Restarting provisioning on FritzBox modem-router

Today1 was the day my Internet connection's upgrade should land, but I spent the day looking at the walled garden of my Internet Service Provider (ISP), instead.

The CWMP auto-configuration & provisioning for some reason didn't work, so I was trapped in the Internet-like environment my ISP set up for contacting the CWMP provisioning server and/or accessing some of the ISP-hosted services. The problem was, I didn't know it, and initially believed it to be some testing environment where my line had been put to measure its stability after the bandwidth upgrade. After several hours of staring and waiting, calling the ISP's hotline seemed a saner solution than to still try and wait. The person there took me through assessing the situation and put me on my way to restart the modem-router's auto-provisioning process; so that's what this blog post is about.


In modern practice, telling an AVM FritzBox DSL modem-router what ISP one is using should be enough to get it going; no typing in secret usernames and passwords anymore (for the Internet line, the telephone line, ...), it'll just pull all the necessary(? :V) settings from a CWMP/TR-069 "ACS" ("auto configuration server"). A friend even told me he didn't even need to tell the device what ISP he was using, but that may be because they may be pre-provisioning/pre-configuring it, as it's specially branded for that ISP anyway.

The process of pulling the configuration from the respective ACS on the FritzBox (FRITZ!Box 7430 with firmware 07.12) seems to be: Logging in into the web interface, selecting the right page; then the ISP (or ISP category + ISP) has to be chosen and we run for apply. (form button) ... This will take some seconds for the box to apply the change, then up to some minutes while the ACS settings/directions are retrieved & applied.

After that, the previous standard/default username/password, with which the walled garden / ACS can be reached, will be replaced with a personalized username/password (of which only the username can be seen).

Failing the provisioning step

As I was contacting my FritzBox via https, and it keeps its self-signed certificate changing and changing again whenever the box gets a new IP address, the auto-provisioning didn't finish because the web app running in my browser couldn't contact the FritzBox anymore after it changed its certificate again and I needed to ack it. (Or at least that's what I'm telling myself. Maybe I just wasn't patient enough and skipped the final part of the provisioning early, just assuming it would hang on the cert question again. Nevertheless,) when it fails, it stays failed and doesn't ever retry the initial provisioning.

It always stays with the default username/password, and keeps me in the ISP's walled garden.

Restarting provisioning

Now comes in the ISP's hotline. They told me to temporarily change to some (possibly completely unrelated) different ISP profile in the FritzBox's list of providers, "complete" that setup by running apply (form button); then, when that (obviously) failed, go back to the "right" ISP setting and hit apply again. This, then, starts the initial auto-provisioning process anew, without needing the otherwise often-mentioned factory reset.

When I was (on an iteration later ...) running with http (not https, due to the cert problem described above,) and the box' IP address (not the beautiful hostname from my internal DNS, as it would reject the hostname as a protection against DNS rebinding attacks, and changing the ISP always resets the exemption configured in another part of the web interface), I finally got the initial auto-provisioning to complete and got my shiny new username/password!

(Created Mon 27 Jul 2020 23:30:24 CEST, published around Tue 28 Jul 2020 00:38:00 CEST.)

  1. Day of Internet connection upgrade: Mon 27 Jul 2020, or, 2020-07-27 -- that is, after 2 weeks of waiting x_x, after accepting an ISP-made offer.