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 192.168.0.1). 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.