Anyone doing dual WAN connections?

ncted

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Jul 4, 2004
4,754
3,200
Durham, NC
I see a lot of new routers offer a dual WAN capability. Some just do fail over, but others with actually load balance. I was wondering if anyone here was doing that kind of thing and if they had any observations to share.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,428
2,611
Salem, OR
I see a lot of new routers offer a dual WAN capability. Some just do fail over, but others with actually load balance. I was wondering if anyone here was doing that kind of thing and if they had any observations to share.
This seems like a familiar topic from a while back.

Dual WAN is largely a failover thing in the residential and small to medium business space and unless you have unlimited fundage, probably isn't worth the effort.

I had been using dual WAN for failover at my business (until we hired an outside IT company that couldn't understand how to make it work with their expensive Cisco router). Given the reasonably wide availability of cloud services and Gigabit broadband and faster, I don't see much motivation for employing dual WAN for load balancing these days.

Prosumer routers have had to really step it up to give themselves a marketing advantage so there's lots of features in there that few will use. A few years ago it was NAS capabilities and then VPN became popular and now the manufacturers seem to be pulling out all the stops in a quest to replace routers that probably don't need to be replaced.

At the point that anyone is considering something this sophisticated, it may be better to consider a computer-based solution like pfsense or Untangle where you can get into 10Gb Ethernet without robbing a bank.
 
  • Like
Reactions: medvyed

ncted

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Jul 4, 2004
4,754
3,200
Durham, NC
I'd want it for fail over. My wife's job is important enough that not having internet for a day or more is a big deal, and cell coverage sucks at our house bad enough that tethering is effectively unusable.
 

EarDemon

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 5, 2014
1,385
587
USA
What do you want to know?

I'm using a Cisco RV340 router, which can be configured for either failover or load balancing, with Spectrum as my primary ISP and HughesNet as secondary ISP. The router also have two USB ports that can be used for cellular modems, so you can failover or load balance up to four connections. I have it configured for failover, since who would want to load balance with satellite connection. In the GUI it is very easy to configure the multi WAN capabilities.
 

Attachments

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,428
2,611
Salem, OR
I'd want it for fail over. My wife's job is important enough that not having internet for a day or more is a big deal, and cell coverage sucks at our house bad enough that tethering is effectively unusable.
Have you had any long-term outages recently?

Do you have access to microwave or Wi-max?

Satellite can be kinda clumsy if you're using remote desktop software (RDP, VNC, TeamViewer, etc.).
 

ncted

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Jul 4, 2004
4,754
3,200
Durham, NC
What do you want to know?

I'm using a Cisco RV340 router, which can be configured for either failover or load balancing, with Spectrum as my primary ISP and HughesNet as secondary ISP. The router also have two USB ports that can be used for cellular modems, so you can failover or load balance up to four connections. I have it configured for failover, since who would want to load balance with satellite connection. In the GUI it is very easy to configure the multi WAN capabilities.
Well, you told me pretty much what I wanted to know: that it is easy to setup and works well.

Have you had any long-term outages recently?

Do you have access to microwave or Wi-max?

Satellite can be kinda clumsy if you're using remote desktop software (RDP, VNC, TeamViewer, etc.).
Every year during budget season in February, we have a weather event of some sort that knocks out AT&T Fiber for at least a day. The first year we were here, it was 6 days! For me, it is just an inconvenience, but for my wife, it means she can't get work done without either camping out at a Starbucks or actually going into the office. This has also happened during hurricane season. I could add a Spectrum subscription for $45 month that would provide a backup connection in the event of an AT&T outage. The two services come into the neighborhood from different directions, so the risk of both being down due to a cut line or downed tree is small. It might seem like overkill, but it isn't all that expensive in the big scheme of things, especially if it helps her progress in her career, plus it would be nice to have for me personally.

