26 Mar 2013

Sky Broadband and Third Party Routers

Had any problem connecting a third party modem/router to Sky? Well, have a read of this... I'm still a darker shade of purple as I type... Or if you've had a gutsful of other people bellyaching, skip to the solution section, I won't hold it against you. :)


On Wednesday evening, my Sky Broadband modem/router broke. Dead. I had a backlog of school work to get through - marking work posted to our Moodle site, etc, so it was imperative that I got back online as soon as possible. I went down to my local 24-hour Tesco superstore and bought a shiny new TP-LINK TD-8961ND Wireless Modem Router for about £35. Okay, so a little pricey, but at short notice, not too bad.

Anyway, got it home, inserted the setup CD and tried to connect. All systems go except for the bit where it asked for connection details (username and password). I tried everything. Nada. Okay, just phone Sky for the details and I could be on my way.

I spoke to a lovely operator, who told me that they didn't have any training with regard to third party modem routers. I assured her that I didn't need support with the modem, just my Sky username and password. No... no idea of what I was talking about - and I was assured that nobody in the office had any idea either. I was told that a new Sky modem router could be sent out in 3 working days. That made it Saturday or Monday, depending on your definition of working day. Oh, one more thing, I would be charged £35. No, says I, I don't want to fork out another £35 as I have a perfectly good model fresh out of the box. She said that I could get a free modem router if I swapped over the landline (from BT) to Sky. There was no real difference in price, so I thought what the hell. I enquired whether they had a preferential delivery service - but no, no they didn't. What did I expect?

Saturday came and went - nothing. OK, Monday then. I thought I'd give Sky a ring to confirm that the item would be delivered today - after all every company has order tracking now right?

I was answered by a polite young lady, whose non-native accent was so strong that I had great difficulty in understanding her. Nevertheless I understood her well enough to ascertain that my request hadn't been logged until Saturday. That's strange I countered as confirmation of my change of landline rental had arrived this very morning. How come? After a lot of umming and ahhing, I was told that her supervisor would get back to me within the hour. Okay now we're getting somewhere.

I held off going out as the super was going to phone my landline. One hour became two, became three... Okay, this was getting ridiculous. Then a phone call... from BT asking me to confirm that I wanted to switch my landline from them. Then came the hard sell. I fobbed them off, as I didn't want to be on the phone while Sky were trying to contact me. Finally, I telephoned Sky again.

This time, I was greeted by a delightful young man, who was extremely helpful and very apologetic. He offered to contact the Royal Mail to track down my order. After 5 minutes of listening to some banal music, he came back with some bad news. The Royal Mail, he claimed, couldn't track the location of my item, but could confirm that it had been dispatched. Fat lot of help. With regard to the third party modem router, he offered to put me on hold again while he discussed with his supervisor. Another five minutes later - this time without the soul-destroying musical interlude - he came back with more bad news. He'd asked 3 different supervisors and none of them could help. I asked him why, out of all the ISPs out there, how is it that they could not supply me with my connection details. I was given, what I assume to be the party line. "Security and my protection". Nothing to do with control and making even more money then? Perhaps that's a bit harsh, but how do other ISPs allow third party modem routers? Are they fundamentally unsafe and deserving of a blast of hellfire up their derrières? Anyway...

I then hit on the idea of cancelling the whole comms package with Sky and signing up with BT. So I gave them a ring - thinking I could use my new hardware to connect today. How naïve. I was told that I needed a migration code from Sky and that it would take five working days to connect me from receipt of said migration code. Darn, square one. I fell back on my son's wireless hotspot app on his smartphone. Two hours of searching on various forums led me in circles and I was about to give up when I hit upon a thread which answered all my needs. I have implemented the advice and now have access to Sky Broadband via my TP-LINK modem router. However, I may be in breach of my Sky contract. If I get blocked, I'll simply cancel my subscriptions and go with somebody I can trust. I may do so anyway, I'm that fed up with them. What follows is the route to my success. Please be aware that I take no responsibility for anybody who repeats these steps. Read all the caveats in the various links and come to your own decision. This is simply "my story".


