I shifted houses recently and rather than shift my Internet connection (as that has a 4 days downtime) I decided to apply for a new connection at the new premises (had an offer going on wherein the installation charge is zero) and then disconnect the existing connection once I have shifted. A downside of this – which I later realized – is that Etisalat seems to have stopped giving customers the Internet password.
Turns out Etisalat (like many other ISPs) now autoconfigure their routers. You simply plug it into the network and it contacts Etisalat’s servers and configures itself. This is using a protocol called TR-069, which I don’t know much of, but it seems to have some security risks. I have an Asus RT-AC68U router anyways which I have setup the way I want, so I wanted to move over from the Etisalat D-Link router to this one. When I spoke to the chap who installed my new Internet connection he said Etisalat does not allow users to install their own routers apparently. Found many Reddit posts too where people have complained of having to contact Etisalat and not been given this password and also about having to set a VLAN etc (e.g. this post). Seemed to be a lot of trouble.
Anyhow, I decided to try my luck. First I contacted them via email (care -at- etisalat.ae) asking to reset my password. A helpful agent called me up after a while and reset the password for it. It didn’t even affect my Internet connection coz the auto-configuring ensured that the Etisalat router picked up the new info. So far so good. I tried using these details with the Asus router to see if it will work straightaway, but it didn’t. So I sent them another email asking for the VLAN details. Next day another chap called me up and gave the VLAN details. He also mentioned that I’ll have to leave PnP on in my Asus router, or else he can raise a ticket to disable it. I said I’d like to have it disabled. About 4 hours later someone else called me up and said they are going to disable it now and would I like any assistance etc. I said nope, I’ll take care of it on my own.
Once they disabled PnP the Etisalat router stopped working. So I swapped it with the Asus one, and set the VLAN to what they agent gave me (it’s under LAN > IPTV Settings confusingly). I also changed the MAC of the Asus router to that of the Etisalat one – though I am not sure if that was really needed (I just did it beforehand, before unplugging the Etisalat router). This didn’t get things working though. Which stumped me for a while, until on a whim I decided to remove the VLAN stuff and just try with the username password like I had done yesterday. And yay that worked! So it wasn’t too much of a hassle after all. The phone and TV (eLife) still seem to be working so looks like I didn’t break anything either.
So, to summarize. If you want to use your own router with Etisalat (new connections) send them an email asking for the password to be reset and also make changes such as disabling Plug & Play so you can use your own router. Ask for the VLAN too just in case. Once you get these details connect the new router and put in the username password. If that doesn’t work put in the VLAN info too. That’s all! I was pleased with the quick turnaround and support, and it didn’t turn out to be a hassle at all like I was expecting. Nice one! :)