WiMax and microwave do not appear to be available.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,428
2,611
Salem, OR
I could add a Spectrum subscription for $45 month that would provide a backup connection in the event of an AT&T outage. The two services come into the neighborhood from different directions, so the risk of both being down due to a cut line or downed tree is small.
This sounds like your daisy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ncted

VictoriaFTA

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 20, 2018
153
184
Chicago
The last time I did dual WAN it was before I had gigabit fiber. I had a Spectrum 60/6 and AT&T 75/8 connection and would combine them (using multi-threaded services of course; if you're downloading a single stream then it can only use one of the connections) into a single 135/14 Mbps connection.

My solution was to use a desktop with two Ethernet ports on it and the Connectify Dispatch software to properly balance all Internet traffic on my computer to use both connections simultaneously. It was the only load balancing software I could find that always worked reliably and would always get me the full 135 Mbps speeds on my downloads.

Unfortunately, about five or six years ago, Connectify stopped selling the Dispatch software and they took down all the downloads for it. So now the only way to get it is to pirate it. Connectify now only sells some software called "Hotspot" which is some generic Wi-Fi hotspot software that has the same functionality that Windows 10 has built in to its network settings, and the other product they sell is some generic VPN service called "Speedify" that doesn't do anything that all the other VPNs don't do.

They had one piece of software with Dispatch that actually accomplished something no one else was doing, and it was a functionality that Windows didn't do properly and still doesn't do properly, but now that they stopped selling it they don't offer any products or services worth paying for. They don't seem to be a very bright company.

Nowadays if my Internet connection ever goes down I just tether my phone to my PC and use my cellular connection as a temporary backup. I don't see the need to pay for a second landline Internet connection when I already have a cell phone and it's sufficient for a few hours while my connection is down. It's not good for streaming videos, but that's why I host my own Netflix in my basement :p
 
  • Like
Reactions: ncted

EarDemon

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 5, 2014
1,385
587
USA
Satellite can be kinda clumsy if you're using remote desktop software (RDP, VNC, TeamViewer, etc.).
While the OP is not putting satellite in the mix, for me, it’s hit and miss, mostly hit lately. While there will always be issues with latency sensitive applications like RDP and VoIP, in my neck of the woods HughesNet has been much better over the past 6 months. Maybe it’s because of people migrating over to E19, I’m on a Gen 5 plan, with a Gen 5 modem, but am still pointed at E17, and have no problem achieving 700 ms latency or less when pinging the public IP of my media converter and when connected to my work VPN, latency to our servers is about the same. Yes, there is a small delay when clicking around, but not as bad as it could be, or has been in the past. It’s very much usable if I need it, and it’s my only other option for internet since there is no DSL here, no cellular reception and can’t even get Viasat since the beam that covers my area is closed.

Also, as I posted a handful of times here, power in my area sucks and we now have a Generac whole house generator. Cable nodes aren’t on battery backup here, so if I lose power, I lose internet and phone. With HughesNet and HughesNet Voice, as long as nothing is blocking the satellite signal, I am good to go.

For me, at first having two ISPs was about having redundancy incase of a cable outage. Now it’s about having redundancy for a power failure, of which I have about a dozen in 2019, ironically none since getting the generator.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ncted

Scott Greczkowski

Welcome HOME to SatelliteGuys!
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Sep 7, 2003
98,522
15,529
Newington, CT
At work we have 3 WAN connections, with routing and failover.

We use PF Sense and these are the routers we use. We have two of them so if one router goes down the other one takes over and keeps us online.


Our 3 connections are...

300 MB Comcast Business
500 MB LightTower
1 GB Verizon

Works well. Load balancing works well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ncted

ncted

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Jul 4, 2004
4,754
3,200
Durham, NC
Nowadays if my Internet connection ever goes down I just tether my phone to my PC and use my cellular connection as a temporary backup. I don't see the need to pay for a second landline Internet connection when I already have a cell phone and it's sufficient for a few hours while my connection is down. It's not good for streaming videos, but that's why I host my own Netflix in my basement :p
Yeah, that would be the ideal scenario, but yesterday reminded us that it isn't a realistic solution for my wife, at least not at home. When we travel, she has pretty good luck doing this in the car on main highways, but at our house, it is not reliable, no matter which cellular provider we've tried.
 

