Please bear with me - I'm unclear about much of the terminology used in home networking.

The scenario:

  • I would like to set up a wireless network.

  • I live in a shared house where internet service is provided for free but the person in charge of its maintenance provides no technical support. In other words, all I have is a live LAN (correct terminology?) plate in my room. I do not have a working cable plate/outlet.

  • Left over from my last apartment I have a perfectly good Motorola SBG6580 cable modem/router.

  • I can connect to the internet using this configuration: wall plate<-- Cat 5 cable-->router/modem<-- Cat5 cable -->laptop. There are four unlabeled ports on the back of the modem/router so it seems to be acting as a switch (correct terminology?).

  • The cable modem/router appears in the list of nearby wireless networks and using the password on the bottom of the box I can connect to it and navigate the settings at in my browser.

  • It seems like I have all the ingredients for a wireless network recipe, however, upon connecting to the wireless network, I cannot get online. My browser just tells me it cannot connect to the internet.

This doesn't seem to be the typical "bridging" situation since I want to use the router I already have. And my situation isn't quite like this one since that OP has access to the cable for his cable modem/router. And I'm not sure if this is the same situation since the OP is using a DSL modem and isn't explicit (enough for my limited knowledge) about his configuration.

Any ideas?


first off your terminology was not too bad so not to worry :)...

In my opinion you are correct that the router is working as a switch. You normally have four 'switch' ports on a router and an internet port which can be either for a phone line, Ethernet cable or coaxial cable depending on the router.

Now what I believe is happening is that your DHCP 'Server' (basically gives network addresses to devices that request one) on the cable is coming from the main device (behind the wall socket). However when your connecting to Wireless your being given a new DHCP address which is then creating/putting you on separate network to the one your getting from the Ethernet Cable (so two different Local Area Networks).

Various methods to getting around this however it all depends on how flexible that Motorola device is as I'm not overly familiar with it. BTW you have to be very careful plugging in devices to a working network as your device could conflict (DHCP) with the current device and stop everyone's access.

Firstly I would start by logging on to that Motorola device and disabling DHCP completely on all networks. Then you can try to plug the device back in to the wall socket, log on via Wifi and see what address you get (possibly a 169.x.x.x which means no device is supplying an IP address). If that doesn't work you may have to look at static routes which tell the traffic coming from the wireless device where to be routed to get to the outside world.

Have a look at turning off DHCP and let me know what changes.



  • That worked perfectly. For the record: 1) hard reset the modem/router, 2) using in a browser entered the default credentials (username: admin, password: motorola) 3) navigated through Basic->DHCP->Set DHCP Server to "no" and hit "apply" 4) reset by unplugging and replugging the modem/router's power cord 5) signed in to the WiFi network 6) browsed the interweb. – Zoë Clark Jun 26 '14 at 1:49
  • Excellent well done, glad this helped to 'push' you in right direction. – CharlesH Jun 26 '14 at 8:52

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