Alternative router for Home Internet Service (need bridgemode)

  • 26 November 2020
  • 31 replies
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I recently added T-Mobile’s Home Internet Service to my account. Being in a rural area at the end of a copper loop my DSL speeds are usually around 3MB, so jumped on this as soon as I saw it was available. The speeds are GREAT so far, averaging around 25mb/20mb and I’ve seen 50mb a few times!

However, my needs require putting the modem into bridge mode so my router/home network is getting the public IP.  Disappointed there’s no bridge mode with this device? T-Mobile, please upgrade the firmware to allow this! In the meantime I’m looking at the Netgear LB1120-100NAS 4G LTE Modem. Is anyone using this and know if this will work with this service? This device also supports an external antenna so I use an outside mounted antenna/repeater to get a better signal. 

Anyone trying this (or if T-Mobile can respond) whether this will work I’d appreciate it.

 

Thank you


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I have a home office system with servers, routers and two WAN using T-Mobile and Comcast. I do my own DHCP, WI-FI, and DNS. I DO NOT NEED THESE FEATURES. Just give me a Modem and an IP address, that is all I need and want. I need to turn all this useless features off and bridge directly to my Cisco router.

I know I am late to this thread but if you log into the gateway via a web browser 192.168.12.1 and turn off both wifi radio’s the public IP gets passed along to the lan port. Let us know if this works for anyone.

It does not. Just tried everything I can think of. Any router behind Nokia modem shows a private ip 192.168.12.***. I even tried setting the public ip as static in new router guessing the settings of public IP:255.255.255.248:192.168.12.1 and DNS 8.8.8.8 8.8.4.4. No internet connection doing that. GOing to have to return as need to have port forwarding/dhcp reservations in business envirmonment.

I also noticed placing a router behind the nokia with dhcp server on then windows only shows it as public network and not private. Couldnt figure out how to change that.

I know I am late to this thread but if you log into the gateway via a web browser 192.168.12.1 and turn off both wifi radio’s the public IP gets passed along to the lan port. Let us know if this works for anyone.

I’ve had the Nokia 5G WIFI gateway for several weeks now.  I use Alexa, Google Home products, Roku, Ring, and several other smart items.  I have several Synology NAS’s and a Synology mesh setup (RT2600ac and MT2200ac) for my residence.  I backup my NAS’s to Amazon Glacier.  I was worried that a double NAT (don’t want to disable security features provided by the RT2600ac) would disable something.  To my surprise, everything still worked without a single hiccup.  I turned on the RT2600ac’s VPN service (which I used in the past, but not lately) and it didn’t work, so turned it back off.  Was still able to remote access the router and NAS’s via QuickConnect.  Amazon Glacier backup worked as before.

Since I already have a WIFI network running, I didn’t want the gateways WIFI, so turned off all the Enable SSID and Enable Broadcast for all SSIDs.  Also changed Transmission Power to 12%, just for good measure.  This seemed to turn off the gateways WIFI since I couldn’t detect them any longer on my phone, when near the gateway.

After 4 or 5 days the 5G connection dropped and my data dropped to under 20Mbps.  I gave it a few hours and it didn’t reconnect until I turned off the gateway, waited 10 sec, and turned it back on.  I was surprised the firmware didn’t try to reconnect. 

I reboot my router nightly to keep it running at it’s best.  I looked into doing this with the gateway, but it has a battery.  I found it’s easy to remove the battery, so removed the battery and connected the gateway to a digital outlet (smart plugs won’t work when internet is not present) and set it to turn off gateway for one minute each night.

It’s been over a week and gateway operation has been great (no more dropping 5G connection).  I’m getting 80Mbps to 260Mbps, averaging about 120Mbps, and that’s with 2 bars (-100 to -104 dBm).

Would like bridge mode so can use the router’s VPN, if I wanted, and to reduce load on router with double NAT resolving.

A recent subscriber to TM Home Internet, I read this thread to learn about how one might connect an alternative router to the Nokia unit provided by TM. Not an engineer, I am fairly certain I got a little dumber after all of this. 

I have an Asus RT-AC88U that I want to use vs. TM because of its superior range, so I wanted to connect it to the TM/Nokia tower as a “dumb” wifi antenna. I connected the two units, factory reset the Asus and updated the firmware to be safe. I then connected devices, which in my case are few: a MacBook, a Windows laptop, a phone, some Wyze smart bulbs and Google Chromecast v2.

At first, the computers and phone connected easily to the Asus wifi network but Chromecast kept giving me an error message that it could not connect to an unsecure network (my Asus is password protected using WPA). Then I restarted a couple of times and it completed. I have yet to set up the Wyze bulbs.

