Planning Your LAN

Supposing you already have a router, and you acquire an NCF router/modem, there are several ways of connecting things. The "best" way for you can be driven by philosophy, features of the devices, and how much "stuff" you must accommodate.

My Setup as of Fri 07 Apr 2006 05:21:25 PM EDT

In my case, I migrated from a Speedstream 5200 "modem" with Sympatico, to the Speedtouch 546 with NCF (that choice was made before NCF offered the ST585). I was using a D-link Dl-604 router, with DHCP enabled.
I quickly discovered that having both DHCP servers enabled was a BAD THING (locking up etc).

My current set-up has the ST546 working as a router, with DHCP enabled. Plugged into it are:

The Dl-604 (DHCP disabled!)
Netgear PE102 Ethernet to Phone Line Bridge (HPN to another apartment 400 wire-feet away)
my web server computer (Linux)
laser printer

Plugged into the Dl-604 are:
our "main" (NT4) computer only!

After a lot of head-banging, I've (temporarily at least) given up trying to make the laser work (printing from both computers) while connected to the Dl-604.

The key to making the laser available for printing from both the Linux and the NT4 computers was plugging it into the ST546, and adding an entry to the IP Routing Table in the ST546.

Specifically, for a "Destination" (e.g. the printer's IP address) I needed to enter a "Gateway"

That is, the printer's address of 10.0.0.x is reached via the "Gateway" address of

The next change? Probably displace the Dl-604 router with a simple Ethernet hub. I want to provide an Ethernet feed for my notebook, and it might as well be DHCP via the ST546. TBA.

Revised Setup as of Sun 09 Apr 2006 05:23:37 PM EDT

simple block-diagram of present system configuration hastily-created using Xfig

So, is a picture worth 1-kilo-word?

Here's something of potential use, if for some reason your ST585 is mounted elsewhere, such as right at the Demarcation Point:

David G. Robinson
Apr-02 12:04
I have a question for ST585 users: does the router management/configuration require that a computer be connected to the router via Ethernet during this operation, or can any computer perform these functions via a wireless connection?
If the latter, I would ASSUME that appropriate authentication and encryption would be employed. My limited wireless experience was a few years ago, and that router did require an Ethernet connection for these administrative tasks. But the ST585?

Brian Shouldice
Apr-02 19:00
You can access the st585 router management/configuration via a wireless connection as long as you are connected to it. Just open a web browser and input: or in to the address line. You should then be prompted for the modem username and password. If you have bought a DSL modem preconfigured from NCF you should consult the documentation that came with the modem for these.

I have both changed configuration options and done setups wirelessly before for the st585 without any difficulties.
More from the DSL list:
Speedtouch modem recommendations

Jessica Cohen

Mar-28 10:56

Hey, I'm having fun doing my bit to get new NCF members signed up (and using DSL) and both the friend whom I am helping and I (I'm planning on switching to DSL from my cable modem sometime in the next few months) have similar configurations that don't fit the default modem configs the NCF office is selling.

My friend is looking at having 2-3 computers hooked up with via ethernet ports (no wireless cards). From the Pc Cyber site, would the Speedtouch 546 be an appropiate choice? (I want to stick to a speedtouch modem so she can get support from NCF office if she has trouble in the future)

For my own setup, I have 3-4 computers with ethernet only, but I also have a linksys router that works quite well already. Can the linksys router be daisy-chained with the speedtouch 516? Anyone on here tried a setup like that?

Brian Shouldice

Mar-28 11:50

Hello Jessica,
Both the 546 from PC Cyber and the 585 from NCF have 4 ethernet ports. The 585 has wireless built on top of that. So you could wire in up to 4 computers to the 585 and then have the option of wireless later. If you are certain that wireless is not going to be desired in the future, then the 546 would be the appropriate choice.

A good number of our members have done the 'daisy chain' solution with the 516 to their own routers. It is important to make sure that the 516 is programmed as Bridged Ethernet instead of Routed PPPoE (you have to pick one of the two in the setup). From there you would program the router with your NCF DSL username and DSL password.

Jim Elder

Mar-28 18:20

There might be an advantage in having an integrated modem-router. The Linksys 4-port BEFSR41 v3 router I have sometimes gets confused about the state of the separate SpeedStream DSL modem, causing the DSL to appear to be down. It happens about twice per year. I've come to learn (after spending time) that resetting the router cures it.

When I tested a 585 for NCF, which is an integrated modem-router, I had the impression that it was faster. Possibly it has a faster processor or better s/w than the Linksys I have has.

The feature set of the 585 dwarfs that of the Linksys, though it is missing a feature that I like on the Linksys -- idle disconnect and connect on demand. I mentioned it to the SpeedTouch rep -- who knows, in a future release, it might be included.

Eric L. Stewart

Mar-28 22:36

There are different schools of thought to this. I am a big believer in the "separation of services" model of networking and network security in general. I've put my SpeedTouch 516 into bridging mode and left the authentication of the DSL to my router. My experience is that firewall/router products such as the Linksys WRT54G(S) are stable, very configurable devices with intuitive interfaces that make the job of running servers behind the firewall and protecting same relatively painless. You can also load 3rd party Linux firmware on these devices that will unlock many of the "hidden" features that the likes of Linksys didn't see fit that we, the paying public, should use. My main router is a Cisco PIX 501 firewall BTW. It's bulletproof, rock solid and didn't cost me a lot when I snagged it on eBay ;-) I have also had great success with D-Link and SMC brand devices.

A lot of people seem interested in the 3rd party firmware alternatives for the Linksys WRT54G(S) wireless routers. A good source of information, including FAQs for the various flavours of Linux firmwares can be found at There are signficant caveats, for example, as to what version of hardware you can use since the latest versions of the WRT54G(S) are running VxWorks and not Linux. They also have reduced RAM and flash. Linksys has addressed this by releasing 2 new WRT-family routers, one with built-in support for external hard drives, making it useful as a NAS unit. Another version of WRT, the WRT54GSL (L for Linux) continues support for the Linux community, recognizing that this has been a significant business driver for them.

I have had experience with 2 firmwares, Sveasoft, and DD-WRT.

Sveasoft is a for-profit, subscription model where you need to pay $20US a year to download the pre-release version of the code. I have found that development has been lagging of late (actually over 6 months now) and Sveasoft is now significantly behind other alternatives in bug fixes and incorporating such rudimentary features as WPA2, WPA+AES, etc. You can find info on sveasoft at

I have had great success with the DD-WRT code. Besides the fact that it is freeware, it is now well ahead of Sveasoft in implementing VPN Server / Client, WDS, Site Survey utilities and the latest secure wireless protocols. You can find out more info at There is also a wiki for DD-WRT at:

The Thomson Speedtouch 5xx firmware has some *very* interesting features. You can telnet into it (as some have reported) and configure things that aren't included in the web interface. The CLI is a bit cryptic but you can do things like:

configure SNMP
configure real-time system log (syslog protocol) messages to an external syslog server

...of course the good people at NCF would probably just as soon we not play with these things because it makes support problematic but if you're smart you'll make backups of the configuration file to your local hard drive while you're playing. You can always access that web interface at if you seriously mess things up and simply upload the original configuration file.

All of which is to say that networking is fun. It's kinda like Lego for adults! I'm in the extremely happy situation of designing / implementing networks for a living. If you find what I say to be interesting (I haven't bored you to tears) and you'd like to have a copy of a network diagram that I did in PowerPoint of my home network, please drop me a line by email.

Eric Stewart