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!)

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

  1. Thanks this worked for me on. Netgear 7900. Removed the ZyXel / Century Link 3000Z. I had to reset and reboot a few times while I was doing the config.
    The key is to make sure you get internet working on the netgear when it is connected to the Centurylink modem.

  2. Hooked my Asus ac68u directly to the Centurylink Ont. Internet worked with no modifications to the asus router. I do only get about 500MB downloads with testing from speedtest.net

  3. Glad I ran into this post. Kinda a semi-novice with networking, but when I noticed that my centurylink modem was hooked to the internet via the wan/lan port rather than the DSL, it got me thinking that it was not doing anything that special that my Orbi router couldn’t do on its own. Managed to get as far as bridge mode, but I had no idea about the vlan, so thanks for clearing up that road block!

    A comment above mentioned a possible need for a switch to get the vlan working correct (and especially if you have a router that doesn’t support the option in the first place). In my case, it wasn’t necessary. I just followed the original directions exactly…. and then power-cycled both my new router and the Optical Network Terminal… maybe I just didn’t wait long enough, but it seemed like it wasn’t working until I did the power cycle, then it was good to go.

    I also only subscribe to a 40 mbps connection, so I’m not sure if I have any of the reduced speed issues others with higher bandwidth connections were having… but
    the connection statistics currently lists the WAN at 1000M/Full, so I’m guessing that’s a good sign.

    My router is an Orbi RBR20. the optical network terminal that’s installed by the circuit breaker is a Calix 711GE

  4. This is pretty much the same setup I had CenturyLink provider, C2000T ActionTec, Netgear Nighthawk R7000 worked like a charm and used it for a few years.

    Now I have a Linksys AC2200 router that allows me to set the VLAN tag and voila back in service!

    It’s always good to keep that CenturyLink provider, C2000T ActionTec around for troubleshooting if needed IMHO.

  5. Anyone ever figure out why the Nighthawk (R8000) cannot do above 450 Mb transfer speeds? I have 1000 Mb service and it gets lost in the Nighthawk.

  6. Just got CenturyLink gigabit GPON service today. Saw speeds of 875/700mpbs with the supplied centurylink modem when the installer installed it, but, while I’m able to connect with vlan201 and ppoe from my pfsense box, I’m only getting 60/5mbps with that hardare. Sucks because the installer took the modem back with him.

    I don’t see any rate limiting in my pfsense config. Anybody else seen centurylink rate limit by mac address or anything?

    1. Billm, you don’t mention any detail on what hardware you are running pfSense on, the hardware makes all the difference and pfSense takes a lot more hardware to match these low cost custom hardware routers like Mikrotik or Ubiquiti.

  7. Hardware is a net gate sg-2440. It turns out I had an old rate limiter til still in my config.

    Getting rid of that got me up to about 450/450. Some kernel tuning got me a bit further, and further still by enabling powerD and string to maximum. I’m now getting about 775/775. This close to but not quite as good as the CL supplied box. Then again I don’t know if that was tested with nat or what.

  8. Thank you – used your post to setup centurylink fiber on Nighthawk X10 R9000. Cannot get speed above 200/100 Mbps – will continue digging.

    1. You are testing with hardwired gigabit connection, right? Do you have any QoS settings enabled? Is the R9000 brand new, or was it previously used on another connection? You might try starting with a factory reset and making sure the firmware is up to date.

      It is fully possible that the R9000 sucks for PPPoE, as many routers do…but I would expect it to be better than 200mbps. I have no experience with the R9000, though it doesn’t appear you should ever expect more than ~740mbps out of it (which is laughable for a device that claims to have 10Gig support).

  9. Anyone here use a Ubiquiti USG and have APs? CenturyLink 1gig service, ONT>Zyxel 3000z>USG>8 port switch> then APs or wired connections. If I can get rid of the Zyxel I’m still within the return period and could save some bucks. Can anyone help me?

  10. Worked on an Linksys EA8500. However I couldn’t connect to Internet with the Transparent Bridging on the C2100T. Had to do the manual cable swap before it worked with the Linksys. I freaked out for a bit, but all’s well that ends well.

    Thanks,

  11. I installed CL 1Gig Fiber last year and hard connection doesn’t exceed 650mbps. Not really concerned there but my wifi is all over the place ranging from 1mbps to 250mbps. It’s a constant roller coaster and even drops connection from time to time. CL tech states this is a wifi issue and they don’t guarantee wifi speeds. Why would signal be constantly changing?

    I remember trying to use my Nighthawk R7000 AC 1900 router but speeds were limited.