My question relevant to this thread: is there something else I need to do to my Asus to continue using it with the TM router as a “dumb” antenna? Please understand I am not an engineer nor familiar with complex networking.

One thing I will add in closing: When I originally got the TM/Nokia device and used it alone as a router, my streaming services were poorly received. YouTube and YT TV would freeze to a black screen after a minute, Netflix would get stuck when I opened it, but Plex worked. Now I have no issues with any of these, thankfully, and my speed (same with and without Asus, I believe) gets as high as 60Mbps, up to 10x my former service (I live in the boonies).

I’d love to use our Netgear LB1121. I already have two directionals outside pointed at the local tower.

Unfortunately, the new T-Mobile Internet Router doesn’t have ports for the directionals, so I can’t actually direct the signal to improve speeds. Also, this router is severely locked down. We run a pfSense (soon to be tnsr) router for our network. We have to double-NAT this, and getting pfSense to cooperate is.. interesting.

Anyway, I would love to be able to have a BRIDGE mode so it acts accordingly (LTE<->Ethernet) instead of a router. That, or allow us to utilize our own equipment and either unlock the SIM card within the unit, or allow us to get a SIM card for our equipment for this purpose.

Currently, we have a CenturyLink 20/2 (bonded ADSL2+) connection as our primary and this as our secondary.

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Has anyone heard of there gonna firmware update this? 
Its  been months without a bridge! 
My voip won’t work either probably because of this but who knows why. 
 

guess I might have to call but don’t really wantto. Lol 

Or has anyone figured out a work around? 
 

In the meantime I’ve join this Community on Reddit

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IM having a horrible time with TMobile Home Internet. 

First the good,

  1. I dumped Spectrum
  2. Internet connection has been dead on reliable 

    Now the bad!
    I have had speeds up to 115 Mbps but it NEVER lasts for more then 24 hours, then the Nokia cell unit drops one of the two cell signals and I end up getting 15 to 30 mbps.
    I can do a complete reset of the device which means wiping out everything, after a few attempts I get the speed back until yesterday, now I am stuck with 20Mbps service and I have good signal.
    I called Tmobile a number of times, one person very helpful but problem never solved and now its worse, cant get the speed back, called last night and this person was not very knowledgable or reassuring. 
    Anyway, I now have another ticket number and hopefully one day this is resolved.

    Issue is, my Primary cell is Band 12 and I keep losing secondary cell N71 even though it has a stronger signal. Normally I have been able to get N71 back but no longer.
    I have no idea who to contact at TMobile that will have any idea what I am talking about and address this.
     

 

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Agreed. In this day/age of IoT / home automation, even the average person will have a smattering of Echos , Google Home Minis, Ring, Wyze, Blink , etc... and umpteen Smart switches…

With Work-from-Home being the new norm, schools being hybrid or remote-only…  a lot is riding on whole-home (mesh) coverage.

To say nothing for the tech professional who has other needs..  (Bridge Mode - Please!)

That being said, performance is not bad.. ;-)

I’m getting ~130Mbps/30Mbps with B2 Primary (3 bars), n71 Secondary (2 bars) - but was hoping for even faster speeds given n71 is 5G (but secondary, so modem is still favoring B2 as primary (LTE 4G 1900 PCS)). Was told work is being done on nearby towers.. (fingers crossed for more)

 

...if I could swap out SIM to more capable 5G modem or Flash the Tmobile branded Nokia 5G21 to its native firmware...

Why not put the router into Access Point Mode? 

There are MANY reasons to have a bridging capability on a modem that go so far beyond wireless networks.  Many people run actual firewalls.  Many people have servers of various types in their homes.  Double-NAT situations cause needless headaches to those who aren’t IT engineers.  Double-NAT situations in which one of the NATing members has quite literally 0 controls make these situations an impossibility for the aforementioned people.  Alongside this, some people have far more devices in their homes than what the puny little processors can handle.  Routing takes horsepower when the network it’s routing for is complex.  Just because someone has a ton of devices in their home doesn’t mean that they necessarily have the IT where-with-all to program a fleshed out L2 network to prevent all that traffic from being processed by the L3 router.

 

I’m not trying to be aggressive when I make this statement, but if any of what I just said went over your head, then you’re not qualified to answer the question that was asked.

So I set the Nokia gateway up yesterday and to my surprise there is no bridge mode. The rep I spoke to must have not been informed on its capabilities. Even worse is you cannot configure anything besides WIFI SSID parameters and admin password. You can still use your own router but it will be with double NAT and as a result some VPN and UPNP services will not work or suffer. Maybe it will get added with a firmware update if enough people keep asking for it.

