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How to convert Westell 7500 into a router-switch

Last response: in Networking
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October 26, 2013 8:43:40 PM

I have a left-over Verizon-provided Westell 7500 DSL modem router (A90-750015-07). How do I turn it into a router-switch that will take an ethernet (not DSL) network feed (with internet access) and distribute it among a few devices and put those devices into some kind of sub-network so they see each other? I'm not using technical terms here - please teach me.

This Westell 7500 used to be my home Verizon DSL modem-router, and it worked OK. And it also let my home devices (wired and wireless) see each other. For example, my different PCs would appear in "My Network Places" and they could "share" designated folders. And all my home PCs could print to my home wireless printer. All through the Westell 7500.

Verizon replaced it with a different modem-router, and so this Westell 7500 has been sitting in a box for a few months.

Now, my wife is going to rent a small temporary office that provides internet access via a socket in the wall. Let's assume it's a typical RJ-45 ethernet socket. The internet speed might actually be pretty good - maybe 30Mbs down and very fast up. The total internet capacity is shared with other temporary offices in the facility, but let's assume we'll have enough for our needs.

If the only thing I bring is a single computer, I could use a J-45 ethernet cable to plug its network card directly into this socket and be done. But I'll be bringing at least two computers and a small printer/scanner. Both computers will need to share the internet access, and both computers and the printer/scanner will need to "see" each other. (Just like at home.)

So, if I plug the Westell 7500 into the network wall socket and then my PCs and printer into the Westell, I should get what I need here, yes? How do I do this exactly, step-by-step?

I have experimented at home and have maybe 10% success. At home, I don't have an ethernet socket in the wall, but I do have my newer modem-router, and it has an unused LAN socket, which I am pretending is the office's ethernet socket. I connected a test computer to the Westell 7500 and logged onto the Westell 7500's embedded server (192.168.1.1), changed its VersaPort from "LAN ethernet port" to "WAN uplink port", connected the newer modem-router's unused LAN socket to the Westell 7500's E1/Uplink socket with a J45 cable, went to the Westell 7500's "Advanced" page and ran "Detect WAN Configuration". That changed the Westell 7500's "WAN uplink port Settings Protocal" from PPPoE to Routed IP. The Westell 7500 now also says its "Broadband Connection Type" is "Routed Bridge".

The test computer connected to the Westell 7500 shows it is connected to the Westell 7500, but it cannot connect all the way through to the internet. At the start, the newer modem-router shows the Westell is connected to it, and the newer modem-router has given the Westell a DHCP address of 192.168.1.5. But after a few minutes, the newer modem-router doesn't show the Westell any more. If I re-run Detect WAN Configuration on the Westell 7500, it says "Automatic Protocol Detecion is in progress" but then "DHCP server was found ... PPPoE server not found", and then the newer modem-router shows the Westell 7500 again as 192.168.1.5. But the test computer does not have internet access.

What exactly should I do with the additional settings in the Westell 7500 to make this work?

If there's a great web site to explain this to me, please point me there.

Thanks.
October 27, 2013 8:29:40 AM


allennnn: Thanks for the link and your fast response. I'd seen your excellent pinned post, which is why I think I'm in the right place. But your pinned post is a bit daunting for me.

Yes, right now, I'm connecting my Westell 7500 to another modem-router (it's an Actiontec), but I am NOT adjusting the Actiontec in any way. I think your pinned guide would have me adjust the Actiontec to be a "bridge", but I don't want to do that here. So I'm not sure where to start in your pinned guide.

My thinking is that the folks who run the temporary office facility run their network to all the rented offices, including ours (the socket on the wall). Their network is in the same logical position as my Actiontec. I won't be able to change it.

So, I'm trying to figure out how to configure ONLY my left-over Westell 7500 to be the router-switch (and mini-network maker) in our little temporary office.

Should I attach some screen shots from the Westell? (That's a little hard, since the test computer controlling the Westell 7500 is NOT yet connecting to the internet or my other PCs and so I can't send any screenshots yet.)

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
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October 27, 2013 8:59:05 AM

If we assume the office you are going to does not actually give you real IP but uses private ones then you likley can use use the device as switch. You would want to disable the DHCP on the lan side and just plug one of the lan ports into the wall. The router may complain it does not have a dsl signal but it will still work as a switch with no wan.

