[NBLUG/talk] substituting DHCP/DNS in cheap routers

William Tracy afishionado at gmail.com
Sat Dec 31 21:34:26 PST 2011

This is involved Westell hardware from AT&T, but the same basic principle

I got a DSL modem that let me plug a computer directly into it, and the
modem did DHCP and everything. That sort of worked. Then I got a Linksys
switch (disclaimer: I used to work for Linksys' parent company) and stuck
it between the computer and modem. All hell broke loose, until I went into
the settings on the modem and told it to not do anything other than provide
PPPoE. Then I configured my switch to basically do the work that my modem
was supposed to be doing (log in to the ISP via PPP, provide connectivity,
and provide DHCP for the local network). Then everything was hunky dory.

The lesson I took away was: Don't let the hardware from your ISP actually
do anything. Get the cheapest DSL or cable modem that you can, and plug it
into a real network device. Basically, I'm now suspicious of any hardware
that combines a modem in with a switch and/or access point.

Also, check the reviews of any network equipment before you buy it. I found
out the hard way that Linksys makes some *awesome* products and some
*horrible* products. (For starters, the WRV200 does *not* work as
advertised.) Forget brand loyalty and always look for reviews of the
specific model that you are considering purchasing.

Finally, look into DD-WRT: It's a third-party FOSS Linux-based firmware for
a variety of networking equipment. (Think Cyanogen for routers!) If it
looks like you could use the exctra functionality it provides (and can live
without the manufacturer's warranty) plan on buying a product that it
supports. (You can save a buck by getting some of the older and
better-supported models of off Craigslist and/or Ebay!)

That was longer than I meant it to be. I hope that some of that is useful.

William Tracy
afishionado at gmail.com
Cell phone: (805) 704-0917
Internet phone: (707) 206-6441

On Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 2:59 PM, Troy Arnold <ta at tsu.biz> wrote:

> Also, if you do decide to add a separate device into the mix, the DGN1000
> should have a setting for 'modem only'.  I'd try that.
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