No internet access — I got creative

This weekend I had trouble with my network at home. I got no internet access. This made me very unproductive. Without internet access, I can’t do that much. So I had to come up with a workaround for my broken network. Sadly my provider doesn’t offer support over the weekend. So I was looking for a solution and I got very creative…

Browser message — no internet access

First of all, I made sure nothing was broken inside my local network (LAN), everything worked. I had access to my file server, could ping other computers inside my network and so on. When I accessed my router, I saw that there were no data transmitted to my network. I got no IP, DNS, etc. from my provider. Maybe a cable, the modem or a server wasn’t working right. But this wasn’t my main scope at that moment because I knew they couldn’t help me at the weekend.

I needed access to the internet for the next two days, but how could I achieve that? I had an idea. So I collected some devices which I owned and started to configure.

I grabbed to following devices:

  • My secondary smartphone
  • A WLAN-Repeater
  • LAN-Cable

With this stuff, I started to fix my network. You may thing, what the hell is he doing or maybe you already thing where this could end. Basically, what I’m trying to do is to replace the provider. Switch from a regular internet service provider to my mobile network provider.

A developer colleague of mine always told me that I should code against an interface so that I could easily switch a layer. This is exactly what I’m doing right now. The difference is that it’s not code, but hardware. The WAN-Port of my router is also an interface. The WAN-port doesn’t care about what’s inside my network, neither does something care from the outside. It just wants some specific data/protocol from outside. I can feed him with everything. So my modem doesn’t work and won’t send any data, but I can bridge this with my phone.

Mobile tethering

My smartphone receives mobile data through a 4G connection. Inside my phone I enabled tethering. If I just needed access to a single device, e.g my laptop, this would already work. But I had some more devices inside my network and I didn’t want to reconfigure all devices for the new Access Point (my smartphone).

Now, my repeater comes into play. Because I need the data on a wire, I had to convert the wireless data from my phone. My repeater could do this by activating the bridge-mode. My repeater converts data from the mobile phone to the router via a LAN cable. At the end, it faces the interface (WAN-port) we talked earlier.

Wi-Fi-Bridge (convert data from wireless to cable)

A quite simple solution to my problem. And it works like a charm. Sure the response time isn’t that great because I’m using mobile data. What surprised me, was the speed. Normally I’ve got 20 Mbit/s down- and 5 Mbit/s upload. While using mobile data I got 10 Mbit/s down- and 2 Mbit/s upload. This allowed me to browse almost without feeling any difference. Watching videos weren’t a big problem, they started immediately.

Speedtest to my surprise

Marc Wieland
WordPress. Front-End Development. UX. Cinematography. Landscape Photography. Time-Lapse Video.

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