[extropy-chat] Multi Homing?

Sean Lynch seanl at literati.org
Wed Feb 14 18:29:56 UTC 2007

Brent Allsop wrote:
> Extropians,
> Do any of you guys "Multi Home" your home network internet connection?
> I currently have Comcast cable as my primary connection, but would like to
> include a Quest DSL modem redundant connection to increase reliability and
> bandwidth. (Comcast has been down for a week or so twice last year.)
> I would also like to upgrade to gigabit in my home so I can transfer live
> video and stuff.
> One possibility I see is getting a “dual wan” capable router that does “load
> balancing”.  There seems to be lots of these out there, but the only one
> that supports gigabit on the LAN side seems to be NetGear's FVS124G:
> http://www.netgear.com/Products/VPNandSSL/WiredVPNFirewallRouters/FVS124G.as
> px
> But from the reviews this sounds like it might be a very unreliable box?
> Some other friends of mine are saying I should just configure my Linux box
> to have several NIC cards and have it handle the WAN connections and NAT
> services...
> Are these the only two possibilities?  Which of these would be the best for
> someone that is not a professional network administrator?  And which would
> run reliably without having the router crash all the time…?
> Any ideas, tips, or personal success stories would be greatly appreciated?
Personally, I think multihoming a residential network is a waste of time
and money, unless you have a "free" wireless network available to use as
your backup. IMHO you'd be much better off simply switching to a more
reliable ISP. It sounds like your cable infrastructure may be old; my
Comcast connection hasn't gone down even once in the almost two years
I've had it, but San Jose recently went from having the oldest cable
infrastructure in the SF bay area to the newest.

Reliability on residential service is really more luck of the draw than
anything else. Maybe you get a good copper pair, maybe not. Maybe you're
in a neighborhood with decent cable infrastructure, maybe not. And then
when it goes down, you're not gonna get much attention either on cable,
which ia hard to diagnose, or residential DSL, which is too cheap for
the huge telcos to care about. You could try just switching to DSL to
see if that has improved reliability, but if you really want "reliable
for sure" you should go with a business service like SDSL, business
ADSL, or a T1.

If you do choose to go with multi-homing, a Linux box is about the most
flexible router you can go with. You want to load balance by sending
different connections via different paths rather than by round-robining
packets, though. In such a setup, your downtime will more likely be
caused by the complexity of the network than by ISP issues, though.
Also, you need to be able to actually monitor both links independently,
say by putting a static route for a particular pair of IPs that you can
ping via each provider and pinging each address periodically.

My own plan is to have Comcast for my primary connection and use a
wireless network I'm helping build for backup. But my servers still live
on a T1 line in industrial space in Santa Clara.

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