It's been years since . . . .
I used any ISP's provided hubs and stuff like this makes me glad that's the case.
I know not everyone is confident enough to do that and it doesn't help anyone caught up in this mess. Sorry.
Sky Broadband has rolled out a firmware update which is bricking users’ broadband hubs if they are not set to use the ISP's default choice of domain name server. Sky customer support has been offering contradictory information to users and offering either a roll-back or a firmware fix but this is expected to up to a week. The …
One slightly easier option is to retain the ISP provided router but not to use it
This is exactly what I ended up doing when I was with Sky and it made life so much easier as I would swap it back for "trouble shooting" then remove it again afterwards.
Well, I thought about using the term 'router' but I thought that, in the simplistic case, it's not actually doing any routing, is it? Just switching some packets to a gateway?
I am not a network (or any kind of) expert really.
I use my ISP's modem but I configure my PCs to use my DNS of choice. I can configure my modem to use my DNS of choice but find it more convenient to configure my PCs to use my DNS of choice. Everything else looks after themselves and uses the network default.
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Suitable for some, but not all. If you've something on-LAN doing your DNS, great, if you remember to set it as such.. But if all external, a problem straight away is you're losing internal name resolution.. A problem for many, including most businesses. It's pretty bad that an ISP would prevent you changing which DNS service you use :-(
I use a Draytek V130 on my BT line. It's set in bridge mode to a router running OpenWRT. This gives me a stable Dual Stack connection and the ability to control my own DNS (OpenWRT just forwards the requests to the DNS services I have given it, ignoring the DNS servers that BT hands down via DHCP). And it works a charm.
Similar here, the Drayrek V130 supports VDSL and is a great 'modem' ? Access device... stick a decent router behind it and tell sky, BT, whoever to f3ck off. Disclaimer, you may not be able to get the correct details from Sky to user a 3rd party device.... (they are twats).
+1 for Draytek. The Vigor range of routers are amazing.
If you have a "BT fibre" line, then you just plug it into the VDSL port, plug in the broadband login info, off you go.
Using the stock supplied router is very old hat, I haven't done it since about 1999, whether home or at work. I just bin their junk day one, put a "real" ADSL/VDSL/Ethernet router on the connection and off you go.
Not quite as easy on Virgin DOCSIS networks, etc. but then you put the Superhub into Modem mode and just pipe that through to the Draytek (or whatever).
Most importantly, Drayteks will check that your upstream routers are using DNSSEC if you let them... and then offer it out over your local network as just normal DNS. So you know that no amount of tinkering at your ISP end is fecking with your DNS requests/responses, but you don't have to reconfigure your entire network. You still need to encrypt or use another protocol for proper privacy of your lookups, however (VPN to a proper DNS server under your control, use DNS over HTTPS, or trust places like 188.8.131.52 or 184.108.40.206?).
But using a stock router on an ISP DNS? That's very 1990's.
Sorry, but I don't let my own bank snoop my information, why on Earth should I be letting my ISP do the same?
I left Virgin in January, and by Feb had received a slightly menacing "reminder" to return my superhub or be charged a fee (despite them not yet having sent me a postal bag to return it in).
ISPs are big on the whole "building brand loyalty" piece, are they...
"I still have my virgin superhub even though I left them over a year ago.
Just in case they ask for it back, you never know..."
They are supposed to either collect it or provide you with a method to return it to them. They own it and are responsible for proper WEEE disposal. In theory. The reality is they almost always "forget" about hardware which is now obsolete so the user has to dispose of it. ie passing on the cost such that user either wrongly puts it in the bin or drops it off at the council recycling centre so they (we!) pay for proper WEEE disposal.
A little while ago I got a free upgrade from a Tivo to a V6 box. The V6 box is still here (sans the 500GB HDD, natch) because they really don't want it back.
Worked in IT for 20 years, installing all kinds of lines. Not once have I ever been asked for the original equipment. And, for ADSL, it's a £20 box... they're not going to lose thousands of pounds of custom over a £20 box that they produce en-masse and change every year. Not if they have half a brain.
P.S. So long as your router is certified compatible (e.g. BT SIN 498 MCT), they have no just reason to insist on a particular box.
P.S. So long as your router is certified compatible (e.g. BT SIN 498 MCT), they have no just reason to insist on a particular box.
Not only matter of reason, according to EU regulation 015/2120 they are not allowed to insist on their own kit. (well, for the little time UK has left with regards to that)
>Not only matter of reason, according to EU regulation 015/2120 they are not allowed to insist on their own kit. (well, for the little time UK has left with regards to that)
Being reamed by ISPs is definitely what I voted for!