If you must run it is a router then you are just going to have to keep trying until you figure out why it is being stubborn. When you put it in ethernet wan mode it should just get a ip from the upper level router. You of course need to make sure the ip of your new lan is not in the same subnet as the wan network. Most routers allow you to put in a static IP on the wan port if all else fails.
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October 27, 2013 9:18:29 AM


Thanks for very fast response and ideas. Please correct me if I'm wrong:

I think you mean that I must change the "gateway" IP of my Westell 7500 to be outside the DHCP range of the Actiontec, right?

I think you also mean that if I continue to try to make the Westell 7500 act like a router, its own DHCP range should also be outside of the DHCP range of the Actiontec, right?

The Actiontec gateway IP and DHCP range all start with 192.168.1. So I should change the Westell 7500 so that its gateway IP and DHCP range all start with 192.168.0, yes?
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October 27, 2013 9:29:46 AM

That should work
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October 27, 2013 9:33:14 AM


YES - IT SEEMS TO BE WORKING. Even the internet speed is good!

So, what I should do is ask the temp office company what are the three first digits in their Gateway IP and DHCP range and make sure the same in the Westell is outside.

ALSO, I changed the Primary and Secondary DNS of the Westell 7500 to be the Gateway IP of the Actiontec (192.168.1.1). However, I happen to know that the Actiontec's own DNS is set to OpenDNS (208.67.220.220 and 208.67.222.222) as "Static DNS Addresses". The temp office company's master router will probably NOT have this. So, what should I do in my little office to get the benefit of OpenDNS the way I do at home through the Actiontec?

Thanks.
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October 27, 2013 11:46:42 AM

Most times you can set the DNS to any DNS server you like. If all else fails 8.8.8.8 from google tends to always work.

Your other solution to IP address conflicts is to pick something our of 10.x.x.x highly unlikely you will overlap and then you also have the ranges in 172.16.x.x to 172.31.x.x
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October 27, 2013 11:50:11 AM


Bill - do you mean set the DNS in the Westell 7500 (which for Primary and Secondary DNS is currently pointing to the Actiontec at 192.168.1.1) or set the DNS in each PC and other device in my mini-network (which currently do not specify any DNS servers)?

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October 27, 2013 2:41:31 PM

It will work either way I suspect. In one case you are using the router as a proxy for the DNS. I tend to have my router give my end devices a actual dns server via dhcp or you can manually set them in the end devices. I guess I have had enough trouble with DNS that I don't like the router messing with my packets but the vast majority of people run the default from the factory which is to have the router act as a proxy
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October 27, 2013 3:17:51 PM


Bill - Yup, it's all still working with OpenDNS in the Westell 7500 as its primary and secondary DNS.

For my info only, what do you mean by "I tend to have my router give my end devices an actual dns server via dhcp"?

Thanks again!
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October 27, 2013 5:54:16 PM

When you look at the ipconfig the dhcp server in the router can give the PC a actual dns server or it can give you the address of the router. When you have the routers IP the PC will ask the router who will proxy it on the PC behalf.
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October 27, 2013 5:57:07 PM

Bill: That's past my understanding. But thanks again for your help. This forum was perfect for what I needed.
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November 3, 2013 6:18:55 AM

 
bill001g said:
When you look at the ipconfig the dhcp server in the router can give the PC a actual dns server or it can give you the address of the router. When you have the routers IP the PC will ask the router who will proxy it on the PC behalf.


Bill - I'm beginning to understand your comment a little bit. Right now, I am NOT in the fake mini-network I set up above, just normal - my PC is connected only to my Verizon DSL modem-router (the Actiontek). If I go to cmd and ask ipconfig /all, I get lots of info, and it includes this:

Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:
Connection-specific DNS Suffix . : domain.actdsltmp
DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
fec0:0:0:ffff::1%1
fec0:0:0:ffff::2%1
fec0:0:0:ffff::3%1

I think you are suggesting that I change the DNS Servers to something else, like maybe OpenDNS's 208.67.220.220 or 208.67.222.222. I have never done that because I thought that the Actiontek itself would no longer give DNS info about my internal home network to each device if I did that and so home networking would fail.

If I'm wrong about that, would there be any advantage to changing the DNS Servers to OpenDNS's 208.67.220.220 or 208.67.222.222 ?

And how would I change this ipconfig line in the Actiontek or the Westell 7500 anyway?

Thanks!!!
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November 3, 2013 8:27:36 AM

I guess most the advantage is the end PC talks to the DNS server directly. I have always done it to reduce the load on the router. I guess I am used to a enterprise configuration where you have a internal DNS server and a DHCP server that it not the router also. I don't know the particulars of this router but there is likely a box on the page you set up the DHCP server network and gateway etc that lets you specify the DNS server
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