my ISP uses PPoE. If I buy my own modem can I ditch PPPoE?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by patent10021, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. patent10021 macrumors 68030


    Apr 23, 2004
    My ISP uses PPoE for OS X. Can't stand PPPoE because of all the info you have to input. If I buy my own modem can I ditch PPPoE and connect via DHCP or something?
  2. ljonesj macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2009
    Kingsport TN
    no you can not pppoe is an email transfer protocol dhcp is for routing of info from a router and such if i remember correct
  3. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    No it really isn't. You can read what it really is here

    To the OP: your modem requires PPPoE to connect to it. You need a router that can connect to a PPPoE modem and provide NAT services and internal network IP addresses via DHCP. Or you could buy a modem with a built-in modem that is compatible with your ISP.
  4. patent10021 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Apr 23, 2004
    Yes, I want to go this route. That's why I asked if I could buy a modem.

    Weird thing is the ISP gave me a different modem (4 LAN ports) before and I was on DHCP. When I moved to a new place I got this new modem (1 port).

    The other modem must have been a combo router modem right? I just plugged in my LAN cable and I was off to the races. The ISP has an auto connect setup CD for Windows users but nothing for Mac users. Gotta input everything manually. Not a big deal but I would like to be able to just plug in cables in times of troubleshooting other issues.

    Is there something I could read on the current modem to find out what other brand modems I could use to connect using DHCP?
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Sorry, I mis-typed the above. It should have read "a router with a built in modem". You'd be best contacting your ISP for suggestions.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Weird thing is the ISP gave me a different modem (4 LAN ports) before and I was on DHCP. When I moved to a new place I got this new modem (1 port)."

    You're going "in all different directions at once" with your questions.

    If your provider (usually ADSL) requires PPPoE ("point to point protocol over ethernet") you absolutely have to connect that way. It has less to do with DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol) than it does with the primary "establishment of the connection".

    Think of it this way. In the "old days" we used plain "modems" to connect to service providers over ordinary telephone lines. Back then, once you had the modem dial the connection, you (or your software) had to enter a username and password to authenticate your connection. Then you were "on" and ready to go. This was called "PPP" back then.

    PPPoE is pretty much the same thing "over DSL". When you turn on your setup, PPPoE is used to establish and authenticate your connection (so the ISP knows that you are indeed you).

    PPPoE authentication can be accomplished several ways:
    - by the dsl modem itself
    - by a router placed between the modem and the computer, or
    - directly on the computer via software (in this case, you'd do it with the "network" preference pane in System Preferences)

    OK, next issue....

    Going back to the old days of dsl (again), when I first got set up (in Connecticut), the phone company provided a "dsl modem". It was nothing _more than_ a modem, and a "dumb" one, at that. That is to say, you had to enter the PPPoE info via software on the computer (back then it was OS 9 and a custom-written "connection tool" furnished by the ISP).

    When I got a second computer, I got a router to place between the dsl modem and the computer (back then it was wired only, no wireless yet). With more than one computer on the "local area network" side of the router, I moved PPPoE authentication to the router itself (there's a place for that info on all routers' setup pages), and chose DHCP for my local area network.

    The important thing was that I now had "two devices" between the incoming dsl signal and the Mac: a modem to handle "modem tasks" and a router to handle "router tasks". The router also offers another VERY important function: NAT ("network address translation") which provides a "hardware-based firewall" and insulates your local area computers from attempts to break in from the "outside".

    Back then, ISP's could actually get disturbed if you hooked more than one computer up to a router, and might even cancel your service if they found out!

    Of course, times have changed.

    I think ISP's eventually came to recognize the importance of having the NAT based hardware firewall -- hence, the appearance of "combo" dsl modems/routers that have only a single LAN connection port (instead of the standard four ports you see on most routers).

    But this also seems to have created connection headaches. I have a friend who got one of these with his dsl service, and over the course of several years had all kinds of problems trying to "keep the connection working smoothly". Seemed he was always making calls to tech support, reinstalling this or that, even had a few service calls.

    Right away, I thought the "combo" modem/router might have been causing problems, particularly since he had a separate router installed "behind it" to add more ports.

    Finally, I convinced him to let me work on it. When finished, he had a working connection and no connection problems since, and he told me I achieved what the tech people couldn't!

    Here's what I did, and what I suggest you do:

    Since you said you indeed have a dsl modem/1-port router, you need to do several things, in order:

    1. Disconnect any "external" router, if you have one, for the time being. You want your connection to consist only of ONE computer, hooked up to the modem/router. (Aside: I'm going to _guess_ that the M/R is currently configured to do the PPPoE internally, AND that the router is set to be active).

    2. The modem/router has the ability to configure it, usually accessible through either a setup application OR through a web page. What your particular one has, you will have to figure out for yourself. But there certainly _is_ a way to "set it up"

    3. In the configuration area, I believe it's possible to configure it as a "router only" and set it into "bridge mode" in which the router functions are also turned off.

    4. This is what you want to do. Set it up to be only a "dumb modem", that DOES NOT do the PPPoE "thing" and IS NOT a router, either (NAT turned off).

    5. You will _temporarily_ have to set up the Mac to do PPPoE via the network preference pane. Do this just to verify that that connection and modem are working ok. I strongly suggest you do this BEFORE you introduce a standalone router to the setup.

    6. Next, insert a router between the modem and computer, set up the router to do PPPoE and NAT, and disable the computer from doing PPPoE.

    7. When done, you should have the modem reduced to doing ONLY basic modulation/demodulation of the dsl signal, with the router handling the tasks of PPPoE authentication and NAT.

    Others may disagree, but I advise against trying to get a combined dsl modem/4-port router working. I just believe it's easier to "delegate" tasks between standalone devices, easier to identify and correct problems. Also, at some point you may want to upgrade your router -- can't do that with a "combo"!

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