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Mulit-WAN Router

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Benefactor
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Hello everybody,

does anyone of you have some experience with multi WAN router hardware?

Since my provider 'fixed' my primary connection, it became more unreliable than before the fix, so I was encourage to finish the cabling for my second broadband connection.

Now I run two AVM Fritz!Box in the same net, one for the cable connection and one for the vdsl connection.

Since doing the failover configuration on all devices manually, I am looking for a more automatic solution, like a router that either handles both uplinks directly, or via the already used routers.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Kregora
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Posted Jun 16, 17 · OP
tentux Atag
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Hopefully I may be able to help, because I have set up multi-WAN routers in failover configuration.

Using a DrayTek Vigor we have set up DSL, WAN and 3G as three possible ways of connecting to the Internet. The WAN is the strongest link, as that goes out via cable so that's the 'preferred' way to connect out. If that connection goes down it fails over to an ADSL connection because we can't get VDSL at that location. Finally if both manage to be down the router will handle a 3G connection - provided you plug in the correct and supported USB dongles - and it will make use of the data.

What I've learned while doing this is a few things you might be interested in:

- If a connection is clearly down the router is good at automatic failover - I have it configured to determine it's down if it cannot ping a Google DNS server several times in a given timeframe.

- If the connection of the WAN is simply 'slow' or network conditions are 'unfavorable' i.e. a few packets lost - then occasionally I will have to manually switch off the WAN so it'll fail over to ADSL.

- When it fails over, you can expect some network disruption for your other devices - this is an emergency scenario and any persistent TCP connections will need to re-establish themselves. If someone was watching Netflix I would expect them to notice for a 1-2 minute period that the traffic has stopped - but also I'd expect to be able to tell them to simply 'refresh' and it'll probably be fine. Our primary business software manages automatic reconnection so they simply wait until a new connection was created. If someone were to be playing a game (wouldn't really happen in that environment) then they'd probably lose connection with the server until the new connection was ready.

I should note though that we do use the Vigor's failover mode, due to the differences in the available connections there's clearly 'the preferred' (WAN), 'the bad' (DSL) and 'the ugly' (3G). The vigor also supports a load-balancing option - in this mode I believe the router can use multiple uplinks and tries to simply share outbound connections between them, not one we tried for very long - it seemed okay but it's a little weird not knowing which route your traffic might be taking.

I'm not sure if you could make use of the routers you already have, you'd have to check their documentation but it's unlikely. The other option, making use of your routers, would be to have multiple ethernet ports on a PC and start searching for ways to turn a PC into a 'routing machine' and seeing if you can find software to manage that scenario - however that's not a way I've ever tried so can't really say how easy or successful the effort might be.

For more info on DrayTek: http://www.draytek.co.uk/products

The router in the same class as ours is described as a 'Vigor 2832/2860 Series - xDSL Business Class Router/Firewall'.

Ultimately an unreliable connection is going to be a pain-in-the-ass and while a device like this might make your life easier sometimes it's not a magic wand that'll cover the fact that one of your connections is playing up - ideally this needs attention from the ISP. Even with this router you might end up manually switching, though it does make it very 'easy' to switch.

A couple questions:

How are you managing the failover manually at the moment?

How many devices in your home network would you like to benefit from the failover mechanism? If its just your PC then you could simply get an ethernet card with multiple ports and enable / disable them depending on which one you'd prefer.

Anyway, hope this helps.
Posted Jun 17, 17
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Benefactor
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Thank you a lot, TenTux, yes this helps.

If it were just one or two systems, I wouldn't mind to switch manually, but when you think about tv, bluray player, iptv box, pcs, mobiles, tablets, etc, I look for something more comfortable.

The draytek devices look nice, at a certain price :)

I will keep you updated, when I made up a plan, and start to implement it.
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Posted Jun 18, 17 · OP
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You could solve this easily but it requires an extra router (preferable Cisco). You then can use OSPF with IP SLA tracking. In short and simple. OSPF is a dynamic routing protocol for IP packets. OSPF calculates paths based on "control" packets (link state protocol). When used with IP SLA tracking this will provide automatic fail-over. With IP SLA tracking you "track" ip's outside your network f.i google. When the tracked ip goes down it tells OSPF to calculate a new path. This path will be your other ISP link. This summary i wrote is pretty simple but when interested i can tell you more.
You could even do load-balancing between the 2 ISP's with OSPF.
All this networking (OSPF/BGP/FP) is my daytime job.
Posted Jun 22, 17 · Last edited Jun 22, 17
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If you have a pc with multiple nics you can use that as a router.. pfsense supports that functionality. Would be surprised if untangle didn't also.
Posted Jun 25, 17
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If you have a server at home you can also do this with a virtual appliance to avoid the hardware costs.
Something like Sophos VA, which is free for Home use (last I checked).
Very easy to set up but you need a VMWare Host.
Posted Jul 3, 17
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tentux Atag
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That sounds neat, I'll have to read up on this.
wrote:
If you have a server at home you can also do this with a virtual appliance to avoid the hardware costs.
Something like Sophos VA, which is free for Home use (last I checked).
Very easy to set up but you need a VMWare Host.

So do you effectively just set up virtual NICs? VMWare isn't available for free, could this be setup on Windows using Hyper-V?
Posted Jul 3, 17
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You could do it with one NIC, but I would not recommend it. Easier to just add a second nic to the server.

Im using pfsense (free) on hyper-v both at home and at my parents. If I redid it I would probably use untangle instead (not free)
Posted Jul 3, 17
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wrote:
That sounds neat, I'll have to read up on this.
wrote:
If you have a server at home you can also do this with a virtual appliance to avoid the hardware costs.
Something like Sophos VA, which is free for Home use (last I checked).
Very easy to set up but you need a VMWare Host.

So do you effectively just set up virtual NICs? VMWare isn't available for free, could this be setup on Windows using Hyper-V?
this:
wrote:
You could do it with one NIC, but I would not recommend it. Easier to just add a second nic to the server.

Im using pfsense (free) on hyper-v both at home and at my parents. If I redid it I would probably use untangle instead (not free)

I have very little experience with hyper-v as 95 % of my customers have chosen VMWare. I don't know if there's a sophos appliance for hyper-v. The one for VMWare is installed in 5 minutes because it comes as a pre-configured virtual machine (ovf).
I'm sure there's enough alternatives out there for hyper-v solutions, though.
Posted Jul 3, 17
Benefactor
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Last time I checked you could use the free version of ESXi, you won't have access to nifty features as HA or VMotion, but the basics should still apply. And for a new setup you have all features you want available for 60 days after installing ESXi. I haven't any experience with the new ESXi 6 Management UI, since our environment still is based on 5.5
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Posted Jul 3, 17 · OP
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