  12. I’m wondering if anyone else has tried this with the new Nighthawk RAX40? I just got one and CL doesn’t seem to want to push an IP or DNS address to the router. I have used my PPPoE creds they gave me, and done all the steps but as soon as I change the internet connection type from no to yes, i get no internet… even after changing the VLAN tag still nothing. I’m about done with the new hardware and about ready to return it for a different model that is known to work.

    1. I have the same problem as Nick. Brand new RAX35. I can get it to work it bridged mode, but when I set the VLAN tagging and try to bypass the CL device it is unable to negotiate an IP or DNS settings from CLink. I’ve double and triple checked my PPPoE username and password, and like I said it works on bridged mode.

      1. I’m not sure about the RAX35 UI, but the Netgear 7960 UI for VLAN settings requires you to add the VLAN ID and then click the green Apply button separately. If you don’t do that, it will look like the VLAN ID has been added when it actually hasn’t. Maybe try that?

        1. It is as you described, which I did notice after some time. I enabled the added VLAN but sadly it’s still not working.

          1. Jesse, what firmware version are you running? I was able to get my RAX40 connected and stable for quite some time. However, everytime I had to reboot the router I had to power cycle the ONT. I just recently updated the firmware (on 1/3/20) to the latest version and now my ONT will not connect again. After spending hours with 2 CL service techs in my home yesterday, their solution was to give me their “modem” again. I still believe the issue lies in what hardware the ONT will connect to and not necessarily the Nighthawk itself.

    2. I’ve had no luck trying to get the Netgear AX8 working (I’ve set up several Netgear modems successfully in the past). Had to go back to my older non-wifi 6 Nighthawk.

      Any suggestions for compatible wifi 6 routers that are non-mesh?

      1. I’ve had good luck with various Asus routers, but would only recommend them if you run the MerlinWRT firmware on them (which is available on most of their mainstream routers). Asus themselves tend to break the firmware on a regular basis. :(

  13. I have gig internet with Century Link and a tp link c9. When trying to do the vlan it is asking me for the ip vlan phone as well. SHould I just keep that blank?

  14. Thanks for this. It worked perfectly for me using an R7800. Like Jeremy, I had to actually remove the CL device from my network and set the VLAN Id on the Netgear before the internet actually worked.

  15. These instructions worked perfectly for me using an ASUS RT-AC86U and C3000Z CenturyLink modem, the extra ASUS tip was a real help (http://i.imgur.com/vfBqOJj.png).

    I just plugged in the settings and all I had to do was restart my router once — didn’t even need to restart the ONT

  16. Hi, has anyone in this thread had any success using Tomato Router [FreshTomato Firmware 2019.2 K26ARM USB AIO-64K], running on Netgear R7000.
    I currently get 832MBps down / 930MBps up which is awesome with the CL modem/router inline in transparent mode, I was wanting to remove that point of failure.
    Steps I attempted:
    On tomato router under VLAN:
    Note the Netgear R7000 is already doing PPPoE login successfully.
    I set WAN VID (vlan id) from 2 to 201, the router asks to restart, https://imgur.com/MFeYETC, upon restart I remove CL modem/router and direct connect R7000 WAN to the same port on Fibre media converter.
    The R7000 reports PPPoE as constantly trying to reconnect, does not successfully authenticate.
    Does CL use some sort of MAC address filtering, ie. need to ring them up to allow the R7000 WAN mac?

    1. solved it myself…. stupid mistake… needed to tick ‘tagged=on’, in addition to ‘201’ VID, missed that option. Works great now, with CL modem/router removed.

    2. You sure you’re getting MBps as oppose to Mbps? ;-) The capital B is significant in the parlance of transfer rate specs… If so, I want me some of that 8Gb fiber.

  17. Thanks for this guide, used it a few years back when I first got rid of their router! Worked great until I updated my services. In Omaha, I originally had PrismTV and Gigabit service. This ran on my ASUS AC3100 by simply setting the VLAN to 201 and nothing else really needed changed. Then I dropped PrismTV and couldn’t get the internet to work all day today. I called the internet repair number and they told me that it gets switched to PPPoE. Input that and it worked great!

  18. I’m hoping that someone in the comments here can help out. I have a CenturyLink 940/940 fiber connection with a Netgear X6S AC3600 router that I got from Costco. With a wired connection, I get the full bandwidth, but on wireless I get maybe half that, even when I’m near the router. Here’s the odd thing: with our old Xfinity connection, I would get faster download speeds consistently, so I know the router is (was?) capable of faster wireless speeds. Anyone have any ideas or similar experiences? Thanks!

