If you have Virgin Media's cable service, you may have been forcibly opted-in to their WiFi Hotspot Sharing service.
This allows anyone with a Virgin Media account to connect to your WiFi! Virgin have been moderately sensible with their design of this - users get a separate IP address, so their activity cannot be commingled with yours. But what about your bandwidth?
Here, Virgin have been clever / annoying. If you're paying for the 350Mbps service (as I am) your cable modem is actually provisioned for a faster speed! But you can't access it.
My router's download speed shows:
Max Traffic Rate 402,500,089
And upload speed shows:
Max Traffic Rate 38,500,089
I get about 350Mbps down and 30Mbps up. So how to get access to the "reserved" bandwidth Virgin uses for their hotspot? Normally, you'd need access to their app - but there's a sneaky way around it.
You can login directly to the hotspot network! But it uses the EAP login protocol, which is a little more complicated.
Your computer or phone's login screen is going to look different to mine, so here's the basic details that you need:
- Identity is
firstname.lastname@example.org- use the email address you use to log in to my.virginmedia.com.
- You must put the
vmedwifi/at the start.
- You must put the
- Password is the same as you use for my.virginmedia.com
- EAP method is
- Phase 2 Authentication is
- No certificate is needed
I've successfully connected via a Linux laptop and an Android phone.
My download speed on the segregated network was 40Mbps and my upload was 4.6Mbps. That's about 10% of my normal speeds
You cannot connect to two WiFi networks at once. So if you want to use the full 400Mbps on one machine, you'll need to connect via both ethernet and WiFi, and bridge the network.
But if you have some 4K streaming happening on a couple of TVs, and a PS5 downloading an update, and a partner on a video call, while your your machine struggles to get any throughput - then you can connect your laptop to this "bonus" network and enjoy congestion free surfing.
Thanks to Dave for the tip.