Getting rid of my ISP’s default router

A couple weeks ago, I upgraded my home network and started using an Asus ZenWifi CT-8 mesh set (1 router and one sattelite).
The WiFi coverage I had was pretty decent but I wanted to upgrade to a mesh set to have better roaming inside the house. Although it’s not a new and shiny WiFi 6(E) set, I’m very happy with the upgrade.

The setup experience was pretty seamless and easy enough to do.
My network used to have 3 different routers in them;

  • The ISP provided router (a Genexis platinum 7840) which is an utter piece of crap, not unlike many ISP provided routers. I used to have this router function as a gateway for the fiber coming into the house. All the other functions (such as DHCP or WiFi) were disabled
  • A Netgear R7800 which covered the downstairs WiFi, running DDWRT. This also functioned as my VPN server.
  • A Netgear WNDR3700V4, running DDWRT. Mostly used as an access point for upstairs WiFi.

After the upgrade I was still stuck with the crappy Genexis provided by my ISP (Caiway) to convert the fiber into a 1000Base-T ethernet port.

Removing the Genexis from the equation

I wasn’t happy with the Genexis router still being part of the network. Having a double NAT is far from ideal and since the Genexis can’t be set to bridge, I wanted to get rid of this router entirely.

After some searching online I found that the solution to this is rather simple.
I bought a TP-Link MC220L, which converts the fiber FSP connector to a standard RJ-45 ethernet port.

Besides getting rid of double NAT this way, I also cut down on energy consumption. The Genexis is rated for 8 watts (although I never verified this claim), and the TP-Link is rated for just 4 watts. The TP-Link’s cost will be won back, purely on energy consumption alone, in just 5 to 6 years.

Just plugging the TP-Link in and having the RJ-45 port connect to my ZenWifi WAN port wasn’t enough, since my ISP uses VLAN to provide access to the internet. After a bit of googling, I found that my provider uses a VLAN Id of 100 for internet access (and 101 for IPTV, but I don’t subscribe to this myself).

Vlan tagging in an Asus router

This part was easy enough to figure out but it’s surprisingly un-intuitive in Asus’s default firmware.

Since I needed to have the WAN port assign a VLAN tag, I was trying to find out how to do this.
Apperently this needs to be done in the somewhat misleading section called “IPTV” in the “LAN” network category of the router, as shown in the image below.

Asus VLAN tagging

After applying the VLAN tag that my ISP requires for internet and rebooting the router, I managed to get an IP from my ISP. My internet was working again!

Your mileage may vary

I only have experience with my own setup and my specific ISP when it comes to setting this up.
Your ISP might have different requirements when it comes to the specifics.

However, taking the jump and buying a TP-Link MC220L isn’t such an investment. I bought mine for about 20 euro. If things don’t turn out as you would want them, most of the time it’s easy enough to return the product (at least here in the Netherlands).

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