It's the Will Of The People!
An ISP with half a brain? Now that would be headline news!
There are some. Who actually have a whole, intact brain, not just half of one.
and others, too, but those are the one's I've used.
A&A's MD's brain is more than intact. It's close to Zaphod Beeblebrox-sized.
Indeed, A&A are an exception to the 'don't use ISP supplied kit' too. They supply a preconfigured router that's very nice, with their Home::1 service, and it Just Works[tm]. I do have other options as 'test modems' if needed for troubleshooting.
And now... I will always associate RevK with Zaphod, cheers for that -->
Does your Vigor router have an RJ45 WAN interface, i.e. a network socket for the WAN side? If so you should be OK.
Put the Virgin hub in modem mode, connect the WAN socket on your Draytek router to the specified port on the superhub - only one works when it's in modem mode, it's either 1 or 4, can't remember.
"only one works when it's in modem mode, it's either 1 or 4"
It's port 1. Or at least it is on our superhub3.
Personally I'm using an Asus router at home (their firmware is GPL, and gets updates for almost as long as Draytek do), but I use Drayteks at work and they are worth all the praise they get.
"So modem mode on the router for Virgin. I have an older Vigor but it's not a cable one. Can I still use that on the Virgin setup? As I assume the Vigor just connects via cable to the Virgin?"
Yes. If it has Ethernet, you plug it in the WAN Ethernet port. Done.
That's the exact config I had for a number of years.
TP-Link TD-W9970's are worth a look, change out of £30 ex VAT. Years ago I'd considered TP-Link budget, I suppose the prices still are, but the software on those is half-decent. Do IT support for small business; they suit them fine, and can be popped into bridge mode and used as a modem easily for places with a beefier router in place.
Used to carry separate ADSL routers and those white BT things a few years ago, now a couple of those in the car pretty much covers all the smaller sites.
No doubt someone will pipe up that they're a load of dung, but reliability-wise haven't ever had an issue with one - for the money they're great.
Still on a HG612 modem here which goes into a cheap Tenda mesh network (saves the Chinese government having to get my data from the core network when my system can send it directly to them).
Sky is a PITA though because you need a router that supports MER authentication followed by a Wireshark session to actually get the username and password.
Vodafone user here and actually really happy with the VDSL service (80/20, no problems so far but as per other ISPs their router sucks big time).
I have a newer hub supplied by BT which doesn't allow the user to change the DNS settings. However, it does allow you to turn off DHCP which stops those DNS settings being used by the rest of the network.
I've then got a Raspberry Pi running Pi-Hole which although ostensibly an advert blocker, also includes a DHCP server (earlier versions didn't, but it's all integrated into the UI now). This allows everything on my network to get DNS lookups handled by Pi-Hole, and only the BT Hub looks up whatever it needs to on BT's DNS servers.
" a Raspberry Pi running Pi-Hole ... ostensibly an advert blocker, also includes a DHCP server (earlier versions didn't, but it's all integrated into the UI now). This allows everything on my network to get DNS lookups handled by Pi-Hole"
Ooohh. Pi-Hole for ad blocking was on my ToDo list but not likely to reach the top for a while (I used to have Pi-Hole set up, then I moved home, with new service provider, etc, and other stuff took priority).
A sensible(ish) DHCP Server in Pi-Hole increases the chances of me looking at it again sooner rather than later.
Thank you :)
"AC - what do you use as a modem?"
Personally I've used a Draytek Vigor 120 for ADSL which is literally one in/one out and power with an open source firewall behind it.
When I moved to VDSL I got a second hand Draytek 2860 which I've been very pleased with and I'm still getting firmware updates for.
My ISP gave me a router, still wrapped in its original packaging, with some basic setup instructions.
After a slight hiccup finding one setting (setup instructions were not quite ready for my new fiber connection) everything has worked perfectly, and I have full control over the router.
You could say that I am at peace with my choice of ISP, a zen state, so to speak.
I use the provided one. With Sky then with the current provider. Sky box was just a box. But thankfully I did not need anything special. This one seems to be a custom linux style box or something, so not too bad.
But if possible, yes I get my own and configure it. I've just been a cheap skate on the suppliers for a couple of years to get upgrades to fibre and "unlimited" bandwidth (games are a killer these days on updates). Once prices come down I will go back to a bespoke provider or someone who allows own boxes.
No, as mentioned above you can put the Virgin hub into modem mode and connect your own router to the one port that remains active. I'm on Virgin and using my own Draytek router. As long as your router has an RJ45 WAN interface, and I think the Drayteks mostly do, you should be OK.
