Rooting your AT&T U-verse modem

motorola-uverse-modem-pcb

Unhappy with the performance of his U-verse modem [Jordan] decided to dig in and see if a bit of hacking could improve the situation. Motorola makes this exclusively for AT&T and there are no other modems on the market which can used instead. Luckily he was able to fix almost everything that was causing him grief. This can be done in one of two ways. The first is a hardware hack that gains access to a shell though the UART. The second is a method of rooting the device from its stock web interface.

We think the biggest improvement gained by hacking this router is true bridge mode. The hardware is more than capable of behaving this way but AT&T has disabled the feature with no option for an unmodified device to use it. By enabling it the modem does what a modem is supposed to do: translate between WAN and LAN. This allows routing to be handled by a router (novel idea huh?).

Comments

  1. Jon says:

    I would argue your wording is poor for that last part . . . “translating” between WAN and LAN in network speak is reminiscent of NAT [Network Address Translation] which is something a router [or modem-acting-as-router] does. Translate is just a poor verb choice.

    And I hate when manufacturers creep further away from a true Bridge Mode in modems, so this hack warms my heart.

  2. mohonri says:

    THIS is a hack. And nicely done, too. I wonder, though, why he only bridged the one ethernet port, rather than all of them. Maybe so AT&T wouldn’t notice he had modified his modem?

  3. Oleksiy says:

    Is there any way to increase gains on the radio?

  4. Leif says:

    We had AT&T for a while, My wife liked that better than our local cable provider but I insisted it be gone b/c of that worthless #$% router! Maybe now we can both be happy? I hate to be dependant on a vulnerability which may get patched or could be obsoleted with AT&T switching to a different model.

  5. jc says:

    Bridging and routing are two very different things. Learn networking fundamentals and THEN play smartass.

    • hn says:

      What kind of game is “smartass”? Learn grammar, then become a condescending troll.

      • jc says:

        as for the actual content done by Jordan HAD feeds off of, I think its an awesome service to the community. Just to add a touch of positive energy. Don’t get all smart HAD. You’re indexers, you’re relatively good at it, I like having you in my RSS but seriously cut this out. If you do I -might- consider disabling adblock.

        • Rob says:

          All hail the master of the universe. Srsly, dude? If you can’t figure out what Mike is saying in his summary, then re-read it until you do. If you know what he’s trying to get at but you’re miffed because he used the word “router” where you think he shouldn’t have, then just say so without all the troll antics and condecension. When you put on your “I’m better than you” hat, most of the rest of us see you as a troll. If you have knowledge you believe is of value which you wish to share with the HAD community, then do so with grace. We all have areas of ignorance, and we teach and learn by sharing with each other. But you can’t be an effective teacher by being a dick. Don’t be a dick.

        • jc says:

          No, I’m miffed because he has the nerve to diss AT&T even though he obviously doesn’t know much about how computer networks work. They could have had their reasons. It’s definitelly not his call to judge them and be a smartass like that. He just did the exact thing the trolls here do. I wouldn’t have said a word if he didn’t add that smartass remark. And maybe also if they didn’t recently post a link to a nice video from the Bell labs archive and feed off of AT&T yet again.

  6. What’s to stop AT&T from declaring you a cybercriminal and turning off your service permanently?

    • Nam-Ereh-Won says:

      Unless things have changed since I stopped working on U-verse, I highly doubt he has anything to worry about.
      Also, the business class modems for UV IPDSL service (which is what he has. It’s not true U-verse, it’s some wonky cobbling together of U-verse and regular DSL systems) has bridge mode readily toggle-able in the modem interface. Granted the model number is different, but it’s the same hardware.

  7. NewCommentor1283 says:

    am i the only one noticing the three missing powersupply filter capacitors?

    if it keeps crashing/rebooting glitching then try adding them in where they are clearly marked for placement

    i guess the monkey is out of the bag, explains why everyone complains about problems with uverse glitching and crashing ect.

    just my two cents, or in this case, 4 dollars plus tax and shipping

  8. -ezm- says:

    So I have a 2Wire i3812V. Anybody know if anything similar can be done to put this into true bridged mode? I already have my internal router in the DMZ of the 2Wire but as others have said this is still routed.
    Actually this is a last ditch effort. My experience with AT&T has been terrible. Since I’m too far from their nearest node they are using this ‘experimental’ iNID method that uses both a primary and backup copper pair to provide internet. It uses some sort of load balancing but since I got it, the first pair seems to work but as soon as their is any real load (i.e. major downloading via torrents) the connection takes a crap and just like that 50% packet loss. At first they were useless in helping me until I put in a complaint with the BBB and then they started caring (hint for those not getting the proper service). So to make a long story short they have not been able to correct the problem that they even admit to. They have tried rerunning the lines to my house and changing pairs from their node to my telephone pole with no success. They now tell me there is nothing else they can do for me and I’ll have to cancel. All this after even having switched to their VoIP service as well which also did not go smoothly. It has been a nightmare. Trying a true bridged mode was simply a final effort (experiment if you will) to see if there is any improvement whatsoever although I doubt it since the problem is almost certainly the wiring and their failed attempt to offer fake fiber service where they don’t have the ability to offer the true thing. How I wish I had Fios in my area.

  9. Samuel Jones says:

    Ok, I have a couple of questions. I have had U-verse for 11 months, I love the speeds when my wireless does crash on me or both wired and wireless or I don’t lose another of there great routers they offer like the last 4 I have been through. (2 of the new 2-wires and 2 of there ~Model~503-1nv). I am having the best luck with this 503 model one then all the others ones…It has lasted the longest so far. (Hipp Hipp Horray) LOL
    I have a question to the guy about the filter capacitors and want to know what it did for him and what are the exact caps I would need to have to put on the board? Also, how do I go about doing the hacks that are briefly explained above that lead me to this blog in the first place? Yes, I hate there cheap routers or what ever anyone whats to call them…right or wrong lingo, I have my own name for them but won’t share them with anyone! Any help would be very much appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Robotiko

  10. krizno says:

    Well this all makes sense. I had my
    Motorola In passthrough mode. With my Cisco 2600 xm behind it. I was having Nat issues on my ps4, ps3, Xbox 360 and Wii. The true bridge mode should help. Can’t wait to get home and fix this. It was boggling my mind yesterday. Then I came across this. Stupid double Nat.. Thank you.

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