The little router that couldn’t
Part 1 of Working with Uverse covered a Uverse install, upgrading the speed, and discovering problems with DNS. Since the NVG510 forces customers to use AT&T’s flakey DNS
servers implementation, Part 2 is intented to resolve that. It will guide users in relieving the NVG510 of it’s DNS-chokehold and pass control to an alternate, more accommodating router. Ron Berman has a comprehensive page setup to help answer common questions about the NVG510. As a reference, I’m going to follow his steps while providing screen captures of process. Warning: the official word from AT&T is that migrating away from their DNS servers may degrade the performance of their streaming service. But I haven’t experienced any so far. However, if you have TV service through AT&T and notice a degradation or improvement after making the following changes, please let me know in the comments. For those with Internet service only, please read on for a path to DNS salvation.
Find a routing replacement
Since we’re wrestling the routing duties away from the NVG510, you WILL need an alternate wireless router. If you don’t have a spare router sitting around then grabbing anything off the shelf at Walmart labeled “wireless router” should suffice. Almost all commercial routers will allow you to change their DNS settings. Once we pass control to the alternate router we can define our own DNS servers. If you do need to purchase a router, Linksys makes great routers and the E2000 is highly recommended. With your new router in hand, the first step is to grab a laptop, join your home network, and visit your NVG510’s config page. If your RG was setup by a technician it probably still has its default settings. In that case, you’ll find the config page at http://192.168.1.254
No more easy bridge mode
In the past, DSL devices could be configured to pass all of the routing responsibilities to another device through a simple setting called bridge mode. On a Uverse modem a similar option exists, except it’s called IP Passthrough. Unfortunately, there is no single “set it and forget it” IP Passthrough button. In order to make the NVG510 do our bidding we’re going to need to change a few things before we can enable IP Passthrough. In order to make changes you will need your device access code. You can find it written on the yellow stickers that AT&T conveniently adds to the side of the NVG510. Once you have it written down, go to Home Network->Subnets & DHCP and enter the device code if prompted. Then, change your settings to match the image below.
Essentially we are reducing the range of IPs that the NVG510 can automatically assign down to one. The next setting we’ll change is IPv6. IPv6 adressing isn’t used in many Uverse installs, except for high traffic areas with a lot of customer density. Turning this off is useful in case AT&T decides to assign your router a public IPv6 instead of an IPv4 address. You’ll find that setting under Home Network->Configure. Please turn IPv6 off.
Save the new settings and move on to the next step.
Turn off wireless radio
Since we have a new router in place to do all of the wireless routing, we can shut off the NVG510’s wireless radio. If you weren’t already, now would be a good time to stop using wireless and connect directly to the back of the RG with a blue ethernet wire. Click on Home Network->Wireless, and flip the Wireless Operation from On to Off.
Watch all the options dissapear, and save the settings. Done? Great! On to the next step.
Getting the alternate Router’s MAC Address.
Before we can enable IP Passthrough, the NVG510 is going to request the specific MAC Address of the device which will take over it’s duties. In order to find your alternate router’s MAC address, check the outside of the alternate router for anything that says MAC. If you can’t find it, then we’ll need to power it up, connect to it with a blue wire, and go to it’s config screen [http://192.168.1.1 or http://10.0.0.1] If you can’t get to your alternate router’s config screen, or you forgot your router’s password, then please factory reset the device (look for a tiny pin hole button and hold it while powering up) and then try the links above again. If you need a password, use RouterPasswords.com to look up the factory password. Once you find the MAC write it down.
Enabling IP Passthrough
With your alternate router’s MAC in hand, we can enable IP Passthrough. Please go to Firewall->IP Passthrough. Once there, change the Allocation Mode, Passthrough Mode, and Passthrough MAC Address to match the settings below, substituting AA:BB:CC:DD:EE:FF with your own MAC address of course.
Save the settings and then restart the router. You can use the link inside the red text.
After waiting a few minutes, you should be able to connect a blue wire from your alternate router’s Internet/WAN port and to any of the four ports on the back of the NVG510 and it will adopt the NVG510’s settings. Remember NVG510 will pass AT&T’s DNS settings onto your alternate router, but here’s the important thing…. once there, the settings will be editable! Be sure to go to your alternate routers config screen and clear out those silly AT&T DNS settings and replace them with either Google Public DNS or OpenDNS settings. Save, and you should be good! If you’re not fixed up, Ron’s help page suggests making some additional changes that might help, but my modified Linksys E3000 with Tomato picked the IP Passthrough and started working right away without his extra steps. As one last double-check you can use Berkley’s netalyzr to be sure all DNS problems have been resolved. Enjoy your new bug-free surfing experience!