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    Sky's MER and why it does not work with other routers

    This is a discussion on Sky's MER and why it does not work with other routers within the Technical discussion forums, part of the Broadband Technical Help category; Hey Guys, New to the forum and new to sky, got my F@ST2504n yesterday. it would appear my router wants ...

    1. #11
      yale32's Avatar
      yale32 is offline Sky User Member
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      Re: Sky's MER and why it does not work with other routers

      Hey Guys,

      New to the forum and new to sky, got my F@ST2504n yesterday.

      it would appear my router wants to authenticate using MER rather than PPPoA

      what i understand so far is MER does not require a user and pass, but is bassed on the mac of the wan interface.

      can any one confirm this ??

      I plan to us a cisco router and configure my atm int with the mac of my F@ST2504n

      has any tried anything like this ?
      or has any got MER working on a none sky router ??

      Regards
      Yale


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    3. #12
      Scubbie's Avatar
      Scubbie is offline Sky User Moderator
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      Re: Sky's MER and why it does not work with other routers

      Quote Originally Posted by yale32 View Post
      ...it would appear my router wants to authenticate using MER rather than PPPoA

      what i understand so far is MER does not require a user and pass, but is bassed on the mac of the wan interface.

      can any one confirm this ??
      Sky's implementation of MER is not standard. It appears that you do need the log in details but this isn't possible with standard firmwares.

      Quote Originally Posted by yale32 View Post
      I plan to us a cisco router and configure my atm int with the mac of my F@ST2504n

      has any tried anything like this ?
      or has any got MER working on a none sky router ??
      Some members have got MER to work on a temporary basis with non-Sky routers, but it doesn't last and you would be better off configuring your router for PPPoA until the manufacturers release suitable firmware upgrades.

      Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro: Connected at 80,000 kbps / 20,000 kbps
      Previous ADSL2+ Speed 19999 kbps 1153 kbps, Line Attenuation 17.5 db 6.9 db, Noise Margin 7.5 dB 8.7 dB
      Speedtest: 17.15MB/s 0.97Mb/s Ping 31 ms

    4. #13
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      Re: Sky's MER and why it does not work with other routers

      Quote Originally Posted by Scubbie View Post
      Sky's implementation of MER is not standard. It appears that you do need the log in details but this isn't possible with standard firmwares.



      Some members have got MER to work on a temporary basis with non-Sky routers, but it doesn't last and you would be better off configuring your router for PPPoA until the manufacturers release suitable firmware upgrades.
      If you have an advanced enough router it might be possible, but you'd need to know what the sky system is expecting

      It looks to some very specific information being passed as one of the DHCP options

    5. #14
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      Re: Sky's MER and why it does not work with other routers

      Quote Originally Posted by dragon2611 View Post
      If you have an advanced enough router it might be possible, but you'd need to know what the sky system is expecting
      Looks like router manufacturers need to start modifying their firmware to support Sky's MER implementation. Holding one's breath for this could be hazardous.

    6. #15
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      Re: Sky's MER and why it does not work with other routers

      As Lucose has stated, a firmware update will be required for 1 ISP across the whole globe...

      ...hmmm...somehow I can't see many wanting to do this.

      From reading some other posts, it appears that the Sky routers are sending the router's log in details when connecting via MER. This is not a standard requirement and is not normally available when connecting via PoA or PoE from my understanding.

      Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro: Connected at 80,000 kbps / 20,000 kbps
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      Speedtest: 17.15MB/s 0.97Mb/s Ping 31 ms

    7. #16
      mrmt32's Avatar
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      Re: Sky's MER and why it does not work with other routers

      Its possible that there is some router available that allows you to set the DHCP options, probably the more expensive ones. If not then it would probably be possible to add it in to a router by modifying their firmware (it would just require compiling a dhcp client with support for the options, which I would have though would be easy to find).

      Finding the exact format of the string sent is just a matter of looking at the process list on one of the sky routers, I have managed to roughly see what it consists of by reading the disassembily of the CFM application (this application runs dhcpc and passes the command line parameters) but working it out completely that way would be a a fair amount harder than just looking at the command line. The trouble is this is currently only possible on the sagem 2504 (and probably the DG834GT now it has MER support) as these are the only ones which have telnet access (I can't do it as I am not on MER, and the dhcpc application only get's run with those parameters after a MER connection is established).

      Also the source code for sky's dhcpc is available as part of the D-Link GPL package (http://www1.sky.com/opensourcesoftware/router/). The -d switch just seems to set the Vendor Class Identifier DHCP option (option 60). Looking at the CFM dissasseblily, the -c switch is also used (Sets option 61, the Client Identifier). DHCP options are standard parts of the DHCP protocol, and most dhcp clients will support them in some way, the trouble is finding a router with access to their configuration.

      Edit: It seems to be possible with OpenWRT (https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=30411), so routers which can run it should be able to be configured to work.
      Last edited by mrmt32; 16-01-12 at 06:54 PM.

    8. #17
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      Re: Sky's MER and why it does not work with other routers

      Quote Originally Posted by mrmt32 View Post
      Its possible that there is some router available that allows you to set the DHCP options, probably the more expensive ones. If not then it would probably be possible to add it in to a router by modifying their firmware (it would just require compiling a dhcp client with support for the options, which I would have though would be easy to find).

