Installing Sky Broadband

My mother’s Sky broadband went live yesterday, so I dropped in on my way home from Hursley to get it set up.

The package they sent her contained a box inside a glossy Sky sleeve. In the box was a rebadged Netgear DG834GT router (with a Sky logo on the front, and the wireless network presets printed on a label on the bottom). Unfortunately, although the friendly manual said to start by putting the CD in the drive… we checked and checked again, and we couldn’t find the CD.

I decided that it couldn’t be too hard to get things running without a CD – I have a DG834G which is essentially the same device, except it doesn’t cover the 108Mbps “Super G” band, and I knew that you only need a web browser to get going. We plugged it in. Before I’d even had a chance to point a web browser at the router, the yellow Windows Update shield ‘!’ appeared in the task bar and announced that it was downloading updates, so I knew that the connection was working. It really was as simple as that.

Next, I wanted to take a look at the router settings… at which point, I realised that I didn’t have the login details. Fortunately a quick Google search turned up a couple of hits with more information (admin/sky, for the impatient; oh, and The router was preconfigured with a wireless SSID and password, in WPA-PSK mode (very sensible and helpful). The only presets that I wasn’t too happy about were that “Respond to ping on Internet WAN Port” and “UPnP On” were enabled, so I switched those off. Other than that, it appears that the firmware has been customised for Sky, so it is probably not a good idea to try to flash it with an updated version. Indeed, apparently it is a very bad idea, since the details for logging in to the Sky broadband service are hard-coded in the firmware.

She’s now up-and-running, and it is far cry (for her) from dial-up. I got her onto Google Talk; installed Skype (although she doesn’t have a microphone yet); updated AVG Antivirus; installed the latest Windows patches; and tidied up various other things. We browsed my Flickr photos, which had previously been a painful experience on a 56k modem. Having the broadband connection and wireless hub also means that I no longer have to try to “borrow” a wireless connection from the neighbours when I visit, and can now use her connection at full speed from a laptop. Superb.

So the only thing missing is the CD. As far as I could tell from the manual, all that is going to give us is some temporarily “free” antivirus software like McAfee or something, and we don’t need that. I might raise a call with Sky to report that they failed to send it through, but it doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

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4 thoughts on “Installing Sky Broadband”

  1. Thats good to know… I’m stillt ryign to decide if I should swap my *very* expensive easynet LLU to easynet (although they said I cant swap as it ‘a different telephone network!?!’ despite both sky and easynet are the same company and use the easynet LLU system.. my sister is also ordering sky BB so the info might be useful for tech support when her’s arrives… whats the general speed line (given its a residential service) ?

  2. Well, the basic package offers up to 8Mb. My mother lives some distance from the exchange, so I think her theoretical maximum is 6Mb. I didn’t check the actual connection speed, and I’ll need to do that the next time I revisit the dashboard of her router.

    Incidentally, a nice thing about this is that for £40 you get a nice router, you plug it in, and then that’s all you pay (apart from the fact that you are already on a Sky satellite package subscription). Cheaper than my setup, in fact, although I don’t have a digital TV subscription so I have to pay an ongoing Pipex subscription.

    I had a good experience (apart from the lack of CD), but as with all things, I’m sure other people may have contrary views, so it is worth reading around for opinions. This was also only day 1, so I’ll keep people updated if we run into issues later.

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