How to Configure Your Services on a Load Balancing Router

Useful hints and tips in load balancing router configurationWe have talked about the 3 essential aspects of Internet load balancing earlier, however, we want to revisit some of the common questions and associated answers related to setting up a load balancing router in your office network:

Can I keep my existing network setup untouched while installing a new load balancing router?

Yes, with most modern Broadband Bonding routers, you will be able to use passthrough setup with your primary ISP connection. Since the load balancer will install inline between your existing modem and existing local network, if you use passthrough, essentially the load balancer will be transparent. In other words, even though the load balancing device is now between your legacy firewall and your primary WAN line, the legacy firewall will think it is connected directly to the modem. Similarly, the modem will think it is connected directly to the legacy firewall. This passthrough capability on the load balancer provides a very easy migration while keeping all of the existing network setup untouched.

Once I’ve added the additional WAN links to my load balancing router, how does the IP addressing work?

If you have installed your load balancing router in passthrough mode for your primary WAN line, now you can add your additional ISP connections as WAN2, WAN3, and so forth. The load balancer will have special NAT’ing (Network Address Translation), where the IP address translation both in the outbound direction as well as in the inbound direction, will be automatically handled. For a more detailed description of how the IP addressing works, please visit this link.

How will the aggregation work with multiple WAN lines? 

If your load balancing appliance supports true bonding, then the aggregation will happen at packet-level granularity, i.e. a single session will be spread over all your available WAN links in an intelligent manner. This will provide true speed improvements, as well as better optimization for application-specific metrics. As an example, a file download will happen with the total combined speed of all the WAN links, since it will be downloaded over all lines simultaneously. You can also let the aggregation granularity be at a session level, if you choose to do so.

What if I want specific traffic types to only use one of the WAN lines?

Sometimes you may want to assign certain types of traffic onto a specific WAN line. One such example would be your SMTP email traffic in case your external mail server is accepting emails only from specific IP addresses. In this case, you can use “interface binding” techniques to bind a specific traffic type onto your desired WAN link.

Load balancing routers have evolved into very sophisticated WAN orchestration appliances where you can monitor and control the traffic as you desire. Adding more bandwidth to your network in a cost effective manner is now simpler than ever and can be accomplished without any disruption to your existing networking setups.

Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc.

Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.


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