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I'm excited to be receiving the new Nokia modem tomorrow. I had tried the original white modem for a couple days. The original white modem would get 60-70mbps one minute, then less than 1mbps a minute later. I'm suspecting that it was switching between a few different towers (I'm in a little bit of a difficult cell reception area) I'm in the outskirts of a major metro area, so I do have xfinity and centurylink available to me

I currently pay for 140mbps with centurylink, but get just shy of 60mbps consistently. 

I'm wanting bridge mode as well, as I've set up an asus mesh network with wired backhaul.

I'll be testing the new gateway and reporting back, I truly hope that this Nokia gateway has better cell reception, or at least a better way of Locking in on the fastest signal instead of roaming to useless cell signals from time to time. 

 

There is no bridge mode in the Nokia Modem/Router.

Its actually why I am here, looking for solutions. I signed up and received the Nokia unit a few days ago. Its a no go, you can NOT run a separate router off of the Nokia Home Internet Modem/Router.

I have never seen such a basic router menu/screen in my life, very, very little that you can change.

WIth that said, the Nokia works great, it does have bugs, Im surprised how many, more so if you want to change settings and stuff, app is buggy, GUI is buggy if you like to go into and set things up the way that you want. Even the PDF manual is not accurate.

For the average plug and play person maybe its just fine. I guess time for reality, cant trash TMobile for doing what they are doing, there is a reason, its a router/modem for the masses not for the tech person who wants to run and do all kinds of things with it. I suspect its to discourage businesses as their network would slow down greatly and limit customer service support for people who mess up their settings. 

Im getting really sweet speeds and just canceled Spectrum home internet service. So thank you T-Mobile, I suspect as the years go on you may (or may not) have more options but as of right now you will have to use their VERY capable built in router. Very impressive for a combo unit, the first of which I have ever used in 25 years of computing, but it is what it is.

My wifi speeds run from 40 to 80 Mbps. Average around 60

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I recently added T-Mobile’s Home Internet Service to my account. Being in a rural area at the end of a copper loop my DSL speeds are usually around 3MB, so jumped on this as soon as I saw it was available. The speeds are GREAT so far, averaging around 25mb/20mb and I’ve seen 50mb a few times!

However, my needs require putting the modem into bridge mode so my router/home network is getting the public IP.  Disappointed there’s no bridge mode with this device? T-Mobile, please upgrade the firmware to allow this! In the meantime I’m looking at the Netgear LB1120-100NAS 4G LTE Modem. Is anyone using this and know if this will work with this service? This device also supports an external antenna so I use an outside mounted antenna/repeater to get a better signal. 

Anyone trying this (or if T-Mobile can respond) whether this will work I’d appreciate it.

 

Thank you

I use that same router with a TMO data SIM card connected to a router and it works fine. Only thing not working is hosting OpenVPN.

I'm excited to be receiving the new Nokia modem tomorrow. I had tried the original white modem for a couple days. The original white modem would get 60-70mbps one minute, then less than 1mbps a minute later. I'm suspecting that it was switching between a few different towers (I'm in a little bit of a difficult cell reception area) I'm in the outskirts of a major metro area, so I do have xfinity and centurylink available to me

I currently pay for 140mbps with centurylink, but get just shy of 60mbps consistently. 

I'm wanting bridge mode as well, as I've set up an asus mesh network with wired backhaul.

I'll be testing the new gateway and reporting back, I truly hope that this Nokia gateway has better cell reception, or at least a better way of Locking in on the fastest signal instead of roaming to useless cell signals from time to time. 

 

I signed up today and looks like I'll be getting the new gateway that was released. I specifically asked about bridge mode and was told it was supported on the Nokia gateway...we shall see. 

Thanks for the links. I signed up today as well. I haven’t seen anything that shows which router I’m getting. Looking at cellmapper, my closest tower has band 2 and 66… nothing for 5g, yet. A couple of nearby towers have 71, so hopefully soon

There is some discussion about passing the public IP from the gateway to another device on Reddit

 

Got a link to that Reddit thread?

Check these...https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/comments/jmxgoj/home_internet_pfsense/ and https://www.reddit.com/r/HomeNetworking/comments/b77e2l/ive_discovered_that_my_isp_is_using_cgnat_on/. 

 

I signed up today and looks like I'll be getting the new gateway that was released. I specifically asked about bridge mode and was told it was supported on the Nokia gateway...we shall see. 

