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Combining Multiple Internet Connections for a Home Network

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June 20, 2006 11:06:40 AM

I'm about to move into a house with a couple of relatives and I was wondering what would be required to take two broadband connections and combine them into internet access for a single LAN. Specifically I intended to use two Comcast cable lines (likely a 6mbit and an 8mbit). I'm kind of curious as to how my external IP would work since the two lines would each have a different dynamic address. I could live with using one of the two connections for each computer, but I still need everything to come into a single LAN. If I could somehow combine both lines, then that would be even better.

I have an old Pentium 3 machine that I could slap a couple of NICs in and using for firewall/port forwarding purposes, but if a traditional router would work better that's fine too. I would need to familiarize myself more with Linux and hopefully use it on the firewall machine, although WinXP is a possibility. I intend to use wifi for three computers to connect, so I need to have that built in somewhere.

My network knowledge isn't all that extensive, but I have picked up things over the years, so I feel like I could probably implement most of the LAN except the outgoing connections. I have no idea about how to combine multiple internet connections into one outgoing line. Keep in mind that the dedicated firewall PC could be used with a third NIC if it could combine them somehow. And I probably can't afford to spend more than about $200 on new network hardware (excluding making my own cables).

Anyway, thanks for any suggestions ahead of time.
June 20, 2006 1:17:02 PM

You need a router with dual WAN ports and load balancing. I have never done anything like this but that is pretty much what you need. I think you may be able to use the P3 box with Network Load Balancing on it but im not sure.
June 20, 2006 8:38:55 PM

The Netgear FVS 538 is for a dual WAN input. But I think it's mainly for redundency, but I think it does load ballancing too. Atleast 1 to look at. They make another model with dual wans, but don't recall the model number.
Related resources
June 20, 2006 11:14:16 PM

DLink DI-LB604 is also another one that has it with QoS too. it runs about $150.
June 22, 2006 2:18:11 AM

See this thread

I saw a thread a while back, The jist was to use 2 routers, with DHCP disabled. IP addresses were assigned manually. The default gateway for each computer would be set manually, according to router to handle the internet connection. (kind of like a static manual load balance)

example:
router1/Internet1 : LanIP 192.168.0.1 WanIP: (to match ISP)
router2/Internet2 : LanIP 192.168.0.2 WanIP: (to match ISP)
Computer1 : IP 192.168.0.100, subnet mask 255.255.255.0, default gateway 192.168.0.1
Computer2 : IP 192.168.0.101, subnet mask 255.255.255.0, default gateway 192.168.0.2
Computer3 : IP 192.168.0.101, subnet mask 255.255.255.0, default gateway 192.168.0.2

Computer1 would use the first internet connection, Computers2/3 would use the second internet connection. All PC would be able to 'see' each other.
June 28, 2006 10:27:16 AM

Since you have that p3 I would suggest a linux distro (ubuntu comes to mind). No need to spend money on extra hardware you don't really need.

Try the following guide:
http://www.netlife.co.za/content/view/12/34/


Good luck
June 28, 2006 8:35:57 PM

Why do you want to do that... both connections are on the same node... Once it's saturated during prime time, it doesn't matter how many connections you have, it'll still be slow. You're still sharing one upstream and one downstream so it doesn't make any sense to do this, unless your goal is tio get around the rate limiting they put on the cable modems.
July 22, 2006 6:00:06 PM

Couple of things.

You can do this with Linux, or a dual WAN router.

HOWEVER, it probably won't work exactly the way you envision it. For true multilink functionality, both ends of the connection have to be set up for it, and you can bet your bottom dollar your ISP isn't going to do it for you.

What you can do with just a 2 port router is use the connections for redundancy, or per destination sharing. I don't know what the technical term for it is, but to do this on a Cisco router with two WAN connections, you'd use cisco express forwarding, and it offers per packet and per destination. Basically what that means is if you download a file from a website, it will max out one connection and the other will be idle. Now if you download another file, it will use the second connection.

Here's another HOWEVER... it works this way because web browsers use a single connection to grab the file and the router can't split that connection between the two WAN links. If you use a download manager, they usually use more than one, so that would allow you to use both connections. Apps like BitTorrent also work this way. Unfortunately, there's no way to bond the upstream connections because like you said, each connection will have it's own IP. Basically, it's not usually worth the effort to set it up this way unless you're doing it for redundancy. Maybe if you're constantly downloading huge files that max out your connection.

A better solution might be to see if you can get a single, faster, connection from your ISP for the same price as you pay for two different connections.
July 24, 2006 7:26:56 PM

If you can set up a cable modem as one connection and DSL as the other you'll probably have better overall results as you'll hav two connections out versus having two cable modems that as soon as they leave your house merge into teh same line anyways.
July 24, 2006 9:58:31 PM

Quote:
If you can set up a cable modem as one connection and DSL as the other you'll probably have better overall results as you'll hav two connections out versus having two cable modems that as soon as they leave your house merge into teh same line anyways.


