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s0dhi

join:2011-08-02
Brampton, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL

[Internet] NetGear MBR1516 in bridge (modem only) mode?

I've scoured the resources available to me and I can't seem to find any information on using the NetGear MBR1516 Mobile Broadband gateway as just a modem so that I can use a separate router. I'm using this as an internet solution at my parents' rural home.

Does anyone know if this is possible?

ings
Premium
join:2004-12-22
Toronto, ON

4 edits
I am about to try this next weekend with an Airport Express.

I run the same Netgear modem/router at my cottage. It works fine for "normal" Web applications but I've had no end of trouble getting it to play nice with my Nest thermostat. The most likely (but yet unproven) reason is the Netgear has poorly implemented support for WiFi power saving modes.

You can disable the Netgear's WiFi in the advanced settings, so it should work fine reduced to little more than a cellular modem. My neighbour ran it like this, with an Airport Express configured in bridge mode, and as I said I'm about to try it myself. I can post the results here next week.

Dave Ings
Toronto, Canada

s0dhi

join:2011-08-02
Brampton, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
said by ings:

I am about to try this next weekend with an Airport Express.

I run the Netgear modem/router at my cottage. It works fine for "normal" Web applications but I've had no end of trouble getting it to play nice with my Nest thermostat. The most likely (but yet unproven) reason is the Netgear has poorly implemented support for WiFi power saving modes.

You can disable the Netgear's WiFi in the advanced settings, so it should work fine reduced to little more than a cellular modem. My neighbour ran it like this, with an Airport Express configured in bridge mode, and as I said I'm about to try it myself. I can post the results here next week.

Dave Ings
Toronto, Canada

That's good info, Dave.

How does the Netgear handle having a router behind it? Does the router end up getting the IP address from Bell?

Thanks and good luck with the testing.

ings
Premium
join:2004-12-22
Toronto, ON

4 edits
said by s0dhi:

How does the Netgear handle having a router behind it? Does the router end up getting the IP address from Bell?

I'm sure there are different ways of doing this, but the conventional way, and what I've already tested at home (with my DSL modem/router) and works fine with the Airport Express, is

(1) the Netgear modem continues to get its Internet IP address from the Bell access point when it boots

(2) the Netgear modem continues to run the/a DHCP server to assign IP addresses on your home network

(3) when configured in "bridge mode" (and plugged in to the Netgear modem with an Ethernet cable) the Airport Express asks the Netgear modem for IP addresses for devices connecting to the Airport Express i.e. it disables the Airport Express' built in DHCP function.

So the physical configuration is: Bell Internet --cellular-- Netgear Modem --EN-- Airport Express

Will report back next week.

Dave Ings,
Toronto, Canada

s0dhi

join:2011-08-02
Brampton, ON
Dave,

If you can - can you test if the remote management is working for you? I have some port mapping to provide my folks remote support but I can't seem to connect to the MBR1516 or through it.

Thanks again,
Kev

ings
Premium
join:2004-12-22
Toronto, ON
said by s0dhi:

If you can - can you test if the remote management is working for you?

That one I can answer today - yes remote management is working for me (after I enabled it in the Netgear's advanced settings). But read on ...

I've spent a lot of time on the phone with Nest and Bell Mobility support trying to get remote control of my Nest thermostat working. I learned that, by default, Bell Mobility does not assign your cellular modem a public IP address i.e. an IP address you can initiate connections to from the outside world.

So if you want to make remote calls into your home, you need to either pay $5 a month for a dynamic/public address or $10 a month for a static/public address. I couldn't get the dynamic/public combo working properly, don't know why, so I ended up with static/public.

So it's unlikely (but YMMV, there are lots of moving parts here) you'll get remote management working without one of these features added. BTW Bell DSL connections are different - they are dynamic/public by default.

The Bell reps say this is a common requirement in rural locations - if you tell them you need to do "remote monitoring" they'll understand what you need. They'll also send you the wrong modem config information once or twice, as they aren't well trained on the details, but I eventually got that sorted out too.

Dave Ings

s0dhi

join:2011-08-02
Brampton, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
said by ings:

said by s0dhi:

If you can - can you test if the remote management is working for you?

That one I can answer today - yes remote management is working for me (after I enabled it in the Netgear's advanced settings). But read on ...

I've spent a lot of time on the phone with Nest and Bell Mobility support trying to get remote control of my Nest thermostat working. I learned that, by default, Bell Mobility does not assign your cellular modem a public IP address i.e. an IP address you can initiate connections to from the outside world.

So if you want to make remote calls into your home, you need to either pay $5 a month for a dynamic/public address or $10 a month for a static/public address. I couldn't get the dynamic/public combo working properly, don't know why, so I ended up with static/public.

The Bell reps say this is a common requirement in rural locations - if you tell them you need to do "remote monitoring" they'll understand what you need. They'll also send you the wrong modem config information once or twice, as they aren't well trained on the details, but I eventually got that sorted out too.

Dave Ings

That clears things right up. I wasn't aware that the IP was not publicly accessible. I'll get my folks to make that request.

I'm also disappointed that I could not specify a DNS server IP on the LAN side. I have another small linux device functioning as a DNS server / cache handling requests and blocking ad & malware traffic (it cuts down on some unnecessary bandwidth and lightens my support effort). I've had to setup their PC with a static address and specify my DNS box.

Thanks for the tips!

s0dhi

join:2011-08-02
Brampton, ON

1 edit
reply to ings
Figured it out.

ings
Premium
join:2004-12-22
Toronto, ON
So I'm at the cottage and the bridge mode described above works fine, with DHCP left on the 1516.

However I also tried unsuccessfully to move DHCP and NAT from the 1516 to the Apple router i.e. reduce the 1516 to a pure modem. Some Netgear routers have a setting to do this but not this one.

Were you able to do this when you "figured it out"?

s0dhi

join:2011-08-02
Brampton, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
said by ings:

So I'm at the cottage and the bridge mode described above works fine, with DHCP left on the 1516.

However I also tried unsuccessfully to move DHCP and NAT from the 1516 to the Apple router i.e. reduce the 1516 to a pure modem. Some Netgear routers have a setting to do this but not this one.

Were you able to do this when you "figured it out"?

Figuring it out referred to get the publicly accessible static IP working.

Sadly, no, I wasn't able to figure out a way to revert the MBR1516 to just a modem. The firmware on this device is awful and there isn't much you can do to configure it beyond using a it for simple internet access.

There are a few articles for setting up "router behind a router" but it's not ideal as far as setups go. You have some work to do setting up routing tables.

ings
Premium
join:2004-12-22
Toronto, ON
said by s0dhi:

There are a few articles for setting up "router behind a router" but it's not ideal as far as setups go. You have some work to do setting up routing tables.

This actually worked for me without too much hassle. I changed the Airport Express from bridge to dhcp/nat mode, turned off the Netgear wireless, plugged the Express into the Netgear via Ethernet and it all worked fine. (Although as you state it is not ideal because it's a double NAT set up, but it does work OK.)

This almost turns the Netgear into a pure modem ... but not quite.

Dave Ings