    1. Chasing full gigabit on wireless is a fool’s exercise, it is not practical or possible…and you likely have zero use cases that require it, so why waste the time? Most use cases don’t need anywhere close to 100megabits, so if you get 100megabits wireless consider it more than adequate.

      It is impossible for anyone to troubleshoot why wireless is “slow” and it has nothing to do with the Internet service, so you will need to look at groups and discussions specific to your piece of hardware…if that is your router or your client hardware. Without having RF reports for your environment there is an infinite number of variables, it could be that your channel selection is bad…and if you are in an even remotely urban environment, expecting to use 80MHz channels reliably is laughable and just makes WiFi bad for you and your neighbors.

      Sorry to be blunt, but that is reality.

      1. A suggestion: when you have to type “Sorry to be blunt”, maybe take a moment to consider whether or not you needed to be “blunt”, though in this case I think the word that’s more appropriate is “rude”. Why not try to be helpful instead? If you feel like you can’t be helpful, maybe don’t say anything?

        I have asked this question on various places on the Internet and have yet to get an answer that actually addresses it in a meaningful way, so I asked my question here because that I thought someone in these comments could help. The core part of this question has to do with why Internet service from one provider (in this case CenturyLink) would have different wifi speeds than service from another provider (Xfinity) despite having the same router set up in the same physical location. The only thing that has changed is the Internet provider. This shouldn’t make a difference but for whatever reason it does.

        You may not have a reason for needing over 100 mbps, but other people out there (for example, those who regularly need to upload and download very large files) do.

        So if you have an idea why wifi speeds would be different from one provider to another with the same hardware, I would love to hear it! Thanks for taking the time to consider the question.

        1. Jason, WiFi will never match wired Ethernet. There are many reasons not the least of which WiFi is half duplex while Ethernet is full duplex. There are also reductions in speed due to overhead in the wireless protocols, interference, user devices not matching the same specifications, etc.
          This means that actual WiFi throughput will always be less than half of the advertised speed. Marketers routinely advertise the full theoretical throughput. Buyers need to understand that actual throughput will always always be less than half of the advertised speed.
          See this excellent explaination: http://liveqos.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Why-Your-WiFi-Doesnt-Deliver.pdf

          1. Hi John,

            Thanks for the reply and the link. My concern is not about my *absolute* wifi speeds and more about *relative* wifi speeds: with the same router in the same physical location and same configuration and the same laptop, my wifi download speeds are slower with CenturyLink than they were with Xfinity. I am trying to understand why this might be so. With Xfinity, my wifi download speeds maxed out at 470 mbps. With CenturyLink, I’m getting around 320 mbps.

  19. Lots of possibilities. The change in provider is not the issue if the wired speed are similar.
    Any chance there are recently added neighboring access points, baby monitors, tv sound bars, etc, etc. in the area that might be causing additional interference? Netspot or competing software will diagnose the neighboring WiFi AP issue. An RF spectral analyzer will be require to find other devices.
    Has a recent firmware update on the access point or client device slowed the throughput?
    You need to work through all the possibilities listed in the PDF.

    1. The CenturyLink connection is a 940 down. The Xfinity connection was rated at 400 down but I would regularly get 470. (This sort of “extra bandwidth” was always typical with my Xfinity connections.) I would get the same speeds wired as wireless with the Xfinity connection.

      I literally tested the two connections one after the other, multiple times, as they were hooked up concurrently before I canceled the Xfinity connection and got the same results each time so I am doubtful that it’s interference from another device.

  20. The Xfinity and CenturyLink WAN connections are NOT the same configurations. One is DHCP and the other is PPPoE across a VLAN. My guess your Netgear router is not handling the new connection as efficiently.

    1. I thought that, too! But my wired connection through the router gets the full bandwidth, around or over 900 mbps consistently. I figured if it was the PPPoE+VLAN then the wired connection would see a similar performance hit but it doesn’t.

  21. Appreciate the overview! Am about to have Centurylink Fiber service installed. Wondering if you have heard of or had success yourself replacing the provided ONT with a Ubiquiti Ufiber Nano G? Reasoning for using the Ufiber device is that it runs on POE so I don’t need to run power to my preferred ONT location.

    1. I just saw your comment. I have never read of anyone replacing the ONT itself…If this works for you I would love to know. All the instructions/tips/troubleshooting(including the original post) I have read on here are for replacing the the router itself(and what really gives you more control over your home network) and plugging it into the ONT that Centurlink provides(BTW I have had Centurylink fiber installed at 4 separate locations around Portland, OR and have ad a few different ONTs, but all of them have been basically 2-4 port boxes that require a separate power supply and only have one port activated(although I did have two separate installs/accounts at one location that share the same ONT but were activated on different ports of the ONT) – Not sure if replacing the ONT would “just work” but very curious to find out.