      Finding the exact format of the string sent is just a matter of looking at the process list on one of the sky routers, I have managed to roughly see what it consists of by reading the disassembily of the CFM application (this application runs dhcpc and passes the command line parameters) but working it out completely that way would be a a fair amount harder than just looking at the command line. The trouble is this is currently only possible on the sagem 2504 (and probably the DG834GT now it has MER support) as these are the only ones which have telnet access (I can't do it as I am not on MER, and the dhcpc application only get's run with those parameters after a MER connection is established).

      Also the source code for sky's dhcpc is available as part of the D-Link GPL package (opensourcesoftware). The -d switch just seems to set the Vendor Class Identifier DHCP option (option 60). Looking at the CFM dissasseblily, the -c switch is also used (Sets option 61, the Client Identifier). DHCP options are standard parts of the DHCP protocol, and most dhcp clients will support them in some way, the trouble is finding a router with access to their configuration.

      Edit: It seems to be possible with OpenWRT (https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=30411), so routers which can run it should be able to be configured to work.
      My RB751 supports spoofing the hostname and the client info but I'm not sure if that's enough.

      But since I have the 2504n I don't think I can get access to it, and sadly I don't know anyone with an IP dslam that would let me hook up the sky router and take a packet capture

      [admin@MikroTik] > ip dhcp-client set
      Change properties of one or several items.

      <numbers> -- List of item numbers
      add-default-route -- Defines whether to add the default route to the gateway speci
      fied by DHCP server
      client-id -- Client identifier (optional)
      comment -- Short description of the item
      default-route-distance --
      disabled -- Defines whether item is ignored or used
      host-name -- Client host name (optional)
      interface -- Interface name
      use-peer-dns -- Whether to accept the DNS settings advertized by DHCP server
      use-peer-ntp -- Whether to accept the NTP settings advertized by DHCP server
      Edit:

      Just remembered I do actually have an Ex sky DG834GT somewhere, I stopped using it as it tended to become unstable (Think it has a failing capacitor) Might try flashing it with CU3 (Has DGteam on atm) and see if I can get the DHCP parameters it passes to the network. Think I'll wait untill I'm out of the DLM training period first rather than risk keep switching modems.
      Last edited by dragon2611; 16-01-12 at 08:51 PM.

    9. #18
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      mrmt32 is offline Sky User Member
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      Re: Sky's MER and why it does not work with other routers

      If you do get a chance to try the DG834GT (I would definitely wait till after DLM though!), make sure you use the latest sky firmware as this is the only one which supports MER (I doubt the CU firmware will work as it is based on an old sky fw version), it should then just be a matter of running sky router tool and looking at the process list for dhcpc, clicking it will give its command line and hopefully all the details sent in the DHCP options.

    10. #19
      mrmt32's Avatar
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      Re: Sky's MER and why it does not work with other routers

      Thanks to a PM from user j0n90, I now have the full command line. The format seems to be:

      DHCP Vendor ID (option 60, -d switch):
      firmwareversion|2ndHardwareSerial|skysg2|1stHardwa reSerial

      e.g. 2.8Sky|123456789A|skysg2|LK012345678

      DHCP Client ID (option 61, -c switch):
      PPPUsername|PPPPassword

      e.g. 1a2b3c4d5e6f@skydsl|zzc7Zovbt5Fpa7B

      Setting these to the correct values on a 3rd party router should allow you to get an IP with MER. The hard part now is finding routers which support setting them (probably the best bet is using one of the many OpenWRT compatible routers as this seems to support it). The hardware serials are obtained using the "fast" command (I think its something like fast factory-info read if I remember correctly) in telnet, there may be an easier way to find them however (maybe written on the bottom of the router?). It is possible that typing in the wrong values would still allow connection however, it depends on whether sky have bothered to make a database of every router serial number they have released.
      Last edited by mrmt32; 18-01-12 at 05:08 PM.

    11. #20
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      Re: Sky's MER and why it does not work with other routers

      Hi

      That is very interesting and thanks for posting it. I've raised a similar question on the Draytek forum, and I have now just added a link to the posts here. I've just tried to telnet into my old Sagem, but it looks like that one doesn't permit telnet connections. As you say, it might be that the vendor info isn't even logged, so if we could crack the client info, there might be a future (maybe it can be done via the CLI in my Draytek 2820Vn, so I'll have a hunt to see what I can find).

      I'm not sure what to do if PPPoA access is ever withdrawn. My old Sagem (the Sky supplied one) is pretty limited and thus not really capable of doing what I need. Examples of some pretty basic issues are that you can only bind 15 MAC/IP addresses and that you can't enter non alphanumeric characters in the WPA2 PSK. I'm now using an external WAP with the Draytek (so Sky PSK non-compliance is not an issue) but I am about to change my 2820 for a 2830 such that I can use tagged VLAN's with my Cisco WAP's. I have tried using the original Sky one as a 'broadband modem' by connecting it to my Draytek's WAN port, but even with some fancy port work in the Sagem, it still causes some issues with incoming VoIP call reliability, so it's not really how I want to do things (and I don't really want yet another device wasting even more power in my comms cupboard). If we are forced down this MER route, I guess I'll have to consider moving to another ISP as I really need my Draytek functionality (so that would mean Sky loosing my TV, Phone and ISP revenues) which would certainly not my preferred plan, but it's one I might have to consider if we ever loose the PPPoA option.

      Oh well, I feel better after that min-rant.

      Thanks again!
      Bri
      Last edited by Briain; 18-01-12 at 05:23 PM.

     

     
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