back to article TP-Link abandons 'forgotten' router config domains

TP-Link, rather than recovering domains it forgot to renew, is going to abandon them. The domains in question are tplinklogin.net and tplinkextender.net. They offered configuration services for buyers of the company's home routers and Wi-Fi link extenders, and are identified on stickers on some devices (not all: two TP-Link …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Internet Rip-Off

    Sigh, another example of how the Internet market has become just another way to screw money out of businesses. It's just like the new TLDs which are simply another place a company has to buy it's own name yet again in case someone else pinches it.

    It's pretty certain that most companies buying Internet advertising or domain names are doing so purely out of self defense rather than in any expectation of it generating increased sales. If individual members of the public were being blackmailed in this kind of way there'd be a public outcry, riots, laws enacted, etc.

    1. richardcox13

      Re: Internet Rip-Off

      > Sigh, another example of how the Internet market has become just another way to screw money out of businesses.

      How?

      TP-Link chose to use different domains for those functions rather than just a URL (or IP address). That they failed to maintain functions they created is their failure.

      It is nothing to do with the massive expansion of TLDs.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Internet Rip-Off

      "If individual members of the public were being blackmailed in this kind of way there'd be a public outcry, riots, laws enacted, etc."

      It would be nice to think that, but somehow I doubt it.

  2. Tac Eht Xilef

    "... according to Amity Dan who first noticed the snafu, they're being offered for sale at US$2.5 million each."

    But in his tweet he says they're for sale for 2.5 millidollars?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      It's foreshadowing

      The quote represents the value the dollar will be at when Trump gets elected.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It's foreshadowing

        "The quote represents the value the dollar will be at when Trump gets elected."

        Looking forward to the pound's recovery. Maybe two wrongs do make a right after all.

  3. adfh

    Does anyone know...

    ... if any of the tplink devices try and redirect to the domain name if you access them via IP?

    I've seen some kit (Netgear I think) redirect to domain name based addresses when hitting them on their IP.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Does anyone know...

      I've seen some browsers, using certain settings, serving up suggestions when typing in IP addresses. Potentially very dangerous. Time to review DNS server/browser when that happens.

  4. Frank Zuiderduin

    The tplinkwifi.net domain doesn't resolve, but other than that, what would you expect from a ping or a traceroute? If it was set up to be 192.168.1.1, it would be your router resonding.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Anything to do with ping or traceroute is also completely unrelated to whether they have renewed the domain or not, or whether the domain is functional or not.

      A simple whois query would have told them if it is registered:

      whois tplinkwifi.net

      ...

      Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2017-06-20T08:46:34.0Z

      ...

      Domain Status: ok https://icann.org/epp#ok

      ...

      Registrant Name: ZHAO JIAXING

      Registrant Organization: TP-LINK TECHNOLOGIES. Co., Ltd

      Registrant Street: South building,No.5 Keyuan Road, Science and Technology park

      Registrant City: shenzhen

      Registrant State/Province:

      Registrant Postal Code: 518057

      Registrant Country: CN

      Registrant Phone: +86.75586368262

      Registrant Phone Ext:

      Registrant Fax: +86.75526636921

      Registrant Fax Ext:

      Registrant Email: admin@tp-link.com

      However the listed nameservers, which are ns[5-7].gomydns.com, are not serving this domain. (Specifically ns5 and ns6 are giving "REFUSED", and ns7 does not even exist itself in the DNS)

      That can be tested using dig, e.g.

      dig +norec @ns5.gomydns.com. tplinkwifi.net. soa

  5. Don Dumb
    Flame

    So I take a closer look at my router login page...

    My router (Archer C2) is one of the devices affected, the old link resolves to tplinkwifi.net, hopefully this was within my network but in any case I haven't logged into it since the last firmware update and have now updated my bookmark.

