back to article Sky customers moan: Our broadband hubs are bricking it

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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

    1. John H Woods

      Re: It's been years since . . . .

      One slightly easier option is to retain the ISP provided router but not to use it, except in emergencies, for anything except a single wired connection to your own switch.

      1. Shadowmanx2012
        Thumb Up

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        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.

        Worked well.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "for anything except a single wired connection to your own switch"

        You meant to your own router/firewall, taking care of just using the ISP router mostly as a dumb media converter....

        1. John H Woods

          Re: "for anything except a single wired connection to your own switch"

          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.

      3. dave 81

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        Sky don't let you use anything but their shifty router.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's been years since . . . .

      AC - what do you use as a modem? Newer BT hubs don't allow changing DNS from BT servers. I'm still using an old one that's configurable, but not getting firmware updates so I'm a bit concerned about security.

      1. RogerT

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        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.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. SWCD

          Re: It's been years since . . . .

          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 :-(

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: It's been years since . . . .

            I use a decent firewall/router on the inside and run all my LAN/Wi-fi DHCP from that, including the DNS.

            Oh, but I also then VPN out to an external server most of the time as well. Many ways to skin this particular cat.

          2. Evil Scot

            Re: It's been years since . . . .

            Why would a Media company such as Sky demand that you use their own DNS?

            Why did My Telco, the little rodents, poison the DNS entry for my ITSP?

      2. Len
        Go

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        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.

        1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

          Re: It's been years since . . . .

          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. Martin-73 Silver badge

            Re: It's been years since . . . .

            Then simply refuse to pay till they cough up the details. if they cut you off, move to a decent isp, then take them to small claims for the inconvenience

      3. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        +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 1.1.1.1 or 8.8.8.8?).

        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?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: It's been years since . . . .

          "I just bin their junk day one"

          Don't bin it,just put it somewhere safe. They may demand it back if you change ISP.

          1. Shadowmanx2012
            Thumb Up

            Re: It's been years since . . . .

            "Don't bin it,just put it somewhere safe. They may demand it back if you change ISP"

            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...

            1. wyatt
              Thumb Up

              Re: It's been years since . . . .

              I had 3 home hubs and a 220v modem when I left BT, they did ask for 1 back, not sure what they'd have thought when they got all the bits!

            2. paulf Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: It's been years since . . . .

              Vermin Media never ask for all their junk mail back either, but I return it all to them anyway, just to be sure.

            3. jasonbstanding

              Re: It's been years since . . . .

              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...

            4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: It's been years since . . . .

              "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.

          2. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: It's been years since . . . .

            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.

            1. Down not across Silver badge

              Re: It's been years since . . . .

              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)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: It's been years since . . . .

                >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!

            2. Loud Speaker

              Re: It's been years since . . . .

              Not if they have half a brain.

              An ISP with half a brain? Now that would be headline news!

              Put the old one on Ebay, where it belongs.

              1. Mike Pellatt

                Re: It's been years since . . . .

                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.

                A&A

                IDNet

                Zen

                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.

                1. Martin-73 Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: It's been years since . . . .

                  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 -->

        2. steviebuk Silver badge

          Re: It's been years since . . . .

          True but not everyone is a tech so that's the issue.

          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?

          1. upsidedowncreature

            Re: It's been years since . . . .

            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.

            1. steviebuk Silver badge

              Re: It's been years since . . . .

              I believe it does. I'll need to double check. Thanks for info.

            2. phuzz Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: It's been years since . . . .

              "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.

          2. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: It's been years since . . . .

            "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.

      4. SWCD

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        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.

      5. Fursty Ferret

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        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).

      6. Me too

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pi-Hole ... includes a DHCP server

          " 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 :)

      7. Symon Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        With our FTTP we use a pfSense box. It can set up the PPPoE thing without using the provided hub. Make one with stuff from here:-

        https://www.mini-itx.com

        p.s. The free Ethernet cable sent with the hub is OK. You can safely use that.

      8. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        "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.

    3. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Re: It's been years since . . . .

      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.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's been years since . . . .

      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.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        My ISP can provide a pre-configured router if you want but it's a chargeable item. Looks like they are currently offering a Billion 8800NL R2 which is a decent enough router and since they don't charge P&P they might actually be cheaper than Amazon.

    5. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: It's been years since . . . .

      This is what I have been doing for years and want to do the same with the Virgin shit box they send but I'm reading more and more that you can't use your own router on Virgin? Is that right?

      1. upsidedowncreature

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        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.

      2. Avatar of They
        Thumb Up

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        As has been mentioned, put the Virgin router into Modem mode.

        I have a Netgear Dgnd4000 (or something like that) behind mine and it works fine and has for years.

