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  1. #1
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    Wifi for Parents

    I have done simple networking of my computers for years---starting with ethernet only routers, without wifi. These days I just set up a router with wifi capability in order to share the cable internet connection among various devices in our household and occasional guests. I don't do any file sharing or printer sharing---I just keep it simple.

    My parents, who are nearly 90, have decided that they would really like to have wifi access in their home. I said I would help them. I bought them a Motorola Surfboard SB6141 modem and a Linksys EA6350 and thought it would be an easy setup. Their house is very small. After working all day, I still don't have it set up! I can connect an old XP laptop, which I brought along to use to set up their router, to the internet. (They aren't able to connect their computer via ethernet, only wireless due to the way the cable was originally brought into their home for TV, and they refuse to have Comcast come back and add any cable outlets, etc.) So I figured I'd use my old laptop to set up the router and modem in their living room. However, when I connect the router to the modem, I lose the internet connection. I exchanged the router for another, assuming the problem was with the router, since I could connect directly to the modem and get internet access. However, my parents have a computer and a tablet which can only access the internet through a wireless connection.

    I am totally lost. I've never had so much difficulty getting a simple modem and router set up for wifi. Comcast has no suggestions, other than, of course, that they should rent their equipment. That isn't an option financially for my parents, which is why I bought all of the equipment for them to own outright.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for what I should do next? Are there some settings in the router that I can tweak to make it communicate with the modem? I've already replaced the router once. Do I need to try a different model of Linksys? Or maybe a different modem? I haven't checked to see if the router has the latest firmware, because I can't connect the router with the internet to be able to find out.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmiLee View Post
    ...Are there some settings in the router that I can tweak to make it communicate with the modem? I've already replaced the router once...
    Problem could be caused by DHCP being active in both the modem and the router. If so, probably best to turn DHCP off in the modem.

    You could try connecting the router to your home network?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    Problem could be caused by DHCP being active in both the modem and the router. If so, probably best to turn DHCP off in the modem.

    You could try connecting the router to your home network?
    Thank you for replying so quickly. I don't think I've ever changed any settings in a modem. How do I do that---I'm not sure what the interface woudl be. Also, do you mean try taking my parents' modem back to my house and connecting it instead of the router I have at this time? I guess if I did that, and it worked, I could update the firmware at least. I can't make a permanent trade because the router I use is designed to cover a larger area than the one I bought for my parents (I have a good-sized two-story home with basement, and parents have a small ranch home.)

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    So, when all else fails, find the online manual and print it out. I found that I should be able to connect my laptop to the modem and enter 192.168.100.1 to see the configuration of the modem. Thanks for the tip, and I'll see what I can do with that.

    In the past, I've cloned my MAC address with the router, but haven't done that in many years. Do you think there would be any utility in doing that now? I could clone the MAC address of my laptop that connects fine with the modem, but I'm not sure it would be of any help.

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    Do not clone the MAC, it won't help.

    You have 2 devices offering IP addresses (DHCP server), your cable modem and your wifi router. You need to turn off the DHCP server in the Linksys to allow the Motorola to do the work.

    From the Linksys manual.
    To configure your router’s DHCP server settings:
    1. Log into Linksys Smart Wi-Fi. (See “How to connect to Linksys Smart Wi-Fi” on page 7.
    2. Under Router Settings, click Connectivity
    3. Click the Local Network tab.
    4. To disable the DHCP server, deselect the Enabled checkbox.


    cheers, Paul

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    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmiLee View Post
    ...Also, do you mean try taking my parents' modem back to my house and connecting it instead of the router I have at this time? I guess if I did that, and it worked, I could update the firmware at least...
    I meant that you could temporarily connect the Linksys router to your home network to see if it worked there. In whatever case you will need to turn off DHCP in either the Linksys router or the Motorola modem, otherwise they will fight each other as Paul implies in his #5 post.
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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    EmiLee,

    I don't have Comcast but with Time Warner I've always had to call them when I connect a new router and they a signal to the modem and it's back up and running in a few seconds. You might give that a try. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    Problem could be caused by DHCP being active in both the modem and the router. If so, probably best to turn DHCP off in the modem.

