WAN Balancing

Discussion in 'Networking, Telephony & Internet' started by bubblegoose, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. bubblegoose

    bubblegoose Member

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    Hi Guys

    Currently we are running off 2x ADSL1 services, which are being load balanced by our firewall. However our limited bandwidth has become a recent topic of discussion and we are looking at ways to fatten our pipe so to speak.

    We cannot get fibre (we are semi rural), we can't get ADSL2 even.
    What I am looking at, is an appliance which can handle at least 6 WAN links, and feed them out as one fat pipe into our current infrastructure (to increase upload speed more than anything). Now I know we can get DSL services for Telstra, such as 1Mb, 2Mb, 4Mb and 10Mb, however the ongoing cost is huge for these, and we wouldn't end up with any extra download speed for the huge monthly cost.

    We have looked at a few devices, and so far the only one that has struck me as ticking the boxes is the Barracuda Link Balancer 430.

    What other options are there, that would be more appropriate?
    We are prepared to pay up to about 8k for the appliance. However we could go for more if it gave us the ability to bundle more WAN links than just 6. :thumbup:
     
  2. PAiZley

    PAiZley Member

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    NBN not setting up in your area soon ??
    would it be worth holding out on spending big until then you get Fibre ?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    bubblegoose

    bubblegoose Member

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    They are not planning to start doing anything at all with the NBN in this area until 2014, so realistically best case scenario, we wouldn't be able to get a connection on the NBN until at least 2016 at the very earliest.

    at $100 per month for a Telstra Business line (100GB data, line rental etc), 6 of those is cheaper than going on a 100GB DSL 2meg contract. However you have the initial cost of hardware to balance the wan links.

    I have also been looking at a few Linux distro's that might allow me to roll my own solution. So if anyone has any suggestions or any tips it would be appreciated. Or anywhere I can grab some cheap 64bit 2x10/100 NIC's! :lol:
     
  4. Gecko

    Gecko Member

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    There are a couple of options available:

    1) Do the balancing entirely locally. Benefits: cheaper, reasonably easy to set up. Cons: each connection can only use the bandwidth of a single pipe, great if you have a lot of users, not so great if you want single-connection performance.

    2) Install a box at the local end AND at a datacentre (or somewhere else with a big pipe). Benefits: connections are split across all of the pipes, so your single-connection performance is good. Cons: expensive ongoings (need to have the gear in the datacentre) and the gear is quite pricey to purchase.

    I use a Mikrotik unit at home to do scenario 1 which works quite well. Something like an RB2011L-IN is cheap ($120 or so) and would do 6 WAN links easy. They do not have inbuilt DSL modems though, so you would end up with a pile of them to contend with.

    I don't know the names of any devices for scenario 2 off the top of my head (we looked at it a while ago and decided to just increase the pipe size instead).
     
  5. OP
    OP
    bubblegoose

    bubblegoose Member

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    Yeah scenario 1 is what we are looking at.

    The download/upload speed of a single ADSL1 connection is fine, it's just when you get upwards of 100 users on a single connection your browsing speeds tends to suffer especially on the upload. So if we went 6, and least that would take it down to about 15-20 per connection which is far better.
     
  6. Gecko

    Gecko Member

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    In that case, definitely have a look at the Mikrotik units - great bits of kit.

    Another option is an x86 box running pfSense. I used to be a big champion of pfSense until I got onto Mikrotik.
     
  7. thedrover

    thedrover Member

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    Went through this same scenario earlier this year. Untangle does the job nicely for us with 4x ADSL connections.
     
  8. mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    I might have a couple of these lying around (Intel Dual Port PCI-X), maybe a quad port 10/100 PCI (DEC/Intel Chipset) or two as well.

    PM me if you're interested.
     
  9. LostBenji

    LostBenji Member

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    I am suspicious that your on a bulk provider ISP living off Optus, Yes?


    If so, look at moving to a Telstra based ISP and DSL2.


    P.S If you want to send me a PM with a more detailed description of location in Albury, I might be able to steer you straight. My old stomping ground.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    bubblegoose

    bubblegoose Member

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    We already have 2 Telstra connections (business ADSL1).

    What we have been thinking as well, is strike a deal with one of the businesses that is situated near the telstra exchange. Set up a microwave link (ubiquiti airfibre when that comes out, looks freaking amazing compared to the Wave 1 gear we currently use for other links) on top of their building, and get a telstra fibre service into that.

    Thoughts?
     
  11. Gecko

    Gecko Member

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    We've done similar at one of our sites - did a deal with a nearby datacentre. We just use a pair of the Ubiquiti NanoBridge units there.

    You may find the AirFiber to be a problem - I'd recommend reading http://store.freenet-antennas.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=534 before getting too excited.
     
  12. OP
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    bubblegoose

    bubblegoose Member

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    Damn :( Ahwell that's not a problem. It wouldn't need that big a through put anyway. we need to go 4.5K's so :(
     
  13. revhed

    revhed Member

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    I'll be looking at this in the near future too. I'd be very interested in what you discover and what solution you choose.

    Cisco have a technology they call "Barrier Routing" which allows link aggregation. I checked out the tech documents. It's avaiable in the IOS without any additional costs (appart from the fortune Cisco charge for their gear) and you need to know how to work the IOS.

    Also, I thought I read somewhere that some ISPs offer "upstream link aggregation" (so your site is seen as a single IP address but uses multiple links)

    What level of control do the mikrotik devices offer for load balancing?
     
  14. Skitza

    Skitza Member

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    As someone else said, cheaply, use pfSense. Works well but if you want a appliance I'd look at either a Astaro or Sonicwall unit.

    I do this currently with both units in some instances and it works brilliantly. Highly recommended and is very easy to use and maintain. The Astaro even more so. Have become quite a fan of these. Been taken over by Sophos but it's the same unit still.

    http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/unified/utm/technical-details.aspx#hardware
     
  15. Blinky

    Blinky Member

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    So you are saying routerOS over PFSense ?
     
  16. Gecko

    Gecko Member

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    They both have their pros and cons, but in general terms I have gone to routerOS over pfSense.
     
  17. Iceman

    Iceman Member

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    You're already load balancing so you must know that for any single stream transfer your maximum speed is going to be the maximum speed of the particular path your load balancer sends out. ie 10 x 8mbit down 256kbit up adsl1 links bound together will still only give you a max of 1 x 256k upstream in most cases, and not 2.5mbit.

    ... unless your rural provider offers bonded dsl, unlikely though.
     
  18. biatch

    biatch Member

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    As Iceman mentioned, combining the bandwidth of 6 links may not work as you're hoping. From 6 different sessions you're only going to get per-destination load balancing which may not help with what you need.

    You'd be better off speaking to your ISP (or moving to another ISP) who will combine a few links together at a lower layer before it's even presented to you. It's the only way you're going to truly be able to use each link equally.

    Edit: Just read above that you baulked at bonded ISP offerings. nevermind then.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2012
  19. OP
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    bubblegoose

    bubblegoose Member

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    Yeah I know how it works :lol: I was just hoping something might exist out there to bond them all together (without needing a device at the other end also).

    Wishful thinking I guess you could say.
     

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