    What's really annoying is that, TP Link had a few ways to notify me - the page where the updates are downloaded or the frontpage of the router update. But instead they have done this silently, leaving many open to hijacking. It realy didn't need to be that hard, especially considering they have produced firmware updates recently.

  6. K.o.R

    Wouldn't they be stored in the routers themselves to resolve to the router's IP address? Otherwise how would that work if you haven't set up your internet connection (you know, by configuring the router)?

    1. Dabooka Silver badge

      That's my assumption too

      I only have an extnder that uses that link, and I login to to change settings without being connected in anyway to the interweb so it must be a local address.

      Obviously I can see the potential harm in not owing the actual address.

  7. Eric O'Brien

    Name Server in the Router?

    I had assumed that these routers included a name server and that in that server "www.tplinklogin.net" and so forth pointed to 192.168.1.1. So a request for tplinklogin.net should first resolve to the router's internal admin page. If so, the request would never get beyond the local network.

    Does anyone know if this might be true? Or does anyone know if it is certainly false?

    "tplinklogin.net" is indeend printed on the sticker attached to the bottom of my router (a TL-WR842ND).

    In a terminal session if I do

    ping tplinklogin.net

    I get back

    PING tplinklogin.net (192.168.1.1) 56(84) bytes of data.

    64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.265 ms

    and so forth.

    So it seems like my assumption is correct. Um?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Name Server in the Router?

      That it true as long as your clients use the DNS server from the router. Just. for example, I've seen many people told by some clueless friends to set and use Google's DNS on their clients (so it can slurp even more data about you) because they believe it's faster, cooler, etc. etc. bypassing then the router DNS - and then you need an external DNS to resolve it to a your local address. Quite also stupid if you changed your router IP because you use a different address scheme (albeit quite unusual in small, less "nerdy" setups).

      1. wyatt

        Re: Name Server in the Router?

        Fishing for a bite by any chance?!

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Name Server in the Router?

        "I've seen many people told by some clueless friends to set and use Google's DNS on their clients"

        If you had to use Virgin Media's DNS servers, you'd want to use a fast and effective DNS as well.

        Also, 8.8.8.8 is easier to remember than 208.67.222.222.

        1. DougS Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Name Server in the Router?

          And 1234 is easier to remember than another PIN, so you should use that on your bank card and your luggage.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Name Server in the Router?

            You keep your DNS IP settings secret? Why?

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: Name Server in the Router?

              The comment was against the idea that you should choose what to use by how easy it is to remember.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Name Server in the Router?

              You don't need to keep it secret, just using a DNS server from a known mega-slurp company just because it's easier to remember looks quite naive. Just using 12345 as a password just because it's easier to remember.

              1. DougS Silver badge

                Re: Name Server in the Router?

                Not sure what the value of "easy to remember" is in DNS servers anyway. It isn't like you need to configure devices to point at them very often, so taking a minute to look up one that isn't logging all your requests to add to their data profile on you doesn't seem like time wasted.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Name Server in the Router?

          It's easy to remember for you, and easier for Google to remember your whole Internet access requests...any protocol. Chrome may just see your HTTP browsing, GMail may know only the mail flowing to them... catch the DNS traffic and you have a new big source of information about anything requesting a resolution...

          Why do you believe Google set it up that way? As the NSA knows, you can learn a lot, even from metadata, And you may also "respond" to suit your own interests... "net neutrality"? How much "neutral" is Google going to be, in offering such services?

          Keep on feeding them just because it's easier to remember...

      3. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Name Server in the Router?

        I use the domain controller on the network for my DNS. Things work more reliably when set up that way.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Name Server in the Router?

      My router, a new Archer VR200, uses tplinkmodem.net which thankfully is still owned by TP-Link. And as the poster above mentioned I'm one of those who've changed their DNS servers on their PC to another provider. The ones I have set in the router are yet another provider (neither Google nor my ISP) but a family friendly filtered variant. I think I'll be adding the address to my local hosts file later.

