Monday, 28 February 2011

How To: Virgin Media Super Hub + Apple Time Capsule

I've recently upgraded my broadband with my cable provider Virgin Media, from 20 to 30 meg.  As part of this process I was advised that my existing modem would be incompatible with the upgrade so I was going to be sent their wonderful Super Hub (a custom Netgear box).  The problem was that this Super Hub is a wireless router and that it wasn't quite compatible with my existing home network: an Apple Time Capsule and an Airport Express.  If I was to connect the Time Capsule to the Super Hub I'd run into the dreaded double NAT problem whereby each of the routers would try to allocate all the devices on my network IP addresses, causing all manner of conflicts.

Ideally, all the Super Hub needs is a kill switch to make it act like a modem and nothing else. But it doesn't.  This is a much maligned piece of kit that many customers have been grumbling about.  However, it can be tweaked.

I couldn't find any instructions for doing this, but I managed to piece together the relevant processes from posts on the Apple Discussion forums as well as the Virgin Media site (kudos to Seph).  What I'm going to do in this post is show you how I managed to disable the wireless capabilities of the Super Hub so that my Time Capsule can act as it should.  The same should apply to anyone using an Airport Extreme (the Time Capsule include this hardware) router too.

Before I started I jotted down the MAC address (aka Airport ID) of the wireless devices I was using (my MacBook Pro and the Time Capsule).  On a Mac you get to these by navigating to the following:

System Preferences >> Network >> Advanced >> Airport

The Airport ID should be at the bottom of the dialogue box.

How To:

1 - Plug the Time Capsule router’s WAN port into any of the LAN ports on the Super Hub.

2 - Plug the computer/laptop into any Super Hub LAN port and access the management page by typing into the address bar.  Login with the details from the back of the Super Hub and click the Advanced link
Click to expand

3 - In the left-hand navigation column, under Advanced, select the LAN IP option.  Examine the DHCP Client Lease Info field; you should see your computer and the Time Capsule (plus any other connected devices if you have them). If you haven't already, make a note of the MAC address from the Time Capsule and add it to the DHCP reservation section.  After that, give the Time Capsule an IP address like

Click to expand
4 - Next step, navigate to the DMZ host page on the Super Hub from the left hand column and enter the same IP address (e.g. in the appropriate field. This means that the Super Hub will pass all traffic to the second router without any checks or filters. The Time Capsule will be in the same subnet as the router side of the Hub.
Click to expand

5 - Turn off or disconnect the Time Capsule and connect your computer to it with a network cable. Reboot it.  At this point launch Airport Utility - the Time Capsule will be reporting an error.  It needs to be put into Bridge Mode (either via the method below or by using the diagnostic tool):

Manual Setup >> Internet >> Internet Connection >> Connection Sharing >> Off (Bridge Mode)

Click to expand
6 - At this point you are almost ready to go.  All we need to do is disable the wireless functions on the Super Hub. Login to the router again but don't go into the Advanced mode yet.  Simply select Wireless Network Settings and change the Wireless mode to Off then hit Save.

7 - Log back in to the Advanced mode on the Super Hub http://192.168.0. Navigate to the Services tab under the Content Filtering option in the left hand column.  Once there deselect the Firewall Features and  IP Flood Detection and hit Apply.
Click to expand

You should be good to go now.  Your original wifi network will be functioning as normal and the Time Capsule will be taking care of business.  I did a quick ISP speed test and it looks like I'm getting the full 30 meg speed.  Nice.

NB: Virgin Media are planning on upgrading the Super Hub's firmware and testing it around April time


Anonymous said...

awesome!!! Thank you very very much. Works a treat. Any view on what happens when Virgin upgrade the firmware, or what we will need to do then? Cheers

Rob said...

I'm not too sure if truth be told. I'm guessing the firmware update will include a simple switch on the standard sign-in page. I'll be sure to update this guide around that time

Anonymous said...

Big, BIG Thanks, went from packet losses of 56-96% to a nice round 0%.
Great stuff, same VM don't give the same info. Thanks again.

Rob said...

Hey, happy to help. I'm glad this worked out for you

Anonymous said...

Thank Rob, This was a life saver, even getting 31MB upstairs in far bedroom. I do have a bit of an issue now as my Apple TV in front room can't see my iMac to stream movies, also the Airport Extreme has the dreaded amber flashing light. Is this because it's in bridge mode?. Your help on this final piece would be most appreciated. Cheers Andy

Rob said...

Hi Andy, no probs. Not quite sure why your Apple TV can't see the iMac if truth be told, and I don't have an Apple TV to play with. Hmmm. With my Time Capsule in bridge mode I can stream from my Macbook to my PS3 using Media Link (not quite the same, I know). Do you mind telling me what your setup is? It sounds like you have the following, but I'm not sure:

Super Hub connected to Airport Extreme via network cable
iMac connected to Airport Extreme via wifi ??
Apple TV (1st gen or 2nd?) connected to iMac via wifi ??

Is there anything else in the network?

Anonymous said...

Hi - Thanks for your work! I wanted to keep my AE doing all the port forwarding etc so instead of putting the AE into bridge mode as you suggest above, I followed these steps (again, thanks to Seph):

AirportUtility->Manual Setup->Internet->Internet Connection->Connection Sharing->Share a public IP Address).