There is some discussion about passing the public IP from the gateway to another device on Reddit

 

Got a link to that Reddit thread?

Use DMZ on the router you want to attach to the Tmobile router LAN port. I limited the DHCP to 3 in TMobile router, DMZ the TP-Link C2300 IP in the TMobile router, used the default IP setup on the Tmobile 192.168.1.1 and TP-Link 192.168.0.1, disable WIFI 2G and 5G on the TMobile router, and that's a simple overview how you get around double NAT and utilize the features on the TP-Link router instead. If you put the other manufacture's router in AP mode you lose the advanced features, if you want to use them. I can still access both admin pages from a browser. If I need to use the TMobile app I can go to the Tmobile router web interface and turn on 2.4 or 5 wifi.

Hello spinler.m,

Thanks for this info. You gave a lot of good info, but I have questions. Are you putting the DMZ on your Tp-link’s WAN port or a LAN port? You still have DHCP turned on for both devices? Why not static the links on the TMobile router so you can turn DHCP off there rather then limiting the subnet range?  DHCP on your TP-Link is configured in the same range and you’ve turned off NAT in that router right? My router is running PFSense so I have quite a lot of flexibility. Thanks for the followup. 

 

-Bob

 

There is some discussion about passing the public IP from the gateway to another device on Reddit so not sure there is a solution yet. The only other solution for now to use your own router is what splinter mentioned using the DMZ route. In theory setting the T-Mobile router to static and disabling DHCP should be fine. So on the T-Mobile gateway disable DHCP, firewall, and Wi-Fi. Use static address for management say 192.168.1.1 and  enter your routers LAN address in the T-Mobile DMZ section (for example 192.168.10.1). Connect your router to the T-Mobile Gateway LAN port and use your routers functions as normal. With this setup you should be able to still manage both devices but use the firewall functions. Some people seem to be having success with this for other use cases and I plan on giving it a try myself once I sign up.  

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Use DMZ on the router you want to attach to the Tmobile router LAN port. I limited the DHCP to 3 in TMobile router, DMZ the TP-Link C2300 IP in the TMobile router, used the default IP setup on the Tmobile 192.168.1.1 and TP-Link 192.168.0.1, disable WIFI 2G and 5G on the TMobile router, and that's a simple overview how you get around double NAT and utilize the features on the TP-Link router instead. If you put the other manufacture's router in AP mode you lose the advanced features, if you want to use them. I can still access both admin pages from a browser. If I need to use the TMobile app I can go to the Tmobile router web interface and turn on 2.4 or 5 wifi.

Hello spinler.m,

Thanks for this info. You gave a lot of good info, but I have questions. Are you putting the DMZ on your Tp-link’s WAN port or a LAN port? You still have DHCP turned on for both devices? Why not static the links on the TMobile router so you can turn DHCP off there rather then limiting the subnet range?  DHCP on your TP-Link is configured in the same range and you’ve turned off NAT in that router right? My router is running PFSense so I have quite a lot of flexibility. Thanks for the followup. 

 

-Bob

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Run a trace, and you will see it go through two private ranges (3 if you are using NAT on your router) and then you get no responses on the other side until it dumps back into v4 at the other end... it all gets stripped/flipped to v6 on their end, which is k ackering things up on the inbound path.

 

I noticed that, but I don’t think it’s double nat. It’s common practice to using non-routable IP space for internal uses from router to router. At least I’m pretty sure that’s the case or they need to hire new network engineers if they are doing double-nat out of the box.

 

At night, 4 solid green bars. And solid performance. But during the day, 1 green bar that occasionally falls back to yellow/orange, resetting connections.

 

I tested my box in several locations. I found a spot on an East side window that is 4 bars all the time. So my speed issues isn’t signal related. Their tower is either already greatly oversubscribed, something they said they wouldn’t do in the sales pitch, or there’s something seriously wrong with it. I still have not heard back from my escalated ticket supposedly to the cell group. Sigh.. almost a week and a half now of spotty Internet when my first week was great. I had hopes for this. Waiting for starlink I guess. :frowning2:

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Just signed up, and the way they set this system up is just... frustrating. 

Problem appears at least in part with their XLAT464 dual-stack setup... their router appears to already be double-nat'ed before it even hits your devices?  This needs to get resolved first, or it may not matter WHAT we put on our side of the WAN link.

Run a trace, and you will see it go through two private ranges (3 if you are using NAT on your router) and then you get no responses on the other side until it dumps back into v4 at the other end... it all gets stripped/flipped to v6 on their end, which is k ackering things up on the inbound path.