      3. The Brave Sir Robin

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        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

        https://linitx.com/

        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.

      4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

        Re: It's been years since . . . .

        Incorrrect. Log into the VM hub and put it in modem mode. I have an ASUS AX88 behind mine and it works great as the primary home router and VPN sever and client.

    6. N2 Silver badge

      Re: It's been years since . . . .

      Yes, agreed.

      I thought it was the first rule of ISP installation to chuck the crappy hub and install something decent.

      That way they can't dick around with it.

    7. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: It's been years since . . . .

      "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.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Sky been taking lessons from Microsoft ...

    push out updates without adequate testing ?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Sky been taking lessons from Microsoft ...

      Who hasn't?

    2. Thoguht Silver badge

      Re: Sky been taking lessons from Microsoft ...

      Well, at least they do push out updates, and on a fairly regular basis. Which given the state of most router firmware these days is just as well.

      1. Mike Pellatt

        Re: Sky been taking lessons from Microsoft ...

        Only if the updates fix security issues.

        We never know, because they never publish release notes.

        Heck, even Draytek said just "trust us, we've fixed it" on that WiFi security issue....

  3. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    How can Sky monetise your browsing habits if they can't monitor your DNS requests?

    1. Joseba4242

      Do you have a shred of evidence for this rather defamatory implicit accusation?

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Is joke heffe.

      2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        I'm pretty sure we have reached the point where we would require evidence they *weren't* doing that.

  4. JimmyPage Silver badge

    UK ISP rule 1 ...

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK ISP rule 1 ...

      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.

      1. mark l 2 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: UK ISP rule 1 ...

        Using a Huawei router! Are you not worried about the Chinese spying on you?

        1. Alumoi
          Trollface

          Re: UK ISP rule 1 ...

          Using a non Chinese brand router! Are you not worried about the XXX spying on you?

          BTW, I hope you realize almost all your communication devices are made in mainland China.

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: UK ISP rule 1 ...

      Upvote for the Pi-Hole, but you should also be using an Authorative Recursive DNS Resolver (like Unbound).

  5. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

    Sky Broadband FAQ

    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.

    1. Wyrdness

      Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

      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.

      1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

        Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

        Thanks. That's nice to know if someone's ever holding a gun to my head.

    2. JimmyPage Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

      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 ......

      1. Tommy G1
        Happy

        Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

        Cursing, it's not big and it's not clever but damn I laughed at 'reason enough....'

      2. Tachisme

        Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

        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...

        1. dom_and_cats

          Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

          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...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

            "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...

      3. Steve Cooper

        Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

        I have zero devices between the Sky router and my Sophos firewall so they can look all they want :)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

      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 :-)

      1. Cleverfiend

        Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

        I remember a support call to the script-readers at Virginmedia. When I activated my new Superhub they told me the names of the devices connecting to it as it started up. That was when I decided to use my own router - all they see now is the traffic!

      2. Blitterbug
        Happy

        Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

        Heh. I keep my Sky box OFF my damned network. Against T&C but fuck em.

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

          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.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sky and third party DNS?

    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!

    1. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Re: Sky and third party DNS?

      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.

    2. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

      Re: Sky and third party DNS?

      Your device uses DHCP to get an address but on your device set the DNS to manual. That's one way.

  7. dmck

    aye the SkyQ also doesn't do loopback.

  8. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    Our ISP doesn't allow changing the DNS, and doesn't allow using your own router.

    So I just installed our own wifi system connected by cable and installed our own - problem solved

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Pint

      What ISP is that?

      Please tell up so that we can take note and avoid them in the future

      Do that any you can have a virtual one of these on me.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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.]

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a PLEX server at home

    Mysteriously other devices on the Sky Hub can't connect to it. Hang it off of a DLINK router running its own NATed subnet and everything on the subnet can see it just fine. I'm really wondering what value Sky are providing here?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: I have a PLEX server at home

      Why to their shareholders of course, you silly.

    2. RobDog

      Re: I have a PLEX server at home

      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.

  10. DaveB

    Use a local DNS and DHCP

    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.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Use a local DNS and DHCP

      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.

  11. The Specialist
    Thumb Up

    Wireshark

    When I was using Sky as my internet provider, I used wireshark to capture the user/pwd info and rolled out my own Draytek 28something modem/router. Now I am with most excellent A&A - no more pesky consumer ISPs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wireshark

      AFAIK Sky dropped MER (MAC encapsulated routing) authentication from all services- you no longer need to spoof the MAC address or use wireshark to authenticate.

      I have verified this with multiple connections but it’s possible that there is still legacy MER out there.

      1. irrelevant

        Re: Wireshark

        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.

