Bypassing needless CenturyLink Wireless Router on Gigabit Fiber

What's missing? The CentryLink C2000T!
What’s missing? The CenturyLink C2000T! (Pictured: CenturyLink Optical Network Terminator (ONT) [left], CyberPower Battery UPS [center], Netgear Nighthawk R7000 [right])
My home recently got upgraded with CenturyLink’s gigabit fiber service, which is pretty damn great. As part of the installation, they run fiber optic cable into your home which terminates at a Optical Network Terminator (ONT), which is essentially a Fiber-to-Ethernet modem. By default, CenturyLink will also install their own wireless router in your home because (a) most people need a wireless router and (b) they can make you pay $8/month for the device (or $100 once to buy it from them).

I’m interested in neither of those options, so I learned how to remove the needless extra device from the mix. I’m happy with this setup because it saves me a watt or two of power at the wall plug, and it removes one more thing that could fail/need to be rebooted.

Here’s how I removed the CentryLink C2000T from my home networking setup…

Assumptions

Part 1: Transparent Bridging

The first step is to get the Netgear Nighthawk doing the internet login. If this step doesn’t work, you can’t remove the C2000T. This is done by putting the C2000T into Transparent Bridging mode and then setting up the Netgear router to do the login.

Step A:
Call CentryLink and obtain your PPPoE login credentials. This is the username/password that your router uses to log you onto their internet. The C2000T has this username/password saved in it’s settings already, and you’re going to need this to get your Netgear router logged into the internet.

Step B:
Follow these instructions to set up Transparent Bridging on the C2000T. Basically you:

  1. Log into the C2000T (likely at http://192.168.0.1)
  2. Navigate to Advanced SetupWAN Settings
  3. Change “ISP Protocol” to “Transparent Bridging”
  4. Click “Apply”
Change “ISP Protocol” to “Transparent Bridging”

Step C:
Setup your Netgear Nighthawk to perform the internet PPPoE login:

  1. Login to your Netgear Nighthawk (likely at http://www.routerlogin.net/)
  2. Navigate to the Advanced Tab > SetupInternet Setup
  3. Change “Does your internet setup require login?” to “Yes”
  4. Use the information from Step A to fill in the “Login” and “Password”. All other settings can stay the same.
  5. Click “Apply”.
Update your router’s login type and credentials.

For good measure, you should probably turn everything off, wait a few seconds, and turn them on again. You should have working internet after everything reboots. If you don’t, don’t move on to the next step until you’ve resolved the issue.

Part 2: Removing the C2000T

The last thing you need to do before removing the C2000T is to set the VLAN settings on the Netgear Nighthawk. This is because CentryLink uses VLAN settings that aren’t the same as the default on the router. (This is where the Nighthawk is such a great device… most routers don’t have these settings available to users to adjust.)

Tip: Make sure to upgrade the router’s firmware to the most recent software… the settings below are only available in the most recent updates.

Step A:

  1. Log back into your Netgear Nighthawk
  2. Navigate to the Advanced Tab > Advanced SetupVLAN / Bridge Settings
  3. Check the “Enable VLAN / Bridge Setup” box.
  4. Select “Enable VLAN Tag” if it’s not already selected.
  5. Select the radio button next to the “Internet” row in the table and click “Edit”
  6. Change the VLAN ID to “201” (it was probably set to “10”)
  7. Save the settings and “Apply”
Set the router’s VLAN configuration to match CenturyLink’s VLAN ID

At this point, you probably just lost internet… but that’s okay…

Step B:
Finally, the last step is to disconnect the C2000T and wire the Netgear Router directly into the ONT.

IMPORTANT: Make absolutely sure you plug the Netgear Nighthawk router into the same port as the C2000T was plugged into on the ONT. Only one port of your ONT is set up to work – no other port will do.

Conclusion

I hope that works for you. It took me a bit of searching to figure out how to do this, so I thought I’d pass this along. Some sources that were helpful to me:

Update 11/13/2015

  • Lots of folks have commented that they can’t get the full gigabit speeds with this configuration on the Nighthawk router.
    • 450Mbps appears to be the max on the Netgear Firmware for the R7000.
      • I’m only paying for 40 Mbps up and 20 Mbps down, and I easily get those speeds with this configuration.
    • Richard (in the comments below) was able to get 900+Mbps up/down using an ASUS RT-AC87 router with the ASUSWRT-MERLIN firmware.  Although others have said they haven’t been able to repeat that success entirely. YMMV.
    • Take a look through the comments to see how others have configured their networks to try.
  • Prism (TV) can be set up to work in this configuration. I don’t have Prism myself, but others in the comments have gotten to work
    • On ASUS routers with these settings: http://i.imgur.com/vfBqOJj.png (thanks, Dylan!)
    • On the R7000, by making sure WAN Setup > Disable IGMP proxying is not set. (thanks, Steven!)

359 thoughts on “Bypassing needless CenturyLink Wireless Router on Gigabit Fiber”

  1. Hey guys I was using the Asus RT-AC5300, but had some issues and since I bought it at Fry’s with the killer warranty I took it back with every intention to get the GT-AC5300 but I let that little guy talk me into another Netgear Nightmare Nighthawk. Third one and I have come to the conclusion these things suck. My first one was the X8, spent 6 hours in the phone with this rep named Mary real nice she even stiffeled the Centruylink rep, but there was no way that thing was going to work. I used a smart switch and tagged it with the 201 but still nothing so I took it back got the X4S oh my gosh that thing looked pretty but that is as far as it went then I got the RT-AC5300 and that thing connected without the help of Merlins Firmware and was pulling down 920 and pushing out 930 but something happened to it and I got it with Fry’s warranty and the guy talked me into the X10 nighthawk 4 hours on the phone and I wrapped it up went back to Fry’s and got the GT-AC5300 8 ports of pure love. 965up 980 down are my best and no bridging required.
    Joe
    Now to get the IPV6

    1. Yeah, I am over those overly finicky and way over priced eyesores that Asus sells. They seriously must be striving for the ugliest router award, and they are winning. Of course most of these routers attract everyone with MOR ANTENNA! Its the razor blade game, more is better…right?!? HA

  2. Hey,
    It may look like a spider but it is in a closet covers the whole 2,400 sgft and I am using stock firmware and on my gaming rig I have teaming setup and I still have two ports free.

  3. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS TUTORIAL! It worked flawlessly for me. I DID set the “Connection Mode” under the R7000’s “Internet Setup” page to “Always On” rather than “Dial on Demand”, and that appears to have worked just fine. I’ll comment if it becomes an issue.

    Also I can confirm that this is maxing my wired speeds out at just over 400Mbps, but my equipment is set up in a place where nothing’s wired in anyway and the wireless signals I’m getting from the R7000 are way better and faster than what the Zynix C2100Z that Centurylink gave me was pushing. For the time being, I think 400Mbps will be sufficient. Hopefully. ;)

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