ncted

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Jul 4, 2004
4,754
3,200
Durham, NC
As I considered this on my walk into the office this morning, I am not sure it is going to work. Specifically, AT&T Fiber has an issue where there is no usable pass-through or bridge mode to allow you to use your own router. Oh, the feature exists, but you cannot count on it. Every time they update the firmware, it breaks something. The alternative is double NAT, which I know breaks her VPN connection based on previous testing.
 

cpalmer2k

SatelliteGuys Pro
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 18, 2013
768
345
United States
I've been looking at doing something similar for awhile now but just haven't pulled the trigger yet. If you want close to 100% reliability the only options really are satellite and/or cellular modems. My primary internet is Charter Spectrum, nothing fiber is available here. The only other option is AT&T DSL, but it is limited 7 megs down & only 1/2 a meg upload. When the power goes out anywhere in front of us on the distribution path Charter goes down because their relays and amps require power to continue to pass the signal. We had a 25 hour outage a few months ago because a car took out a utility pole in a town an hour away from us.

Same with DSL- no power, no internet. I guess depending on how big of an area you live in you might get lucky and have a scenario where one is up and the other is down, but that's not guaranteed. In our area the cell towers do have some backup power, but they obviously throttle things back when the power goes out to make it last longer. I see a huge drop off in speeds any time the power goes out. Some of that is due to demand I'm sure. We've been looking strongly at the Generac generators, and have considered getting an estimate on one. If we go ahead with that plan I most likely would go with some kind of satellite provider as a backup.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,428
2,611
Salem, OR
Same with DSL- no power, no internet.
That probably depends on the DSL. Old school DSL was powered by the telco up to the modem. If you could power the modem, you had Internet access.

My cable broadband works for a as long as I power my modem as well (though I expect their batteries have limits). All of my service options are aerial somewhere along the line but cable (the only one that is 100% aerial) seems to be the most reliable. Verizon and microwave are my wireless options.
 

ncted

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Jul 4, 2004
4,754
3,200
Durham, NC
At my old house, my VDSL2 connection would stay up (on UPS) for a few hours during an extended power outage. It may have stayed up longer, but my UPS was limited in capacity.
 

VictoriaFTA

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 20, 2018
153
184
Chicago
As I considered this on my walk into the office this morning, I am not sure it is going to work. Specifically, AT&T Fiber has an issue where there is no usable pass-through or bridge mode to allow you to use your own router. Oh, the feature exists, but you cannot count on it. Every time they update the firmware, it breaks something. The alternative is double NAT, which I know breaks her VPN connection based on previous testing.

Been using this for over a year on AT&T Fiber with no problems.
 

ncted

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Jul 4, 2004
4,754
3,200
Durham, NC

Been using this for over a year on AT&T Fiber with no problems.
Appears a bit too involved for me, but thanks. Do you happen to successfully use AT&T Wi-fi calling with this? I ask because it breaks when using DMZ+.

Right now, I am looking at options for having a manual fail over solution rather than an automatic one.
 

Scott Greczkowski

Welcome HOME to SatelliteGuys!
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Sep 7, 2003
98,522
15,529
Newington, CT
pfSense also works on conventional computers with multiple NICs. Surely not as power efficient but a whole lot cheaper.
Oh I know I can use some old machines and it will work just fine. But the boss wants redundancy and it’s his money. :)

We do need a little more CPU as we run SNORT to keep things safe on our network.


Sent from my iPhone using SatelliteGuys
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,428
2,611
Salem, OR
Right now, I am looking at options for having a manual fail over solution rather than an automatic one.
This is probably best addressed with a spare router if you have any kind of authentication or manual configuration required (primarily name servers). This is perhaps the most high-maintenance approach from an end-user standpoint. If both services support DHCP (perhaps becoming more common), you wouldn't have to do anything other than switching which modem is connected to the WAN port.

If you're using a gateway on one side or the other, you're probably going to regret having got out of bed that day.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest posts

Top