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: Wireshark

          UK govt mandated porn blocking probably. Just like they block thepiratebay

  12. adnim Silver badge

    Sky wanted to charge me

    extra for not having Sky TV. I was a forcefully imported Be user.

    Sky TV has nothing I am prepared to pay for considering the amount of advertising they show.

    imho Sky TV should be free. Fsk 'em

  13. YetAnotherJoeBlow

    DNS

    It sounds like they will be poisoning your DNS in the future or injecting content to utilise their new exciting features...

    1. Ben1892

      Re: DNS

      Don't you just love the term; "new, exciting features" - if it bricks the routers, it suggests there's already a difference between using 3rd party DNS and Sky's "special" DNS.

      Sounds like the start of a walled garden consisting only of "carefully chosen partners"

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: DNS

      It sounds like they will be poisoning your DNS in the future or injecting content to utilise their new exciting features...

      Time to get a Raspberry Pi and install Pi-Hole and Unbound (preferably as Docker containers).

  14. iTechnomancer

    Do better research

    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.

  15. Michael Hutchinson

    Even though it's not possible to run it in modem only mode, it is simple to bypass all of Sky's guff on their router anyway. Just add your own router as the Sky router DMZ, resulting in all traffic being passed through and avoiding any double NAT problems.

  16. AdrianMontagu

    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?

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Anyone got any ideas?

      NAT.

  17. TonyJ Silver badge

    Ahhh Sky...

    ...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".

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Ahhh Sky...

      ...the ISP that literally told me I was lying

      Time to warn them you are recording the conversation and will use it to press charges (insult in this case) if necessary.

  18. tin 2

    This reminds me of when...

    ... 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.

    1. Kyuuketsuki_kurai

      Re: This reminds me of when...

      I miss Be. They were actually a good ISP.

      1. Mike Pellatt

        Re: This reminds me of when...

        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.

      2. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: This reminds me of when...

        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.

  19. Andre Carneiro

    “New and exciting features”

    I may be getting old and grumpy but when I read that sort of statement trying to justify why their shitty service fell over, it just makes me want to kick the PR weasel in the face very hard. Repeatedly.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: “New and exciting features”

      Please don't be insulting to weasels.

  20. clocKwize

    "New and exciting feature"

    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.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: "New and exciting feature"

      You speak reason, and I totally agree with your comment.

      However, a part of me now desperately wants a banana milkshake pipe running into my house.

    2. Chris Jasper

      Re: "New and exciting feature"

      New and exciting features we are going to have to pay more for, or find we have a mysteriously reduced service at the same price I wonder?

      Not that I think the speed estimates on the router are at all inaccurate, not at all.............

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "New and exciting feature"

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "New and exciting feature"

        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.

  21. Mike_G

    So glad I don't use there Router, stuck a Cisco 887va in front of an old ASA to provide some extra protection.

    1. davemcwish

      Cisco 887va

      @Mike_G now the American TLAs can spy on you :)

  22. itsme

    Ubiquiti USG

    Just route your ISP modem into a USG. Use that for the DHCP and use Pi-Hole and cloudflare DoH for all DNS queries.

    I discovered you cannot actually switch off the WiFi on a BT Modem!

    1. The_H

      Re: Ubiquiti USG

      You can *always* switch something off. Sometimes though it needs a small pair of wirecutters.

      1. Thoguht Silver badge

        Re: Ubiquiti USG

        Or like the guy who gave the USG a 1 star review on Amazon, a cricket bat.

  23. Jim 15

    Why use a third party DNS?

    What's the advantage of using a third party DNS over the default one?

    1. JimPoak

      Re: Why use a third party DNS?

      Depending how the router was bricked you can give it an static, ip address, default route and two dns address which will all ways resolve the domain address. How ever if it cannot connect ur screwed.

      Thank (In inset deity) for Mobile broadband.

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Why use a third party DNS?

      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.

    3. General Purpose

      Re: Why use a third party DNS?

      One example: earlier this year, many couldn't update Windows as usual because of corrupted DNSs. Switching to an incorrupt third-party DNS allowed normal updating.

    4. Roopee
      Headmaster

      Re: Why use a third party DNS?

      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.

  24. CountCadaver Bronze badge

    Transparent Proxying

    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

    1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

      Re: Transparent Proxying

      Yep transparent proxying. We'll roll it back but it could take a week or more to rollback the firmware....my response to that.....signed up with Zen even cost me less for the same thing...

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Transparent Proxying

      Hmmmm might invest in a TP-Link VDSL router that seemingly can authenticate to Sky''s Option 61 DHCP

      A Raspberry Pi running Pi-Hole and Unbound will cost less and will give you the additional benefit of ad-blocking.

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