Notes on U-Verse DNS

I recently switched my internet service to AT&T U-Verse, and while the performance is as advertised, there was a problem I encountered.  U-Verse gives you a 2Wire brand router which is also the DSL modem, and as a modem, it works fine.  As a router though, it wants to make itself your DNS server and essentially act as a proxy DNS server.  I suppose that this is so that you don’t have to type the IP address of the router when you configure it.

Unfortunately, the DNS proxying adds about 1-2 seconds to the latency of the DNS query.  This makes using the web really sluggish when going to a site that isn’t in the DNS cache on your computer.

Since the usual way to get the DNS server address and your computer’s IP address is through DHCP from the 2Wire box, and there is no way of changing the DHCP behavior of the box, there are two solutions to this.  First, you can manually configure the DNS server address on your computer.

Unfortunately, on the Mac, this means that you won’t be able to use DHCP when you’re out of the house on someone else’s Wi-Fi.  My solution is to use a different Wi-Fi router, set the 2Wire box up in DMZ mode, and configure the second router to provide AT&T’s DNS server through DHCP, and use the IP address that the 2Wire router assigns.

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10 2009

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