    2. Why would you even want to replace the ONT? I doubt Century Link is going to even remotely entertain that idea, there is just too much that can go wrong with a “foreign” (not owned by them) device in the L1 path. Further they are using the Calix solution which works with a Calix ONT to provide more complex management options AND it must support voice, as they are a telephony provider. Any address they deliver IP to must also support telephony, and the alternate devices you mention do not.

      Really, there is zero value in replacing the ONT beyond the power delivery…but then anytime you had an outage they would point the fingers at your device first, and troubleshooting would be an endless nightmare forcing you to have a spare on hand at all times to prove the hardware hadn’t failed.

    3. You could just get a POE injector and put it anywhere in line with the Ethernet cable run. They’re cheap and easy to replace should your requirements change, unlike the ONT.

  22. I am using custom firmware on an ASUS rt-n56u. I successfully bypassed the router in my setup using my PPPoE credentials but I am wondering if this is a fluke. I tried starting fresh with everything unplugged and I lost outside connection.

    Can it be the case where the initial setup uses the CenturyLink router to login and subsequently bypassing the router is fine? I am a bit nervous to do any more testing this week. How often are the PPPoE credentials processed by the network?

    Also I came in at the 500/500 cap as well. I do not see CTF under any options in my router’s GUI. Is this a new-ish feature in networking? My firmware build is a bit old and I could pull the repo again to check for changes.

  23. I have CLink 1gb/1gb shared symmetricsl fiber and using the settings above on my Netgear 7900P works great. Tests at full 980/980mb/s.

    Thanks!

  24. Low tech dude needs help. Having CenturyLink fiber gigabit installed at my new house in Las Vegas. CL claims max down/up speed up to 940 Mbps w/wired connection. CL is providing a free modem/router combo but I would like to maximize the WIFI signal throughout the 2300 SQFT two story house. A Best Buy kid told me that I might not need a modem with the fiber internet, just a router, and I’m not sure if that is accurate. If that is accurate and I only need a router, my plan is to have a quality router or mesh router in hand once the install tech arrives at my house with the hope that he will help set it up. My questions are, is there a quality router that anyone would suggest that would be compatible with my CL fiber, I need it to cover the WIFI throughout the entire 2300 SQFT two story house? Do I need a mesh router or will a quality single router do the job? My max budget is $285 for a router or mesh router. Any help regarding a specific brand/model would be greatly appreciated!

    1. So a few things:
      * The “modem” for fiber is provided by Centurylink, and is called an ONT. It will be mounted to your wall where the fiber optics terminate in your home, and is effectively non-replaceable.
      * They also provide a router (an external device that connects via wire Ethernet to the ONT), and you should try it out before you buy something else to see if it meets your needs.
      * There’s really no way for us to know what your wifi needs are going to be. Square footage doesn’t mean a lot – number of walls, their construction materials, other devices in your home, the number of devices connecting to the network, and a lot of other factors come into play a lot more, and there’s no way for us to tell you how much.

  25. I have CL 1gb, but have never received anything close to that with wired connection. The most I get is 200mbps. I get better speeds with WiFi sometimes 350mbps. I’ve called CL had techs come to my house, no one has a solution. Any help is appreciated. Thanks

    1. First thing that springs to mind is cable quality. Do you get 1gbit (approximately 112 megabytes per second) with the same cable between two computers through the router?

      1. Thanks for the reply, no I don’t get 1gb through the router. I use the CL c3000z they gave me. I’ve never received fast speeds.

  26. If you can’t get 1gbit from PC to PC, it’s either the cables, or the router – most likely the former, since a gigabit switch is a pretty simple beast at this point. I’d try some different cables – at least Cat5 certified, Cat6 if you have them. If that doesn’t work, you would need to call CL and have them swap your router.

    1. I might be misunderstanding what you’re asking. The c3000z is a new modem they sent me. The other one was slow too. I used the cat6 cable they sent with the router. I don’t use the router they sent for anything but a go between. I connect a cat5e cable to there device and feed it through my walls to my AirPort Extreme which I use for my WiFi. I hooked in my laptop when I got the c3000z with the cat6 cable and I only get 100-200 mbps. While my AirPort Extreme gets 300-350 mbps. My apologies for any confusion on my end.

      1. If you plug directly into the c3000z with a cat6 and it’s 200, but the connection is 350, then it’s either the cable you used or your laptop, since you should at least be getting the same speed both ways. As for the 350 on wireless, the absolute newest your airport extreme could be is 7 years old, so that may be the most it can give.

