This helped me out so much. Thanks. Do you go to some genius school or something?
There are many ways FiOS network is configured inside the user’s premise depending on the bundle of services the user subscribes to. If you have Internet AND TV, and have both Ethernet (Cat 5) AND Coax cable connections coming from the ONT into a FiOS Actiontec router, this write up is for you.
My FiOS setup (as it was installed):
• ONT -> Cat 5 cable -> Actiontec Router (WAN interface)
• Actiontec Router (LAN interface) -> My router (WAN interface)
• My router (LAN interface) -> My 8-port switch -> Computers and other Home network devices
• ONT -> Coax cable -> Splitters -> Actiontec Router (Coax interface), DVRs, STBs
• Coax cable runs all around the house (basement, main floor, 2nd floor). FiOS DVRs, STBs connected to Coax cable in different rooms.
• Actiontec wireless DISABLED. I use my own AP for wireless access around the house – mainly for better coverage and dual-band. This is unrelated to the removal of Actiontec.
• The Actiontec router model is: MI424WR Rev I
The main reason I wanted to dump the Actiontec router was so I could use my own router with specific features that I want (e.g., both SSL and L2TP VPNs, timed internet access, application control on firewall, etc). With the Actiontec router in the middle, I was unable to get all the services of my router working, no matter what I tried – such as putting my router in Actiontec’s DMZ, setting up required port forwarding on Actiontec, and more. After weeks of attempts (including helpful calls to VZ tech support), I finally decided to try and remove the Actiontec router all together and connect my router directly to the FiOS ONT Ethernet cable.
From Google search, numerous forums postings, VZ tech support, and other sources I learnt that in order to get the FiOS DVRs and STBs to work fully especially for VOD, Program Guide, and DVR functionality, they needed to connect to the Actiontec router and so removing Actiontec was not recommended.
Notwithstanding, I concluded the following:
• Internet access to my home was being provided over the Ethernet Cat 5 connection on the Actiontec router
• Only TV signals were distributed over the coax cable from the ONT.
• The ONT did not use the coax (MOCA) connection for any of its communications with the Actiontec router.
• Actiontec router provided Internet access to DVRs and STBs connected on its coax network by simply ‘bridging’ the coax to the Ethernet Cat 5.
• The only reason DVRs and STBs are connected to the Actiontec router coax port was so they can connect to the Internet and access VOD and Program Guide servers.
If my above assumptions were correct, then removing the Actiontec router and just using my own router should not disrupt any of my services, so long as I provided way for the DVRs and STBs on the coax network to have Internet access.
To be safe, I followed a step-by-step process as detailed below, so that I could recover to the original state by simply reversing the steps at any point, if things went haywire along the way. Good news – I didn’t have to reverse the steps! And now I have a FiOS setup that has no Actiontec router in the network and has only my router and is providing the full gamut of services as before. And more in terms of firewall functionality.
The step-by-step process:
Step 1: Noted important WAN interface configuration information of the Actiontec router (especially the MAC address which needed to be ‘cloned’ on the WAN interface of my router). Actiontec WAN interface was set for DHCP and therefore did not have any IP and DNS address information to bother about.
Step 2: Procured and had ready for install an Actiontec MOCA-ethernet bridge device (ECB6000S02 - available on Amazon, cost around $90) so that the DVRs and STBs on the coax network could eventually be connected to the Ethernet port of my 8-port switch and thus have Internet access.
Step 3: Disconnected the coax cable going into Actiontec router’s coax interface and connected that cable to the MOCA bridge coax interface. Connected the Ethernet interface of the MOCA bridge to one of the free LAN interfaces of the Actiontec router. Connected the power adapter of the MOCA bridge (effectively turned it ON). Technically, this step can be bypassed and Step 4 done. But I performed this step just to be sure that the Actiontec MOCA bridge device worked as advertised and did not introduce any new problem.
During Step 3, none of the DVRs, STBs or the Actiontec router was powered off or power cycled. They remained ON right through. Figured that if they all had IP addresses etc. already, and the MOCA adapter was simply that – an adapter, then they should continue to have internet access – after a momentary glitch at worst.
When I completed Step 3, all the DVRs, STBs continued to function normally including displaying Program guide, and accessing VOD. This seem to confirm one of my assumptions that the Actiontec router simply bridged the MOCA coax interface to its Ethernet LAN interface on its internal switch. I verified this further by disconnecting the MOCA bridge Ethernet port from the Actiontec LAN interface – and seeing no Program guide. Also, the DVR self-diagnostics showed ‘no internet connectivity’. When I reconnected the MOCA bridge Ethernet port, everything went back to normal.
Step 4: Disconnected the MOCA bridge Ethernet port form Actiontec router LAN interface and connected it to my 8-port switch. Knowing that this would connect the DVRs and STBs to a different subnet (my router’s and not Actiontec’s), I power-cycled the DVRs and STBs so that they could get new IP addresses etc. from my router and connect to the Internet via my router.
After the power cycle, confirmed that the DVRs and STBs continued to function normally including Program guide and VOD. Yet another confirmation that all that the DVRs and STBs need is internet access – doesn’t matter through which router and over what medium.
Time to remove the Actiontec router all together.
Step 5: Details of this step are specific to the brand and model of your router. I use a Watchguard XTM-25 series router/firewall. Regardless of the details, the important part of this step is to configure the WAN interface of your router to mimic the Actiontec router’s WAN interface, so that your router can get the IP address etc. from the FiOS ONT.
On my XTM device, I configured the WAN (‘External’) interface for DHCP (just as the Actiontec router was setup), and to ‘override’ its MAC address with the MAC address of the Actiontec router as noted in Step 1.
After confirming my router’s WAN interface configuration, a) powered off both the Actiontec router and the XTM router; b) disconnected the Ethernet cable coming from the ONT into the Actiontec router WAN interface; and c) connected the Ethernet cable coming from the ONT to the WAN (‘External’) interface of my XTM router. THIS REMOVED THE ACTIONTEC ROUTER ALL TOGETHER.
At this juncture, my FiOS connections looked like this:
• ONT -> Cat 5 cable -> My router (WAN interface)
• My Router (LAN interface) -> My 8-port switch Computers and other Home network devices
• ONT Coax cable -> Splitters > DVRs, STBs, Actiontec MOCA adapter
• Actiontec MOCA adapter Ethernet port -> Free port on my 8-port switch
Step 6: Powered on My Router (XTM 25) and waited for it to complete its boot up. And (drum roll…..) all FiOS services were fully back up and normal. Internet access, TV with Program guide, VOD, etc.