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Best way to manage TWO carriers

Last response: in Networking
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September 5, 2011 9:43:59 PM

After suffering two Internet outages in the past two weeks, I've decided to add a FIOS line to my home, which already has Comcast Cable Modem service. Just one day of downtime can cost my home-based business more than the cost of a year's worth of service, so this is really a no brainer. But I have two questions:

1. FIOS insists on providing their own router and I want to keep my Airport Extreme Base Station, which has turned out to be the best router for my mixed network of Macs and PCs. I'm told there's a way to simply use their router as a conduit to my Airport, but I wasn't told how. I don't want to trust the Verizon tech to know either -- I want to do it while he's there and make sure it works. Sooooo, how is this done?

2. What's the best way to manage both carriers? Should I just keep one unplugged from my Airport and plug it in when needed (e.g., when one is down or throttling me)? Should I actually run two wireless LANS? (Most of the main stuff is hardwired ethernet, but we do have wireless laptops, iDevices, etc.) Should I get a second ethernet card for my main desktop PC and keep both plugged in -- any advantage to that? Advice, please -- it makes financial sense to do this and I just want it makes computer sense as well.

The people here seem pretty knowledgeable about complex IT issues, so I'm asking here before anywhere else. Never posted here before but have found many answers as a lurker.

THANKS SO MUCH in advance!

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September 7, 2011 12:29:50 AM
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the ideal way would be turning the VIOS Modem/router into modem only.

then use a DUAL WAN router like this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

connect you Airport to it configured as an AP (access point)

a Dual WAN router can be configure to use both connections at the same time or fail-over mode which if one connection fails the other takes automatically over
September 7, 2011 3:41:35 AM

Emerald said:
the ideal way would be turning the VIOS Modem/router into modem only.

then use a DUAL WAN router like this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

connect you Airport to it configured as an AP (access point)

a Dual WAN router can be configure to use both connections at the same time or fail-over mode which if one connection fails the other takes automatically over


Emerald, now THAT is a cool option that I never even knew about. Will the extra router slow down my connection at all? If not, sounds lime exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!
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September 7, 2011 5:55:53 AM

it should not slow it down if you configure the Airport as an AP since you will not use its WAN port and therefore you will only use one router.
September 8, 2011 2:41:04 AM

Emerald said:
it should not slow it down if you configure the Airport as an AP since you will not use its WAN port and therefore you will only use one router.


Okay, I just ordered a Netgear FVS336gv2 Dual Wan Router, which seems to have the load balancing and switching characteristics to make the most of this arrangement. Now I just need to understand:

Did I buy the correct item?
Which router will assign IP addresses (I would guess the Dual WAN router)?
IF the Airport is an access point is tha the same thing as a network extender?
Since the Airport Extreme will be supporting wireless connectivity, how will the OTHER router assign wireless IP addresses?
If I set everything up BEFORE the Verizon guy comes, will the setup work with the Comcast connection alone?

I'm totally new to this aspect of networking, and thank you in advance for your patience.
September 8, 2011 5:47:03 AM

the Dual WAN will assign the IP (DHCP).

lets say the LAN IP of the Netgear Dual WAN router is 192.168.1.1 assign 192.168.1.253 to you Airport, disable the DHCP on the Airport, and connect one of the Airport's LAN port to the Netgear
September 8, 2011 3:54:04 PM

Emerald said:
the Dual WAN will assign the IP (DHCP).

lets say the LAN IP of the Netgear Dual WAN router is 192.168.1.1 assign 192.168.1.253 to you Airport, disable the DHCP on the Airport, and connect one of the Airport's LAN port to the Netgear


THANKS for the explanation, and let's make sure I got this right. You actually mean I connect one of the NETGEAR'S Lan ports to the Airport's (single) incoming port, yes? BTW, I real appreciate your input, because this is a great solution and one I would have never known about otherwise.
September 8, 2011 4:03:26 PM

Best answer selected by ArthurPJohnson.
September 8, 2011 7:11:51 PM

One thing to take into consideration is that if your internet goes down while surfing, this isn't an immediate fault tolerant system. Your internet will go down while it switches to the other connection. If you were logged into a site, it is likely that you will need to log back in. This is essentially the same as unplugging one cable and plugging in another cable.. In theory it is good but in reality it doesn't operate the way many people think.
September 8, 2011 7:30:22 PM

riser said:
One thing to take into consideration is that if your internet goes down while surfing, this isn't an immediate fault tolerant system. Your internet will go down while it switches to the other connection. If you were logged into a site, it is likely that you will need to log back in. This is essentially the same as unplugging one cable and plugging in another cable.. In theory it is good but in reality it doesn't operate the way many people think.


@Riser, thanks for pointing that out. Another question that occurs to me is if Load Balancing will interfere with Airplay. Logically it shouldn't, as long as everything's on the same LAN, but can you be on the same LAN as another device is you're using different ISPs? There's a Through-the-Looking-Glass aspect to this...
September 8, 2011 8:13:13 PM

I believe with the dual WAN routers, only one WAN connection is active at a time. You can't share (read load balance) your connection acros the two. You would be using only one at a time, unless you were somehow able to specify the gateway address to use. Honestly, I don't see much use in dual wan routers. In your case I would have upgraded to a business internet connection and moved away from consumer grade. At least the service window is smaller and the uptime is a lot better. You may want to check that and potentially return the dual wan router. Just a thought though.
September 9, 2011 4:18:44 PM

riser said:
I believe with the dual WAN routers, only one WAN connection is active at a time. You can't share (read load balance) your connection acros the two. You would be using only one at a time, unless you were somehow able to specify the gateway address to use. Honestly, I don't see much use in dual wan routers. In your case I would have upgraded to a business internet connection and moved away from consumer grade. At least the service window is smaller and the uptime is a lot better. You may want to check that and potentially return the dual wan router. Just a thought though.


Riser, Thanks and you give good advice for most small operations like mine regarding business grade service.

I just double-checked the rates for Comcast business grade connections and they have indeed come down so far as to make them a tempting alternative, now roughly twice the cost of consumer for comparable speeds. In my own case, however, I can't see how it would make much difference in uptime -- our node box is off in an open-space meadow, the whole neighborhood loses service about twice a year, and the last two times my neighbors with FIOS never suffered a burp. I have no other evidence that FIOS uptime is better in my neighborhood, but am nonetheless burning with envy. And, while I am not so foolhardy as to trade the devil I know for the devil I don't, the temptation to install FIOS as a redundant service was too great to resist. It'll cost about the same as upgrading to one business line and the deal is done -- they're digging the line from the street today or tomorrow. If it all goes to hell, I'll eat crow, get business grade and come back here to confess.

However things go, it'll be great fodder for my tech blog. :) 

P.S. I'm already suffering a glitch, as Verizon's website refuses to validate my new ID.

June 7, 2013 6:05:46 AM

If it hs a load balancer then it will load balnce connection. some load balncer can be configure how much load in each wan in a round robin. Multi wan is good solution but it;s quite expensive, you can turn an old or an existing pc into a router/firewall/loadbalancer/failover/bandwidth manager/proxy server.. I can set it up for you through team viewer.
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