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Changing the DHCP server to the "slave" router

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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September 25, 2013 7:55:05 AM

I have two routers chained together. The Gatewary router is provided by Bell Canada and is the Netgear MRB2010 wireless modem/router. I am using their cellular service to connect to the Internet (unfortunately can't get anything else in the area). Because I live in a log home and the router is on one side of a 12" log wall, I had to install a second wireless access point in the main part of the house -- a Linksys WRT router. The two routers are connected via an Ethernet cable running via the basement. This has worked fine for the last few years.

The modem/router "gateway" is set to 192.168.1.1 and acts as the DHCP server, and the "slave" is set to 192.168.1.2. The default gateway on the "slave" router is set to 192.168.1.1 and DHCP is turned off. I have the same SSID on both with the same key, so I can wander around the house with my laptop and not have any issues.

I recently bought a Roku 3 and being in Canada, purchased the Unblock US to allow me to "appear" to be in the states, so I can get US Netflix. The Unblock US configuration requires you to change your DNS. Unfortunately, Roku does not allow you to modify any network settings directly on the device. It must get it's DNS from the DHCP server, which is currently the "gateway" router. Unfortuately, Bell does not allow you to change the settings on the Mobile Broadband Network port, so I am stuck with that DNS.

I was wondering if it is possible to turn off the DHCP server on the gateway router and use it on the "slave" router instead. I can certainly make that change on the Netgear router. This way the Roku would pick up the DNS from the "slave" Linksys router, and not the gateway "Netgear" router.

If this is possible, other than turning off DHCP on the master and turning it on on the slave, is there anything else I need to do? If this will NOT work, any suggestions. I could turn the "slave" into another routed segment, but that would cause issues when moving my laptop between rooms and having to re-establish the wireless connection all the time.

Any help would be appreciated.
September 25, 2013 8:05:43 AM

While in theory this may work, you really won't know until you try it (doing so will cause no harm). Even if you change the DHCP server from the Bell gateway to the Netgear router, you may still get some wonky results because of the differing DNS configs (and Bell could screen for that, just not sure).

Try, as you propose, and see what happens, at worst you'll be where you are now.
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September 25, 2013 8:05:53 AM

In the scenario you describe the second router should be transparent - everything will come from DHCP, the default gateway on the second router won't make much difference other than how hard it is to get to it's webadmin. Don't run two DHCP servers at once though - unpredictable results.

Advanced DHCP servers let you set up a 'static lease', with their own individual settings - for example I have one here where our sons' xbox and PC are given a static lease that sets the gateway and DNS to a second router that switches off overnight... ;)  If the Netgear can't do that kind of task, then you may need to look at static IPs / DNS for most of your gear and the DNS settings for the Roku in DHCP so it can pick them up - or static ip / DNS on the Roku if you can do that.
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September 25, 2013 8:18:16 AM

kyzarvs said:
In the scenario you describe the second router should be transparent - everything will come from DHCP, the default gateway on the second router won't make much difference other than how hard it is to get to it's webadmin. Don't run two DHCP servers at once though - unpredictable results.

Advanced DHCP servers let you set up a 'static lease', with their own individual settings - for example I have one here where our sons' xbox and PC are given a static lease that sets the gateway and DNS to a second router that switches off overnight... ;)  If the Netgear can't do that kind of task, then you may need to look at static IPs / DNS for most of your gear and the DNS settings for the Roku in DHCP so it can pick them up - or static ip / DNS on the Roku if you can do that.


Unfortunately, I you can't make ANY changes on the Roku. If you could, this wouldn't be an issue. As an FYI, I changed the DNS on the PC, and I can get to the US Netflix, so I know that Bell Canada isn't over-riding the DNS I assigned to the PC. However, I need some way of coming between the Roku and the Bell Netgear modem and inserting the proper DNS that the Roku needs to identify as being in the states.

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September 25, 2013 8:22:40 AM

Then turn off the DHCP (and wireless if you can live with it) on the Bell router and enable it on the Netgear. See if this then meets your needs.

You could also configure fixed IP addresses (including DNS addresses) for those devices that won't leave you home (and you can change unlike the Roku) that would ignore all of the DHCP stuff as well.
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September 25, 2013 8:25:23 AM

Then static IPs / DNS on everything else and the Roku-friendly DNS on DHCP is the free way to go, but it makes your network a bit of a pita for roaming devices to join.

