Verizon FiOS - Using Your Own Router

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This tutorial should be able to help those who want to replace their Verizon-provided Actiontec router with one of their own.

Note! Be aware of what you are doing. If you are not comfortable with networking, or you have TV service through your FiOS connection, be aware that this will interrupt your TV service.

[edit] WAN connection

First, we need to make sure your access is through the ethernet port of your ONT and the accompanying cable, not the coax.

  • Look at the front of the Actiontec. There are two lights: Coax WAN and Ethernet WAN. This is pretty self-explanatory: coax means the TV type cable, ethernet means the cat5 cable.

Alternatively, you can log into the Actiontec, , click on My Network icon, click on Connections menu item, then see what Broadband Connection is connected. If your connection is PPPoE, then "WAN PPPOE" is through ethernet, and "WAN PPPOE2" is through coax. PPPoE connections automatically release the IP address when the connection is broken.

  • If the Ethernet light is lit, you're in good shape so far, and you don't need to change anything. Otherwise:
  • If the Coax WAN light is lit, you need to change your connection to the Ethernet port.
  • Ensure you have an Ethernet connection between the ethernet ports of the Actiontec and the ONT (the box on the outside). If you don't already have a cable plugged into the Data port of the ONT, running into the house and plugged into the Ethernet WAN port of the Actiontec, you will need to acquire or build one. Cat5, Cat5E and Cat6 will all work. Make sure the cable is cleanly made, is free of kinks, is protected from damage, and has room at both ends for stress relief (in case someone gets tangled in it). Do not plug in the cable yet.
  • Login to the Actiontec, and release your DHCP lease.

Note: If you are using this article to guide you through the process, and you don't have another means of accessing the Internet, please save yourself some trouble and save the page. Don't bookmark it, don't save the link, save the whole page.

    1. Click the My Network icon, then Network Connections. Click on Broadband Connection (Coax), and in the properties table find the MAC address. Write this down, it may come in handy.
    2. Click Settings. Click the Release button, and the Internet light on the Actiontec should go orange. At this point you will be without Internet access.

Alternatively, you can turn off the Actiontec and leave it for two hours or so. This method is quicker and easier.

  1. Power off the Actiontec, and plug the Ethernet cable into the Data port of the ONT, and the other end into the Ethernet WAN port of the Actiontec.

  2. Call Verizon customer service, and get ahold of tech support. Tell them that you want the internet connection on your Optical Network Terminal changed from the coax to Ethernet. They may ask if there is already a cable in place, just tell them yes otherwise they may balk and try to send someone out to install a cable for you that you can do yourself...for free.

  3. Once they have completed the change, ask them to stay on the line and turn on your Actiontec. After it boots, the Ethernet WAN light should come on. If it does not, ask tech support to confirm that the change was effected.

  4. You should have your Internet connection back at this point. If need be, release and renew your computer's IP lease, and test your Internet connection. If Internet access works, great. If not, verify you're getting an IP lease by going back into the connection settings of the Actiontec. If you don't get an IP lease, you should still have tech support on the phone, and they should be able to help you out. Make sure your Internet connection is in good shape and working to your satisfaction before you proceed.

[edit] Replacing the Actiontec with Your Router

At this point, you should have Internet access using the Ethenet port on the Actiontec.

Make sure that the router you're replacing the Actiontec with can handle the traffic. You don't want to be using a neutered WRT54G v4 or later. Get something worth the money.

To replace the Actiontec with your router of choice:

  1. First, release your DHCP lease from the Actiontec. Do this the same way as was done above, and do it BEFORE powering off the Actiontec. Make sure you write down the MAC address of the Actiontec's Ethernet WAN connection, you may need it. Once you release the IP, the Ethernet WAN light should go orange.

  2. Second, power off the Actiontec. Just unplug it completely.

  3. Disconnect the Ethernet cable from the Actiontec and plug it into the WAN port of your router. Connect your PC to your router as usual (try to avoid using wireless during configuration like this), and turn on your router. Give it a chance to boot, and check to see whether your router gets an IP address. If it does not, clone its WAN MAC to what you wrote down, which was the MAC address of the Actiontec. You shouldn't have to do this, but if you don't get an IP address for a while, you may have a MAC bound IP lease. If you don't want to clone your MAC for whatever reason, you will have to call Verizon tech support and have them break your lease.

  4. Verify that your router is getting a proper DHCP lease. This should include the address assigned to the router, the default gateway, and several DNS servers. If you bought the router off the shelf and haven't messed with the configuration, or have recently loaded DD-WRT on it, MAKE SURE that you change the default login name and password, for your own good.

  5. Test your Internet connection with a Web browser, speed tests, pings, and whatever else will make you happy. You should be in good shape at this point, and free to configure your router as you please.

[edit] Caveats

  1. Verizon does not bind your MAC address, at least anymore. Therefore, you should not have to clone your MAC address.
  2. If you have FIOS residential service, you may not get a new WAN IP when you click on "DHCP Renew". To get a new lease, you must (a) call Verizon to release and issue a new WAN IP from their end, or (b) you disconnect and reconnect the ethernet cable between the ONT and your router.
  3. Before you disconnect the Verizon router, release the WAN IP address. Immediately unplug the FIOS router and put yours online. This will get you a WAN IP without having to call Verizon. The reason that the dd-wrt router does not get a new WAN IP is because the Verizon router's MAC address is still bound to your service line. According to Verizon tech support, it takes about 6 minutes for their server to release the MAC address after they can no longer detect that router being online.