Put your Superhub into modem mode and you'll be fine (but you'll need separate WiFi APs) . I'm running a pfSense router on a APU2 D2 mini PC from
and it works perfectly. Been running this way for several years without any problems. The Superhub doesn't crash/lock up when in modem mode either.
"I know not everyone is confident enough to do that and it doesn't help anyone caught up in this mess"
Probably those not confident to use their own router are those not confident of changing their DNS settings, so probably aren't impacted by this new firmware.
Just don't use their supplied router. And if it combines router and modem functions (cf. Virgins "super" hub) then either put it into modem mode, or just bolt your own router onto it, and configure that.
For myself, I run my own SSL enabled Pihole DNS server on my network. Dont' really see why anyone needs to know my DNS history. Unless they want to pay for it.
Sky's current router doesn't allow you to use bridge mode - I recently upgraded and received the new router, checked it out and got a second hand Huawei HG612 off eBay as it was the cheapest way to get a fully-featured VDSL modem/router while allowing me to use my existing firewall/IPS/wifi.
I realize the HG612 is end of life and unable to get firmware updates, but for ~£20 delivered it provides full stats and compatability to allow you to troubleshoot VDSL speed issues.
As a customer of someone other than Sky I would definitely recommend using your own router rather than the ISP supplied one. But out of curiosity I strolled over to the Sky website and found this....
5. I already have a router, can I use the same one when I join Sky?
No. You'll need to use your Sky Hub. This allows us to provide an online broadband health check, which gives you updates on the speed you're receiving and the devices connected to your Wi-Fi. It also enables both you and our tech team to carry out checks if there's a problem with your service.
Seems like a good reason to leave if they are currently your ISP.
When I had a problem with my Sky Broadband, I swapped the Sky Hub back whilst they found and fixed the issue. Then once I was satisfied that my broadband was fast and stable again, I swapped back my own modem/router.
Sky are well aware that people are using their own kit, but if you want support then you need to be using their Hub.
This allows us to provide an online broadband health check, which gives you updates on the speed you're receiving and the devices connected to your Wi-Fi.
Why do they feel the need (or right ?) to know what devices you have on your network.
reason enough for them to fuck off to the far side of fuck and then fuck off some more.
Virgin may suck donkey balls, but even they've not (yet) gone that far. Not that it would do them much good anyway.
I bet the Five-Eyes love> Sky customers ......
The reason why ISPs need to see most people's networks is that 99% of customers are not technically capable, and so they blame the ISP whenever anything interferes with their user experience. Unfortunately, that's often due to issues within the home, so contact centre agents need tools to allow them to understand what's happening within the LAN. If all users were as technically capable as the average Register reader, ISPs wouldn't need huge, expensive contact centres, and your broadband costs would be halved! We don't live in that universe, sadly...
That might ring true if ISP tech support were to actually investigate tech support calls with some degree of technical competence, as opposed to, say, just reading through the same old script asking you to turn off all other Wi-Fi enabled devices, plug the device directly into the router with an Ethernet cable (and good luck doing that if you're using any kind of mobile device), etc...
"That might ring true if ISP tech support were to actually investigate tech support calls with some degree of technical competence, as opposed to, say, just reading through the same old script"
Sorry? That IS contact centre tech support. Minimal cost, minimal ability staff with minimal access in a role with minimal longevity relying on simple tools and troubleshooting scripts to placate customers. In order to avoid customers repeatedly getting the same long suffering customer support person, careers are mercifully short...
Older Sky hubs used to detect if you had a Sky TV box somewhere on your network and turn on a little light to prove it.
That was the point when I decided I didn't want my ISP identifying all the devices on my network.
Ever since then, I've always used ISP supplied routers "outside" my LAN but with my own router plugged in via its WAN connection. Everything else connects to that. When I set it up that first time, all the Sky hub saw on my LAN was an unidentified device and the Sky+ light stated firmly dark :-)
Are they still doing that? I remember when sky digital first started, i switched over and they demanded a phone line to plug it in...
Problem was it was behind a BT Renown PABX... and while the digibox can be programmed to dial any prefix to get an outside line, it cannot (being a 2 wire only device) generate an earth loop recall signal as required by the renown for an exchange line. Not my problem. I complied with the letters of their Ts and Cs... and their kit was incapable of using the fully functional line it was plugged into.
Hang on, am I missing something here? As far as I know Sky's own routers *don't* allow you to set third-party DNS server addresses? There's no option to do it in the on-board DHCP server — at least, there wasn't in my previous Sky router (ADSL) and there doesn't appear to be in my SkyQ (fibre) one. Or have I just not looked closely enough?
