AT&T provides a residential gateway when you subscribe to U-Verse or AT&T Fiber. It’s pretty easy to use, but lacks a lot of features we expect in routers these days. So you may be wondering: Can I use my own router with AT&T U-Verse? Yes. Yes you can. Here’s how to use your own router with AT&T U-Verse or AT&T Fiber.
Why you would want to use your own router with AT&T
AT&T’s residential gateway frustrates me for two main reasons. It doesn’t let you set DNS servers other than what AT&T uses. This means you either have to hard-code set your DNS settings on each device, or live with lower performance and worse privacy.
AT&T also doesn’t give you anything in the way of parental controls. Many third-party routers have a way to shut off access to the Internet to certain devices during certain hours. This is useful if you don’t want your kids getting up in the middle of the night and going online. Just knock their devices, game systems, and streaming boxes offline after bedtime.
But if you want to know how to use your own router with AT&T U-Verse or AT&T Fiber, you probably already know that.
Configuring your AT&T gateway for your own router
The gateway that AT&T provides doesn’t have a bridge mode, but it has another feature that’s an effective substitute.
But first, we have to take care of its networking.
It defaults to a 192.168.1.0/24 network and an address of 192.168.1.254. If your router doesn’t live on 192.168.1, you’re golden. But it seems like at least 50% of consumer routers also live on that network. If yours does, you’ll have to reconfigure the AT&T router so you don’t get a conflict.
Log in to the AT&T gateway. The password is on the underside of your router. It’s probably just a long number. Navigate to Settings > LAN > DHCP. Change the range to 172.16.0.0. Then scroll down to the end and click Save.
On some models of AT&T gateway, the setting may be in Home Network > Subnets & DHCP.
I’ve been told that on some newer AT&T gateways, you have to enter a full network range rather than choosing a network from a menu. If that’s the case with yours, enter 172.16.0.1 as the start address and 172.31.255.255 as the end.
You’ll lose your connection at this point. This is a pretty good time to plug in your third-party router. Then either unplug your laptop’s network cable and plug it back in, or renew your DHCP lease with the command sequence ipconfig /release followed by ipconfig /renew . Now you’re ready to reconnect. Point your browser at 172.16.0.1 and log back in.
Navigate to Settings > Firewall. Click Applications, pinholes and DMZ. You should see two devices on the screen: your laptop and your third-party router. Click on the router, then click Allow all applications (DMZ plus mode).
Now unplug your laptop’s network cable from the AT&T gateway and plug it into your third-party router. Visit your aftermarket router’s configuration page, probably at 192.168.1.1 if it’s like most routers. Find its network status page and check its IP address. You should see your public IP address, the same address you see if you visit ipchicken.com. If you see a 172.16 address instead, revisit your settings on the AT&T router and make sure you didn’t forget to click apply somewhere.
One more thing
You probably don’t want the AT&T wifi. You could use it as a guest network, perhaps, but it won’t have any kind of restrictions on it, so leaving it enabled it kind of defeats the purpose.
Click on Settings > LAN > Wi-Fi and then scroll down to Wi-Fi Interface. Select Disabled. If your gateway has both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios, which newer ones do, scroll down to the section labeled 5 GHz Wi-Fi Radio and do the same thing there.
And that’s how to use your own router with AT&T U-Verse or AT&T Fiber.