Daily Archives: Friday, 24th Apr 2009

Virgin Media 50Mb Broadband – First Impressions

Earlier this month I mentioned that I’d ordered an upgrade to Virgin’s top of the line rather quick 50Mb broadband service, and how just a few days later I received my new free router. You might recall that installation was set for last Saturday, and you might be wondering what happened…

Well, it all went quite well, thanks. As seems to be their standard practice now, the engineer phoned me about ten minutes before he arrived, to make sure I was ready for him, which I was. He swapped my old cable modem for a shiny new one, phoned home to get it activated, then connected it up. I rebooted the router to make it talk to the new modem, then confirmed that I still had internet access. He ran their own speed test, which suggested a connection of well over 40Mb, which is not at all bad, then left.

I had a play and decided to give it a proper test – I bought some episodes of Lewis from iTunes and started them downloading. There were four files, all around 1GB. iTunes let me have three of them at once, which took not all that long really. I checked my connection speed on the Mac, and found my total download speed was peaking at jsut over 5MB per second. Yes, five megabytes per second, not megabits. That’s nicely over 40Mb/sec, which is rather nice, really.

I had a further test last night, when I installed Photoshop on the MacBook. That wanted to download a major update of around 380MB. It took around three minutes to grab that, which was rather nice. Oh, and that was on wireless – the “n” speed on the new router and the MacBook does indeed appear to do what it says on the metaphorical tin. Cool.

When I first got on the internet in the late 90s, it was all dial-up. 56kb was the best modem speed you could hope for, and what you actually got was often less. I remember downloading software being a long slow job – a 40MB package was a leave it for ages on a Sunday afternoon job. Now I can get 40MB in next to no time. It’s quite alarming to realise that in a little over ten years, my internet connection speed has become one thousand times faster. :bouncy:

Another benefit of the faster service is that I can allow Mozy to do its backups at a faster rate. This is a Very Good Thing.

So, with a whisker under a week’s use, so far you can list me as impressed. It does cost £15 a month more than the 20Mb service, but Virgin increased my loyalty discount by £3 when they added the service, so the extra cost to me is £12. I’m happy with that so far.