Connecting to Sky Broadband from Debian

Posted on 2018-08-06 in sysadmin

Due to price, I've just changed my broadband supplier from Zen to NowTV.
While I love the service Zen have provided me over the years, i'm trying to save for a big project, so i'm cost-cutting across the board.

So I paid for the transfer, got everything sorted on that front, then had a look at how I could get the pppoe credentials for NowTV. Turns out Sky (Who run the NowTV broadband service) don't actually use PPPoE like every other Fibre provider, and have their own authentication system. Bugger.

Reading through the information around the web, you have to send a DHCP Option 61 with the credentials for your connection, and will be sent an IP address in response. Seems easy enough, once you can get the credentials.

Most of the information I could find points towards generating a username / password pair based on the mac address of your router, or extracting the credentials from an existing router. I also noticed some posts from 2016 saying this was no longer necessary, and you could send any credentials as long as they are in the correct format. Hmm. Lets try that.

DHCP Option 61 is a fancy name for the Client ID. This can be set manually in most quality routers. Personally, I have a Debian box that takes care of my home network firewall, so I added the following to /etc/dhcp/dhclient.conf:

send dhcp-client-identifier "hellothere@skydsl|thisshouldbeapassword";

rebooted the box, changed my iptables rules to use eth0 instead of the old ppp0 connection and it just... worked \o/