Not true, A cable modem is typically capped at max speed. I don't know the exact number but I remember something like 45 mbit as a 'neighborhoods' bandwidth.

DSL on the other hand may not be capped, but rather limited by distance from the CO.

Some cable companies have higher speed options for business customers.
July 24, 2006 10:13:02 PM

The maximum speed per neighborhood will vary based on provider, but it is typically much, much higher than 45 mbps. Most cable companies have a fiber ring that runs around the whole town, and they convert the fiber to coax to serve individual residences and businesses. The fiber backbone is at least 1Gbps, and many carriers have probably already upgraded to 10Gbps. This is typically irrevelant though, because the ISPs connection to the Internet is shared among all subscribers on their network, not just your neighborhood, so that's typically the true bottleneck.

The cable modem will be capped at whatever speed you pay for. However, you may have better results using different ISPs, say if it's 7PM and your cable service is crawling, the DSL may be faster. It's also much better for redundancy - if the cable goes down, the DSL is there as a failover.
July 24, 2006 10:37:01 PM

Quote:
The maximum speed per neighborhood will vary based on provider, but it is typically much, much higher than 45 mbps. Most cable companies have a fiber ring that runs around the whole town, and they convert the fiber to coax to serve individual residences and businesses.


They do NOT downconvert fiber for individual residences or business. They downconvert for a 'neighborhood', each neighborhood has a shared bandwidth of maybe about 45 mbps. A neighborhood may be a city block, 10 city blocks; depends upon how many subscribers, overbook ratios, etc. The 45 mbps is a number that I'm remembering off the top of my head and is the max that can be shoved down the coax pipe. It looks like 30 mbps is more realistic.

Quote:
Some users have attempted to override the bandwidth cap and gain access to the full bandwidth of the system (often as much as 30 Mbit/s) by uploading their own configuration file to the cable modem, a process called uncapping.
July 25, 2006 12:03:14 AM

30mbps is theoretically the upper limit of DOCSIS equipment. And yes, I meant the fiber => coax conversion takes place at the headend which serves hundreds of subscribers. My point was that the back side of the head end is plugged in the carrier's fiber ring, so bandwidth to the head is a moot point, because a single head end is never going to saturate it.

It's true that people in geographic procimity to each other share the bandwidth of the single headend, but that limit is a lot more than 30mbps. The 30mbps limit is relevant to DOCSIS, that is to say, that's the most a single modem could have downstream, but I think that was just the initial spec, because there are providers offering > 30mbps on cable-type services these days.

I think the initial fear of cable because of the "shared bandwidth" came about years ago when the cable company's network was mostly coax and they'd have thousands of people on a single headend. This has mostly been eliminated with the new fiber networks being rolled out, which allow the cable company to bring huge bandwidth into individual neighborhoods. I typically don't see much difference in my speed between peak and nonpeak times.

From wikipedia:

Quote:
Users in a neighborhood share the available bandwidth provided by a single coaxial cable line. Therefore, connection speed can vary depending on how many people are using the service at the same time, although in most areas, this has been eliminated due to redundant and fiber networks. This has become much less of an issue in recent years.
July 25, 2006 12:14:44 AM

Quote:
DSL on the other hand may not be capped, but rather limited by distance from the CO.


I just saw this, I've never seen a DSL ISP that doesn't cap the users bandwidth. I'd agree that you might get less speed than what you pay for if you're far away from the CO, but I doubt you'd ever get *more*.
July 25, 2006 3:22:51 AM

Quote:
I typically don't see much difference in my speed between peak and nonpeak times.


You are lucky...
July 25, 2006 4:27:36 AM

I suppose. I guess it all depends on how oversubscriber your cable company is. Most people around here have reported similar experiences.
August 9, 2006 9:43:07 PM

Quote:
It's true that people in geographic procimity to each other share the bandwidth of the single headend, but that limit is a lot more than 30mbps. The 30mbps limit is relevant to DOCSIS, that is to say, that's the most a single modem could have downstream, but I think that was just the initial spec, because there are providers offering > 30mbps on cable-type services these days.


http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060808-7450.html

The new spec is 160Mbps downstream, 120Mbps upstream.
Quote:
... the current standard (DOCSIS 2.0) delivers up to 40 Mbps downstream and 30 Mbps upstream.
August 9, 2006 10:03:01 PM

The majority of MSOs are still struggling with DOCSIS 1.1 deployment... DOCSIS 2.0 is very far in the horizon and DOCSIS 3.0 is not even worth mentioning... so don't hold your breadth.