I came across this thread: http://www.skyuser.co.uk/forum/extracting-sky-router-passwords/47888-username-pw-dead-sky-router.html#post364848 which then led me to this one: http://www.skyuser.co.uk/forum/extracting-sky-router-passwords/19953-getting-your-v1-v2-router-passwords-safe-way.html#post126268. That one finally led here: https://www.cm9.net/skypass/

I just needed to know the model of my dead Sky modem router (DG834GT) - there's a description of all the models, so getting it right is a no-brainer. I just entered the MAC address on the bottom of the Sky modem router to a form and hey presto, my username and password were writ large on the screen:

I then stored this data to a text file and sparked up the old TP-LINK CD again, connecting the modem router cable to the laptop. The settings required (or worked) for my setup were:

  • Country: UK
  • ISP: Sky Broadband
  • WAN Connection Type: PPPoA
  • VPI [0-255]: 0
  • VCI [32-65535]: 38

Your Security Settings are up to you, but ensure that you store the Security Key as you may need to use it to access the wireless connection.


  1. Sounds like you received a rough ride from Sky customer services! Glad to hear you managed to solve your issue though!

  2. If you're a Sky CS man, then yes, no thanks to Sky unfortunately. Everybody there was very polite and really wanted to help, but ultimately, were as useful as chocolate teapots. That's harsh I know, but it still rankles many months later. As it happens, I've stuck with Sky and am now using their official modem router - for now :)

  3. That's rough. I don't understand either why no one has any clue how to fix your problem, not even the supervisors. That just seems impossible. Also, your connection details should be given to you as it is, well, yours. Although now that it's fixed, maybe you should write it down and post it somewhere, so that you wouldn't have to go through all that again.

    Jannette Britt @ TLinkBroadBand.com

  4. Hi Jannette - yes it's working now. The T-Link was a nice modem router though.:)

  5. It proved to be very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It's always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!

  6. Heh, hope you got it fixed M.A.S :)

  7. I've done all this and used wireshark to get my username and password and put it into my tp-link router and it comes up synced but I cannot get an internet connection. I hate SKY!

    1. i have same problem with you.
      now still cannot get my inet connection :-(

  8. Hi Paul. Unfortunately Sky will be of no help here as they flatly refuse to support 3rd party routers. OK, that's fair enough, but they seem to go out of their way to prevent you from setting up the 3rd party router in the first place. I have a love-hate relationship with Sky (20:80 Love:Hate). Perhaps threatening to cancel your sky broadband may convince them to send you a router for free.

  9. Humm - the issue here is SKY policy and the hardware they send (and enforce) you to use.
    The Sky router MAC address is used as part of their authentication (MER) - so despite having the id/password and setting your new kit up correctly - you will get connected but wont get the same speed, they cripple the speed if the router MAC address is not matching with your original sky kit.
    e.g. I put a new t-link router on and went from 20M+ down to 1M in a blink.
    If I switch off wireless (in the SR101) and use a dedicated wireless router plugged into it I get back my 20M connection (as their network recognizes their MAC and valid id/password.)

    SKY we just want ;
    Better SR101 routers - i.e. with Dual Band, with Gigabit interface and replace the internal Antennas to external ones, plus shield the PSU board inside.

  10. This is useful as it explains why my old O2 broadband service (now Sky managed) shot down from 8MB beginning of December to 0.3MB in a matter of weeks leading up to Christmas. Its because they have applied the restriction policy to the MAC addresses of the old O2 routers treating them as unsupported 3rd party devices.

    So the guarantee that nothing will change for o2 customers was as bogus as the day is long.. I suppose I should have expected this from Sky as they could have simply sent out new routers to all O2 customers before they applied the policy instead of leaving us to suffer right before Christmas with no modem to replace it with.

    I am switching to Virgin fiber in a few weeks as a result of the slow speeds which I thought was just my B.T. exchange so whilst it turns out the the reduction in my speeds down to 0.3mb was intentional and has ruined my Christmas and new years online gaming they lose as I going to the competition.

  11. Been a while. No longer with Sky. Ridiculous service. So, can't comment further on it.

  12. Sky do not reduce your speed for using a third party router, that's nonsense and a visit to the Skyuser forum will confirm this. Skyuser is an independent site not affiliated to Sky in any way, there you will find out how to obtain your log in details. If your speed is reduced, its because you are not set up properly or the router is not compatible with the Sky Network.

  13. The info I got with regard to the info I posted wrt to breach of contract was from the skyuser forum. The fact that you say there is contradictory info there is no surprise. It is NOT after all an official sky forum, so nothing there can be taken as factual. Providing this info could possibly be useful if you included a link to the relevant thread. However, this blog post of mine is almost 3 years old - I don't think anybody in their right mind should be taking info posted here as being relevant today. I am only responding out of courtesy. Thanks again.

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