  27. Do I need a working modem in hand to set up a router directly connected to ONT?
    Our CL C2100T modem/router just died…according to their tech support. Power light on front panel endlessly flashes green, with no other activity despite power-cycling about 20 times, and cycling ONT 4 times, with all options on CL end exhausted.
    Now out of warranty (purchased from CL when we signed up for gig fiber late 2018, Argay neighborhood of Portland Oregon).
    Learning about options now, I’m a noob to IT, and hoping to get a new router and skip the redundant modem hardware.
    Previously our wired down was between 550-850Mbps and up was similar. Wireless approx. 100-250Mbps (within 20′ line of sight).
    I’d like to upgrade the wireless without purchasing a CL-approved or other modem simply for the transparent bridging step. Is this possible?

    1. There is a lot of advice on the comments here and at effndc’s blog (https://effndc.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/functional-home-gigabit-with-century-link/) that will help you find the right solution. For me, also in Portland, I am using an Asus RT-AC-88U with the custom Merlin firmware. Do you already know your PPPoE login and password? The two things that you need are the ability to authenticate using those PPPoE credentials and the ability to use VLAN tag 201 (if memory serves). Some routers can do one but not the other and I know other folks on here have purchased a cheap Gigabit switch to take care of the VLAN tag portion which sits in between their ONT and the router (I believe most routers can do the PPPoE authentication). Read through this blog and effndc’s and you should be pretty close to a solution without using any crappy CenturyLink hardware.

    2. You don’t need anything other than any router that supports PPPoE and VLAN tagging. You should then be able to get the PPPoE username and password from CTL to configure the new router. They do not support you setting up a router not purchased from them though, so you are on your own to get it right.

      I have a CTL modem/router they forced me to buy that I would sell for super cheap. I’m near Lloyd Center.

      1. Thank you for a rapid reply effndc! I’d be happy to take it off your hands, since I’m not super confident I can quickly set up my own ‘upgrade’ router correctly. Then I can have a backup that is likely to work in case I can’t figure it out.
        I could pick up today most any time, or tomorrow after 4:15pm just let me know…
        nice.bikes.co (at) (gmail dot com)

  28. Hello Everyone, I am curious as to a recommendation for my situation. I have CL gigabit fiber services (940 Mbps) and I am looking to replace my aging Apple Airport router with one that would allow for the closest speeds matching the CL listed speeds. I also want to get rid of the rented router that is just a throughput right now with my Apple WR. My needs are home family wireless access, many devices throughout the home connected, mobile phones, and tablets. I do have cat5 cabling going from my Apple WR down to my office where I have a gigabit switch installed for multiple computer wired connections. We have several Playstations in the house but we are not avid gamers. I am looking for suggestions on what to get. I am pretty tech savvy and can manage the setups that I have been reading about. Thanks for the suggestions in advance!

    1. I would start at https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/ to get the lay of the land. They have pretty much the most comprehensive router testing out there at this point, and their charts section will tell you what’s fastest and most recommended. Personally I am fond of Asus routers (the RT-xxx ones, NOT the GT-xxx ones) and running Merlin firmware on them, but there will be varying opinions on that. I am also not a big fan of mesh networking unless you really know what you are doing, as coming from an IT professional standpoint they tend to cause more problems than they solve in most homes.

      Network choices don’t end with “what router should I get”, though – there are a lot of things to factor in like the number of devices you have, how far away they are, what the walls and floors are like between you and the target, etc. Getting a good, powerful router to the center of your home is a good starting place, though. I am not quite ready to say “definitely get WiFi6” yet, but if you are looking at spending a good chunk of change anyway and want future proofing, you might want to consider it anyway.

  29. I’m trying to set this up with a Netgear R7500v2(latest firmware), and have had a pretty consistent problem. After setting VLAN ID to 201 and applying the setting, it doesn’t ‘stick’. It reverts to 10 (the default). Any advice would be appreciated.

  30. I’m getting 500-750 Up/Down (depending on speedtest.net server) using a Ubiquiti Amplifi Mesh system (WiFi6). The Amplifi is handling all the PPPoE and VLAN Tagging.

    It’s not perfect but it’s better that the Google OnHub (TP-Link). TheOnHub doesn’t do VLAN Taging, so I had been using a Netgear managed switch to handle the VLAN Tagging. With the Google OnHub I was only getting around 250 Mbps U/D.

    I’ve been turned off from the Netgear routers due their recent terrible firmwares that required almost daily power cycles.

