[SOLVED] Recommended switch/router for a failover setup.

Aug 5, 2022
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G'day fellow nerds.

This is, hopefully, a fairly simple question. I currently have a 1Gb speed internet
connection for fairly cheap, but because I work from home, any downtime kills
my productivity. Unfortunately, my ISP has been bought out. IT seems that during
the transition, there is a lot of outages on the new ISP's end.

One of the projects that I want to look into trying was setting up a failover internet
connection. I am fairly new into the world of networking, so I am struggling to research
recommended hardware since consumer products are not super common for these types
of setups.

All that being said:
I am looking for a switch or router that I can use to setup a failover connection that will
switch to a backup connection automatically, then switch to the primary connection
automatically when it comes back online. In the future, I may want to also play with
load balancing but it is not important for now.

My primary connection is 1Gb and secondary is a top speed of 300Mb. Both connect
through ethernet ports, no fiber. I also have a personal router so if an unmanaged switch
can pull off what I need, I am more than happy to get one.

Thank you for any and all help in advanced!
 
Getting the hardware is somewhat the easy part. There are a number of router that have dual wan ability, most asus router have this ability and some tplink ones do also.

Your much larger problem is what does "down" mean. If you were to unplug the ethernet cable from the router it will quickly switch but in most cases the problem is the modem stays up but does not pass data or even worse actually stays function just gets a lot of data loss. Some devices attempt to use ping to determine if it is up or down and it kinda of works.

A actually business connection uses a routing protocol to solve this but it is not a option except for very large companies.

You have another problem you can not easily solve. Switching between the ISP you IP address with change. You will get dropped and have to log back into many services. Some things that use cookies will break and other you get stupid captcha messages because they think you are some hackers or something.
This issue can only be solved with fancy vpn solutions used to hide the 2 different IP between a 3 VPN ip.

So option 1 is you just change the ethernet cable when there is a issue.
Option 2 would be to configure the slower connection as say 192.168.1.2...assuming your main connection is 192.168.1.1. Turn off the DHCP on second router and plug a cable between the lan ports. You at this point have both internet connection active on your network at the same time but it will only use the primary one because of the DHCP.
You can now use the ROUTE DELETE and ROUTE ADD commands to change the 0.0.0.0 route from 192.168.1.1 to 192.168.1.2. Pretty much a software version of changing the cables.

If you get really ambitious you can actually use both connection by using the ROUTE command to send certain IP to one connection and other to the other. Say run your netflix on connection 2 and everything else on connection 1. You could I guess write a small program that would ping a IP and then automatically change the router commands if you wanted it to switch.

You still have the problem of different IP on the 2 different internet connections and you must be even more careful if you get creative and try to use both at the same time. A example most people on this forum understand is say you would play a online game and used connection 1 to log into the authentication server but used connection 2 for the session to the actual game server. The game company will detect this and decide you are hacking and kick you off. There have been cases of really stupid game companies banning people for a mistake like this.
 
Reactions: Mr Koaliti

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
G'day fellow nerds.

This is, hopefully, a fairly simple question. I currently have a 1Gb speed internet
connection for fairly cheap, but because I work from home, any downtime kills
my productivity. Unfortunately, my ISP has been bought out. IT seems that during
the transition, there is a lot of outages on the new ISP's end.

One of the projects that I want to look into trying was setting up a failover internet
connection. I am fairly new into the world of networking, so I am struggling to research
recommended hardware since consumer products are not super common for these types
of setups.

All that being said:
I am looking for a switch or router that I can use to setup a failover connection that will
switch to a backup connection automatically, then switch to the primary connection
automatically when it comes back online. In the future, I may want to also play with
load balancing but it is not important for now.

My primary connection is 1Gb and secondary is a top speed of 300Mb. Both connect
through ethernet ports, no fiber. I also have a personal router so if an unmanaged switch
can pull off what I need, I am more than happy to get one.

Thank you for any and all help in advanced!
Is automatic failback required? It is less common. One way failure is much easier.
How comfortable are you with setting up networks? Failover isn't always a simple GUI setup. MikroTik routers can handle failover. Business class routers can handle failover. Ubiquiti Edgerouters and Ubiquiti UniFI DreamMachine PRO can handle failover (but does not currently support load balancing).
 
Aug 5, 2022
3
0
10
0
Is automatic failback required? It is less common. One way failure is much easier.
How comfortable are you with setting up networks? Failover isn't always a simple GUI setup. MikroTik routers can handle failover. Business class routers can handle failover. Ubiquiti Edgerouters and Ubiquiti UniFI DreamMachine PRO can handle failover (but does not currently support load balancing).
I would say I am confident but not very knowledgeable yet. I have set up server hosting in my home which required a lot of learning but I got there. This is just new territory that I am learning and my ISP issues give me a good excuse to give it a try.

I have done a lot of low tier network configuration in my own home and I have already done a lot of research into how the failover and load balancing works but I wont be extremely confident until I have the opportunity to play with it.

Biggest issue is finding something smaller with both, two WAN ports and the failover options, which I know is rare, but I wanted to see of anything exists. If not, then I would not mind looking into something either without a two-way automatic failover or something bigger. While I don't have a true server rack yet, I would be willing to look into something like that.
 

BFG-9000

Distinguished
Tomato firmware has had multi-WAN in the GUI since 2016, and DD-WRT has been able to do dual-WAN with failover via commands or a script for some 15 years now (just configure any LAN port as WAN2)

You may already have a router that can run such 3rd-party firmware.
 
Reactions: Mr Koaliti
Getting the hardware is somewhat the easy part. There are a number of router that have dual wan ability, most asus router have this ability and some tplink ones do also.

Your much larger problem is what does "down" mean. If you were to unplug the ethernet cable from the router it will quickly switch but in most cases the problem is the modem stays up but does not pass data or even worse actually stays function just gets a lot of data loss. Some devices attempt to use ping to determine if it is up or down and it kinda of works.

A actually business connection uses a routing protocol to solve this but it is not a option except for very large companies.

You have another problem you can not easily solve. Switching between the ISP you IP address with change. You will get dropped and have to log back into many services. Some things that use cookies will break and other you get stupid captcha messages because they think you are some hackers or something.
This issue can only be solved with fancy vpn solutions used to hide the 2 different IP between a 3 VPN ip.

So option 1 is you just change the ethernet cable when there is a issue.
Option 2 would be to configure the slower connection as say 192.168.1.2...assuming your main connection is 192.168.1.1. Turn off the DHCP on second router and plug a cable between the lan ports. You at this point have both internet connection active on your network at the same time but it will only use the primary one because of the DHCP.
You can now use the ROUTE DELETE and ROUTE ADD commands to change the 0.0.0.0 route from 192.168.1.1 to 192.168.1.2. Pretty much a software version of changing the cables.

If you get really ambitious you can actually use both connection by using the ROUTE command to send certain IP to one connection and other to the other. Say run your netflix on connection 2 and everything else on connection 1. You could I guess write a small program that would ping a IP and then automatically change the router commands if you wanted it to switch.

You still have the problem of different IP on the 2 different internet connections and you must be even more careful if you get creative and try to use both at the same time. A example most people on this forum understand is say you would play a online game and used connection 1 to log into the authentication server but used connection 2 for the session to the actual game server. The game company will detect this and decide you are hacking and kick you off. There have been cases of really stupid game companies banning people for a mistake like this.
 
Reactions: Mr Koaliti

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