August 5, 2010

Fiber to My Home with Verizon/Frontier FiOS

Since I cannot post a reply to the How-to: make ActionTec MI424-WR a network bridge thread on dslreports.com I decided I should at least write the info down here for others.

A Free Router! Yea!
Verizon FiOS (now Frontier FiOS in Seattle Washington area) brings out a wireless router when they come out to install. They first install an Optical Network Terminal (what you'll read referred to as an "ONT", described by dslreports more here) which is a surprisingly large box for the Fiber from the street to go directly into. Out of this they will run a coaxial cable into their own router. The router in my case (and many others according to my reading) is a Actiontec MI424WR. It is a really nice router actually. It has 802.11g Wireless, DHCP, NAT, port forwarding, DynamicDNS, a flexible firewall and more. In short, Verizon/Frontier did a nice job in selecting the router. It's good.

Fiber from the street waiting for the tech to arrive


Except Geeks are Difficult
However, for us geeks we don't like someone else's router on our networks. We have our own stuff and don't ask why we can't use your router - we can't explain it, it just won't do. So the previously mentioned article explains how to put the Verizon/Frontier router into Bridge mode so you can use your own router instead. However, it is a damn shame because now you have this other router (now a bridge) that all those electrons have to jump through and that sucks more electricity all the time to run for absolutely no reason - since your own router does all the same stuff.

First of all, I am pretty sure that the DaDragon's explanation will work fine. I meticulously read the manual and scoured the settings of the Actiontec router and it should work fine. However, I found it is surprisingly easy to get ethernet directly out of the ONT working with my own router. Basically just called Frontier and asked for it.
The ONT

I called and got some unpleasent person that was adamant that I couldn't use my own router and only their router would work. I explained that this was hard for me to believe, and if this really is the case, I don't want FiOS at all. He eventually was willing -but whining and not happy- to call a "network technician" and ask if there were any options. Luckily the "network technician" was smart and told him that what I wanted to do was perfectly fine. All I had to do was power-down and unplug the Frontier/Verizon router and hook my router up to the ethernet port inside the ONT. Then the network tech at Verizon/Frontier could remotely switch the ONT's ports from coax to ethernet.

I did this and everything immediately started working fine with my router. I did take the liberty of releasing the IP from DHCP on the Actiontec router before I unplugged it, so maybe this helped.

Now I will return the Actiontec router to Frontier/Verizon and I have one less box in utility room and its all my own geek equipment so I can rest easily now :)



P.S. I called Frontier and they didn't want the router back. They just said it was completely free and I could keep it. Cool.

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