How to Use Bridge Mode on a Wireless Gateway

Introduction

It is increasingly common for most Internet Service Providers to provide a Gateway, a modem with a router built-in, to aid people in getting online.

In some cases, though, either due to the features offered, or just comfort with the device you already have, you may end up wanting to continue using a router already own, rather than theirs. And, in most cases, using two routers at the same time on a small home network is not only overkill, but can cause a lot of problems.

The idea of turning off the router portion, but leaving the modem portion of the device on is, in general, called 'Bridging'.

This guide will help walk you through bridging your Gateway so you can use your own router instead.

Wireless modem router combo.

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We have specific guides available for this process for some Internet Service Providers.

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It is increasingly common for most Internet Service Providers to provide a Gateway, a modem with a router built-in, to aid people in getting online.

In some cases, though, either due to the features offered, or just comfort with the device you already have, you may end up wanting to continue using a router already own, rather than theirs. And, in most cases, using two routers at the same time on a small home network is not only overkill, but can cause a lot of problems.

The idea of turning off the router portion, but leaving the modem portion of the device on is, in general, called 'Bridging'.

This guide will help walk you through bridging your Gateway so you can use your own router instead.

Wireless modem router combo.

We have specific guides available for this process for some Internet Service Providers.

Please visit our specific guide for Comcast, for more accurate, custom instruction on how to use your router with your Comcast Gateway.

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Before continuing, it's important to understand what exactly bridge mode does.

By default, your Wireless Gateway offers all the functionality of a modem and router in one device. It turns the signal coming in from the cable line into something a computer can understand, provides a way to connect multiple wired devices, a way for Wi-Fi devices to connect, and offers basic firewall capabilities.

When Bridge mode is enabled, the only function that is still active is turning the signal from the cable line into something a computer can understand; the same function a modem does.

In Bridge mode, your Gateway:

  • Will not provide Wi-Fi, this must be taken care of by your own router
  • Will not provide multiple wired ports, only one will be active
  • Will not provide any routing services, only one device may be connected to your Gateway
  • Will not provide any form of security to your devices
  • In effect, it will act as a standard modem
In most cases, you will need to have your own, separate router available to provide services to your multiple Internet-capable devices.
In most cases, un-setting bridge mode will require factory resetting your Wireless Gateway, and possibly contacting your ISP to re-set this setting.

In order to make changes to the Wireless Gateway, you must be connected to it directly, and not to any other router you may have.

Computer connected to Gateway.

Before continuing, make sure your computer has an Ethernet connection to your Wireless Gateway, or you are connected to the Wi-Fi connection provided by your Wireless Gateway.
  1. On your computer, open your preferred web browser.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. Browse to your Gateway's management address.
    In most cases, this will be a series of numbers. Some common ones to check if you aren't sure are:
    • 192.168.0.1
    • 192.168.1.1
    • 10.0.0.1
  3. Log in to your Wireless Gateway.
    If you have not logged in before, or never changed it, try the following standard, generic usernames and passwords:

    • Default Usernames:
      • admin
      • user
      • administrator
    • Default Passwords:
      • password
      • admin
      • 12345
      • blank (as in, don't fill in anything, just leave the field empty)
  4. Every Gateway is slightly different. Some hide away the setting for Bridge mode, others put it out in the open, still others restrict the ability to change this setting. It is not possible to guide you directly to this setting, but rather give you some basic areas to check, and what to look for.
    You are looking for the words "Bridge Mode", "Bridge",  or "NAT".
    • Check on the very first screen that opens.
    • Check under LAN Configuration or LAN Setup.
    • Check in Advanced Configuration or Advanced Setup.
  5. When located, Enable Bridge Mode.
  6. Your modem should restart to enable this setting.

When your Wireless Gateway is in bridge mode, there are some special considerations you must take into consideration.

Wireless

All wireless functionality is disabled. You will need to use your own router to connect anything wirelessly.

Routing

No routing is performed on traffic coming in. Because of how the Internet works, this means only one device, usually your own router, can be connected to your Wireless Gateway.

Protection

No protection in the form of firewall or even simple network separation is performed. Again, this is fine if the device you intend to connect is your own router, it can provide those services for you.

Only One Wired Connection

Only one Ethernet port on the back of your Wireless Gateway is active, Port One. This is where you will need to plug in your own router.

In general, think of your Gateway as a Modem, as the Wi-Fi antenna, and the extra Ethernet ports are all disabled.

It appears the option to set your Wireless Gateway into bridge mode is either disabled so you cannot change it, hidden behind an odd menu, or named something not standard.

We do not know the specifics of the exact hardware you have in front of you. Please contact your Internet Service Provider; they will know the exact make and model of your device, and because they are providing it, they should be able to guide you through setting the device to bridge mode, or make that change from their systems for you.

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