How to connect a ASUS DSL-N66U router to TalkTalk FTTC
I recently took up a deal for fibre broadband from UK internet provider TalkTalk who were offering an 18 month deal for only £19.99 per month.
When you sign up as a new customer with TalkTalk they provide you with a ‘Wifi hub’ which is an integrated VDSL modem and router. Their ‘WiFi hub’ is actually a Sagemcom Fast 5364, which I did test briefly and it gave a decent WiFi signal and had no issues with connecting to the VDSL Fibre.
Although the Sagemcom provided by Talktalk is better than some of the ISP provided router/modems, it is limited on features compared to using your own. In particular the TalkTalk provided router does not have any USB ports for connecting printers, USB pen drives etc. It also doesn’t support VPN clients and servers which mean it had less features than the previous router I used on ASDL which was an ASUS DSL-N66U.
The ASUS DSL-N66U is now a few years old but still has a lot of features missing from TalkTalk free router and therefore I decided I would prefer to not use the Sagemcom router and use the ASUS instead.
The ASUS DSL-N66U is a dual ASDL/VDSL router so it should be compatible with Talktalks fibre broadband, as TalkTalk use FTTC (fibre to the cabinet). So I plugged it into the phone line and went through the setup wizard and chose TalkTalk as the internet provider with automatic IP assignment (DHCP).
Unfortunately with these setting the ASUS DSL-N66U would not connect to the TalkTalk network. The DSL line would say ‘initialising’ then go down then start initialising again and went around in circles doing this for ages without ever connecting.
I then decided to do a factory reset and try it with the other option for TalkTalk from the setup wizard which required you to enter a username/password. According to posts on the Talktalk forums your username is your telephone number followed by @talktalk.net eg [email protected] and the password is blank. The ASUS would not allow me to use a blank password so i tried just a generic password of 12345. But with these new settings I still had the issue with the DSL initialising then going down and initialising again in a loop.
I had spent several hours at this point trying to get it working without any success and was beginning to think that the ASUS DSL-N66U was just not compatible with Talktalk fibre. But I had seen posts from other people saying that had got other models of ASUS VDSL modems working on Talktalk. One particular posting on a support forum was from someone who was having the same issue with a different ASUS model. That person said it was resolved after updating their ASUS routers firmware.
I had already checked on ASUS website for an updated firmware for the DSL-N66U and nothing was showing, and doing a check from within the admin interface on the router reported it was running the latest version, which was 126.96.36.199. I decided to Google and see if I could find any newer version and found a website with links to beta versions of new firmwares for the DSL-N66U.
Although these were beta firmware I decided it was worth trying them so I downloaded the latest firmware v188.8.131.52_676-g33e7375 from that website. I then flashed it to the router using the firmware upgrade option from the admin web interface. I took advise from a post on the support forums to do a reset on the router putting it back to factory settings after updating the firmware had finished.
Once the router had been reset to factory settings I skipped the setup wizard and went straight to the main admin interface and i noticed was that the DSL line had connected. Something it had never successfully done on the old firmware versions. But at this point I still didn’t have any internet connection as I needed to put in the specific settings for Talktalk fibre.
It was only the WAN setting for the Talktalk network needed to be setup, I ensured it was on VDSL, Automatic IP and that 802.1Q was enabled and that the VLAN ID was set as 101.
I did not alter any other settings either on the WAN configuration page or on the DSL setting. After applying the setting the router connected to Talktalk in a few seconds and has been stable since, even after rebooting the DSL-N66U it connected ok after it came back online.
I have made screenshots of the setting for both the WAN and DSL setting pages from my ASUS DSL-N66U router for anyone else having problems, so they can set it up the same as I have it and hopefully avoid the problems getting it working I did.