Saturday, August 9, 2008

But I already have a router!

Verizon is a great company, doing great things, but that doesn't mean they're not evil. I've found that this is an effective maxim which allows me to extol the virtues of Verizon without sounding like I'm drinking the kool-aid. Today I'm hoping it works inversely as well.

If you subscribe to Verizon FIOS broadband and television, then you have an Optical Network Terminal mounted to an outside wall of your home, from which sprout a coaxial cable and an ethernet cable which connect the ONT to a router inside your home, such as the ActionTec MI424-WR.

Verizon technicians will insist that the router they supply must be connected directly to the ONT for your service to function correctly.

They are lying.

The ActionTek router they use isn't bad, but it pales in comparison to the wireless gigabit router I've customized with DD-WRT firmware; however, what really burns my toast is when some call center drone (“tech support” is a double misnomer) tells me that their service requires me to reconfigure my network to be less robust, slower, and less secure.

There is absolutely, unequivocally no fathomable reason to use two routers, unless, of course, one has a good reason. In truth, there are legitimate reasons to use multiple routers, firewalls, and access points but technological ignorance is not among them. The arrogant superiorism of the misinformed miscreant who tried to sell me this snake oil only makes me wish he would be boiled in his own vomit and bile.

I feel better now.

Welcoming a new Verizon router into your network can be an easy, painless process. I make the following recommendations under the assumption that you require an already existing router to preside over the Verizon router and either have both routers configured on different subnets or don't need to. You should also heed that as I am not privy to the Mysterious Ways of Verizon, this text may contain factual errors, your mileage may vary, and should you break something you should neither find me culpable nor burn my effigy. What would you want with my effigy anyway?

Because I initially set up the Verizon router in accordance with the lies they told me, subnet conflicts were an issue resolved long ago and I had also disabled it's wireless transmitter. To make my life easier, I also enabled remote (WAN) administration and assigned a static IP address so I can access the router from my local network, which is a public network from the Verizon router's point of view.

If you leave the Verizon router connected only via the coaxial cable, you'll soon discover that it needs internet access to retrieve channel and schedule information for your television. To fix this you need to plug an ethernet cable into a LAN port on your router and the WAN port on the Verizon router; you may also need to forward port 4567 to the Verizon router but as I write this I have yet to try disabling it or complete my research on how Verizon uses this port.