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low cost Internet loadbalancing solutions?

To achieve Internet loadbalance and redundancy, we currently connect to SBC (T1/Frame Relay) and TimeWarner (Cable) for Internet access. Between the edge routers (2600/2500) and our ASA firewall, we position a 3rd router as loadbalancer using CEF, RIP2, and a pair of default routes. At the cost of three old routers, it has worked very well for us. We do, however, have the following two limitations:

1. Our CEF loadbalance is connection based (can't use packet-based because we only have a class-C space, not big enough to be on the internet routing table). Therefore, the loadbalancing is neither even nor can it take advantage of the higher download bandwith on the Time warner side.

2. The dynamic routing setup only detects immediate link failures. It cannot detect performance degration on a particular link or a remote upstream failure. When an ISP has problems, our users experience random Internet problems because they may be redirected to go through the ISP with problems.

Does anyone have any experience with a low-cost solution, like Linksys RV-082, Xincom XC-DPG502, and Zyxel Zywall 70?

As to No.2, I am thinking about writing a script for our net monitoring software to test for link speed to certain popular web sites and shut down an Internet link if it gets too slow.

But I'd don't want to "reinvent the wheel" if there is a cheap solution out there already.

Daniel

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Re: low cost Internet loadbalancing solutions?

Hey DWang,

I have used the Linksys RV 082 and for a SMB this box is awesome! The load balancing is based upon bandwidth numbers you config, however, bandwidth is relative so make sure that you test your bandwidth with something like VisualWare or the FireFox add in "BandWidth Meter" so you have a benchmark. I would test it Morning, Afternoon and Evening then come up with an average and roll with that.

It's a great box with awesome features for the price.

As for No. 2 you could try a traceroute script (if the site allows it) with a high watermark based upon time of return. Maybe it would be easier to walk the IfOutDiscard MIB on the RV-082 and see when you start dropping frames then take action.

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