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ISP Sky Broadband UK Reintroduce Support for Third-Party DNS

Thursday, November 14th, 2019 (7:49 am) - Score 9,943

Good news for customers of Sky Broadband, specifically those who previously liked to use their own third-party Domain Name System (DNS) settings before the UK ISP broke that ability when they introduced early support for the Sky Buddy App in April 2019 (here). You’ll soon be able to use third-party DNS servers again!

Firstly, let’s recap. By default most ISPs will automatically connect you to their own Domain Name System (DNS), which simply works to convert Internet Protocol (IP) addresses into a human readable form (e.g. 123.56.78.9 to examplesiteblah.co.uk) and back again. Nevertheless many people still like to use their own custom third-party DNS solution (Google Public DNS, OpenDNS etc.) for better performance, privacy and control.

The ability to change your DNS server – either via software, individual devices or more generally across your network via a router – is somewhat of an expected feature across the market, although some broadband ISPs do prevent the ability to change DNS servers on their bundled routers. One catch to this is that certain ISP-side features, such as internet filtering / parental controls, may break when using a third-party DNS solution.

However Sky Broadband’s move earlier this year to introduce support for their new Sky Buddy App (i.e. lets you manage / filter internet time for each screen in your home from an app on your phone or tablet), which was done through a firmware update on their supplied routers, ended up preventing third-party DNS changes and disrupting internet connectivity for those who had already implemented such changes (here).

NOTE: Sky’s own routers don’t strictly allow you to add a custom DNS but some people had found ways around this by editing router config files or simply setting it via each individual device/software.

At the time Sky said they were “working towards a permanent solution,” although in the end they were only able to offer existing customers the somewhat laborious ability to manually request a “roll-back to the previous firmware which can take up to 7 days.” Some customers found that front-line support staff didn’t fully understand how to handle such requests, yet many did succeed in getting the firmware changed.

Fast forward to the past few weeks and customers trying to make such requests have started to be told by Sky Broadband that this ability has been withdrawn, which we’ve been able to confirm. The good news is that the reason for this is because the ISP are about to introduce (technically reintroduce) support for third-party DNS changes into their range of broadband routers. But there is a catch with IPv6 support (i.e. may need to disable it after update).

A Sky Broadband Support Agent said (here):

“Sky are currently in the process of rolling out new firmware to all Hubs. This will enable you to use a 3rd party DNS.

Please note, you may need to disable IPV6.

If it hasn’t already, your Sky Hub will automatically update overnight – you cannot force a firmware update to a Sky Hub – I’d expect it’ll take a few weeks to update every Sky Hub.”

At present the new firmware is being rolled out to Sky Broadband’s previous generation Sky Q Hub (ER110 and ER115) and new generation Sky Broadband Hub (SR203) routers. The specific firmware versions to look out for are as follows: SR203 – 3.04.1462.R , ER115 – 2.11.2629.R and ER110 – 2.11.2628.R.

Customers can find out whether they’re on this version by logging into the web-based admin control panel on their router (usually on http://192.168.0.1), going to the ‘Maintenance‘ tab and scrolling down to where it says ‘Firmware Version‘. The loss of IPv6 support may annoy, although if you’re one of those using a third-party broadband router on Sky then you might already struggle to get IPv6 working (works fine on Sky’s own routers).

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar Walkerx

    Sky’s Ipv6 implementation is very flaky even on their own routers.
    It may work for 24 hours then its off for 72 hours or to try and force an update which may not speed it up is to power off router for a bit and then let it grab the ip details again.

  2. Avatar SoFaKing Annoyed Sky Customer

    So Sky even now cannot grasp IPv6 implementation in their own routers that will provide DHCP6 but allow the DNS part of that to be changeable by the customer!!

    Odd how every other router brand on the planet can do this, Me thinks they need a better tech departments and just allow customer to use their own hardware so that we can make this all work better and stop pointless calls to inept staff that blatantly are not tech in any way to the point where they don’t even understand the script sheet they have to work from.

    • Avatar Check the Facts

      I think your frustration is misplaced and you are misinformed. DHCPv6 isn’t supported by Android devices so you wouldn’t want to use DHCPv6 for this on a home router anyway. Sky are probably right to not support it, they should give v6 DNS out using SLAAC not DHCPv6.

  3. Avatar Mike

    Does this also apply to VPNs? 😉

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