Bridging a Cisco router thru a Verizon FiOS Actiontec router to improve WiFi speed: worth the trouble and, if so, how?
November 10, 2012 12:54 PM   Subscribe

My FiOS speed is a blazing 75Mb/s thru a wire but only about 30-35Mb/s wireless. Verizon tells me that this is all I can expect through their Actiontec modem/router. Can I improve this WiFi speed by bridging my Cisco EA4500 thru the FiOS router? If so, can anyone provide me with a step-by-step way to re-configure the FiOS router to allow for the bridge? All of the resources I can find on-line are confusing and don't cover my specific situation. All help is appreciated. Thanks in advance!
posted by Jamesonian to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
That router will definitely increase your wireless speeds on devices that support 802.11n.

You have two options: set your FiOS modem/router to bridge mode, or leave that alone and use your Cisco/Linksys router as an access point. There are instructions for setting the MI424-WR to bridge mode and they look pretty involved.

The least disruption to your network would involve setting the Linksys to function as an access point, and it looks like it's easier to set up. There are instructions in the Linksys manual. Basically, disable the wireless on your Actiontec, set up the wireless on the Linksys with it not connected to the Actiontec yet, then set it to AP mode.
posted by zsazsa at 2:26 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well, let's be sure we know what the problem is first.

Your current modem/router is a wireless N, which maxes out at (in theory) 100Mbps.

1. Does your wireless card in your computer support N, or is it only A/B/G? G maxes out at 54Mbps. If it doesn't support N, you need to get a wireless card that does.

2. Is the current router set to use the N protocol? You need to log on to it to find out.

3. Does your speed improve when you put the computer right next to the router? If so you're getting slower speeds because of interference or bad signal strength. Try changing the wireless channel. If that doesn't work, you either need a router with better signal strength and/or a second router and/or to move the modem/router closer to where you actually use it.

If your wireless card supports N, the router is broadcasting using N, and moving closer changes nothing, the router you linked might fix it (the other possibility is that your wireless card sucks).
posted by zug at 2:35 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

zug: The Actiontec that comes from Verizon with your service is only a G. If you want an N, you can buy it from the Verizon store for $80, but unless Jamesonian has already done that, then Verizon will refuse to upgrade you to better equipment, even though the G router is for crap for the beautiful 75/35 package.

I know this, because I had the Actiontec G model, and shelled out the $80 to get the N. With the G model, I was getting only 10-12 MB/s. With the N, still only 35, but at least better than the G.
posted by instead of three wishes at 3:26 PM on November 10, 2012

The Actiontec that comes from Verizon with your service is only a G

According to their data sheet [PDF] it is upgradeable to 802.11n, so it might be worth trying to upgrade the router's firmware [PDF] in order to get faster speeds. It might not work, but it's definitely worth a try at least.
posted by av123 at 3:32 PM on November 10, 2012

Single-stream 802.11n on the crowded 2.4GHz band probably won't get you up to 75Mb/s real-world throughput, but dual- or triple-stream, as supported by the Linksys router, definitely will (I've gotten >200Mb at home on 3-stream 5GHz 802.11n), if your wireless devices support 2 or 3 stream. Most support 2 stream.
posted by zsazsa at 4:02 PM on November 10, 2012

instead of three wishes: thanks. The link the poster gave was to an N router, so I assumed that was what s/he had.
posted by zug at 4:36 PM on November 10, 2012

That Actiontec is a piece of crap. If it's possible in your home, I suggest you run an ethernet cable from your optical network terminal to where you want the router to sit, then call FiOS to enable ethernet from the ONT, allowing it to be the modem instead of using the coax cable and their crappy sucks-at-everything router box.

Amusingly enough, the install techs will often agree or comment that the router/modems are terrible.
posted by Strudel at 7:01 PM on November 10, 2012

I can say that this is totally worth the effort. I went through this trouble over a year ago, as different parts of the house had terrible bandwidth over wireless, while the wired speed was blazing fast. (I have 25/25 service, so I can just imagine what 75/35 must be.)

I used an Apple Airport Extreme (bought a used 4th-gen unit), and followed the instructions here. These instructions are detailed enough so that you know exactly what buttons to push, as well as explains exactly what is changed and why.

It didn't take very long at all and I'm glad that I don't have to be a graduate student in CS in order to get my home network working well.
posted by scooterdog at 6:24 PM on November 11, 2012

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