    You could try connecting the router to your home network?
    There are no settings in the modem to manage DHCP. The router should automatically pick up the Comcast DHCP server and use that for the attached devices.
    Do you get internet access from the router wired ethernet port connections?
    Did you set up wireless access in the router?
    When you say you lose internet access when you connect the router to the modem, do you mean both wired and wireless? Is the on line light on in the modem?
    Did you connect the modem to the WAN port on the router? Try another Ethernet cable.

    Jerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    EmiLee,

    I don't have Comcast but with Time Warner I've always had to call them when I connect a new router and they a signal to the modem and it's back up and running in a few seconds. You might give that a try. HTH
    Yes, as soon as I had the modem connected to the cable and plugged into electricity, I called Comcast. I actually talked to three different Comcast reps about the issue. The first said she had provisioned it,but needed to do one more thing and would call me back within 1/2 an hour. She never returned the call. I started all over with the second, and explained what had happened to that point, and he promised, if we got disconnected, he would call me back. He then said he would send a signal to my modem and provision it again. Then we got disconnected by Comcast. Guess what? He never called back. Since I could connect my laptop via ethernet to the modem and have internet access, but it wouldn't work with the router, I thought perhaps I had a defective router and exchanged it for another. That made no difference, so I called Comcast again. I again started all over, explained all that had happened to that point, and the new Comcast person assured me he would stick it out until we got it fixed. I explained in detail that I had bought my parents a modem and router at Best Buy, and explained all that I had tried to that point. I repeated several times that I did not have any Comcast equipment. He said he was sure that he could help me. He then began exactly the same troubleshooting sequence that I had tried multiple times before calling. As we were doing this, I told him exactly what I was doing (and let him know that I had tried this already). The results, after 1-1/2 hour on the phone with the Comcast rep, were exactly the same as what I had experienced previously.

    The only way I could access the internet was via ethernet with my laptop. I could not access it wirelessly through the router at all.

    At the end of all that time, the Comcast rep said, "Well, now we know I've helped you to resolve your problem with getting the modem to work and provide internet access. Now, if I switch you over to another department, I'm sure they can set up your Comcast modem in bridge mode and you will have your wifi working." At that point, I reminded him that when I called I told him I already had a working modem that would provide access with ethernet connection to one device already and that I was unable to get the router to work with the modem to provide wireless access. Therefore, after 1-1/2 hour, we were still exactly where we were when I called in---that he had not corrected anything. He replied, okay, but now we can send you on to the next department to have them put your Comcast modem in bridge mode. I reminded him that I had mentioned several times that I had a modem bought from Best Buy, not Comcast. He then said, "Oh, well then you need to call LInksys, if you don't have one of our modems, and I can't help you any further. Thank you for allowing me to help you today. Is there anything else I can help you with?" Sheesh! I do believe that he was sincere when we started in trying to help me, but if he doesn't actually listen to what I was saying all along, he just wastes his time and mine. I had huge doubts about calling Comcast again, but due to the way the first two calls went I had some concern that the modem was not properly provisioned and felt I should confirm that before continuing to troubleshoot.

    So, other than sending the signal to the modem, Comcast has been more of a hindrance than a help in this process.
    Last edited by EmiLee; 2015-01-03 at 13:08.

  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Do not clone the MAC, it won't help.

    You have 2 devices offering IP addresses (DHCP server), your cable modem and your wifi router. You need to turn off the DHCP server in the Linksys to allow the Motorola to do the work.