A/C because I'm not admitting I use Sky to all-and-sundry, natch!
I think it was a setting on older routers.
Some people end up just keeping the same one, my Father has had a grand total of 3 since the first in... 03?
Cable modems on the other hand have come and gone, at least, once our super reliable Surfboard installed in '98 died, after almost a decade of service.
Comcrap does allow using your own router but not your own DNS on their provided box. Not a personal concern as use a kill-switched VPN with my own selected DNS. I am thinking about moving the C2D media center over and hanging it off the Comcrap router as it has a hell of a wireless board, and +10db antenna, to cover the property. No longer Windows, of course, something more serious. Essentially, then there'd be two wireless networks, one for the visiting numpties of which we get rather a lot, one having access to a ZFS array for those with a clue. Likely NetBSD but the jury's still out on that. I've set it up for testing and have a heck of a lot of different systems to try on it. [And ZoL is still not on the final version for NetBSD, yet.]
I use Serviiio and a bunch of mains network connectors with a couple of hubs for things like CCTV and printer in the summer house/office. When I got my Sky Q equipment (multiroom including new hub/router) my network went haywire. Stuff just stopped being seen; printer, Serviio, XBOX problems. Also, Q multiroom as standard is all about WiFi which caused a massive pain for the numerous mobile devices here. I reverted back to my pretty TP-Link and found the Sky network access credentials easy enough online. Now everything works again, and my own router meant I could tweak access controls etc which I couldn’t get to in the Sky router. Also, with a bit of googling was able to make the Q stuff work over cabled Ethernet not WiFi which made a big difference.
The short version is, the Sky supplied (customised TP-Link) equipment disrupted what my own environment so much it was with the time and effort to deploy kit I could manage completely myself. Their box is in the loft, in its box.
I switch off the DHCP server on my sky router and provide it from an always on server on my network which is also a DNS server. This provides a local domain for all network devices, and forwards requests to a non sky DNS server.
This server can be provided by a raspberry pi and can also be used to do ad blocking and custom white listing.
This server can be provided by a raspberry pi and can also be used to do ad blocking and custom white listing.
Looks like you are using a Pi-Hole. That in itself is already worth an upvote. I strongly recommend adding a recursive DNS resolver (like Unbound) to the Raspberry Pi.
Mine is still stuck on MER. only thing connected is a box running my own firewall/filtering, everything else is on the other side of that.
Oddly just yesterday, for a few hours, was getting Sky Broadband Shield block messages on some sites, despite having turned that of years ago. Wonder if they have been doing some other tinkering.
The issue with companies like Sky is, you get what you pay for. I have been a very loyal customer of Zen of a good few years and they are brilliant. When I signed up, they gave me the option of their routers, but advised not to and go get my own, they even offered to help set it up for me, which I didn't need. But went out, got a Draytek 2860, I think the uptime has been a few months, and the only reason it has to go down is for firmware upgrades.
Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of people aren't technically minded, or want to be, but when your ISP will happily walk you through it, it's a bit hard to say you can't do it.
I have BT Fibre to the Premises with a Fibre Copper converter, then a BT router. The router nails the DNS down to 172.16.16.172 which is a private IP address. I am told that BT do this to conserve public IP4 addresses but the routing side of it concerns me. I get very erratic performance sometimes a web page can take up to a minute to load; when it does load, the whole page is loaded very fast - it is not a gradual feed. This indicates to me that the backhaul is having some problems. I am not sure exactly how the private addresses are used in the public domain as they are not supposed to be routable. Anyone got any ideas?
...the ISP that literally told me I was lying* when I reported a speed drop from 3.8Mbps to around 2Mbps after they "fixed" an issue. Apparently there was no way it could ever have supported those speeds - even after I sent them screen shots from various speed tests.
Or that insisted on going through their script to ping the wrong IP address because I'd changed it. Also, nevermind that the thing was dead - no power, they had a script and by god they were sticking to it.
I stick with the original (I believe rebranded Huawei) modem I got sent when I switched to BT fibre and use Sophos XG for all of the PPPoE etc. It works well and always seems to connect 2-4Mbps faster than any ISP provided equipment.
I still have the Vodafone kit all nicely boxed up - it's handy to keep, because the two times I've had an issue, they've asked for it to be reconnected before confirming the issue wasn't at my end.
*Actually used the word lying! Not mistaken, are you sure etc - "You're lying to me...that line could never support those speeds".
... Sky bought O2 and BE. I had an O2 service back then.
