Hello. I have cellular internet service as one of the few options available to me as I live rurally.
I have a ZTE MF271CA modem / router supplied by Rogers. I want to expand my home wireless network coverage so I bought a Google Mesh System.
Can someone please tell me how to set up the two devices to be compatible with one another? Without changing anything, I can get the Google WiFi point set up. Unfortunately, nothing else in my hard-wired home network works. I tried turning off the router function in the ZTE but when I did, the Google WiFi point could not find the internet. I tried turning off the wireless in the ZTE but that had no effect. I called Google for help and they were very helpful until they got to the point where they told me to put my modem into Bridge mode, which is apparently does not do. I called Rogers Tech support but they were not able to help me as they said their responsibility is only to get the internet to me. The person said did not know what a Google Mesh was.
Surely someone with a ZTE MF271CA has set it up with a Google Mesh WiFi network. Anyone care to give me some tips as to what I'm doing wrong in trying to set it up?
Hello and welcome to our Community @chubbles!
I wish we could be of more assistance in this matter but you've definitely come to the right place to find like-minded people who can help.
I set up a 3-unit Google Mesh a few weeks ago. It is not all too complicated. Once you take good look at the Google Mesh documentation you can’t go wrong. My guess is you missed some of the steps or you didn’t find the documentation. Google made it a hide and seek thing.
Google wants you to let their equipment take the lead. Your ZTE is a modem, a router and a few other things. In Googles setup you should only use the modem function of the ZTE that delivers the internet to your premises and the DHCP feature. Meaning disable the WiFi on the ZTE and other things like firewalls, port-forwarding, parental controls, MAC filtering etc.etc. You will have to re-enter all the disabled features of the ZTE in the Google equipment. Also unplug the ethernet cable from the ZTE (if you had anything plugged into it)
Then you are to connect the ZTE with the Google primary Wifi unit using an ethernet cable (that is the flat cable that comes with the Google units with the RJ45 plugs at both ends). I have a ZTE MF28B, a little different than your ZTE MF271CA (yours has a single LAN port right) but in essence there is no difference. Plug one end of the cable into the (only) LAN port of the ZTE. The Google unit has a LAN and a WAN port for the RJ45. Plug the other end of the cable into WAN port of the Google primary WiFi.
Now plug into the (other) LAN port of the Google primary WiFi unit the ethernet cable (if any) you had plugged into the LAN port of the ZTE. If you have configured the Google mesh before you connected the Google primary WiFi to the ZTE you should now be up and running.
Don't forget to re-enter the port forwarding rules etc. etc. into the Google setup. You also need to check if you have any hard-coded IP addresses in your system. Google will use a different IP range 192.168.86.0 - 192.168.86.255. Even if you are all DHCP some IP addresses may be hard coded e.g. printer ports are sometimes hard coded during installation or printers are assigned hard coded IP addresses. You will need to assign these new IP addresses in the Google range.
In the Google setup there is one Google unit designated as a Primary WiFi Point. This is the “master” unit that is hard-wired to the ZTE modem. The other non-primary Google units are “slaves” that connect over WiFi with the master. They must be within WiFi-range of each other. Use the downloaded Google WiFi app on your smartphone to test your mesh connections before you connect the Google master to the ZTE.
Thank you very much for the advice, I'll try it out this weekend. You are right, I have a single LAN port on the back of my ZTE, which normally feeds the first of many switches. Most of my devices are hard-wired and the other two google wifi units will be hard-wired into switches as well.
I have never done port forwarding or changed a DHCP address before so this will be a new thing for me.
DO NOT DO THIS: the other two google wifi units will be hard-wired into switches as well.
This defies the principle of a mesh setup. Only the Google Primary WiFi point is harded wired to the network. All the other Google WiFi Points communicate wirelessly with each other and the Google Primary WiFi Point. That is why each WiFi point needs to be within WiFi range of another WiFi point.
BUT IF YOU DO: hard-wire the other two google wifi units into switches
You will be using the Google WiFi Points as normal independent access points. In that case configure each unit as a stand-alone Google Primary WiFi Point. Neither is it necessary to place a Google unit directly after the modem. Just leave the ZTE as it is and plug the configured Google units into any of the jacks of your switches.
AND: I have never done port forwarding or changed a DHCP address before so this will be a new thing for me.
If you never configured it then you don't need it in a set-up with Google WiFi Points because there is nothing to migrate.
Well, I solved this issue, but in a way that suits me and certainly not Google as they will be less able to extract the sort of personal information they want from me, which appears to have been their intent all along. Such a focus on cloud services, and for what? No advantage I can see. If the documentation had been more clear, then I would not have wasted hours and hours.
Anyone else who uses this type of mobile internet modem is going to find themselves in the same boat because they do not facilitate bridge mode. Unfortunately, those of us who have little choice but to access the internet in this way are not gong to see a bridge-able router from our ISP any time soon; there are not enough of us to make a difference.
Anyhow, on to the solution:
1. Turn off the wireless in the ZTE modem.
2. Configure each of the Google wifi hubs as a wireless access point only. Connect by the WAN terminal only to any convenient switch in your network, set them up as independent networks and put each of them into bridge mode. No port forwarding, no adjustments, nothing.
3. Install an app that will periodically scan for the strongest network and switch to it. For my android phone, I got one called "Best WiFi" and set it up to scan and switch as necessary every ten minutes.
That's all there was to it but because I am not so computer-savvy and the documentation as to how to do this is woefully inadequate (and phone support is not any better) , it took me about 10 hours over 4 days to figure it out. Hopefully by posting this, it will save others from the same fate.