I switched to Virgin Media for their 100mbps package over a month ago, enticed by the prospect of being able to stream HD videos more smoothly. (I was with Sky and then PlusNet before, which were stable but didn't offer as impressive speeds as Virgin.)
I quickly realised that the wifi signal wasn't as good as previous internet providers. When connected via ethernet, the speed is consistently fast. Not quite 100mbps, but certainly above 50mbps. When in the same room as the router, the wifi is occasionally decent (>80mbps), most of the time it is passable (15-20mpbs), and sometimes it is really poor (under 4mbps). Even just outside of the room, the wifi is generally poor (under 15mbps). Streaming videos has become much more unreliable and skype calls in particular are posing much more of a problem. Even loading basic webpages can sometimes be a struggle.
I've experimented with lots of things I think might be causing the problem but the volatility of the wifi still persists. I've tested it on 5 separate devices, at different times of day and with different numbers of devices connected to the wifi. I've moved the router as far away from other objects as possible. I've switched off all other equipment that I think might be causing interference (e.g. radios/microwaves). Neighbours' wifi signals are quite strong, but this was the case before I moved to Virgin.
The main thing I'm struggling to understand is why the wifi is so much worse than the previous two internet service providers. The wired speed is significantly better and I believe the router is probably better quality, so why is the wifi so unreliable even in the same room as the router?
Does anybody have any suggestions?
[A related complaint: When the engineer installed the router, I'd asked whether it could be put in the hallway (fewer electronic devices and closer to the centre of the house). Instead he said the cable wouldn't reach (which it probably could have done), so he installed it in the kitchen next to the window which is one extreme corner of the house. I think this might be playing a small part in the wifi signal's strength in other areas of the house, but I don't think this explains why sometimes is so slow right next to the router.]
I think the positioning of the Hub is playing a very significant part, and your initial request to place the Hub in a central position was correct. This is very poor installation from VM as they are supposed to install the Hub where the customer wants it. This is probably due to VM using subbie installers who are paid per installation.
Kitchens tend to be noisy RF environments and not the best place for wireless reception\transmission. Obstacles between the Hub and client like Fridges, tiled walls etc. can severely affect the wireless signal.
It would be worth downloading a wireless scanner like InSSIDer of WiFi Analyser for Android to see what channels the neighbouring networks are broadcasting on, so you can try and avoid most of the interference, bearing in mind that the scanners will not pick up interference from electrical devices you mentioned. (there are a lot more like baby Monitors etc.). I would also turn off the Hub's Smart WiFi, and rely on the wireless scanner to set the best channel.
I would bear in mind that the 5GHz band is wider and less prone to interference.
You can also use the scanner to test the received signal strength around your home to get a feeling for your wireless environment and get an idea on the best way to improve your wireless reception.
It is a pity that you are outside your grace period, where you would have had some leverage to get VM to install the router in a better position FOC. (IMHO they should do anyway) as this could help immensely.
There are several methods to improve your wireless reception, like a decent third party router wired back to the Hub and use that to replace the Hub's wireless with the Hub in Modem mode. How well this would work will depend on many factors like how badly congested your wireless environment is. However a decent Hub would give you more networking features.