Quote:
It's true that people in geographic procimity to each other share the bandwidth of the single headend, but that limit is a lot more than 30mbps. The 30mbps limit is relevant to DOCSIS, that is to say, that's the most a single modem could have downstream, but I think that was just the initial spec, because there are providers offering > 30mbps on cable-type services these days.


http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060808-7450.html

The new spec is 160Mbps downstream, 120Mbps upstream.
Quote:
... the current standard (DOCSIS 2.0) delivers up to 40 Mbps downstream and 30 Mbps upstream.
October 8, 2008 4:24:54 AM

I have been trying to do the same thing but with 2 wireless connections plus my comcast connect. Looks like this is not an easy task. Looks like a linux operating system is need and a bunch of stuff I dont understand. I have however come across a company that makes cheap servers to this. workman-engineering dot com. sorry I couldnt help more.
April 30, 2010 10:37:58 AM

There is a good single floppy linux distro, doing only network management. It is called freesco, and it is very good. http://www.freesco.info/
August 24, 2010 2:33:20 AM

I did something similar to what the thread-starter was talking about, but my goal was to separate half my house onto the slower connection... and my half the faster, but wanted all to see each other through the windows networking. It required 2 routers. I'm a big fan of Linksys (flashed with DDWRT, not at all necessary for this), but I think most routers can do this.

First router's settings (faster broadband connection):
WAN settings set appropriately for your ISP (usually DHCP for cable)
LAN IP of the router: 192.168.1.1
Subnet: 255.255.254.0
Gateway: I don't think it matters? But I just put 192.168.1.1

Second router (the slow one):
WAN settings set appropriately for your ISP (usually DHCP for cable)
LAN IP of the router: 192.168.2.1
Subnet: 255.255.254.0
Gateway: 192.168.2.1

For each PC I wanted connected to faster internet, I assigned static IP's like this:
IP: 192.168.1.(2-254)
Subnet: 255.255.254
Gateway: 192.168.1.1

For the neighbors, the slow connection:
IP: 192.168.2.(2-254)
Subnet: 255.255.254
Gateway: 192.168.2.1

Also, you can leave DHCP on for whichever connection you want to allow 'guests' to use, and turn it off for the router that's connected to the one you want more exclusive. Otherwise a PC (DHCP) will just grab from the first router that responds.

I think the assigned gateway was key to directing the internet traffic, and the subnet mask being .254 in the 3rd octet (is that right? 000.000.<3rd octet>.000 lol) was key to the LAN situation, so all PC's could 'see' each other... although I have since learned that if I had made my routers LAN IP's 192.168.0.1 and 192.168.1.1, then .255 would have worked. Had to study up on subnet masks.

Since then I actually have my DHCP on a win2k3 box, and still use 2 connections... If I don't have your MAC address reserved and assigned to my faster router, you get DHCP'd to the slow stuff :) 
This eliminated the need to set static IP's on all my computers (annoying!) lol

Hope this is useful to someone. BTW, DOCSIS 3.0 is here!!! Yay!!!! I can get 20Mb/s up! XD
August 26, 2010 4:06:46 AM

fredweston said:
Quote:
DSL on the other hand may not be capped, but rather limited by distance from the CO.


I just saw this, I've never seen a DSL ISP that doesn't cap the users bandwidth. I'd agree that you might get less speed than what you pay for if you're far away from the CO, but I doubt you'd ever get *more*.


ours is 609 Kbps but we pay for 512 kbps, it depends on your service provider.
August 27, 2010 8:49:37 AM

you need install forcebindip software (FREE)
http://www.r1ch.net/stuff/forcebindip/

LAN1 - IP 192.168.0.1 (file sharing and internet access)
LAN2 - IP 192.168.0.2 (internet access)

samples:

ForceBindIP -i 192.168.0.1 "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe"

ForceBindIP -i 192.168.0.2 "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe"

the firefox use a primary connection and the internet explorer the second internet access.

bye.
April 4, 2011 7:30:21 AM

Try OCTOPUS+ ( HTTP://www.octopusplus.com )
OCTOPUS+ is an innovative Internet Source Manger that brings a new revolutionary change in the way internet connections are utilized. OCTOPUS+ will help in utilizing all the active internet connections available in a computer. OCTOPUS+ will intelligently manage the traffic between a computer and the internet among the available active internet connections. This will ease out the congestion through each of the active internet connections and thereby maximizing internet traffic throughput while delaying the reach the monthly download limit usually set by an ISP.
May 8, 2012 12:33:58 PM

jjw said:
See this thread

I saw a thread a while back, The jist was to use 2 routers, with DHCP disabled. IP addresses were assigned manually. The default gateway for each computer would be set manually, according to router to handle the internet connection. (kind of like a static manual load balance)

example:
router1/Internet1 : LanIP 192.168.0.1 WanIP: (to match ISP)
router2/Internet2 : LanIP 192.168.0.2 WanIP: (to match ISP)
Computer1 : IP 192.168.0.100, subnet mask 255.255.255.0, default gateway 192.168.0.1
Computer2 : IP 192.168.0.101, subnet mask 255.255.255.0, default gateway 192.168.0.2
Computer3 : IP 192.168.0.101, subnet mask 255.255.255.0, default gateway 192.168.0.2

Computer1 would use the first internet connection, Computers2/3 would use the second internet connection. All PC would be able to 'see' each other.