    From the Linksys manual.
    To configure your router’s DHCP server settings:
    1. Log into Linksys Smart Wi-Fi. (See “How to connect to Linksys Smart Wi-Fi” on page 7.
    2. Under Router Settings, click Connectivity
    3. Click the Local Network tab.
    4. To disable the DHCP server, deselect the Enabled checkbox.


    cheers, Paul
    I did find this thread a short time ago that indicates that someone with exactly the same modem as I have and a Linksys router. He was having the same issue, as well, and said that cloning the MAC address from his computer helped. I don't think it would hurt anything just to try it. If you read just the last two posts on the page I've linked, you will find that information. The entire thread had to do with the issue of DHCP servers. Earlier, on the first page of the thread, it mentioned that there was no way to change the modem's settings regarding DHCP, so I guess the only choice would be changing it on the router, as you suggest. However, will that prevent my parents from being able to use it with both a computer and tablet connected via wifi at the same time? Also, would it work with a Roku, which is something else I'm supposed to set up for them?

    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r280...mode-~start=30

  14. #11
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    Now, a quick general post. A big thank you to everyone who has replied to this thread. It's not the first time I've come here and asked a question and been so grateful for how ready people are to offer help. I'm going back to my parents' home a bit later and, before I leave, I will print out this thread and take it with me to help me troubleshoot this issue. I will definitely let you know what happens.

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    Re-reading the Linksys manual there are a couple of possibilities, neither of which requires you turn off DHCP.
    The easiest method and the one I recommend to test your set up is to set the router as an Access Point.
    To set up your new router as an access point:
    1. Use a network cable to connect this router’s Internet port to the Ethernet or LAN port on the router that is connected to your modem.
    2. Log into Linksys Smart Wi-Fi. (See “How to connect to Linksys Smart Wi- Fi” on page 7.
    3. Under Router Settings, click Connectivity, then click the Internet Settings tab.
    4. Click IPv4.
    5. For Type of Internet Connection, select Bridge Mode.
    6. Click Obtain an IPv4 address automatically, then click OK. The new router’s LAN IP address will be changed and obtained from the router
    that is connected to your modem.


    You should now have internet access, but the router function is turned off so you don't have access to any of the routers additional features. I'm assuming the cable modem has a rudimentary firewall (possibly a brave assumption) so you could leave it to run as is.
    If you want additional security or access to the routers features you need to set the router up as a "downstream" router.

    To add another router to share an Internet connection:
    1. Determine the IP address range for your upstream (office or building) network.
    To determine the address range by using a Windows computer:
    a. Connect your computer into your upstream network’s router.
    b. Click Start, Run, type CMD, then click OK. The command prompt window appears.
    c. Type ipconfig, then press Enter.
    d. Take note of the IP address
    2. Connect an Ethernet network cable to a LAN/Ethernet port on your upstream network to the yellow Internet port on your router.
    3. Run your router’s setup CD on each computer that you want to connect to the Linksys router. Each computer needs either a wired or wireless connection to the Linksys router. For more information, see “How to connect a computer to your network” on page 11.


    cheers, Paul

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  17. #13
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    Thanks, Paul, for the update. Spoofing the MAC address of my laptop actually worked. However, I'm going to keep this thread (probably print it out), in case something else goes wrong. For now, they are so happy to be able to have the Internet. Once we get the Roku set up, they will be even happier, I think. Still a steep learning curve for them, so I think we will have our little crises along the way, but hopefully nothing the magnitude of getting the wifi set up. Of course, I foolishly made it worse by trying to troubleshoot with Comcast. It always takes ten times as long and is much less effective than doing it myself or coming here for suggestions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwitalka View Post
    There are no settings in the modem to manage DHCP. The router should automatically pick up the Comcast DHCP server and use that for the attached devices.
    Do you get internet access from the router wired ethernet port connections?
    Did you set up wireless access in the router?
    When you say you lose internet access when you connect the router to the modem, do you mean both wired and wireless? Is the on line light on in the modem?
    Did you connect the modem to the WAN port on the router? Try another Ethernet cable.

    Jerry
    Jerry, I was in a hurry this morning to get going, and I forgot to answer your post directly, as I intended. Hopefully, though, I think I answered all your questions in my previous posts. You'll also notice that I do have it running now. I just wanted to respond to you directly because I always appreciate when people take the time to ask questions and determine exactly what is going on in order to help out.

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