CradlePoint MBR1200

Network Load Balancing with the CradlePoint MBR1200

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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.

CradlePoint MBR1200

CradlePoint MBR1200

CradlePoint MBR1200 Rear Ports

CradlePoint MBR1200 Rear Ports

CradlePoint MBR1200 Front Ports

CradlePoint MBR1200 Front Ports

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.

  1. 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.)
  2. Connect your USB 3G/4G modem to any USB Port on the router.
  3. Login to the router management page and head to the “Advanced >> Failover/Load Balancing”  tab.
  4. 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”.

    MBR1200 Advanced Failover Tab

    MBR1200 Advanced Failover Tab

  5. 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.
  6. 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.

    MBR1200 Basic Failover Test

    MBR1200 Basic Failover Test

Speed Tests

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.

Verizon 4G Speed Test

Verizon 4G Speed Test

Verizon 4G Ping Test - Not Too Bad

Verizon 4G Ping Test - Not Too Bad

Time Warner Cable Speed Test

Time Warner Cable Speed Test

Time Warner Cable Ping Test

Time Warner Cable Ping Test

Conclusion

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.

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Discussion
  1. I couldn't find any dual coaxil input modems so you probably have to buy two modems that go into a load-balancing capable router. It doesn't really matter that there's two ISP's as long as you know which IP to point the static route to on each WAN interface. As far as only sending certain data out over a certain interface you would have to set up some access lists outbound on your WAN interfaces allowing/disallowing the port numbers that the data you want to segregate run on. That just takes a router that can handle it, Beats by Dr. Dre Studio

    and a little big of networking gusto.
    bawjkt
    You got that 110 megabit speedtesting result doing load balancing on the MBR-1200, right?

    What firmware were you running and what browser did you use?

    I have two MBR-1200s and load balancing two 6Mbit cable modems on the wired WANs doesn't work on either unit. It never opens up both interfaces simultaneously, under loads from three different machines. The three machines end up sharing a single 6Mbit interface.

    You, on the other hand, are maxing out both interfaces from a single browser window. Not surprising given how modern browsers multisession so well. I've seen four open sockets to speedtest.net with Chrome.

    Cradlepoint, when shown this article, thinks you may have been using something other than an MBR-1200. They're testing load-balancing wired WANs on an MBR-1200 now.

    Grrrrrrrrrreat article, especially for MBR-1200 fans.


    Sorry it was so long ago I don't recall how I did the testing. I assume that

    a) It was the current firmware out at the time (im anal)

    b) Was the Current Win7 IE out at the time.

    c) It's 100% a MBR 1200 (Still using it)

    d) Im not 100% sure but the 100MB speed I think was with 2 Cable Modems

    TWC and RCN I don't remember if I did that or with Veriozon 4G and TWC

    CORRECTION: The 110MB Speed Test was done with 2 Cable Modems not with any 4G
    DreamerBrian
    You're going to be very jealous of me. I just got my Cisco 861W router yesterday and there's a review in the works! :clap::clap::clap::clap:


    thats all? ;) i'll be having a 2811 shortly! :thup: i need a second DSL wic though! so i can do bonding when it comes out in my area

    those things are expensive :/ but i picked up one for 100 bucks on ebay (the wic)

    i'd love to have a 3g gsm wic, and a 802.11 wic, but there are only abg no N hwics as far as i saw
    You got that 110 megabit speedtesting result doing load balancing on the MBR-1200, right?

    What firmware were you running and what browser did you use?

    I have two MBR-1200s and load balancing two 6Mbit cable modems on the wired WANs doesn't work on either unit. It never opens up both interfaces simultaneously, under loads from three different machines. The three machines end up sharing a single 6Mbit interface.

    You, on the other hand, are maxing out both interfaces from a single browser window. Not surprising given how modern browsers multisession so well. I've seen four open sockets to speedtest.net with Chrome.

    Cradlepoint, when shown this article, thinks you may have been using something other than an MBR-1200. They're testing load-balancing wired WANs on an MBR-1200 now.

    Grrrrrrrrrreat article, especially for MBR-1200 fans.
    thobel
    Well I work from home and have just about zero tollerence for outages. So for me its worth it. Really comes down to what value you place on it.

