.
- Wi-Fi boosters. If the Connect App cannot improve signal strength, it will suggest using a wireless booster. You can choose to buy your own or can order one from Virgin Media via the app.
Virgin's wireless booster uses the power cables in your home to extend the signal strength and costs £3/mth on a 30 day contract – though you'll need to return it if you cancel. Additional boosters are £2/mth or those with a Full House or VIP TV bundle can get up to three boosters at no charge.
We've found similar powerline Wi-Fi boosters retailing from £25, so always look for the best deal before signing up.
As the Hub 3 router was introduced more than 18 months ago, and most contracts are shorter than this, you could already be out of contract.
If your original contract with Virgin Media has ended and you've moved onto a rolling contract, without negotiating a new deal, you could be paying hundreds of pounds a year more than the promotional rate you originally signed up to. This won't always be the case though, so here's how to check:
- Check your account or call Virgin Media to see if you have passed the minimum contract term. If you're still in contract, diarise to check for new deals at least a month before the expiry date.
- If you are out of contract, this means you can leave Virgin Media penalty free.
- Check the market to see if there is a cheaper alternative. See our Broadband Unbundled tool for our current top picks.
- Want to stay with Virgin Media? See our Haggle with Virgin guide to ensure you're at least on its best deal.
How do I get a new Hub 3?
The Hub 3 router comes as standard for new customers.
If you still have one of Virgin Media's older routers, and have checked you're on a decent deal (see above) you can get request the Hub 3 for free by calling it on 0345 454 1111 or through your online account – and you won't need to sign up to a new contract to get one.
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