So, we’ve finally made the move across the Atlantic, from the United Kingdom over to Canada. Emigrating is an unsettling experience – you exist for weeks without the majority of your possessions, praying for calm seas as they’re transported across the ocean. Then there’s a brand new country, culture and social norms to get acquainted with – round upon round of research, queuing and registration for basic living essentials such as bank accounts, social insurance numbers, schools, driving licenses and so on.
On top of that, there’s the fun stuff! Also known as TV and Internet. In my case, that meant leaving behind satellite and a slow ADSL connection and moving into the crazy world of the Cable operator – a company called Rogers, which I know will be familiar to many of our Canadian cohorts.
Now, I won’t bore you with the ins and outs of actually getting our cable service connected – suffice to say, the experience was less than perfect. But when the engineer came to connect us up, I noticed that he installed a combined router/modem which was supplied by Rogers. They call it the Rogers Advanced Wi-Fi Modem and their customers call it many other names, most of which cannot be printed here.
In truth, it’s a basic, dual-brand router modem – a rebadged Hitron CGN3. Rather than supporting the fastest 802.11ac connections, the CGN3 is a humble 802.11n router with four Gigabit Ethernet ports, twin USB ports and sufficient horsepower to support high-speed cable internet connections of 350 Mbps and over.
User reviews on Rogers’ own online forums and beyond have been less than complimentary, with reports of frequent wireless disconnections, poor range and other crimes against first-world societies. While it’ll most likely do a valiant job for families around the country (and my first few days of life with the router have been reasonably good), with networking review hardware coming through these doors on a regular basis, I really need the flexibility of separate modem and router hardware rather than a combined device.
The answer? Bridging. Or, in plan English, disabling the router features of the combined router/modem so the device acts purely as a cable modem. I can then connect a standalone router to handle the internal wired and wireless network around the home and the cable company’s equipment takes care of the connection to the outside world.
Before attempting this yourself, bear in mind that setting your cable operator’s equipment to bridge mode will most likely disable your ability to access its web user interface. So, if you go wrong, you’ll need to reset the router to factory settings to restore this ability.
So, let’s get started. Here’s today’s patient – presenting the Rogers Advanced Wi-Fi Modem! Sitting on the floor, as we currently have very little furniture in our new house (prays again for calm seas).
We’ll need to access the device’s web interface, which we do in a browser with the address http://192.168.0.1 (your device’s IP address may be different). We log-in with the username: cusadmin and the highly-secure default password: password and we’re ready to set up bridge mode.
Once you’re logged in, you’ll need to find your router/modem’s Gateway Function – on the Rogers Advanced Wi-Fi Modem, it’s located in the Basic menu, in a tab handily named Gateway Function. This controls the device’s Router features.
Switch the Residential Gateway Function setting from Enabled to Disabled. You’ll be advised that all of your device’s router features are about to be switched off. Click OK to continue, and the device will reboot into Bridge Mode, serving purely as a modem.
Obviously, at this point, you will no longer be able to check the web page to see whether the modem has finished rebooting, so keep an eye on the LED indicators on the front of the device. Once they’re correctly illuminated, you can proceed to connect and set-up your router.
In our new Canadian home, I’m pairing the Rogers modem with the new Linksys AC3200 Tri-band Smart Wi-Fi Router, upgrading network from 802.11n wireless speeds up to a (theoretical) maximum of 1300 Mbps. With three bands available (one 2.4 GHz and two separate 5 GHz bands) there should be plenty of bandwidth available for the ever-growing number of wireless devices around the home. I’m hopeful that wireless range is strong too, but just in case, I’ll be adding two Linksys RE6500 AC1200 MAX dual-band range extenders in the attic and basement to ensure there’s decent coverage.
A quick speed test to ensure that all is working well and we’re done.
Look out for reviews of the Linksys kit mentioned above in the coming weeks.