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theoretical internet connection question
Old 06-01-2008, 08:40 PM   #1
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theoretical internet connection question

Leaving aside monetary considerations for the nonce, is it possible to have several broadband connections (DSL cable clearwire...) and have a system to switch to the faster one on the fly?
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:51 AM   #2
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It's a more complicated question than it sounds, but to keep it simple, it should be relatively easy to have several connections and load-balance them for greater combined speeds in aggregate across multiple sessions/requests.

However, if you're talking about some secure VPN or HTTPS session it's not going to react positively to changing source IP's on the fly. In the load-balance scenario this won't be a problem as that one session should stay on the same connection.

The above assumes that you have control over your endpoint and you are using combined cheap internet access (resulting in a different source IP for each connection.)

If you have control over both ends of the communication then you can do fancy things with mesh networking that will connect both ends to a persistent virtual path over a varying physical path.


I'm not sure how feasible it is to figure out which connection is the fastest on-the-fly, and really how much are the relative speeds of each connection going to vary?
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:50 AM   #3
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Yeah, there are even devices designed to do it. I just bought a Cradlepoint wifi router for my weekend place. The only access I can get there is a Verizon wireless broadband data card. I am using the router to allow multiple PCs/Laptops to connect to the data card. The Cradlepoint can take a WAN connection (e.g. DSL) and fail over to the EVDO card if the signal drops. They suggest it as a backup from small offices that need reliable access.

Edit: re-reading your question I see you want failover to to the faster connection - I doubt that it an do that, just failover from the priority connection to the backup during an outage.
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Old 06-03-2008, 02:04 AM   #4
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If you can pick up an older Cisco SOHO class router, like the IIRC 1600 or 1700 class with the plug in cards for the appropriate Ethernet or DSL connections, they run a routing protocol that permits you to assign relative values to the various WAN connections, that can be used to accomplish what you want. It may be a bit more then you want to get into though to understand and do the programing of the configurations. I have seen some of these older routers at swap meets for $75 -$100, but you have to search for them. Also, the software that runs on them, is not officially included, as you are usually required to purchase it separately. It's wise to make sure the swap meet box has the software on it that you need.
I don't know of a home style unit that offers that, other then the fail over types mentioned by donheff.
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:19 PM   #5
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If you're uncomfortable picking up an old cisco router from the early 90's, you can search online for a dual-WAN home router. These are turn key solutions that are a snap to setup:

SmallNetBuilder - Small Network Help - Linksys RV042 Review: Solid Dual WAN, VPN Performer

Alternately if you do want to pickup an old cisco or setup your own PC based router, do some quick reading on OSPF, BGP and NAT protocols. You may prefer this direction if you like to play around with technology. BSD router projects
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Old 09-07-2008, 10:15 PM   #6
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when i worked out of house had router (linksys i think) connecting company vpn to dsl as well as my personal puter on a public network (running aol back then). both computers worked as if they had their own dsl line. didn't notice any delay in up or downloads while using both simultaneously.

ps. like the nonce word. never seen it before but it made sense because of "once". dictionary shows can be used as in "for the nonce" but since it means "the time being" i'd leave off the "the" and instead of saying "for the nonce" just say "for nonce" like saying "for naught" as we wouldn't say "for the naught".
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Old 09-07-2008, 10:39 PM   #7
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People already said what I would have (and in better fashion). But sneaking the money issue back into the equation, if you are looking for performance, you may talk to your high speed internet provider about a business connection. It will probably double your price but hey, if you are looking to get multiple providers you are factoring that in. You'll get 8-12 MB download and 512k upload in the starter business package for cable internet.
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:25 PM   #8
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I'd probably go a different route. You could install some extra ethernet connections in your PC, connect each up to the different broadband connections and use a good firewall product. Its been a million years since I tweaked a windows system with multiple available connections but it should be feasible to have the system automatically use the fastest through routing metrics. You might need to add in a piece of software that implements testing and SPF type metrics.

Another option is to use an old PC as your front end router with something like monowall or another free/cheap linux based router/firewall that implements a full set of 'best available' routing metrics.

None of this is really plug and play or for the technically naive, but it should be doable.

For a pure router type implementation, you can implement a free open source router firmware product called dd-wrt on one of its supported routers, which includes linksys products among others.

dd-wrt gives a cheap home wireless router many of the same features that those "1990's cisco routers" had. Among them IIRC is the ability to enable one of the router LAN ports to be a second WAN connection, allowing wireless users and devices connected to the other LAN ports to access more than one broadband connection.

How it balances/switches and what the configuration options for this are...I dont know.

Also not something for the technically disinclined, but its pretty cheap and straightforward.
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Also not something for the technically disinclined, but its pretty cheap and straightforward.
It was just an idle thought.

I shan't pursue it further.

Thanks for all the info.
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
Another option is to use an old PC as your front end router with something like monowall or another free/cheap linux based router/firewall that implements a full set of 'best available' routing metrics.
Just so the link doesn't get lost from above: BSD router projects

Note that you could run the whole system off of a 3.5" floppy disk or usb media storage device.
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Old 09-08-2008, 02:09 PM   #11
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sirens blaring; lights flashing. word police. pull over lady. i'm going to have to cite you for using nonce and shan't in the same thread.
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Old 09-08-2008, 03:58 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
sirens blaring; lights flashing. word police. pull over lady. i'm going to have to cite you for using nonce and shan't in the same thread.
Such is my wont.
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Old 09-08-2008, 04:05 PM   #13
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Too funny!
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Old 09-08-2008, 04:32 PM   #14
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or, rather, touche
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:13 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by BigMoneyJim View Post
I'm not sure how feasible it is to figure out which connection is the fastest on-the-fly, and really how much are the relative speeds of each connection going to vary?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan View Post
It was just an idle thought.
For what it's worth, without a speedometer on the monitor I doubt we'd be able to qualitatively tell the difference...
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