    I’m not even sure if i care that I’m not getting the full 940 Mbps. Its still blazing fast and none of my devices seem to be hurting for speed,

    1. Matt, I saw your above comment and just purchased AmpliFi Gamer’s Edition WiFi System by Ubiquiti (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KTQKLW2) to use with my CL fiber connection and hopefully circumvent the Zycel c3000z that I currently have which gives me only an avg of 150/250 Mbps D/U. I am assuming you just followed instructions as listed in the original post above? Can you please confirm that? Eventually in your setup is Amplifi directly connected to the ONT or using the CL modem as a bridge?

      1. Ravi, I have the Amplifi HD system (prior generation) to yours.
        I was able to remove the C3000Z and place the Amplifi router in its place. Be sure to put your PPPoE credentials in the Amplifi router and be sure to enable Vlan 201 tag also. If you don’t already have the PPPoE creds, just call or chat Centurylink, they will give them to you. I have noticed I am not getting my full speeds anymore (940 up/down) they are around 700’s now. I may place the C3000Z back in and configure it to “Transparent Bridge” mode if the slower speeds brother me.

  31. Hello. I am also in Portland. I just recently installed CL and also would like to use my own router.

    I may get crap for this, but I’d like to use my Nest/Google WiFi. I tried to get a really nice router, but none will penetrate the brick walls of our very small ranch ;).

    Here is my issue. First, I’m not technically saavy, but have read enough to know I need to do one of two things. 1) either put the supplied C3000Z into “transparent bridge” mode to use my router or get a switch to handle VLAN tagging since the nest system will not do that.

    I was literally on the phone with CL and Google yesterday for over 5 hours (we conferenced in) and at the end we could not get the CL modem/router to work in bridge mode (even though it should).

    I ordered a switch and will attempt to install that to handle the VLAN tagging but honestly would love to figure out why I can make the CL device work in transparent bridge mode.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

    1. II had one of the C3000Z’s from CL for about a day and was able to get it going in bridge mode. I think the problem you’re running into is that ( if I recall correctly) even in bridge mode you still have to do the VLAN201 tagging on your equipment. I ended up returning the C3000Z for just that reason. Also it wasn’t any faster.

      Fun anecdote- I spent several hours on the phone with CL last week too and finally got them to refund the $150 they charged me for the C3000Z which I returned in December 2018! Of course the time I spent on this over the last 2 years no doubt cost me more than the $150 they refunded, but still, I WON AGAINST THE PHONE COMPANY!!!!!!

      1. Bill.
        Thanks for the reply. If I am understanding you correctly, you are saying the C3000Z will not do VLAN tagging? My router is not capable of that so if that is the case, I will need to find a way to have that done otherwise.

        -blake

        1. My recollection is that it does the vlan tagging in router mode, but as soon as you set it in bridge mode the tagging becomes the responsibility of your equipment.

        2. Blake. Did you have any luck using a switch. Which switch did you buy and how did you set up your Nest router?
          I also tried putting the C3000z in bridge mode with CL and spent hours on the phone but couldn’t get the internet to connect to my Nest router. Any details you can share would be appreciated.

          1. Rustin,

            So I have the switch but have not used it yet. Someone recommended another solution and is doing “DMZ hosting” which has worked.

            Here is the solution….

            Visit the CenturyLink modem configuration page.

            Click on Modem Status / Wireless Status. You will see whether your wireless radios are enabled.

            If you are using Google Wifi with this set up, it is recommended that you disable the Century Links wireless router radios to prevent wireless signal issues..

            Depending on your router model, you will need to disable both 2.4ghz and/or 5ghz radios.

            To disable the radios, visit the wireless set up and disable each of the radios (2.4ghz and/or 5ghz radios).

            DMZ Configuration –

            To place your Google Wifi on DMZ, do the following:

            Open the Google Wifi app.
            Click on Wifi Points.
            Click on the gear towards the top.
            Click on your primary google puck.
            Note the IP address.

            On the CenturyLink page, Go to Advanced Set up.
            Go to the bottom under the Security section and click on DMZ Hosting.
            Click on Enable.
            On the drop down, you will see the option – Manually Enter IP Address.
            Click on the drop down and you may see an unknown address. It should match you wifi address that you noted above.

            If it matches, select it and hit apply.
            If it does not match, select manually enter and enter the main google wifi address that you noted above and click on apply.

            Done.

            1. Thanks Blake,
              I didn’t see any difference in speed when turning on DMZ. What kind of speed changes did you see?

              I have Century Link 1 gig service. With ethernet connected to the modem, I get 700/900. When I connect by ethernet to my Nest Router in only get 500/130. Over Wifi I only see 120/100 when stading next to the router. And this is after turning off the CL Router’s wifi and turning on DMZ.

