I had some strange broadband problems over Christmas and New Year and would value any opinions from the community.
The short version of this is that my Superhub3 was extremely unreliable, failing once or twice per day, from Christmas Eve to about New Year's Day. I spent many hours on the phone with Virgin, and finally got them to book an engineer to come out next Saturday.
However, since New Year's Day it seems to have worked perfectly, no problem at all. So the nub of the question is whether it is worth staying in for the Virgin engineer, or shall I just cancel him.
A bit more detail:
May or may not be relevant, but about mid November the Virgin Superhub2 which had been working fine since January completely failed. Virgin support could not get it to come back on-line, so they sent me a new Virgin Superhub3, which worked perfectly for about three weeks.
Around about Dec 23rd, we lost connection to the internet. I restarted the router and it came back, but this happened again once or twice a day over the Christmas period. Sometimes a re-start would bring it back on-line, sometimes it would take several restarts and Virgin support to send some kind of signal to it, and in at least one case I could only bring it up again by factory resetting it.
When I started investigating the failures, some strange things emerged.
Firstly, once it had failed, I couldn't access it at all via the web management interface. So it seemed like it wasn't the outbound link to the internet that had failed, it was the whole hub.
Secondly, I had several cases where one of my devices would connect to the internet just fine, while another could not connect to anything, not even pinging another device on the same hub by IP address. In these cases it was often one of the wired devices that wouldn't work, but not always the same device or the same port. In some cases I was able to bring it back just by disconnecting the Cat5 cable and plugging it back in again. I also replaced one of the cables to see if that was the problem, and it started to work again, but then had another failure.
I have a fairly complex set up: wifi off the Superhub, three wired devices off the main hub, the fourth port connected to a switch which connects another three devices, and also a Powerline network which reaches another wifi router acting as a slave to the Superhub. So one possibility is that one of those devices was playing up. My next step was going to be to replace the switch, but I haven't done that since I haven't had a failure since New Year's Day (and I don't want to disturb a stable system at the moment).
My current working theory is that something was happening which was somehow disabling the entire hub, including causing some of it's Ethernet wired ports to stop working even when the wifi was still working ok. But since it's been working fine for nearly a week now, I'm wondering if there is even any point in having an engineer out.
Re: Intermittent Superhub 3 problems over Christmas (Powerline related)
Sharing some more information here in case it's useful to anyone else.
I had a re-occurrence of this problem, and it seems to be caused by connecting a powerline Ethernet adaptor directly to the Superhub 3. I found that the Superhub and all my devices would work fine as long as I disconnected the Powerline Ethernet adaptor (it was a Netgear AV200). But as soon as I plugged in the Ethernet cable between AV200 and Superhub3, the Superhub3 would stop working, losing Internet connectivity and the web management interface become unresponsive. I tried replacing the AV200 with a different Powerline adaptor and it still happened. I also tried replacing the Ethernet cable between Superhub and Powerline adaptor, and it still happened. Then I re-connected the Powerline adaptor not directly to the Superhub, but to one of the ports on an extension Ethernet switch which was connected to the Superhub, and hey presto - all works fine. I have seen this behaviour with several different Superhub 3s, but it never happened with my old Superhub 2.
So my working theory is that there is something hardware related in the Superhub 3 which will bring down the whole hub when it's connected directly to a Powerline adaptor. The solution is to connect the Powerline indirectly via an extension Ethernet switch.
What is still unexplained is that it will sometimes work for six weeks at a time, but if you have to re-start the Superhub 3 for any reason the problem will emerge. At it's worst, I had to do a factory reset of the Superhub 3 to get it to work again.
But I've changed almost everything in this set up, and the only consistent thing that causes this to happen is the Superhub 3/Powerline adaptor combination.