Wanted - recommendation for multi-wan routers (with load balancing)

Discussion in 'Broadband' started by cl, Oct 26, 2014.

  1. cl

    cl Guest

    I currently have a Draytek Vigor 2820n router which load balances two
    ADSL lines, one ADSL directly connected to the 2820n and the other via
    a BT Business Hub3.

    I'm about to make some changes, in particular I'm going to get rid of
    one of the POTS lines so I want to switch to using a 3G/4G connection
    as backup (or load share) with the single ADSL/POTS.

    There may also be the possibility of sharing a some bandwidth from a
    WiFi connection.

    So I'm (probably) looking for a new router to give me a bit more
    flexibility in sharing WANs. Does anyone have any opinions on any of
    the following:-

    TP-Link TL-R470T+, TL-R480T+ and TL-ER5120
    Draytek 2830 or 2930 series
    Billion - what models really do load balancing?
    Mikrotik - what model do I need for 2 or 3 WAN?

    The TP-Link routers are certainly cheap but I wonder how good they
    actually are, I've searched for reviews but not found much except one
    that said the TL-ER5120 doesn't perform too well.

    I'm only going to have, at the best, something like 10Mb/s throughput
    to the internet so that shouldn't stretch anything much. I'd quite
    like good local speed though so Gigabit LAN is nice which pushes to
    the more expensive ones above.
    cl, Oct 26, 2014
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  2. cl

    Graham J Guest

    I've used the Draytek 2830 and 2860. Given you have experience of the
    2820 I suggest you stay with the same make.

    A point about Draytek load sharing is that I think it is session-based,
    not packet based. So if you open a browser on a specific web page all
    the traffic for that web page (that comes from a given server) will be
    carried over one pathway. If somebody else on the same LAN opens the
    same web page they may get their traffic via an alternative pathway. So
    for an arrangement where there are several similar users the load is
    shared fairly effectively.

    However, if you want to download a single large file from a remote
    server that traffic is treated as a single session, and is limted to
    one pathway.

    You may have one path that is slower than another (e.g. 3G rather than
    FTTC), and the pathway you get depends on which is in use when you start
    the transfer (depending also on any load balancing rule you set up). So
    for a large transfer you might be unlucky that it chooses a slow
    pathway. If you recognise this you may be able to start another
    transfer which will get the benefit of the faster pathway, and kill the
    first one.

    Other load-balancing routers may share the traffic by packet rather than
    by session, so you would not see this difficulty. I suspect this
    requires a router that runs BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) so think Cisco
    and similarly expensive kit.

    An alternative would be a bonded connection, where two (probably
    similar) channels share the traffic. This requires you and your ISP to
    agree this. Not sure you can bond channels between two different ISPs
    (e.g. for reliabilty).
    Graham J, Oct 27, 2014
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  3. I don't have any experiences, but I'm interested in the answer to this
    question, particularly if there's anything that will share multiple 3G WANs.
    For instance, plug in Three, O2 and Vodafone dongles and load balance across,
    failing over to two or one if the other has no signal/out of

    I could of course have a load balancing ethernet router and a pile of
    3G-ethernet routers, but it would be nice to have something that knew what
    was going on with the 3G connections (eg will easily tell me that Three and
    O2 have no signal).
    TP-Link kit works surprisingly well for the price IME, though I don't know
    how well they cope with 'complicated' scenarios like this.
    If it's getting too much, a simple GigE 8 port switch is 20 quid these days.
    The TP-Link TL-SG108E does VLANs and stuff if you run a Java app (there's no
    web interface).

    Theo Markettos, Oct 27, 2014
  4. cl

    cl Guest

    Can anyone point me at a simple description of how to do load
    balancing on a Microtik router? I run Linux on all my home machines
    so command line (using vi etc.) holds no fears for me but I couldn't
    really find a basic, simple "this is how you do it" description
    anywhere in the Microtik documentation.

    If it is (fairly) easy using Mikrotik hardware then that would seem
    the way to go to me as they tick all my other boxes.
    cl, Oct 27, 2014
  5. cl

    cl Guest

    Yes, exactly! :) As I said I'm fairly knowledgeable but I really
    couldn't find an easy description anywhere in the Mikrotik
    documentation of how to do basic load balancing.

    That's a point, I run VirtualBox already on my desktop machine.

    Thanks for all those links, I'll work through looking at them.

    OK, I hadn't realised how customised/locked down it is. My vi comment
    was more to indicate my background than that I was expecting to run vi
    on the Mikrotik though. :) I am familiar with configuring Draytek
    Vigor (whose GUI isn't the most user friendly IMHO) and also a wide
    variety of other routers and WiFi boxes (mostly TP-Link at present but
    also Tenda, Zyxel, Sppedtouch and BT).
    Yes, that was much of my problem, I had found the PCC page (I think)
    but it wasn't (isn't) at all clear that this is the 'usual' way to do
    load balancing at the sort of level I'm interested in it. I don't
    need anything very clever that really optimises throughput to the nth
    degree but do want to use both interfaces, particularly if there are
    multiple users. E.g. if I'm doing a big download of a Linux ISO then
    my wife browsing the internet will use the other WAN.
    cl, Oct 28, 2014
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