As I said previously, if the NetGear can't handle static leasing properly, then you'll want to think about something else as your DHCP server (the DHCP server doesn't have to be running on your gateway). That might be a Windows server somewhere, an upper-spec Draytek or similar router, a Raspberry Pi with IPFire on it.... lots of options.
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September 25, 2013 9:18:52 AM

COLGeek said:
Then turn off the DHCP (and wireless if you can live with it) on the Bell router and enable it on the Netgear. See if this then meets your needs.

You could also configure fixed IP addresses (including DNS addresses) for those devices that won't leave you home (and you can change unlike the Roku) that would ignore all of the DHCP stuff as well.


Just as an FYI, the Bell router IS the Netgear router/modem. The "slave" is the Linksys router.

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September 25, 2013 9:23:07 AM

Trishcollins said:
COLGeek said:
Then turn off the DHCP (and wireless if you can live with it) on the Bell router and enable it on the Netgear. See if this then meets your needs.

You could also configure fixed IP addresses (including DNS addresses) for those devices that won't leave you home (and you can change unlike the Roku) that would ignore all of the DHCP stuff as well.


Just as an FYI, the Bell router IS the Netgear router/modem. The "slave" is the Linksys router.


Sorry I was dazed and confused by the titles/brands.

Did you try to reconfigure as previously suggested yet?
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September 25, 2013 9:58:09 AM

kyzarvs said:
Then static IPs / DNS on everything else and the Roku-friendly DNS on DHCP is the free way to go, but it makes your network a bit of a pita for roaming devices to join.

As I said previously, if the NetGear can't handle static leasing properly, then you'll want to think about something else as your DHCP server (the DHCP server doesn't have to be running on your gateway). That might be a Windows server somewhere, an upper-spec Draytek or similar router, a Raspberry Pi with IPFire on it.... lots of options.


COLGeek said:
Trishcollins said:
COLGeek said:
Then turn off the DHCP (and wireless if you can live with it) on the Bell router and enable it on the Netgear. See if this then meets your needs.

You could also configure fixed IP addresses (including DNS addresses) for those devices that won't leave you home (and you can change unlike the Roku) that would ignore all of the DHCP stuff as well.


Just as an FYI, the Bell router IS the Netgear router/modem. The "slave" is the Linksys router.


Sorry I was dazed and confused by the titles/brands.

Did you try to reconfigure as previously suggested yet?


Not at home yet. Won't know until tonight. If it works, great, because next week I am getting a different Internet provider's 4G fixed wireless service from xplornet (same price, 5 times the GB data cap), and I know it has the SAME issue as the Bell modem -- I won't be able to change the DNS. I can get a Static IP service for $10/month though, so it might be a workaround.

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September 25, 2013 10:13:21 AM

You don't need a fixed IP address from your ISP. The reference to fixed IPs was for your systems inside your home network.
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September 27, 2013 6:34:04 AM

Well, with an extra router in between, I got it all working. I set the Bell Netgear Router/Modem to 192.168.0.1 and turned off the wireless radio function. Then configured the Linksys, as 192.168.1.1 with DHCP enabled and the Unblock-US DNS. Then configured the third router (also a Linksys I forgot I had) as 198.162.1.2 and disabled DHCP. The two Linksys routers have the same SSID and encryption key. TThen I connected them altogether. The first Linksys router is connected via Ethernet to the Bell Netgear router and sits next to it. The second Linksys router is connected via to the first Linksys via the Ethernet cable that runs between the rooms. I checked all my existing devices, and they are all connecting, no problem, and of course my PC let me out to the 'net.

The great thing about that is all my existing devices didn't have to be reconfigured, they just worked. Especially those with assigned IPs, since my previous setup used the 192.168.1.0 subnet.

Once I knew I had connection, I checked my PC (after disabling the UNblock-US tool running), and it showed my DNS as the Unblock-US, so I knew I was getting it from the Linksys.

I then signed into my Roku account, unlinked the device, reset the Roku to factory settings, obtained a new code, relinked the device on my Roku account, and then when all the channels were downloaded to the Roku, opened Netflix on the Roku, logged in, and it was finally showing US content, including the complete "My List" or "Instant Queue" for the items I had set up on US Netflix via my PC.

I guess there is a solution to this 4G issue after all. Let's just see what happens when I changed to xplornet next week. Not sure what kind of router/modem they supply, but as long as I can change the LAN IP address to 192.168.0.1, and disabled Wifi, I should be able to swap it with the Netgear without any noticeable difference.

Thanks for the help!
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September 27, 2013 6:38:36 AM

Great job! You did good!
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