I have tried n Access Point mode as well... was still a double-NAT problem.  They have a 192.0.0.x subnet above the local subnet I configured in their router.  I once even cheated by putting the router in that same subnet and direct connecting a laptop via ethernet so both devices were on that same "layer" of 192.0.0.x (192.0.0.3 for their router,192.0.0.129 for the laptop)--and was still a no go.  Internet access worked fine and all... but virtual servers, DMZ... nothing would allow me to reach that laptop from the "outside" 172.x.x.x based public v4 IP addresses it was getting.

We might be able to get around it IF we could set up v6 on the LAN side... but it seems to be locked to only run v4.  I was able to set up v6 delegation on my Asus and everything... Asus had their gateway address, was handing out v6 to my devices, etc... ping -v6 was trying to query their v6 servers  (ending in :9 and :10)... but it would fail to pass v6 data through the tmobile router--even though the status page shows it was given a v6 configuration!!?

 

I am contemplating setting up an OVPN profile on my router to see how it behaves.  Found a service I can test UDP and TCP tunnels with for free... just gotta set aside the time to tinker with it more.

But right now, I am wrangling with the huge signal shift I get throughout the day.  Two confirmed towers in decent enough range (4 towers close by, two within a couple blocks confirmed as Verizon, two around 1 mile's drive away (closer as a crow flies) are registered with Tmobile bands 2, 4 ,66... n41 Sprint ones are further out).

At night, 4 solid green bars. And solid performance. But during the day, 1 green bar that occasionally falls back to yellow/orange, resetting connections.  Guessing it is falling back to 3g during the day, because throughput absolutely tanks afterwards, until it flips back to that one green bar.

Not giving up on it yet... one green bar is still good enough for north of 20/10 throughput up to as much as 60/30--4 green bars has broken the 100/30 mark on occasion.  So there is a LOT of potential... just gotta work the kinks out.

Tinkering  with a makeshift reflector helped a bit last night, so gotta get things aimed better, which is tricky as the antenna has a strange pattern that appears to be weighted to point back to front closer to the side with the LED's.

Really want to get this to work... cable has a monopoly in some neighborhoods here... only other options are this and 6mb DSL right now.  TMobile has an opportunity to pick up a lot of people... it would be in their interest to get this working like a "normal" network setup ASAP.  A LOT of people are watching for reviews where these gotchas are resolved somehow.

It is literally their game to lose at the moment, and the ball is in their court... just hope they don't drop it.

Use DMZ on the router you want to attach to the Tmobile router LAN port. I limited the DHCP to 3 in TMobile router, DMZ the TP-Link C2300 IP in the TMobile router, used the default IP setup on the Tmobile 192.168.1.1 and TP-Link 192.168.0.1, disable WIFI 2G and 5G on the TMobile router, and that's a simple overview how you get around double NAT and utilize the features on the TP-Link router instead. If you put the other manufacture's router in AP mode you lose the advanced features, if you want to use them. I can still access both admin pages from a browser. If I need to use the TMobile app I can go to the Tmobile router web interface and turn on 2.4 or 5 wifi.

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I bit the bullet and tested with another modem, the EC25-AF specifically since I only receive Band 71 in my location. Turns out the SIM card is really tied to the RTL0102 box it ships with and T-Mobile has no plans to change that. So, you’re stuck with that brick ;) 

Yeah, what a bummer. Was about to call this week to start cancelling my other Internet.  I have 2 DSL lines bonded to barely get 3-5mb. I’ll cancel only 1 now so I can route the VPN traffic through that and double nat the tmobile service.  Not optimal, but still better then 3-5mb. Although, after getting 20-50mb, for the last couple of days it’s worse then my current provider with speeds under 1mb (uploads are still 20mb!). Sigh.. I guess they do throttle, my usage already shows 150gb, mostly from google-drive syncs and updating a couple of PCs/Laptop OSes that have been put off for months.

I bit the bullet and tested with another modem, the EC25-AF specifically since I only receive Band 71 in my location. Turns out the SIM card is really tied to the RTL0102 box it ships with and T-Mobile has no plans to change that. So, you’re stuck with that brick ;) 

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Further searching brings up other threads with same question and more info, wish search show them the first time!

 

https://community.t-mobile.com/tv-home-internet-7/using-the-tmobile-isp-box-sim-in-a-netgear-lb1120-31624

 

So far no luck according to that thread. Something about the service did not allow sims to be swapped.  :( 

 

Please T-Mobile, at least give us bridge mode. But a device with an external antenna ability would be much better. I don’t know why you would have a modem without that if you’re trying to get rural customers and compete with Starlink,

 

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