              Google says the problem is a double NAT and I need to set my CL Modem in bridge mode, but when I do I can’t connect to the internet, even when on the phone with Century Link. I’ve tried different CAT 6 cables as well.

              I think I will try ordering a switch and see if I can bypass the CL modem all together. My luck, I have a bad router . Does anyone have a recommendation on the best switch witha decent interface? I am leaning towards the Netgear 5 port Gig Managed Plus Switch.

              https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Gigabit-Lifetime-Protection-GS105Ev2/dp/B00HGLVZLY?th=1

              1. Rustin,

                I could not get my setup to work at all while trying to put the CL modem/router into “bridge mode”. I am averaging 300 up/down on WiFi using the setup I mentioned.

                I do have a switch and might play around with it, but since the current setup is working, it makes me nervous to mess with it. I spent an entire day just trying to get it to work in the first place.

                Will be interested to hear about your progress with the switch. Maybe it will help motivate me to try mine.

                I ended up purchasing the Netgear 5-port managed smart switch advertised on amazon, but it still in the box. Let us know how it’s going…

  32. I have tried to set up my nighthawk router as indicated but I cannot get the netgear network to open. I keep getting a “no internet” message. That prevents me from accomplishing part 1 step c above. In other words, once I set the century link router to transparent bridging, I have no internet. Help!

    1. Joe,

      Do a hard reset of the CL router/modem by sticking a pin in the small hole in the back for five seconds or so.

      Then set up your router using the DMZ method (at least to get it going.)

      Here are the instructions. On a computer go to 192.168.0.1

      Use the router sign in they gave you on the sticker.

      Then do the following.

      This was for my router specifically, but it should work for you too.

      This is the CenturyLink modem configuration page. (The 192 address)

      Click on Modem Status / Wireless Status. You will see whether your wireless radios are enabled.

      If you are using Your own router with this set up, it is recommended that you disable the Century Links wireless router radios to prevent wireless signal issues..

      Depending on your router model, you will need to disable both 2.4ghz and/or 5ghz radios.

      To disable the radios, visit the wireless set up and disable each of the radios (2.4ghz and/or 5ghz radios).

      DMZ Configuration –

      To place your Router on DMZ, do the following:

      Open the Router app.
      Click on Wifi Points.
      Click on the gear towards the top.
      Click on your primary google puck.
      Note the IP address.

      On the CenturyLink page, Go to Advanced Set up.
      Go to the bottom under the Security section and click on DMZ Hosting.
      Click on Enable.
      On the drop down, you will see the option – Manually Enter IP Address.
      Click on the drop down and you may see an unknown address. It should match you wifi address that you noted above.

      If it matches, select it and hit apply.
      If it does not match, select manually enter and enter the main router address that you noted above and click on apply.

      Done.

  33. just got rid of the centurylink modem and am running direct to my pfsense box which does everything and is extremely cheap as well. I use ubiquiti AP’s for wireless and everything works great off a pfsense cheapo system. Any old pc will work for it- provided it has dual intel nic’s.

  34. Is there a reason why VLAN tagging needs to be enabled for the 940/940 connection and for any less the VLAN tagging does not need to enabled? I am waiting for a new wireless router before they switch my service speed. Upgrading from a old but trust Apple Time Capsule to be able to get the higher speed/to be able to set the VLAN Tagging.

  35. My guess is that you are in DSL now and are upgrading to the fiber service. They operate differently, and if you are on DSL then you are already using a “modem” to terminate the provider network.

    1. Nope, been on fiber for 1.5 years at 40Mbps download. Upgrading to 1Gbps because same price point. My coworker upgraded and had to set router to vlan tagging.

      Just really curious to why the change/configuration is needed.

      I am not using their router. I am using my own, same as my coworker.

      1. Got my new CenturyLink service (speed upgrade) and I did not need to set VLAN tagging on my router. I am guessing that on my account, I only have internet as a service. And assuming that my co-workers have internet, voip, and iptv on their account active, but are only paying for internet only service. With these additional services activated I would guess that is requiring the VLAN tagging.

  36. So I want to go back to using the c3000z but can’t access the UI… 192.168.0.1 won’t work. Is there any way to get the router out of bridge mode?!

  37. For others out there. I tested the Nighthawk Mesh 6 (could only get about 400 mbps down (wired). I am now using the Orbi AC2200 mesh. I am able to see 750+ down and about 600 up (wired). I’m happy with this. I will mostly likely continue with this setup.

    Thanks for the tutorial and helpful comments!

