Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Broadband Internet is a firehose of crap into your house, facilitated by your ISP's router

ISPs are giving us quite flash internet/wifi routers for free. Well they seem free in that after a couple of years they don't want them back. This is a shame as they are best placed to recycle them properly and they have them locked down so that you can’t use them anywhere else.

This is a specific list of issues I have with the Virgin SuperHubs but it seems to apply to quite a few other ISPs.

  1. Virgin lock down the firmware and provide very basic yet unintuitive web interfaces that covers only a portion of the original functionality.
  2. The most notable missing/overly complex functionality is around restricting users’ (children’s) internet access, although they do by default provide a basic porn filter.
  3. Another omission is the ability to update a dynamic DNS service so that you can run a service that others can connect to from your home (e.g. a Minecraft server or a mobile internet accessible heating system).
  4. I don’t think the wifi signal is very strong and it degrades very quickly in brick terraced houses outside of the room it’s in.

My main gripe is why is it not possible to have just the simple functionality of being able to switch off the internet for certain users in your house from your phone? The internet is awash with tales of parents finding their children online gaming at 3am in the morning or worse. I confess to being a kid who read books until he was finished or fell asleep  but I think online games is a whole new kettle of fish. As quite a technical user I am able to do the following:

  1. Buy my own wifi router and put the Virgin SuperHub into modem mode.
  2. Flash/load dd-wrt onto the router and install the dd-wrt mobile app onto my phone.

I’m not just talking about restricting access, I want my children to be aware that I can see what they are doing on the internet, it’s like letting your kids go wild in a very dodgy shopping mall otherwise (yes dodgier than Wood Green).

The asynchronous nature of our connection should also cause us pause for thought. 6% of the available bandwidth is for uploading. This essentially makes it a control stream for requesting the HD videos we all seem to be watching. That's not how the internet was supposed to be; we have the digital consumer version. All their efforts are going into giving us bigger pipes into our houses and not in giving us ways to control the content.

One last thing that you can do that perhaps gives some insight into why things are developing the way they are is that with your own router that you control, you can put in place an adblocker for your entire household. This will see pages loading faster but of course if everyone does it Facebook are not worth what the stock market says they are.

Tags for Forum Posts: broadband, cable, superhub, virgin

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You could - Give your kids normal mobile phones and yourself a smart phone, then flick the broadband off when it's bed time and use your smart phone to tether 3G or 4G Internet to your computer when you want for your own use.

You don't think a child can sneak downstairs and switch the internet on while its exhausted parent sleeps upstairs? Oh that's right, you're not there... yet!

Anyway, what you suggest is a bit low tech for me :)

Have you tried the Virgin child security system ? It includes bedtime lock down.


Virgin Super(!)Hubs are notoriously rubbish - modem mode works great with a cheap or otherwise router. 

Never knew SuperHubs were potentially capable of VPN though - please tell more

Mac and windows both offer child security too ...


Managing that on multiple devices with multiple children of varying technical ability? I just can't wait to come back to this forum in 10 years when you have a couple of kids and see how you're getting on ;)

All ISP's have as agreed ...

Router-level controls: meaning that all devices connected to the home wi-fi network will be automatically subject to any blocks set up, as opposed to software which must be installed on each computer.


It looks like I have made a claim too far with the VPN.

The Superhub 2ac is a rebadged Netgear C6250. It doesn't say that it supports VPN but it is certainly capable if you can load openwrt or dd-wrt on it. The Superhub 3 is a rebadged ARRIS TG2492S/CE. Again I it doesn't support VPN with the native firmware.

This is a strange rant!  You seem laden with preconceptions as to what should and shouldn't be done/ be possible from 'the system', as if corporations were obliged to act as an 'honourable' person would  - there are cuckoos in your cloud John :)

I think you are a highly knowledgeable computer professional, earning money from your programming skills - being able to replace the operating system of your router is way, way beyond the vast majority - you are a very special case, I wish I knew more people like you - we are surely the future! 

Your  router is 'locked down' because it's much cheaper for your ISP. Probably the same at work - the more control you grant users, the more many business think it will cost in support, so shrink back in their silos.  All your colleagues at work could easily have granular control of some aspects of your office routers at work, so why don't they?

Modern chip fabrication has evolved to permit a one-way only programming of code - ostensibly to protect  copyright. There is no way to tell what is running on the chips once they've been 'burned in' and their fuses blown.  

So the US claim 'chinese' routers spy and everyone should buy 'American' when in fact, as Snowden highlighted, the real spies were the home-grown US router manufacturers like Cisco, going as far as to set up fake facebook login pages to compromise telco engineers in Brussels so as to force them to spy on EU politicians to win a better TTIP deal. 

The ability to hide code in the very chips themselves kills open source firmware. It's open hardware we need.  

There are plenty of ways you can prevent access automatically on the push of a button - consider the mac address of the devices you want to control. Automate an ssh login to filter it out/in at will - all 'standard issue' routers will permit that, no need for dd-wrt. You can put that behind a button on your smartphone home screen.

With respect, I think you are looking for a technical solution to a human problem.  It's not their use, it's their abuse.  Install some logging software and show them their own usage pattern and ask them not to do it - simples!



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