Eventually they got bored of maintaining the network that BE had built, they wanted to move us over to Sky's. They promised a seamless changeover. On the day it actually happened, my broadband went down and stayed down. Sky couldn't actually confirm they'd tried to move me over at all for a day. Then sent an email congratulating me that my broadband was up and running - which it most definitely was not and I would have thought they would know - and as if I were a brand new customer. The references to a seamless changeover were gone.
They needed me to do all the usual plug-it-into-the-master socket lark, then tried to get an openreach appointment, because the system at the helpdesk said so, while cutting me off the phone repeatedly and never calling back when they did. Then finally realising that the "seamless" update of the o2 router was apparently never going to work, and they needed to send me a sky hub, which took a week.
Then of course the broadband itself was about 2/3 the speed of o2's and much worse in the evenings. Couldn't possibly think why....
Then sent me a bill with penalties - incredibly actually called out as penalties - because I didn't take Sky TV or phone or whatever other bullshit, while ghost-of-O2 (O2's paperwork and style of letters just with a hastily pasted on Sky logo) insisted I hadn't paid their bill, but Sky helpdesk nimrods repeatedly said it would be OK, and regardless, there was still a DD in place that they didn't use. That carried on until I started getting letters from debt collectors claiming people had been in touch (of course, they hadn't) and this was the final notice of big problems. I then posted my displeasure in their forums and they deleted everything supposedly due to breach of TOS.
Basically, fucking useless all over.
Indeed they were. My saviour when all that was available just round the corner from Borough Market was EO lines. Their bonded ADSL product was superb value for money. Of course $ky dropped that.
Reborn as Hyperoptic (same management team) in case you weren't aware. Funnily enough, migrated from said bonded ADSL to a 100Mbps Hyperoptic business connection at a stupidly low price.
I second that.
I was with them prior to BT - when I called to tell them I was moving (this would've been just before it became public knowledge they were being bought out), they offered me 12 months of free internet access to stay.
Unfortunately for them, I was moving to fibre and they didn't offer it.
Still remember the Dutch guy chuckling and saying "Sure it'll be quicker man, but we're talking free!"
I have fond memories of ISP's that were fabulous before being bought out and turned to ratshit - Nildram and BE.
I did briefly try Zen at one point around 2011 but something happened during the move and I ended up with sub-dialup performance and in what I suspect is unusual for them, they basically refused to help saying all their tests showed everything was fine and the problem was at my end despite the only thing changing was a move to them.
That's when I went to BE, as I recall and they had no such issues.
Yeah, can I just have some plain old internet please?
You are an internet service provider, you should just provide internet.
My water provider just provides water.
If they cut my water supply by accident while installing a new and exciting banana milkshake pipe to my house, I'd be pretty pissed off.
Water? Don't get me started about water.
Have you even noticed that they charge you for your water and then charge for taking it away again (drainage/sewerage charge) so really the cost per m³ is double what they say it is? Electricity suppliers can't get away with that, so why should water suppliers?
And FFS, water is FREE, it comes down from the sky or out of the ground, so all they have to do it is filter it (but not as much as they used to, so they add more chlorine now) and pipe it to your home. It's like if electricity didn't need any power stations, just the National Grid. So why is my water bill more than my electricity bill? And I'm a heavy electric user too because I cook with the damn stuff and run A/C in the summer.
Buy a place with a private water supply and your own sewage plant (aka septic tank). Job done.
You'll also find out that using and disposing of water isn't free. Lower monthly running costs but irregular large capital costs.
You also get to dispose of your own fatbergs if you're a dick.
What's the advantage of using a third party DNS over the default one?
It is a little more difficult for your ISP to track your internet history. It also makes it a lot more difficult (nearly impossible with the correct security) for your ISP to alter the results and block traffic to websites it doesn't want you to visit.
Several reasons, which can probably be summed up by 'censorship' and 'monetisation' and 'privacy'.
One specific example is that TalkTalk block remote control software such as TeamViewer and Splashtop (which I use to give remote support to my clients) so if a client is on TT I have to change the DNS in their router to bypass this stupid block.
Seems what Sky are doing (according to various on their own forums and in the reg supplied link) isn't bricking hubs per se, but instead installed a transparent Proxy to route all your DNS through Sky';s DNS servers (due to it being proxied) rather than going through the DNS servers your device specified.
Now hiding behind "accidental firmware glitch" and as usual a few voices are "defending the company" "they said they would fix it, accidents happen, I see no intention of malice here, whats the big problem anyway" ad nauseum.........
Might explain why my DNS resolutions have been slow as treacle the last few days....whereas before they were lightning quick....
Hmmmm might invest in a TP-Link VDSL router that seemingly can authenticate to Sky''s Option 61 DHCP
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