  38. I have a Ubiquiti Dream Machine direct connected to the ONT. It’s a greater router and has the ability to create 4 different Wi-Fi SSIDs, separate VLANs for IoT devices, security cams etc. Firewall rule making vert simple and the router has a button for 24/7 online chat support. I’ve never seen that in a router.

  39. I have CenturyLink Fiber and TV.. my “hope” is to do the following..

    Install a Switch next to the ONT. Keep my existing CL-based WIFI network and TV setup untouched (as it works great).

    Set up a second WIFI network using one of the routers and configs mentioned above.

    Any advice on how to best do this and recommendations for a switch would be much appreciated.

    1. So, what you’re asking is a little confusing.

      If you are talking about having two routers directly connected to the ONT, then no, you can’t, at least with the base configuration from CL – they only provide one access number, so you can only “dial in” via one router at a time – despite all of the modern tech, CL still uses PPPOE, the same protocol that’s been used since the early days of DSL, and it still in essence dials a phone number to connect and then enters a username and password to connect.

      If you just want to run a separate network behind the one that you already have, all you need to do is plug one of the out ports on the CL router into the WAN port on a second router. Your second network will be unable to reach things on the first network without some jiggery-pokery on the second router and the things connected to it and some stuff on the second network will have some issues with online games and the like due to the double NAT, but it will just work if you just want it to act on its own with no special configuration required.

      1. Thanks for that clarifying detail. The dream was to split the cable at the ONT keeping the current TV/Internet setup intact and having a second network that could reach be a “normal” WIFI network and I could configure to improve coverage in our house.

        The bigger problem is that I cannot run an Ethernet cable from the existing CL router without having visible Ethernet cable run across the ceiling or floor.

        Thank you for your help!

  40. Can confirm that these instructions work with the Nighthawk MR60 Mesh Router. Getting 280 down/490 up on Wifi, and 895 down/830 up wired in Seattle.

    Oh, yeah and don’t fat-finger the VLAN tag like I did and spend an hour trying to figure out why it’s not working 210 ≠ 201.

    1. I was not able to get anything over 500 mb with the nighthawk mr60. Any tips? I ended up using the Orbi mesh router but still only get around 750 mb. With the CL router i was getting full gigabit speeds.

      1. Not really sure. My changes were out of the box, with the minimal instructions given above and no additional tweaks needed.

        My wired speed test was a laptop connected to a Netgear 1Gb switch, connected to the LAN port. I do have a static external IP address, but really that shouldn’t make of a detectable difference.

  41. I have been in and out of here but it has been a while. When I first set my Asus RT-AC5300 up I thought I was going to have to do all the steps and it took me a couple of days, Then I looked at the LAN Page in the GUI and there it was, Manual 201 and I even messed with the priority numbers but I Saved and when I did the setup I put in the PPPoE info, rebooted the router and I was getting 930 up and down. My ONT took a dump the Century Link techs cut my Cat6 and messed it all up. They replaced the ONT but my down load speed can not get any faster than 770 but upload 941 no problem. Since they butchered my Cat6 I replaced it with Cat7 straight to the Router and from the Router to my PC no wall sockets. Still 770 down and 941 up with tons of Buffer Bloat. I have the most up to date Merlin Firmware.
    A gaming buddy has talked me into looking into the Netgear Nighthawk XR500. I did try the XR 700 but due to the Quad Core the Firmware is done Proprietarily by Netgear and I spend 6 hours on the phone with a girl in Venezuela who told the Century Link Customer service lady to shut up and listen. we never got it working because she kept forgetting the save step before the reboot once you tagged the 201vlan. I got it to work as a router but all the fancy stuff at that time would not work because they were waiting for a firmware update. so I took it back. But my gaming friend has no idea about Century Link Fiber and I am hoping some one here has the XR500 up and running and also knows why I am not getting the speed I was? Also, mind you the techs come in my house with Win 10 on a stick and get 980/980.

  42. So I followed the process here and I was FINALLY able to get internet access wirelessly. HOWEVER, now none of my wired ports work. I ASSUME that this is because VLAN was set for ALL Ports. Im not sure what the settings should be… Anyone know what the VLAN settings should be so the 1-5 ports work in addition to the wireless?

    1. Apparently its working now… But Ive found the speed isn’t as fast as it was with the provided CL router. Whihc is awful. I expected better. I’m trying to discover the optimal settings now. I’m getting 350-450mbps with a 1Gps subscription

  43. I am using a unifi dream machine. Breeze to setup and I did not have to do the vlan tagging as it found it on its own. My previous router I needed an external managed switch for valn tagging. I get the full 1 GB and even with IPS on it gets around 850Mbs

Leave a Reply to Fred Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *