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Author Topic: Mixing two internet connections.  (Read 4238 times)

cardew

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Mixing two internet connections.
« on: September 27, 2008, 11:22:26 AM »

A complete newbie question.

I have two internet accounts, a fast Be coonection and a Telewest connection.

Is there a piece of kit that will combine them? ie run the two connections into it, and have one
connection to my PC.

Thanks.
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jid

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Re: Mixing two internet connections.
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2008, 11:41:02 AM »

I have read that Be* are starting trials to combine two Be Unlimited internet connections to provide 50meg broadband?

However I am sure that one of the Gurus on here will be along shortly :)
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Jamie

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Re: Mixing two internet connections.
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2008, 12:38:53 PM »

While a guru makes his way to give an expert opinion, here's something to read to go on with :

http://broadband.nildram.net/load_balanced/

It's very expensive apparently and probably beyond the reach of an average person's wallet for the gains realised.....Cisco routers etc etc
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kitz

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Re: Mixing two internet connections.
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2008, 12:39:14 PM »

The term you are looking for is "load balancing" and yes it can be done.
You can either buy a special load balancing router such as this
or some people make their own with an old PC and linux and load balancing software.  One of the regs on here has load balanced 2 x Be connections earlier this year.

Load balancing works well in office situations where many PCs mean more overall bandwidth is needed.
You may also hear the term bonding, which needs the broadband to be from the same supplier.  Bonding effectively makes the 2 connections into 1..   whilst load balancing makes the bandwidth available but not as one.
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Mick

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Re: Mixing two internet connections.
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2008, 02:12:34 PM »

It's very expensive apparently and probably beyond the reach of an average person's wallet for the gains realised.....Cisco routers etc etc

I believe that as Kitz says it does not need to be that expensive, but you will probably need additional equipment and time to study how to set them up.  Absolutely on a shoe string:

Two old ADSL modem/routers with ethernet ports (not USB) which can be configured to work in full-bridge mode.  If you don't already have these look into ebay and get yourseld two 2WIRE 2700HGV, or SpeedTouch 585v6/v7, which are reported as sync'ing at higher speeds at noisy/long lines.  If you live next to the BT exchange you can have any modem - it shouldn't probably make much difference as you will be maxing out on speed anyway.

An old PC (at least Pentium III and preferably with 256MB RAM or more).  This will need two network cards, one for each modem, plus a third card for your LAN.  Install a firewall/router Linux/FreeBSD distribution - there are many to chose from.  The links provided above recommend PFSense.  Alternatively, you could use a Linksys with OpenWRT firmware - I know that you can configure it to do load balancing, but I am not sure if it has the CPU and memory power to perform well.

As you will probably have more than one PC on your LAN you could use a third router here between your PC and your LAN PCs as a router, or a multiport switch.

If you hold your nerve when bidding on ebay you could be good to go with as little as 15-20.  The idea here is that you can use surplus equipment of your own or from friends.  If you want to go professional grade then you could buy a Cisco which you could probably pick up for 50-150, again from ebay, but good samples will cost more.

HTH.

EDIT:  some typos & grammar.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2008, 03:52:49 PM by Mick »
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Mick

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Re: Mixing two internet connections.
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2008, 03:33:57 PM »

I'll admit my comments assumed OP to be a "normal domestic" user. Load balancing is advantageous in a small business situation.

If a domestic user, then load balancing will not give miraculous speed improvements for the outlay which would improve "normal domestic" activity including gaming.

There are more cost effective methods with lower technical problem incidence.
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cardew

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Re: Mixing two internet connections.
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2008, 06:44:11 PM »

Thank you for your help.

I want to mix two connections from two different suppliers, primarily to make sure
my overall connection never drops.

The xincom looks fine, but I see Linksys also do this bit of kit.

Assuming I have no real budgetary constraints, which is the best load balancer
to buy?
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Mick

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Re: Mixing two internet connections.
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2008, 07:20:52 PM »

If it is a reliability issue you want to address, then the problem is rather more complicated - the cause of connection drops are more often not related to ISPs, but your ADSL filters, copper telephone wires, congestion at the BT Exchange, et al.  The ISP's may introduce throttling and slow speeds, but unless they have a catastrophic failure it is unlikely they will be the cause of a dropped connection.
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Mick

kitz

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Re: Mixing two internet connections.
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2008, 07:39:04 PM »

Load balancing cable and adsl is something that is often used in a backup situation to ensure resilience and that at least some sort of connection is maintained

You are correct that several suppliers provide dual LAN balancing kit.  Im afraid the load balancing kit isnt something I know a lot about and the only one that Ive come into contact with is the Xincom. 
Cisco and hotbrick are the other names I seem to hear about most often. I would imagine that if money was no object, then Cisco would be the favourite for many.
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cardew

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Re: Mixing two internet connections.
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2008, 08:31:16 AM »

Thank you all for your help.



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supercooper

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Re: Mixing two internet connections.
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2008, 10:53:15 AM »

Hi,

I use a Vigor 2820 to load balance, it works very well and wont break the bank too much.  they also come with wireless versions if required.

Chris
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008, 11:47:18 AM by supercooper »
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idlewilde

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Re: Mixing two internet connections.
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2008, 02:40:27 PM »

Depending on what your requirement is, there is also the option to have an ADSL failover solution, whereby you have an ADSL service backed up with a 3G solution, so if t'internet dies completely, the router will automatically fail over to broadband via 3G.

The company I work for is trialling one of these, and I have to say, it's pretty good. Obviously there will be data cost, but if, as happened here, the local exchange goes down completely for nearly 24 hours, at least you've got a backup.
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jabns

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Re: Mixing two internet connections.
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2008, 11:50:54 PM »

Even if I had the cash i would still prefer to use an old PC because then if you want any new feature you just install the latest version of pfSense or download the add-on.

Basically you would have:

Modem1(Bridge Mode) ------
                                            pfSense (loadbalancer) ---- Switch/Router ------- [Rest of network]
Modem2(Bridge Mode) ------

Here's more info (Sorry only Be* member can see): https://www.bethere.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18550
« Last Edit: October 02, 2008, 03:47:23 AM by jabns »
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