PPPoE and Verizon DSL

I have been very busy working on the future of BizTalk. Currently, this is mostly attending meetings and writing prototypes. This has been exciting and has not left me much time to post here.

Aside from this, I managed to find some time to setup my Verizon DSL. At the end of June (June 30th to be price), I ordered DSL from Verizon Online. They tested my line and sent me the equipment. Well, I had to call their customer service to "remind" them that they should have sent me the modem and the filters. I received the modem but no filters. As a result, I currently have to choose between my phone or the DSL.

Anyway, I currently run Mac OS X (10.2.8) at home and I had no problem getting this machine online. I used the well known trick of power cycling the DSL modem right after running setup and I started to enjoy a fast access to the internet in less than 5 minutes. Things started to get more interesting when I tried to hook up my D-Link wireless router DI-624.

This is by no mean a complex task, I thought. Well, it turned out that it was not immediately obvious to me. Verizon sent me a dual modem: Ethernet and USB. The model is a Westell "WireSpeed". After hooking up the Ehternet output of the modem to the WAN input of the D-Link router, I configured the WAN side to do PPPoE (Point to Point Protocol Over Ethernet) with my username and password. Of course, it did not work. The DI-624 could not establish a PPPoE connection.

I then inspected my unit a little more closely and noticed the part number of the modem: B90-210015-04. Basically, this is supposed to mean that this is a Westell 2100 modem, provided by Verizon (the "15" part. If it was Bell, it would have been "30"). Actually, the Verizon part number on the cardboard box says that the modem is actually a B90-211015-04. Oh well .... Westell (official web site) uses Verizon (among others) as distributors and allow them to customize the firmware so this might be why they are kind of sloppy on the part numbers.

There were essentially two solutions: either way the modem was acting as a DSL router or my configuration on the D-Link was wrong. A quick search on the internet revealed that a Westell 2100 is a bridge and cannot be configured to be a router therefore setting up PPPoE is required. Being 100% sure that my PPPoE configuration was right, I pulled the heavy artillery: I hooked up the modem output to a computer and ran netmon in promiscuous mode.

I very quickly understood what happened. I saw DHCP and TCP frames. My modem is in fact a Westell 2110 which allows two computers to be connected at the same time (via Ethernet and USB). To achieve this, it contains a little DHCP server and the line negotiation is handled by the modem. I configured the DI-624 to acquire an dynamic IP address (as I would have for a cable connection) and got connectivity.

I am a little unhappy with this situation. I'd rather disable the PPPoE and DHCP capabilities of the modem and have my D-Link do PPPoE. However, neither the Westell 2100 nor the Westell 2110 can be setup this way.

Comments (7)

  1. Dave says:

    Dude, you amaze me. I’m very impressed with your ability to diagnose problems like this.

    Of course, my DSL is working, however 🙂

  2. ashwin says:

    I got a problem with verizon DSL and my toshiba wrc-1000 router. Recently i moved from comcast cable to verizon dsl . When i connect my PC to the DSL modem and cconfigure the Ethernet adapter for DHCP it works but when i connect the modem to my router and configure it to get a dhcp address it always fails and does not get any IP address. I tried to configure the router WAN IP address manually to be the IP address that my pc got and then connect , this worked. I am not sure how i need to configure my router with DHCP as i think the manually configured IP will expire with dhcp.

    My router always worked when i used it with comcast cable connection



  3. robin says:

    I can not get my verizon dsl to work. It says that I am not getting a connection. I called Verizon and they claim that my IP address is wrong and that we could not reset it without calling HP. HP wants $40.00 to tell me how to fix. Anyone have any free advice? Thanks!

  4. Randy says:

    Hi Robin,

    If you are running windows you probably have a computer with an assigned IP address. The westell 2110 acts (as noted above) as a DHCP server which assigns IP addresses to computers connected to it. The solution (if this is the case) is:

    1) Right click Network Neighborhood.

    2) Select Properties (left click)

    3) Click on the list the one that says

    TCP/IP–> 10/100 (ID of your NIC, mine is compaq netellegent 10/100)

    4) Click on properites

    5) Click on the IP address tab.

    6) Put the dot in (select) the Obtain an IP address automatically.

    7) Click OK. It will prompt you to restart your computer.

    Besure to also go into Control Panel/Internet Options/LAN Settings (bottom 1/2) and besure a check mark is in Automatically Detect Settings.

  5. alpharay says:

    I just got the same modem from Verizon. Here is my question.

    Is there a way to get into the modem ? for example like a web interface or telnet console ?

    If so, what will be the ip address ?

    I want to know what kind of thing I can do with this modem.


  6. Gilles says:

    alpharay: As I explained, there are many different model of Westell 2100 (and 2110) because Westell allows Verizon, Bell and others to customize the firmware.

    I have seen three types of Westell 2110. One has a web interface at Some are at Others do not have a web interface but have an "RPC" interface on port 80. For these, you can find utilities on the internet that allow you to view change settings. These are Win32 EXEs as far as I know. A quick search on the internet should point you in the right direction and will probably reveal what you can do with it as well.

    Do not get too excited about configuring your modem. There are not many things you can change. The configuration mostly allows you to change the VCI/VPI of the modem but unless you know *exactly* what you are doing, you should not change them. Hint: People change the VCI/VPI to use a South Bell provided modem with Verizon DSL (or other providers).

    You can find a Westell FAQ here: http://www.dslreports.com/faq/westell

    They also have pointers to utilities to configure the Westell.

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