  8. Eric O'Brien

    TP-Link firmware update adds tplinkwifi.net

    I also see at http://www.tp-link.us/download/TL-WR842ND.html#Firmware

    For firmware update TL-WR842ND(UN)_V2_150514 published 06/09/15:

    "(3)Added a new login domain “tplinkwifi.net” for web-based management and "tplinklogin.net" is still available;"

    Which suggests to me that the IP address this domain points at is controlled by the router.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: TP-Link firmware update adds tplinkwifi.net

      ... and they still didn't use .lan or .local.

  9. Ian Emery Silver badge

    tplinklogin.net

    Gets me a blank grey page served up from Germany (yes, I have new-this-year TPLink Router).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the public DNS, tplinklogin.net resolves to 103.224.212.249

    That is an APNIC IP address which belongs to a company in Australia:

    inetnum: 103.224.212.0 - 103.224.213.255

    netname: TRELLIAN-AU

    descr: Trellian Pty. Limited

    descr: 8 East Concourse, Beaumaris Victoria 3193

    country: AU

    (which could of course just be a hosting company and the site is run by someone else). It's just domain squatting at the moment.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If ever I needed another reason...

    to get off my arse and finally upgrade to OpenWRT ...

  12. John Robson Silver badge

    Why?

    Do they not use subdomains?

    Why does everything have to have it's own main domain.

    config.tplink.com <- there, see...

    Easy to type, and not going to go away any time soon.

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      So that they can put the name resolution in the router perhaps?

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        So that they can put the name resolution in the router perhaps?

        If you mean - so that they can use it to connect you to your router then isn't that what the .lan or .local versions were for?

        Please tell me those aren't now valid TLDs...

        Of course they could always use config.netgear.com anyway - since they own the domain it's not problematic - then just put a page saying that you need to connect to your router's LAN, using it's DHCP and DNS for this link to work...

  13. John Sager

    Same rubbish with Netgear

    I bought a Netgear wifi extender, and the setup process went through a similar DNS name. Once I worked out what was going on, the wifi extender had got a DHCP address in my network and somehow my browser got redirected to that. Anyway, now it has a fixed address in my network and after updating the firmware there's a rule in my firewall to block outgoing connects from that address.

    It also has a local name in my network but for a while, trying to use that in the browser gave me a bunch of 404s so I had to use its IP address. However that now seems to have corrected itself.

    At least, though, it has a web config interface. A cheap TP-Link managed switch I bought had no web config. It used a config app that only runs under Windows:((

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: Same rubbish with Netgear

      Actually, DLink are the worst; my sister bought a modem and separate WiFi unit (dont ask why), BOTH use exactly the same local ip address for set up - which for obvious reasons doesnt work; you cant set up the WiFi unit to access the modem when connected to the modem, because the page always shows the modem set-up!!!

      Did they never consider someone might be stupid enough to buy BOTH bits of tat from them??!!

      She later tried to fob them off on our parents, so I threw them away and donated my old TPL7980; they can now access wifi from the Co-Op on the other side of the park from where they live (~300m)

  14. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    A cockup by TP-Link? Never...

    ... ex-TP-Link customer. 'Avoid' as they say in Amazon reviews.

    1. RaidOne

      Re: A cockup by TP-Link? Never...

      Ex TP-Link customer here as well. I had one of their better models for a couple of years and lately I had to reboot every evening, the connections were so slow.

      Now I got a much cheaper and more featured Mikrotik hAP lite ac and I am flying. Configuring it is a pain, and I thought I had more than basic networking knowledge, but ultimately I got it working as I wanted it to. Not recommended for everyone, but if you can use Mikrotiks, they have the best value.

  15. PhilErrington

    I think this might be a case of TPlink not caring about the domains.

    From the patent lawyer presentations I've seen having a registerred trade mark as part of the domain can certainly lead to litigation if used for anything (such as attempting to sell them). Tplink is registerred so I assume the domains are not that important to the company.

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