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I'm quite new to puTTY and SSH. I am having difficulties connecting to my router using SSH. I am able to connect just fine with Telnet however. Is there any prerequisites needed for SSH? For instance, do I need to install something on my router to let it connect?

Any feedback will be kindly appreciated.

Model in question: Zyxel p660ru firmware 3.40

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What model is it? Is it running a custom Firmware? – Canadian Luke Dec 23 '13 at 23:04
@CanadianLuke Zyxel p660ru firmware 3.40. – C_B Dec 23 '13 at 23:06
I tend to SSH into one of my home Linux VM boxes then SSH from there. It's just my extra layer of paranoid security, and, well, I change routers enough and SSH is never supported. – David Betz Feb 10 at 16:38
up vote 4 down vote accepted

According to the Release Manual for that router, it's not built in out of the box.

Does this mean for definite that it doesn't support it? Not necessarily. They may release updates for it. Looking at some of the commands they ask you to type in with telnet, it seems like it may be running Linux. Can you do an ls or a pwd to get paths or files? Maybe the router supports Tomato or DD-WRT, and those two would give you SSH access.

To get SSH access though, your router needs to support it, which is usually just an additional service. If you are concerned about having a secure connection from the outside world into it, I'd recommend having a small Linux box (for example, on a Raspberry Pi) running the SSHd daemon, then telnet from that to the router. If you are looking for an encrypted connection from your workstation inside the network to the router, I'd look at figuring out why there are peering eyes on your network.

I realize this may not answer the question, but hopefully it gives you some info, and other ideas of where to look or what to do.

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Very helpful, thanks a lot! I have worked with some linux servers in the past so I understand the commands but when I connect to it using telnet it doesn't really show me a command-line. It simply shows me options with numbers beside them and I have to enter a number to go to that option. No freedom. – C_B Dec 23 '13 at 23:20
Reading through the manual, it looks like it's their own proprietary operating system – Canadian Luke Dec 23 '13 at 23:21
Just my luck. I'll figure something out, thanks again. – C_B Dec 23 '13 at 23:23

Your router must be running an ssh server. This is required for you to connect via SSH. Other than that it should be pretty straight forward. Put in your routers IP address in PuTTY and click "Connect".

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I see, that makes sense. And can you install a SSH server on any router or is there compatibility issues? – C_B Dec 23 '13 at 22:58
@CiaranBaselmans, Your router's firmware must have a SSH server. – heavyd Dec 23 '13 at 23:06
Or you need to install alternative firmware such as openWRT or DD-wrt - if they are installable on your particular router. However for Zyxel you really should downlad the manual and look for how to enable ssh server on the router, most likely they have that option. See also – r0berts Dec 23 '13 at 23:17

Your router needs to support SSH, and it needs to be enabled (usually disabled by default). Look in your router documentation to see if it's supported and how to enable if so.

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