This how-to describes my simple solution for having a redundant internet connection from my home network. It may be overkill for most people, but we Overclockers tend to have a knack for overdoing things.
CradlePoint MBR1200 Router
As the core of my home solution, the CradlePoint MBR1200 router supports 2 ethernet WAN ports as well as up to 5 different 3G/4G connections – 3 USB, 1 Express Card, and 1 PC Card. The router also includes four 100/1000 ethernet ports (port 4 can be used as a 2nd WAN port for those with 2 Cable Modem/DSL lines). Wireless is the standard 802.11 B/G/N and I have been pretty impressed with the range so far.
Setting up load balancing/failover was a breeze. To get started following these steps, have the router setup on your LAN with your primary cable/DSL connection setup and working.
- Connect your 3G/4G modem, install its software, and allow it to download updates from your ISP. (Note some devices can be updated by the router. My Pantech UML290 could not be.)
- Connect your USB 3G/4G modem to any USB Port on the router.
- Login to the router management page and head to the “Advanced >> Failover/Load Balancing” tab.
- The page is pictured below. Select “Enable” and “Enable Failback”. This will ensure the router fails back to your primary ISP when it comes back online. Note in the picture that the ethernet connection is green reporting “Established”, while the 4G connection is blue indicating “Ready”.
- To test your connection you can either unplug your primary ISP modem or cause a failover by disabling the primary interface on the same page.
- In this test I ran “ping yahoo.com -t” at the command prompt. The first set of low latency pings is my primary ISP Time Warner Wide Band 50Mbps down/5Mbps up. The single timeout was after I failed over to my Verizon Wireless 4G. As you can see the outage was very short.
Lastly, I performed some speed tests to demonstrate the seamless nature of this failover using both my Time Warner primary connection and the Verizon 4G backup connection. Latency as indicated by the ping tests slowed modestly, while the 4G speeds were considerably slower yet very acceptable.
The MBR1200 also supports Tethering with many phones, and CradlePoint offers a list of supported devices.
With a MSRP of $299 while available for purchase as low as $239.99 through Buy.com, this is one great device if you have a need for simple 24/7 network availability. For the DIY crowd amongst us looking to get more from their inexpensive dd-wrt enabled devices, you may be more interested in the Dual WAN with Failover guides in the dd-wrt.com wiki – they offer similar functionality requiring only slightly higher technical knowledge to implement.
Do you have your own Failover/Load Balancing setup at home? Let us know how you did it in the comments below.