    PS you can get a pretty cheap backup solution. basic cable modem is only like $30 a month or so for like 10mb/1mb


    isnt bad, but where I live i think there is only one cable provider and im already with them.

    I would be tempted to get a cheap ADSL plan as backup, but you need a bt phone line , but my phone line is with virgin media (combined price with my broadband)

    I have a £9 per month "mifi" that I cannot find right now.... typical. I can normally use that to give a few wifi enabled devices connectivity.

    as my home broadband is only used for personal use, outages are annoying , but they dont cost me anything, I cant really justify spending anything on redundancy

    just came to uni to use their wifi :p
    markp1989
    Dam...that's gotta hurt

    Right now I have one cable connection, which has been down for the last 3 hours so I'm on my mobile

    I have considered getting a 2nd line but not sure if its worth the cost


    Well I work from home and have just about zero tollerence for outages. So for me its worth it. Really comes down to what value you place on it.

    PS you can get a pretty cheap backup solution. basic cable modem is only like $30 a month or so for like 10mb/1mb
    Dam...that's gotta hurt

    Right now I have one cable connection, which has been down for the last 3 hours so I'm on my mobile

    I have considered getting a 2nd line but not sure if its worth the cost
    markp1989
    that looks like a pretty good idea.

    im assuming it allows you to block services (ports) depending on the WAN interface used?

    would hate to leave a torrent downloading over night, main WAN drops out and it ends up downloading the big files over the 3/4g , most 3g plans I know have pretty small limits and get very expensive if you go over them


    That happened to me 67GB on a 5GB Verizon 4G plan @ $10 per GB over 5Gb ouch!! Hence why I got a 2nd cable modem :)
    that looks like a pretty good idea.

    im assuming it allows you to block services (ports) depending on the WAN interface used?

    would hate to leave a torrent downloading over night, main WAN drops out and it ends up downloading the big files over the 3/4g , most 3g plans I know have pretty small limits and get very expensive if you go over them
    DreamerBrian
    You're going to be very jealous of me. I just got my Cisco 861W router yesterday and there's a review in the works! :clap::clap::clap::clap:


    Does that do load balancing?
    Adragontattoo
    Nah, no CISCO gear (yet)


    You're going to be very jealous of me. I just got my Cisco 861W router yesterday and there's a review in the works! :clap::clap::clap::clap:
    Adragontattoo
    Nah, no CISCO gear (yet), and my Gig switch is only a "quasi" smart switch.

    *points at Thideras*

    "I blame him!"

    Including the CPU en route? I'll be at 4,4,4,4,3,2,2,2+2,1+1,1(30) cores(give or take a few). And well over 20tb of storage.

    Ok so yeah maybe I am close to business grade computing power for just myself.:comp:

    I think I need counseling, is there an AA for geeks?

    !BACK ON TOPIC!

    Im assuming that you did this for a business?

    Otherwise, how did you manage to get your ISP to provision for 2 different modems(not the 3/4G)? Did you use different ISPs?


    2 different isp's twc and rcn. Router does dynamic round robin load balancing based on max bandwidth and available. Example start and FTP an it uses 10mb per sec when you open a 2nd connection it will use the 2nd modem etc. Works great.

    PS Its for my home office (mostly gaming wiht a little work)
    DreamerBrian
    lol dude you're going to have a medium-sized business's data center in your house soon enough if you keep going at this rate!


    Nah, no CISCO gear (yet), and my Gig switch is only a "quasi" smart switch.

    *points at Thideras*

    "I blame him!"

    Including the CPU en route? I'll be at 4,4,4,4,3,2,2,2+2,1+1,1(30) cores(give or take a few). And well over 20tb of storage.

    Ok so yeah maybe I am close to business grade computing power for just myself.:comp:

    I think I need counseling, is there an AA for geeks?

    !BACK ON TOPIC!

    Im assuming that you did this for a business?

    Otherwise, how did you manage to get your ISP to provision for 2 different modems(not the 3/4G)? Did you use different ISPs?
    thobel
    Update

    I got a 2nd Cbale modem installed and setup Load Balancing

    Modem 1 TWC Wide Band 50/5

    Modem 2 RCN Wide Band 60/6

    Results



    I mean this in the most friendly, nicest way possible.

    I hate you for that upload speed.

    stupid comcast.