May 8, 2012 12:42:03 PM

hi, could you please tell me about that can i have a computer that itself share and management both internet and i don't need to manage which client use any gateway. In fact each time 192.168.0.1 is down automatically 192.168.0.100 switched to 192.168.0.2.
Thanks.


I saw a thread a while back, The jist was to use 2 routers, with DHCP disabled. IP addresses were assigned manually. The default gateway for each computer would be set manually, according to router to handle the internet connection. (kind of like a static manual load balance)

example:
router1/Internet1 : LanIP 192.168.0.1 WanIP: (to match ISP)
router2/Internet2 : LanIP 192.168.0.2 WanIP: (to match ISP)
Computer1 : IP 192.168.0.100, subnet mask 255.255.255.0, default gateway 192.168.0.1
Computer2 : IP 192.168.0.101, subnet mask 255.255.255.0, default gateway 192.168.0.2
Computer3 : IP 192.168.0.101, subnet mask 255.255.255.0, default gateway 192.168.0.2

Computer1 would use the first internet connection, Computers2/3 would use the second internet connection. All PC would be able to 'see' each other.[/quotemsg]
May 12, 2012 12:53:34 AM

You will need a special router to combine the connections.

There are a few companies that offer Dual-WAN or even multi-WAN routers out there. They are all pricey. The one I ended up going with is a Multi-WAN router from Xtreem-Routing Networks . I see a dramatic increase in torrent downloads. Its helpful when I play Call of Duty online, only because of the fact I can choose which connection I want my gaming to go through. And since the routers CPU is a dual core processor, its extremely fast.

May 13, 2012 2:59:56 PM

I used to have two links at my house for redundancy.

The mechanism that accomplished this level of redundancy is when the Internet went down, I plugged into the other connection. Whew… done.

I’m sure you “can” do this. My question would be why do this for a home network?

You never achieve what more then one ISP’s link can give you. Think about this from a path cost perspective. If you had:

Gig link ←>10Mbits/sec link ←> gig link

The path cost is based on the slowest link in the path. You can’t get more then the 10Mbit/sec link will give you even though you have a gig on each side of it.

If you had a load balancer in the middle of your two ISP links, it picks either one uplink or the other based on SRC/DSP IP, SRC/DST MAC, etc… It never puts some of one flow on one link and some of the flow on the other. What you end up with is the same path cost that you had before you started but now add the load balancer into the path cost.

Home client -- Gig link -- ISP 1
Home client -- Gig link -- ISP 2

I like the idea where you just point some of the clients to one link and the rest to the other.

If you are dead set on doing this, then the idea of using linux distro and the load balancing link provided to above.

Good luck,
May 14, 2012 12:23:34 PM

I do not know anything about how it works but all schools have multiple broadband lines in and thay all all combinet as one. I know this a I work for BT as a field eng
October 4, 2012 3:48:13 AM

LMAO Your ALL in the DITCH. THIS IS SO EASY!

GOAL= MORE UPLOAD + LESS LAG

SETUP = two 30mb Broadband connections. with 5.3mb Upload Connections

So THE way the Network Wants to work is Use Fastest Route/HOPS

FACT= Routers LAN TO WAN HAS CAPS LOOK YOURS UP THEN DITCH/TRASH IT> GET A COMPUTER/Server with 3 Gigabyte Lan Cards.

GIGABYTE LAN ALL AROUND ROUTER/SWITCH/HUB/WIERLESS use as routers no dhcp keep subnets the same for faster routing

RUN Linux/windows Server 2008+
Enable RASS Routing remote access. Install NAT / & Understand How Nat Works On server 2008 Nat Should USe 2 Public DHCP/StATIC PUBLIC NETWORKS AND ONE LOCAL PRIVATE NETWORK ROUTING TO INTERNAL HUB /ROUTERS. TELL DHCP OR STATIC IPS TO USE YOUR NEW DNS SERVER to prevent LOOP BACKS

Allow Ports Through the Nat Basic Firewall on each Card.

If your running a Webservice and Need Failover For Upload Load you will need a Static Ip from your ISP and Tell your Network Load Balance to Switch to Second IP when/if the Server Fails to Pull a request

Install A dns Server to Host Ip names resolution Nat Will not like to Round House/Loop Requests.

Good Luck Fun Project

!