--\Manual Setup
--------Configure IPv4 -> Using DHCP
--------IP Address -> Renew lease (should set itself to your VM static ip-address)
--------DNS Servers -> set to the OPENDNS values. &
--------DHCP Beginning Address -> (just a suggestion)
--------DHCP Ending Address ->
--------Enable default host -> (untick and leave blank)
--------Enable NAT Port Mapping Protocol -> tick
Update and off you go!

Anonymous said...

I think it's todo with the WDS network I have set up. I also have an old airport express upstairs to extend network. I rebooted the whole system seems OK for now. Will let you know if I have more issues thanks. Andy.

unwrittenfutures said...

Thanks so much for putting this together - after only a few days with the so called "SuperHub" crashing every 24hrs it was time for action. Your easy to follow instructions were a breeze - now back up and running with my Apple Extreme.

Rob said...

@Andy - OK. If you do have any more issues I'd be interested to hear them. I'm not convinced that Virgin Media will be...

@unwrittenfutures - my pleasure :-)

Anonymous said...

Rob, I can't thank you enough!!!!! I can't believe the speed of my new connection! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!! :) d

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rob!! Gracias! Danke!! Merci!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Massive thanks to you, shame on you virgin media!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, took a bit of time, but worked a treat, my Superhub on its own was only getting, 3 meg on wireless, but following your guide and setting up my TC I am now getting 31 meg on both wireless and Wired just shows the quality of the Time Capsule

I wouldn't have been able to do this myself your Guide was a life line

Thank You

Anonymous said...

well i manage to set it up as you say, but now my wireless devices keep dropping connection and even when connected are extremely slow, I am ready to smash up the super hub and cancel my direct debit

Anonymous said...

Do I just put in the IP address numbers you suggest, or do I have to have my own, and if so how do I find them? I have one for my PC but how do I find one for my Extreme etc.....


Anonymous said...

I have a PC wired to my VM Superhub, and I want to connect up my Airport extreme for wireless networking to use my MacBook pro.
Do I connect the PC wired to the superhub or the Extreme... I just get a flashing amber light and the Mac only see's the extreme when I reset it but then loses it... during the set up with Airport it was asking for loads of numbers etc that I did not know.... Im a complete novice with this kind of thing so sorry for the dumb questions.


Anonymous said...

Much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

great advice but any one else found their TC disk is now constantly spinning? didn't used to with the old modem

Anonymous said...

Does this also solve the problem that iPhones don't recognise the VM superhub? We have had two visits from VM technicians. The first needed to borrow a toothpick to reset the hub; the second needed to borrow a computer to access the hub through an ethernet cable. He had his own cable. Some technology company!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this help, it is most appreciated, since virgin media was little help.

David Young

Rob said...

@Anonymous 5 August

I'm not sure what you mean by the iPhone not recognising the Super Hub. The solution above means that the the Super Hub is turned into little other than a passive modem and the Time Capsule/Airport Extreme then acts as a standard router. You should have no problems running your iPhone off that. I've got a 3GS and 2 iPhone 4s working on my nextwork

James G. said...

Thanks for this posting...I just had Virgin installed today and used your notes here. But to complicate my setup even more, I have the Virgin box in the living room hooked up via a Devolo AV500 unit to an AV500 unit in the office where I keep the Airport Extreme. Happy to say that the Devolo units work great as a direct Ethernet replacement.

Anonymous said...

Hi - at the end of the process I assume you simply re-connect the TC WAN to Super Hub LAN?

TDubYa said...

Thans for this post - it's helped me get 90% of the way to setting up my new 4th gen capsule.

The big problem I am now having is that the drive on the TC (actually two drives - the built in one and an external). While I can see the drives from my macbook, I can't access them. The only way is if I relaunch the TC. Even then, I only have access for a bit.

It's pretty frustrating! If anyone has any thoughts, I would be very, very grateful.

Anonymous said...

I live in UK and have the Virgin SuperHub. When you login to the Superhub's controls in "" you click on "Wireless Network Settings" and then scroll down to "Guest Networks" and click on the underlined link "Advanced Settings".

This takes you to the full menu. Right at the bottom, on the left hand side, there is option "Modem Mode". Simply click on this and tick the modem mode box and click "apply". It then re-sets itself and turns off all ethernet ports (except one) and turns of routing functions. It worked for me the first time around.

Hope this helps....

simonedwards said...

Will this solve the problem I have about getting less than 1MB/sec D/L speeds when connecting wireless to the Super Hub from my MacBook Pro?

If I connect my Airport Express to the Super Hub and then connect to the airport network, rather than the Hub, I get near 15MB/sec D/L speeds.

If I connect via Ethernet, I get 30MB/Sec. Any help would be appreciated.

ThanksShanks said...

Very generous Rob, thanks... wish I'd tested speed before! Now I get a respectable 9.6 on the 10 promised... life is a lot quicker :)

Anonymous said...

Top man brilliant workaround Super Hub pah!!! Naff Hub more like supposed to be now 100MB more like 15Mb..... Great work buddy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! Such a big help, even the patronizing engineer of 22 years on the phone couldn't help me with this problem!

Mark Fry said...

Thanks for this. Even though the Virgin Hub Set Up has changed since this was published, I was able to do what was necessary and the installation and bridging to the Time Capsule worked first time.

You Sir, are the man!

John Davis said...

Many thanks for this. It works fine for a Superhub 2 and the new June 2013 Time Capsule as well (some of the settings on the super hub may be in slightly different places, but with some simple searching the changes are pretty obvious - the DMZ facility is still available),

Anonymous said...

Need help

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