AT&T follows the same bizarre rules that most internet providers seem to follow: they only want you to play with their toys. Many excuses exist, like security or assisting you during the dreaded customer support call, but the fact of the matter is that most third-party routers are just better than that provided by the provider themselves.
Netgear, Linksys, TP-Link, and so on, all have offerings that can make better use of your fiber broadband you’re shelling out for with better Wi-Fi signals across the house or if you live in an apartment building, helping cut through the noise that multiple devices can cause in one place.
So it’s no coincidence that AT&T has a massive hill to overcome if you want to use your own router. Getting out of their ecosystem and into your own just means that they can’t upsell you on repeaters or a newer router towards the end of your current contract.
But fear not, as help is at hand and we’ll help you break the shackles of the dreaded broadband provider… sort of.
See, AT&T still require the router to be in the lineup of devices to act as the gateway for your connection – pretty much to determine whether you’re a legitimate customer – and you’ll need to keep it on at all times as we daisy chain routers together in this attempt at getting you a better overall experience.
How to Use Own Router with AT&T Fiber
Find your router’s IP
Routers across the world all deal with similar strings of IP addresses. For those not sure, an IP address is the unique set of numbers that your connection places onto each device that connects to it, literally like an address, and is used as an identity for the device when communicating with the router.
Before we do anything remotely more complex than guessing, an AT&T router will usually use one of two defaults: 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.254. This will bring you to the administration page for the router.
If you’ve never really changed any settings on your router, the login will be admin and then your modem should have a sticker or leaflet included with it that gives you the right login under “system password” or “device access code”. This password could also be blank or admin.
However, if you’ve already changed them at some point, you’ll want to type in your credentials.
We only have access to a PC at the time of writing, so for Mac devices, we’ll have no images.
Find IP Address on Windows
In Windows 10 and 11, you can head to the designated search bar or icon in the taskbar and type in ‘cmd’ or ‘command prompt’ to access the famous black box.
If you have this turned off for whatever reason, you can still do the classic Run into CMD by loading up ‘Run’ and typing in ‘cmd’.
In the Start Menu
Windows also now collate the Command Prompt in the same Windows System folder in the start bar.
Finding your router's IP on macOS
In the upper bar, click the Apple icon and go to System Preferences. You can also press Command + Space to bring up the search option and type in Network.
In System Preferences, choose Network and it’ll bring up a window with all your current connections. From here, you want to choose Advanced.
In the menu bar, next to Wi-Fi, there’s TCP/IP which will contain the information you need under ‘Router’.
Find IP on Android and iOS
For Android devices, it’s recommended you use Wi-Fi Analyzer or a similar app from your devices’ app store, while for iPhones, this can found in the Settings app and in the menu after tapping the currently connected Wi-Fi network. It’ll be listed as ‘Router’.
You will now have the IP address and be able to head into AT&T’s router options.
Swap from Wi-Fi to Ethernet
On most AT&T routers, you’re going to need to disable the 2.4GHz and 5GHz signal, so that when you connect up your new router, you won’t have two conflicting signals trying to grab your device.
In Home Network on the top settings band, choose Wi-Fi and disable Home SSID and Guest SSID. If you’re not connected over Ethernet at this point, you’ll lose your connection.
Next, in Firewall, there’s Packet Filter, which will have the option to disable it. The router will be taking care of this from now on, so there’s no need for the AT&T modem to be using it.
Firewall Advanced and IP Passthrough
Then we need to go Firewall Advanced and turn everything off. Don’t fret.
Once we’re done in Firewall Advanced, go through to IP Passthrough and turn Allocation Mode to Passthrough. Underneath, Passthrough Mode. Here choose either Dynamic or Static.
Side note about IP Passthrough
You might find one mode works, while the other doesn’t here. It’s a bit of a shot in the dark, but to simply put it: ensure your AT&T Modem is only hosting the router you want to use in its Ethernet ports. Everything else is going to go into your third-party router, so there’s no need for it other than this.
Dynamic Mode will assign an IP to everything that connects, while Static is for a singular device. Folk online have issues with each, so it’s really dependent on what you can get working. If anything goes wrong, that’ll be one thing you want to change.
Save and Check
Press save and back to Status. In here, everything other than IP Passthrough should be off.
Plug in Router and Check Subnet
You should now be good to go, plugin and set up the new router, but you’ll want to ensure that the Subnet it uses is set to another string of numbers. In this case, because AT&T is using 192.168.1.254, go ahead and set the new router to 192.168.2.254 or something along those lines, ensuring that there are no conflicts.
This will be different for each router and you’ll have to check your user manual for how to do this for your specific brand.