How to use your own router with Bell Fibe/FiberOP internet by enabling Advanced DMZ

Bell Fibe Internet or Bell Aliant FiberOP Internet is a popular choice among Canadians.  However the equipment provided by Bell and Bell Aliant may not suit everyone’s needs. If you’ve tried to attach a router to a Bell modem you will quickly realize that multiple internal networks are created as the Bell modem acts as a router and wireless access point. It becomes even more convoluted if you require port forwarding. To make matters worse, the Bell equipment could interfere with your personal router’s wireless network performance. There’s a better way to use your own personal router with Bell Internet.

Overview

Note: at the time of writing this Bell Aliant FibreOP is currently being re-branded to Bell Fibe. The instructions below were written using Bell Aliant FiberOP Internet. It’s possible that some of the steps below could change as new firmware is pushed to Bell Aliant’s equipment. It would be greatly appreciated if you could comment below should you notice any changes. Thanks!

The steps below are quite basic if you have any experience configuring a router or network device. We’ll be accessing Bell Aliant’s equipment through an administration web interface and then we’ll enable the Advanced DMZ. This will allow your third-party router to obtain a public IP address without any interference from the Bell equipment. No firewalls, DHCP, Port Bridging, or vLAN configurations are required. This is simple and easy.

For those of you who are concerned about performing the steps below, this PDF document published for Bell Aliant’s business customers should answer any of your questions. Although unconfirmed, the steps below should also work on Bell Fibe Internet equipment outside the Atlantic Provinces. Let me know in the comments below. 

From this point forward I’ll refer to Bell’s modem/router combination equipment as the “modem” and your personal third-party router as simply the “router”.

What about my television receivers?

Your Bell Aliant FibreOP television receivers should remain connected to the Bell Aliant modem. There’s absolutely no need to connect IPTV receivers to your own router. If you’re using wireless receivers, don’t disable WiFi on the Bell equipment. 

Prerequisites

The rest of this guide will assume you currently have a computer directly connected over Ethernet to the Bell modem.

Determine your modem’s IP address

Typically the modem IP address is 192.168.2.1. You can test this by browsing to http://192.168.2.1. If successful, you should see a Bell Fibe/FiberOP page appear.

If needed, I’ve included instructions for determining your modem’s IP address.

  1. Click Start and type “cmd” and hit the enter key.
  2. At the command prompt type “ipconfig /all” and hit enter.
  3. Document the “Default Gateway” address. This is the IP address we’ll use to access the modem’s web interface where we can make the necessary changes. I’ll refer to this as the modem’s IP address.

Connect and configure your own router

This portion of the guide is a bit vague as the instructions vary by device but here’s an overview.

  1. Connect your own router’s WAN port (sometimes called the Internet port) to any LAN port (ports 1 – 4) on the Bell Aliant modem.
  2. Power cycle your router.
  3. Keep your computer connected to the Bell modem for now…

How to enable Advanced DMZ

The steps can vary by device. At the moment I only have instructions on how to enable Advanced DMZ on the R1000H and R3000. but I’ll have instructions for more devices as they become available. If you have a different modem model, I suggest trying the instructions anyway and let me know in the comments if you were successful. 

R1000H or R3000

  1. Launch a web browser and browse to your modem’s IP address. For example, http://192.168.2.1.
  2. Next you will need to login to the modem using the username “admin” and the password printed on a label attached to the Bell modem.
  3. From the main page, under Home Network section, identify your third-party router’s MAC address. You can also find your router’s MAC Address on the router itself, usually on a sticker on the bottom of the device (sometimes called a Physical Address). We’ll need the MAC Address of your personal router in order to enable the Advanced DMZ option.
  1. OPTIONAL: Select Wireless Setup.
    1. Select the frequency 5Ghz and set the Wireless Radio option to Disable. Click Apply to save the settings.
    2. Select the frequency 2.4Ghz and set the Wireless Radio option to Disable. Click Apply to save the settings.
  2. Select Firewall.
    1. Select Advanced DMZ from the menu on the left.
    2. Select Enable under Set the Advanced DMZ state.
    3. Select Manually Enter MAC Address from the drop down menu under Select a Device and input your third-party router’s MAC address in the text field.
    4. Click Apply.
  3. Wait 5 minutes.
  4. Now attach your computer and any other devices (other than IPTV devices – keep your television receivers attached to the Bell equipment) to your third-party router and check that your router’s WAN IP is a public IP address (The WAN IP of your router should not be something like 192.168.X.X).

It’s worth noting that Advanced DMZ is different than Port Bridging (aka Enhanced Bridge Mode, if you’re familiar). Unlike Port Bridging, Advanced DMZ allows access to the Bell modem should you need to access it.

So what about the Enhanced Bridge Mode?

Some of you who are familiar with Telus Optik Internet may have wondered why Bell Aliant doesn’t have the same Port 1 Bridging option. Bell Aliant appears to be using the same Actiontec equipment. I honestly can’t answer this question but I have found this PDF document which identifies issues with Port Bridging and favours Advanced DMZ. I’ve had the opportunity to configure Port Bridging on Telus Optik and Advanced DMZ on Bell Aliant. Both appear to accomplish the same thing – your own router with a public IP address. And both appear to work fine on the surface.

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