Bridge Versus Routed Mode
DSL modems obtained from NCF are pre-configured and ready to install.
To connect with the internet over DSL, your home network needs to provide "credentials" which are just a user-name and password to authenticate as a legitimate user of NCF service. Usually that is the job of your modem. In some cases, it's different though.
(If your modem is not pre-configured by NCF, consult the modem configuration guide.)
When you use a small, single port router, you will need to chose between a routed or a bridge mode. Your choice is pretty simple based on how you are going to use the Internet in your home.
How Modems Connect
Your credentials are used for a connection called a PPPoE connection. (That stands for point-to-point over Ethernet - a technical term for the connection with our servers.) You need to verify that you are allowed to connect, and the credentials you got from NCF will let you do that.
When you get a single-port router, like the 8816 unit, you are likely in one of two situations:
a) you've got one computer which needs a connection and you're going to use a wire to connect to the modem and thus to the internet
b) you've got your own router of some kind, and the modem will connect your router to the Internet. Often you have a wireless router and likely a laptop or several computers and maybe some hand-held devices like smartphones or tablets.
When you buy a combined modem + wireless router in one unit (like the 8901G that NCF sells) you are likely in case 'b' and you don't have to worry about making these choices, because it all happens inside the box.
Bridge versus Routed - Two Ways Modems Connect
Case 'a' above is straight forward. We configure the modem in "Routed" mode, thus it routes data between your computer and the Internet. The modem provides your credentials to the Internet service.
Case 'b' is a bit different. In this case the best setup is to set the modem in "Bridge" mode. Then it bridges your separate router to the Internet. Your router handles the various addressing needs of your devices. A key point though: Your router also must provide your credentials for PPPoE.
Occasionally people in case 'b' use a modem set-up in routed mode - this is inefficient as it imposes an extra layer of addressing on top of your home networking which may result in diminished performance.
To set up your router properly, you need to connect to its configuration page, which is a website that lives inside the device. Often the address and password to access that configuration page are written on the bottom of the unit. In other cases, you can find instructions in the device's manual, or on the Internet by using your favourite search engine. Remember, often these days the manual doesn't come with the device, but rather you have to download it from the manufacturer's website. Sometimes it's on a CD given to you with the router.
But rest assured - NCF configures the modem/router combinations we sell, and that's peace of mind many members are happy to get. Our limited resources mean that we can not offer set-up of your router or other devices purchased elsewhere. Most router manufacturers can give you detailled support over the telephone, and provide a thorough manual. We will sell you a modem set into bridge mode upon your request.
Your Router Needs Your Credentials
Your goal with a router is to simply set up the PPPoE configuration with your username and password.
Your username will be something in the form of firstname.lastname@example.org (with your own ID of course), and your password is your personal DSL password. (That's usually 12 characters, something like ncfabc123def ).
With that set, your modem provides the router an Internet interface, and your router can handle all your local home networking needs.