Sky Router DG834GT Unlock
I recently purchased a Netgear DG834GT ADSL Router from eBay, knowing that it was restricted with Sky Broadband’s custom firmware.
The reason for me doing this is that the router my ISP provides is absolutely dreadful, when I got it out of the box the firewall was disabled and there was no password to login to the admin web interface. The navigation through the interface when configuring the device is terrible. So you can see why I wanted to change it for something different.
Of the many different vendors’ I have tried in my time, I’m quite a big fan of Netgear products. I’d heard from a friend that the Netgear DG834GT that Sky supplies have custom firmware on them, and that they are locked down to prevent use with another ISP. Still, firmware can be changed cant it?! So I nabbed myself a bargain and purchased a Sky branded DG834GT from eBay for £30. After a quick Google it turns out that Netgear provide a utility for rewriting the firmware to the eeprom in the event of a user bricking their device when upgrading it through the web interface. I was also going to need the original Netgear firmware to flash over the top of the Sky firmware that the router was programmed with already.
Before I go any further in explaining how I flashed my Netgear DG834GT, with Netgear’s own standard firmware, you should take note that the following procedure may ‘brick’ or render your router useless (as happened to a friend of mine!). You flash it at your own risk!
Firstly disable any firewall software you may have installed on the computer you are using such as ZoneAlarm or Norton Personal Firewall.
Grab the following files from here:
Now copy all 3 files onto a Windows XP computer, this is very important because the Netgear recovery utility does not work properly in Windows Vista. It results in a bluescreen when you try to flash the firmware and renders the router useless. If you are using Vista do not try to flash it.
Unzip the recovery utility to a new folder and copy the firmware file that you downloaded for version 1.02.04 (filename dg834gt_1_02_04.img) into the same folder as the files for the recovery utility. (The recovery utility automatically detects the firmware in the same location as the utility and uses this for the flash). So basically we are going to flash the router with version 1.02.04 of the firmware first. I have not tried flashing it with the newer firmware at this stage, all documentation I have read on flashing the router at this point uses version 1.02.04 to flash the device. (I will explain how to upgrade to the latest firmware later on). So you should now have a folder layout like this:
Plug the Ethernet cable from your Windows XP computer into one of the LAN ports on the router. Now plug the transformer for the Netgear router into the wall and turn it on, do not plug the power into your router at this stage. Now grab a pen or paperclip, hold your router with one hand and use the pen or paperclip to hold the reset button in on the back of the router and at the same time plug the power cord into the back of the device. Continue holding the reset button down for 3-4 seconds and then remove the pen or paperclip. Now look at the front of your router, you should see the two lights (the power and the test light) on the left hand side of the router flashing alternately. If they are not flashing alternately repeat the procedure until they are.
Now that the lights are flashing alternately on the front of the router, run the file RmDrv.exe in the Netgear recovery utility folder. Once you have run this utility run UpgradeWizard.exe to start the flashing process. Firstly click next to confirm you wish to upgrade the firmware for your router:
Secondly select the network card that you have in your Windows XP computer that has the Ethernet cable plugged into it. You may see more than one device here including wireless network cards and firewire cards. Click next when you have chosen the correct network card:
Now you will see a list of devices connected to the Windows XP computer through the network card that you chose on the previous screen. Since the router has not fully initialised (because the reset button was held in when the router was turned on) it will not have given your network card an IP address. So in this list you should see only a single MAC address of the Netgear router we want to flash. Click next to continue:
Now you are prompted to upgrade the firmware on the router. You will see a progress bar on the bottom of the screen, when it reaches 100% you know the flash has completed. Upgrade the firmware as advised. When I flashed my router it took about 5 minutes to complete the flashing process. When it was complete I turned the power to my router off, waited 10 seconds and turned it back on again.
When you turn the router back on access the admin web interface by typing the following URL into the browser of your Windows XP computer:
You will be prompted for a username and password. Sky’s default settings are as follows:
Try these to log into the router, if successful you will be presented with the Netgear admin web interface. If the above username and password do not work, turn the router over, and whilst it is still powered on, use the pen or paperclip to push and hold the reset button on the back of the router for 10 seconds. Now wait for the router to initialise (the lights on the front of the router will settle) and try login to the router using the same URL above and the default Netgear username and password:
Now that you are logged into the router upgrade the firmware to the latest version (filename dg834gt_1_02_13.img) by browsing through the menu:
Maintenance -> Router Upgrade
Click the browse button within the admin web interface and find the latest firmware - dg834gt_1_02_13.img. Now click upload to upload the newest firmware on your Netgear DG834GT router. Once this completes you may have to log into the router again using the same username and password as you did previously. Check that your router is running the latest firmware by browsing through the menu:
Maintenance -> Router Status
The firmware version should be the same as the version you just uploaded to the device. Your Netgear DG834GT is now running the latest version of Netgear’s own firmware and the device will work with any ISP, including Sky.
One last note, If you had to login to the router using:
You will probably want to reset your router back to its factory default settings by using a pen or paperclip to push and hold the reset button on the back of the router for about 10 seconds whilst the device is powered on.