Getting an IP with Verizon DSL

I’ve learned more about networking in the last week than I did in the past year.
DSL modems, such as the Westell Wirespeed, typically assign IP addresses based on MAC address. The MAC address is supposed to be a unique identifier for every piece of networking equipment. Of course, I’d always known some ISPs limit usage based on MAC address filtering. What I didn’t know is that MY ISP did, and the way in which they did it.
When the modem has assigned an IP to a requester, it won’t give out any more IPs. It will only give out one IP to one and only one MAC address.

This is the basis of the problem I ran into while trying to switch/upgrade wireless routers.
My old router is a Netgear 802.11b wireless router, and the new one is a ZyXEL 802.11g P-330W. At first, I thought there wasa a problem with the ZyXEL router. I was so certain of this that I even took it back to CompUSA for an exchange.
It turns out that the connection from the DSL modem doesn’t even work when connected directly to a computer.
This means it wasn’t really the router’s fault it couldn’t get an IP address. No computer can either, which means it’s on the DSL modem/ISP’s end. Their routers which assign IP addresses to customers’ DSL modems is not working properly. It doesn’t clear the MAC address assigned unless the networking device (identified by its MAC address) expressly releases the IP.

Some network cards have the ability to spoof their MAC address from within Network Connection Properties -> Configure -> Advanced. Dell computers do not (tested on Dimension 4600 and Inspiron 700m built-in network adapters).

The ZyXEL router doesn’t have a feature to release its IP address, but it is able to clone MAC addresses. So I was given the MAC address by the Verizon operator and was then able to get an IP assigned by DHCP.

Update (Jan 11, 2011): Jeff wrote a nice post about this issue. Take a look if you’re having trouble getting an IP address from Verizon.

8 Responses to “Getting an IP with Verizon DSL”

  1. mauricio botero says:

    Regarding the pw-330 router, I have the similar problem with dsl, I have bellsouth dsl and had a computer connected through a wireless belkin 802.11b router, things worked well, then i saw this 4.99 zyxel pw 330, I tried the instructions on their manual, I configured to ppoe with the username and password provided by bellsouth, it did not work, and then when I tried to connect the old belkin router, I could not get it to connect to the internet either, I called bellsouth, they told me to set the modem to bridge, it did not work. I still can get internet access if I connect the computer via ethernet to the dsl modem, and actually I bought another computer and it also connects through the dsl modem, so it seems that the mac address is not the problem, any thoughts?

  2. verizon.dsl says:

    “This means it wasnít really the routerís fault it couldnít get an IP address. No computer can either, which means itís on the DSL modem/ISPís end. Their routers which assign IP addresses to customersí DSL modems is not working properly. It doesnít clear the MAC address assigned unless the networking device (identified by its MAC address) expressly releases the IP.”

    It’s not suppose to clear unless it is specified.

  3. cocomarla says:

    so how do i get a MAC Address???
    I need one thanks

  4. Jon says:

    Hey Elliot, Thanks for the info. It’s still an issue, 2 years later. I just spent a day and a half trying to figure out how to setup a wireless router with my Verizon Westell 2100 series (B90-210015-04). My wireless router (a Motorola WR850G) has a slightly misleading setup program. When asked how I connected to the internet, I chose “DSL modem”, which is true, but the router then assumed I needed PPPoE. I called Verizon and found out I am a “Verizon West” customer, and that I should configure my router to use DHCP even though I have a DSL modem. Apparently Verizon East customers use PPPoE and need a name and password. Anyway, after setting my router to use DHCP, I still couldn’t connect to the internet, until I tried cloning my PC’s MAC address. Sure enough, after setting up my router to clone, everything started working. Note, that MAC cloning is only necessary for Verizon West customers if they are switching devices within 2 hours of internet usage. If they simply plug the new router in to their dsl modem, and *and wait for 2 hours* for their MAC address filter to expire, the connection will then start working. I verified this (actually, it was about 1 hour and 45 minutes until the connection came up).

    Here’s a couple links that mention the MAC filtering by Verizon West:
    http://www.belkin.com/support/tech/isp/
    http://members.verizon.net/~res08lyg/6100.htm
    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r18754758-connectivity-phone-rings-90-disconnects-plus-there-is-m

  5. Jon says:

    cocomarla: Any device (network card, router, etc.) already has a MAC address. E.g. > ipconfig /all | findstr Physical

  6. Joe says:

    Was having the same problem, in that I have the Westell B90-210015-04 (2100) modem with a D-Link wireless “B” router and I wanted to upgrade to a new Linksys “G” router. I had internet service coming out of my D-link router via wireless, but I could not get it directly out of the modem through the ethernet cable or USB cable directly to the pc. I spent hours trying to fix it by shutting everything down, restarting, switching cables, testing cables, repairing the network connection,everything. I even went into my router configuration and released AND renewed my IP address. I didn’t realize that I was on to half of the solution.

    Based on what I read here, I went home and got back into my router configuration (192.168.0.1 for D-link) and just did a “release” on my IP address. I did not renew it. This released the MAC address too. I then shut everything down and disconnected the D-link router and hooked up the new Linksys router.

    That did the trick. I was trying that solution before shutting down and disconnecting the modem and waiting 2 hours for the MAC address to expire. This was a much faster solution. Fortunately for me, the D-link also releases the MAC address in addition to the IP address. I don’t know if other routers operate the same. Hope this helps someone else, because it was a real pain in the neck trying to figure it out.

  7. June Muraco says:

    Same problem, with the ip address, needed 159.153.235.1 or 169.153.235.2. After reading your post, and learning about the Mac ip being the problem, and you contacting who, by phone, and resolving the problem. Would I call Verizon, who supplied me with the router a Westel Model # 327W. I am about at the end of the road with this, trying to access my Pogo Game site, which I had been on for years. But now it is blocked by a firewall from a port, and they are saying to find another port, duh? But also the above info you provided me with, another suggestion by Pogo about the IP address. So Here I am and thank you mucho for you figuring out what to do and posting it here.

  8. […] key issue, as discussed in this posting, is that Verizon keeps track of the MAC address that it issues an IP address to via DHCP, and […]

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