Whatever your reasons are for wanting to replace your Sky fibre router (and there are a few) the common denominator is that Sky don’t make it easy. These instructions will allow you to connect to your Sky fibre connection using your own router. The model I’m demonstrating is the Asus RT-N66U.
The legal bit
- You can read Sky Fibre Broadband’s T&Cs here.
- Your old Sky fibre router is your property, but the software on it belongs to Sky. You’re not allowed to flash the firmware, and selling it could be dubious. Best hang on to it for as long as you’re a customer.
- If you need to speak to Sky customer services the easiest thing to do would be plug your Sky router back in and pretend to be just like the rest of their customers. They’ll only support the hardware they’ve supplied.
I’m keen! But how?
- Obtain your Sky username and password by doing a little sniffing around your router.
- Unplug your Sky router and hide it in the back of a dark cupboard.
- Get a new router and flash the firmware on it to a Sky-compatible version.
- Put your Sky username into the new router and connect.
Getting your Sky username and password
As you’re no doubt aware, you’re not told what the Sky username and password you use to connect to their network is. But it is tucked away in the innards of your Sky router, and the router does broadcast them when it connects, so if we watch the output from the router we can deduce what they are. I’m assuming you have the standard white Sky fibre router, which looks like this:
Essentially you need to install software called Wireshark and use it to snoop in on the packets the Sky fibre router broadcasts when it starts up. Full instructions for that are available here:
Set up your new router
I can personally recommend the Asus RT-N66U. It’s not cheap, but it does pack a lot of cool features. You can get refurbed ones for about £70-80 if you keep a lookout. I got mine because I wanted to do things like use OpenDNS to filter content on my network (I’ve got kids and want finer-grained control than the blunt tool of the ISP filters) and run a VPN so I can access my network when out and about. It’s also fast (gigabit ethernet and 5GHz wifi-n) and stable.
To set it up for Sky you’ll need to install a slightly modified firmware. Merlin’s custom firmware for the Asus RT-N66U router is a minimally modified version of the standard firmware. All the changes Merlin has made are open source, if you’re paranoid you can read the source code. Instructions are on Merlin’s site; it’s really not hard and there’s apparently no risk of bricking your router.
Once you’ve got the new firmware installed go to the router’s admin page (which will be at something like 192.168.0.1 in your browser) go to the “WAN” section and enter your Sky username and password into the Special Requirement from ISP > Manual client ID (for some ISPs). Here’s mine:
Note the single quotes, IIRC they are required, and don’t forget the | between @skydsl and the password. You may need to reboot the router and/or give it a bit before it connects, but it will. Enjoy your new router on Sky fibre!