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Moving to Sky Broadband

My ISP, Bethere (RIP), was bought by Sky last year, and I have finally been migrated to the Sky broadband network.

We were told that we would be provided with a static IP if we had one with Bethere (I did). I was told what would be, but there was no indication of what the DNS, netmask or gateway would be. That should have been a warning, as the IP provided is not really static, but a sticky dynamic IP.

The recommended router settings from Sky are:

  If you’re asked does your router require a login, enter: YES
  Encapsulation: PPPoA (PPP over ATM)
  login/username: REDACTED
  Password: REDACTED
  Idle Timeout: 0
  Internet IP Address: Get Dynamically from ISP
  Domain Name Server (DNS) Address: Get Automatically From ISP
  NAT: Enable
  Multiplexing Method: VC-BASED
  VPI: 0
  VCI: 38

On the appointed switch-over day, when the internet died, I setup the Draytek Vigor 2820 router as described above, and after a fairly long period of syncing, I was back on line. Even better, the IP I'd been told I'd get was actually assigned. However, on testing external access with the new setup, I could not connect to my web sites (80) or mail server (25, 993). Yet, other ports were open and allowed to connect, e.g. 443. According to my searching, Sky did not routinely block ports, so what was going on?

I finally figured out that the ports that didn't work, were those defined in the "Open Ports" setup of the router, while the ones that did, were in the "Port Redirection". The fix was to remove the Open Ports configuration and add them to the Port Redirection table, even though the internal port was the same as the external. Web and mail access were back for external clients.

I have no idea how a using a different ISP could stop the "Open Ports" capability on the router from working.

Email

With Bethere, I had used their mail servers as my route out. Sky did have mail servers, but it seems one has to register each email address you wish to use. I have therefore reconfigured sendmail to use my email provider's servers instead, via the SMART_HOST macro.

DNS

The hydrus DNS server had been reconfigured to use OpenDNS, so my dependency on the ISP is now just the connection and assigned IP.

Impressions

So, upshot - not too impressed with Sky:

I feel I shall be departing Sky shortly,

Later ...

I have now joined Plusnet. Sync speed has improved by 3Mb/s (with a scarily low SNR margin of 3dB) and I'm paying £5.50 per month less (and not to Rupert). I have a proper static IP and the Open Ports feature has started working again (wonder if that is somehow related?)

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