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Monday 30 March 2009

Router haxxage

I’ve just moved ISP to O2 on account of Nildram’s grandparent company, Tiscali being a bit fubar.

As part of the deal they ship you a free modem which is no surprise these days. What is kind of surprising is that they give you the option of not taking it, whilst also saying that they can’t provide support on your connection if you’re using a third party router. Hailing from the “not thick” section of the population, took the freebie as it would be interesting to see what turned up if nothing else.

The O2 supplied box is a white brick replete with the usual selection of modem blinky lights. The admin pages on the modem are nice, with a few consumer level friendly things like fault diagnosis & various wizards, dynamic DNS & so on. There’s also a very nice set of pages for setting up port forwarding games and other applications, which rather amusingly contains several flavours of bit torrent. Most common games up to a year ago are there, as is Xbox live. There’s no line stats available, so you can’t see your signal to noise ratio etc which is a bit of a shame. A more serious omission is the inability to change DNS servers. I can see why they’ve done this, but it does mean that you can’t start using the very wonderful OpenDNS service.

Not to be deterred a bit of googling turns up that it’s actually a rebadged Thompson TG585, which you helpfully get told when telneting into the box, having found the admin logon. Once you’re in, it’s a snap to change the DNS settings to use OpenDNS and life is good.

Of course, this, being an EED blog will tell you exactly how to reach domain name service nirvana. Naturally I, no one I know or even my (rather handsome) cat will take responsibility if you brick your router. So proceed at your own risk.

Step One – Login

Open a command prompt & type

telnet o2wirelessbox.lan

The user ID is SuperUser and the password is O2Br0ad64nd.

This should greet you with a nice ASCII art graphic, the router information and an all important admin prompt.

______ Thomson TG585 v7
/ /\
_____/__ / \
_/ /\_____/___ \ Copyright (c) 1999-2008, THOMSON
// / \ /\ \
_______//_______/ \ / _\/______
/ / \ \ / / / /\
__/ / \ \ / / / / _\__
/ / / \_______\/ / / / / /\
/_/______/___________________/ /________/ /___/ \
\ \ \ ___________ \ \ \ \ \ /
\_\ \ / /\ \ \ \ \___\/
\ \/ / \ \ \ \ /
\_____/ / \ \ \________\/
/__________/ \ \ /
\ _____ \ /_____\/
\ / /\ \ /___\/
/____/ \ \ /
\ \ /___\/

Step Two – Verify Existing DNS

To find out what the existing DNS settings are type

dns server route list

and hit enter. You’ll get a list something like this:

DNS Server Entries:
DNS Server Source Label Metric Intf State Domain
D 10 O2_ADSL UP *
D 10 O2_ADSL UP *

The IP addresses should match with those you see on the admin pages of the o2 box. The interface (“O2_ADSL”) will change between providers (or also probably between ADSL & ADSL2+). The point is, it may be different for you. Metric is the priority that the DNS entry has where lower number = higher priority. This is important, because if we don’t make our new settings have a higher priority than the ISP’s DNS servers, they’ll just get lost.

Step Three – Change to OpenDNS

At the time of writing, OpenDNS’s servers were and You may want to check this if you’re reading this blog a long time after publication :)

You’ll need to type the route add commands into the telnet session, specifying the IP addresses you want (OpenDNS), a higher priority than 10 (5) and the interface from above (for me, O2_ADSL).

Do this after a flush, that will ensure everything is up to date:

dns server route flush
dns server route add dns= metric=5 intf=O2_ADSL
dns server route add dns= metric=5 intf=O2_ADSL

Step Four – Get The Hell Outta Dodge

OK, before you celebrate, you’ll need to verify that everything’s stuck. List the entries out as you did above & you should see the new IP addresses along with the priority of 5.

Type the following to save & quit:


Optionally, check the router admin page to verify the DNS settings and go to – the page should will tell you “(You’re using OpenDNS!)”

Step Five – Sip Champagne & Nibble Nachos

Well, it is EED :)

[Update: found the CLI manual]


  1. For line stats try "adsl info expand=enabled", alternatively check if DMT - supports your specific router/firmware combo

  2. Nice tip. Very pleased with opendns for helping to keep my home network kiddy safe, it's content filtering is very good indeed.

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