Bridging EPC3925 and using Asus RT-N16 instead

I got very frustrated with UPC’s default router. The EPC 3925. It’s a piece of junk. I wanted to remove it completely but that’s not possible.
Luckily you don’t have to use it for networking features like firewall, wireless distribution, DHCP etc. After much research, I bought an Asus RT-N16 (the N66u is also a fine router) , put the EPC3925 into “bridged mode” and used the Asus for sharing the internet to rest of the devices in the house. I haven’t looked back. It’s rock solid.

Here’s a how-to to enable bridged mode on the EPC3925  connecting the Asus RT-N16.  The guide should work for other ‘good’ standalone routers.  e.g wrt 54GL, Asus N66u etc.

Preliminary Setup

Disconnect every Ethernet cable from the cisco box.
Leave the co-ax cable screwed into the box via the ‘Cable’ connector.
Power up the Cisco.

Disable the wireless card in your laptop for the moment. (I sometimes don’t trust wireless which is funny considering my background 🙂 )
Now connect a laptop to the Cisco box with an Ethernet cable via Port 1 (yellow ports in item 6 of the first diagram).

Step 1 Disabling Cisco wireless

Open a browser on the laptop, log into the cisco router via http://192.168.1.1
Login with your username / password combo.
Head over to the wireless setting and take note of the wireless name (SSID) and password. Also take note of the type of security used (WPA, WPA2 etc.)  You’ll need these later.
Disable the wireless part completely.
Check on the laptop (or phone/tablet) that the wireless network is now gone (enable the wireless on the laptop and make sure you don’t see the old SSID).

Step 2 Bridging the Cisco router

Now that the wireless part of the Cisco router is completely turned off – time to bridge it.
Via the admin page on Cisco box head over to Administration > Management
You should see an option for ‘Router Mode’ and ‘Bridged Mode’
* If you only see ‘Router mode’ then your Cisco box has an old firmware and you need to do an extra step (see 2.1).
Select ‘Bridged Mode’ and save settings.
The box will reboot. That should be the end of using the Cisco EPC3925.
You shouldn’t be able to connect to the Cisco box after the reboot. Don’t freak out. In bridge mode everything is turned off  by default like DHCP which allocates IP addresses. The epc3925 is now a very basic modem which connects to your internet provider and presents the internet as a connection for other routers to share. (if you do need to connect to it – it’s now at IP address: 192.168.100.1  <- note the different network number. You will need to manually set your laptop IP address to be something like   192.168.100.25)

NB: Bridging the Cisco router will not prevent your telephone from working as confirmed by comments below (Thanks Graeme & Paddy).

Step 2.1 – the extra step to enable bridging on older Cisco firmware

Only do this step if the option is not present on your epc3925. (If you have recently done a ‘hard’ reset on your Cisco box – please allow UPC time to update it.)
Follow the  instructions here to enable the bridging option on the Cisco:  http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056758726

Use Opera (it’s the best for this). Once visible jump back to Step 2.

Note: Because the administration pages are just HTML at the end of the day, the ability to put the Cisco box into bridge mode hasn’t been disabled – The settings have just been hidden and the workaround allows us to see the setting again. 

 

Step 3 Connecting the Asus to the Cisco

Disconnect your laptop from the Cisco box but leave the cable plugged into Port 1 of the Cisco box.
Connect the cable that’s plugged into Port 1 of the Cisco box into the WAN port (  Blue ) of the Asus RT-N16
Power up the Asus.

Step 4 Connect the Laptop to the Asus

Connect the laptop to the Asus with another Ethernet cable. Use Port 1 (yellow port) on the Asus to connect the laptop.

On the laptop using a web browser go to http://192.168.1.1

If you need to upgrade firmware,  download from here and unzip the file. You should have a single .trx file  use this for the upgrade. Mine was old so I upgraded to 3.0.0.4.260 – the latest beta has Wake-on-LAN.  (Make sure nothing else is plugged in if upgrading. Use the Asus control panel to upload the .trx file. After a reboot you should see the new control panel. The upgrade is worth it!). Let the ASUS reboot.

You should now have the Asus dashboard.

If it’s the first time to use the Asus – follow the instructions on the Asus Quick Internet Setup wizard to setup your internet connection.

I found the wizard to be great – it did everything and the whole house was back up and running when completed.

I used the wireless network name SSID, security type and password from the Cisco (noted from Step 1) as the wireless name and password on the Asus. This mean’t I didn’t have to setup all the other devices again.
At this point you’re done. The Cisco is bridged and the Asus is now doing all the work with ease. No more bad WiFi or dropping of connection.

I disconnected the cable from the laptop  to the Asus and used the wireless connection instead.

If you have devices that connect via ethernet cables plug them into the yellow ports on the Asus.. Nothing (except the one ethernet cable going to the Asus WAN port) should be plugged into the Cisco.

 

Super Wifi Bonus Step – WindSurfer Antenna

Need to boost your wifi even more!? No problem. Use the windSurfer antenna.

Grab the stencil here print it out on stiff card, cover in tinfoil and cut out.

More video instructions here:

Extra info: Reversing the bridge mode

With the Cisco box in bridge mode it takes the IP address of 192.168.100.1
If you need to connect to it and want to reverse the bridge mode you need to do following
Disconnect the Asus router.
Reboot the Cisco.
Manually set the ip address of the laptop to be 192.168.100.50 (Note: 50 is not important it just shouldn’t be 0, 1 or 100 or greater than 255)
Connect laptop to the Cisco via port 1
In a web browser connect to http://192.168.100.1
Login with your usual username / password
Head over to Administration > Management and you should see the option to put it into router mode again.
Select ‘Router Mode’ save settings, the box will reboot and work as originally set.
Remember to undo the ‘manual setting’ of your laptop.

 

Something Funny with Digiwebs Latest ‘Offer’

When the tags ‘Great News’ and  ‘Christmas has come early’ are used in an email from your broadband provider you think… well this must be some fantastic news, something to get excited about !

If you are with Digiweb and using the Metro service you’d be wrong. Here is the advert

The package I was on was 35 yoyos a month for 6Mb, 30gig cap (which is reasonably priced – except for the cap, which sucks). So the advertisement leads me to believe I’m being upgraded to 8Mb (but with the 30gig cap).. yahoo! BUT WAIT! I read the small print – I have to pay an extra 5 euros for this.

If I continue paying the same price, 35 euros, my equivalent package is DOWNGRADED to 5Mb with a 20gig cap.  – so how is my current Metro Broadband “got faster”?

Digiweb, you’ve been great – I’ve even blogged how great you were in the past – but this is pushing me to change as soon as I can.

I am not alone on this either.