Getting rid of those pesky MTNL Ads

In the NDTV app on Android
In the NDTV app on Android

That’s the article view that greeted me when I tried to read one of the news articles on the Android NDTV app. MTNL has been doing this for the last few weeks in Mumbai, and I’d noticed it earlier while browsing sites on my iPad, laptop and phones as well. I finally gave up and decided to block the IP serving these ads – 203.94.227.140 – at the router level itself so that I wouldn’t be bothered on any device.

In fact this doesn’t seem to be the first time MTNL has done this given Yogesh’s similar post from over a year ago which also contains instructions to block the ads in greater detail (maybe first time in Mumbai though). If you want detailed instructions, check out his post, and use the IP- 203.94.227.140, as his IP seems to be for MTNL Delhi. It is also possible that they start using other servers, so if you come across any MTNL ad, right click and check out the source server IP, and then add it to your router blocklist. In my case, I found the IP this way, and then enabled the firewall on my TP Link router and added a rule to block this IP (use add WAN host to add the IP).

TP Link router firewall
TP Link router firewall

If you check out the user posts on the MTNL Mumbai facebook page, you’ll find similar complains from other customers as well. Airtel drew its share of flak sometime ago for similar behaviour, but the MTNL shenanigans have gone almost unnoticed with hardly any mainstream coverage.

This is a very poor way to treat customers and it really gets in the way on mobile devices. Of course, this kind of injection only works on non secure sites only, so HTTPS sites like Google, facebook etc should be problem free. Here’s to hoping that MTNL stops being user hostile.

Modem settings for MTNL broadband

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited

I finally got an MTNL broadband connection at home (Mumbai). Since I decided to get my own TP-LINK modem+wi-fi router (a good value for money model that I plan to review after a couple of months of use), I had to do the modem settings on my own. The settings for some models are available on the MTNL site, but it was missing for my particular model. The modem’s default PPPoE dialer settings did not seem to work, so I decided to check out one of the MTNL documents, and here’s the configuration that I found:

Username: <phonenumber> OR <phonenumber>@a E.g. 12345678 OR 12345678@a

Password: <CA number> (you can find this from your bill, or by calling 1500 from the landline) E.g. 4567890123

VPI: 0

VCI: 32

(The VPI & VCI settings chosen by my modem were different due to which it failed to connect & I had to change them manually to the above settings)

Connection Type: PPPoE LLC

MTU: 1400 bytes (another setting that had a different default on my modem)

MRU: 1492 bytes

Default route: Enabled

NAT: Enabled

Firewall: Disabled

You can also set the DNS servers manually to point to OpenDNS (208.67.222.222/208.67.220.220) or Google’s DNS servers (8.8.8.8/8.8.4.4) which should prevent ISP level DNS blocking of sites, and most likely provide better lookup speeds.

Below is the D-Link modem settings from the MTNL document from where I have picked the settings.

MTNL modem settings

As for the wi-fi settings, you can stick to the defaults – just don’t forget to secure your network using a passkey to keep away free riders.