Friday, July 10, 2009

Installing the DNS-323 with AT&T's U-verse

There are lots of helpful sites that deal with installing the D-Link DNS-323 (see here and here for examples), but not a lot of discussion regarding installing a DNS-323 if you have U-verse and how to (hopefully) overcome some of the limitations of the 2Wire 3800HGV-B router.

To start with, I am not a genius when it comes to home networking, so keep that in mind before you completely blast me if I did something stupid.

The 3800HGV-B is a 802.11b/g router that is limited to 100 Mbps. This poses some problems because I want to have "fast" access between some of my newer computers and the DNS-323. For example, I just bought a new Apple iMac MB418LL that has 802.11N capabilities, so I would love to be able to quickly access files on my DNS-323 instead of be subjected to 802.11b/g speeds. This might also be an issue if you wish to stream media from the DNS-323 to a DLNA-capable TV or device. While it may be possible to completely replace the 3800HGV-B with a different cable modem/router I chose not to go down this path because I don't want to accidentally screw up my TV service. I also imagine AT&T would not be too happy about that either.

In order to achieve fast speeds between my iMac and the DNS-323 (as well as any other N-capable devices that I might have or acquire) I ended up connecting a spare D-Link 'N' router (the DIR-655) to the 3800HGV-B. After connecting my iMac to the default SSID I configured the N router to simply act as an access point, rather than as a separate router. To do this, I disabled the DHCP server in the N router's setting page. I also made sure to change the SSID for the N router as well as to enable some sort of security for all wireless connections to the router. Next, I unhooked the ethernet cable that is exiting the 3800HGV-8 and entering the N router's WLAN port and instead just plugged it into one of the four LAN ports. Finally, I unplugged the power cord, waited a few seconds, and then plugged the power cord back in. Now the N router is simply acting as an access point -- anything connected to it will still communicate back to the 3800HGV-8's DHCP server to get an IP address.

The next thing I had to do was connect the DNS-323 to my N router. After I installed the drives into the DNS-323, I plugged the ethernet cord from the 323 into one of the remaining LAN ports and turned it on. After everything booted up, I went into the admin web page of the 3800HGV-8 to inspect the IP addresses of all of the devices on my network. Luckily the DNS-323 showed up as a device. It's important to follow all the standard DNS-323 configuration steps (which I won't detail here).

The last thing that I had to do was connect my iMac (and other computers which are still connected to the 3800HGV-8 and not the N router) to the DNS-323 volumes so they could all read/write to them and share files. According to many sources on the internet, it was simply a matter of:

For Mac OS X:
  1. Open Finder
  2. On the left-hand side under Shared the DNS-323 should automatically appear.
  3. Click on DNS-323 (or whatever other name you gave it) and then connect to the two volumes.
This didn't work for me. Instead I had to do the following:
  1. Open Finder
  2. Choose Go->Connect to Server
  3. When the dialog box appears type: smb://DNS-323 (or whatever name you gave it).
  4. From this point mapping the volumes was straightforward.
You might be wondering why I used the N router as an access point rather than just creating a separate N-only network (complete with its own SSID, etc). To explain why, let me point out that one of the things I plan on doing with the DNS-323 is using it to serve all of my iTunes music. Prior to figuring out this particular network topology, I created a secondary N network and connected the DNS-323 to it. Unfortunately, when you create a second network it is on a different subnet from your first network, and because of how iTunes works it isn't possible to share iTunes libraries across subnets.

I hope this helps someone out there. Leave a comment if I need to elaborate on anything.

1 comment:

  1. I have my DNS 323, macbook, and the U-verse 3800 HGV. My 323 has a static IP of 192.168.1.108. However, when I go to my dns 323 in my web browser (192.168.1...) I can't connect. Is there anything I have to do in my U-Verse to get this setup? I do have an N-Router lying around, but is it 100% necessary?

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