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Author Topic: Tip if router won't connect properly to cable modem: Clone the MAC address  (Read 10735 times)

mouser

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I just wanted to post a quick tip that i discovered yesterday.

My Internet Service Provider is being bought out by another company and it seems they are doing some behind the scenes work on their end.  My internet connection started acting up and then suddenly completely stopped yesterday.

After 30 minutes on the phone with tech support the conclusion was that something was wrong with the router. When i got off the phone I was left with one pc connected directly to the cable modem and my router completely out of the loop; tech support told me to contact router company for a replacement router.

Of course i never believe anything tech support people say, so i did some experimenting.

The router was not retrieving an ip address for some reason.

What i tried, which worked instantly, is to go to the router settings and CLONE the MAC address of my pc.
clonemac.png

So i guess for some reason they were blocking my router from getting an IP from the network, and this tricked it. I'm sure the experts here could provide a better explanation, but I thought i would post it just as something to try if you have a similar problem.

f0dder

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Re: Tip if router won't connect properly to cable modem: Clone the MAC address
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2008, 07:04:39 AM »
It's pretty typical for cable providers to do MAC magic, also here in .dk as well. I think the reason is that they want to try and limit you to only having one PC connected at a time... with one provider a friend used some years ago, I think they even stated that explicitly, and if you plugged in another computer, you'd get directed to a "tie connection to new MAC" page whenever you tried surfing the net.

Fortunately, with a router capable of MAC-cloning, you can usually avoid that crap.
- carpe noctem

Daleus

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Re: Tip if router won't connect properly to cable modem: Clone the MAC address
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2008, 08:47:08 AM »
Aye, this if common where I am too.

What I was told is that the ISP is more than happy to diagnose connection problems for a computer, but because of the wide variety and configuration options for home routers, they just aren't interested in giving that level of support.

So, as you have discovered, clone the mac for the PC the ISP expects to see, and then settle down to some wide ranging readin' 'n' 'sperimentin' with your router ;)

Daleus, Curmudgeon-at-Large

johnfdeluca

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Re: Tip if router won't connect properly to cable modem: Clone the MAC address
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2008, 01:59:43 PM »
Yes, I used to have to notify my cable internet provider if I were changing routers as they had it hardcoded to only work with my mac address.  I think that's changed by now with Comcast but I still have the clone in there.

lanux128

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Re: Tip if router won't connect properly to cable modem: Clone the MAC address
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2009, 08:58:20 PM »
wonderful tip! :-* luckily i remembered mouser's tip when changing router yesterday at the work-place. the ISP tech support's suggestion was to reboot the router and try again.

Innuendo

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Re: Tip if router won't connect properly to cable modem: Clone the MAC address
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2009, 10:22:08 PM »
Fortunately, my ISP is forward-thinking enough that they don't lock service to the MAC of any of my equipment. As a matter of fact, they are forward-thinking enough to realize that most people have more than one device they want to use to connect to the internet so they give all their customers a wireless router if they want one.

lanux128

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Re: Tip if router won't connect properly to cable modem: Clone the MAC address
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2009, 10:51:26 PM »
my home package provides subscribers with a wireless router/modem with no MAC cloning. at work-place the 'ISP' is a reseller who has to implement these measures as not to over-sell their bandwidth, luckily for us, there are routers with these cloning features.

mwb1100

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Re: Tip if router won't connect properly to cable modem: Clone the MAC address
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2009, 03:01:17 AM »
I can't believe that the ISP didn't have the solution for you on this.  Any ISP I've dealt with when trying to get problems solved for  friends and family first gets the router out of the picture (direct connect the PC).  Once that's working, they always say to get the MAC address cloned.  Your new ISP needs a bit more experience - with the number of routers in use, I'm pretty sure they'll have this solution in the support script pretty dang quick.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Tip if router won't connect properly to cable modem: Clone the MAC address
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2009, 06:12:53 AM »
What I was told is that the ISP is more than happy to diagnose connection problems for a computer, but because of the wide variety and configuration options for home routers, they just aren't interested in giving that level of support.
And while that is partially true, the reason behind it is a bit different.

For the ISP's "Computer Diagnostics" all their need is any carcass off the street that is literate, level headed, and has a pleasant phone voice (actually only the first requirement is mandatory...). You see, these days the assumption that calling "Tech Support" will put you in touch with someone smarter than you about product X is complete crap. Maintaining a truly trained staff is expensive, maintained a hoard of trained monkeys on the other hand, is quite affordable, especially if they're contracted with zero benefits.

ISP's won't trouble shoot your router because router trouble shooting requires that you actually do know something.

y0himba

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Re: Tip if router won't connect properly to cable modem: Clone the MAC address
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2009, 07:09:30 AM »
An even better idea is to power off the cable modem, router, and PC.  Then:

1.  Power on the Cable Modem and wait 30 seconds or until all the lights are back to normal (Synced up).  (If your cable modem doesn't have a power off, unplug it, wait 30 seconds, plug it back in) 
2.  Power on the router and wait until it is also back to normal, about 30 seconds.
3.  Power on the PC.

Reasoning:  The cable modem is trying to assign you a dynamic IP address.  So, we power on the cable modem and allow it to obtain an IP from you provider.  The we power on the router and allow it to set the pipe up between your cable modem and router.  The we start the PC up and let it establish it's pipe.  This way you still have the added security of a separate MAC address.
My Web Site:  http://www.y0himba.net

Stoic Joker

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Re: Tip if router won't connect properly to cable modem: Clone the MAC address
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2009, 12:39:28 PM »
While that is true for most cable setups, sometimes (cable based) ISP's play additional games that involve preventing the assignment of addresses MAC address (or address blocks) that are  assigned to router manufacturers/equipment.

There is also the only 2 MAC addresses allowed (there end and your end) game that they play.

Either dilemma will require mousers above approach.

Innuendo

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Re: Tip if router won't connect properly to cable modem: Clone the MAC address
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2009, 02:45:11 PM »
Either dilemma will require mousers above approach.

Yep...either that or you're on the phone with your ISP begging them to change the MAC address they've got in their system. Most ISPs don't engage in such archaic behavior anymore & fortunately for me, none of the ISPs where I live took part in that little game.