Networking

Untangle launches new WAN management features

Balancing Internet connections and providing a managed failover does not need to be expensive. IT pro Rick Vanover showcases a new feature from the popular Internet appliance vendor for balance and failover.

The Untangle gateway has a very strong offering for managing the Internet connection for the SMB or home user. I’ve covered Untangle quite a bit on this blog, and there are two new features for their gateway product -- WAN Balancer and WAN Failover.

These two modules have been popular requests for the gateway product and are now available as paid add-on applications. The two features, WAN Balancer and WAN Failover, are installed together and priced separately. These features can be configured to craft a solution to increase the reliability of Internet connections without the expense of a higher priced solution like a T1. With WAN Balancer, up to six Internet connections can be pooled together to service the back-end network. If the connections have varying levels of speed, different weights can be applied to the connections to match the performance.

The WAN Failover feature is used to provide managed switch between two Internet connections based on preestablished criteria. The failover events are configured to perform frequent checks on a variety of Web services for the selected connections. These checks can be a ping test, DNS lookup, HTTP test, or an address resolution protocol test. Based on the frequency of failure, the WAN Failover configuration can determine that one of the interfaces has failed and take it offline.

Both the WAN Failover and WAN Balancer features keep summary stats on the Untangle virtual rack. Figure A shows the two modules and their counts. Note the configuration on the WAN Balancer module providing a heavier weight to the connection named External. Figure A

Figure A

I like this offering as it is a low-cost jump to providing good availability to smaller networks without huge cost. Both features are available as a free trial, and pricing starts at $10 monthly for WAN Failover and $5 monthly for WAN Balancer. More information on the 6.2 version of the Untangle gateway can be found at the Untangle Web site.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

16 comments
Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

Overall, the product appears promising. I love open source apps. Hopefully there's a text mode configuration option instead. The GUI looks kinda yucky like a corny media player. Maybe it has good graphs?

spuluka
spuluka

This should be a one time unlock at most. I don't see why you should have to pay monthly to have a firewall feature enabled. This is not like they have to keep definitions or block lists up to date. Sonicwall and Juniper offer these features in the firewall OS for a one time cost. I'm sure others do to. I don't like the idea of rental on this type of feature

WillZD
WillZD

Looks great for balancing/failover for outbound traffic, but what about inbound traffic. Let say I am hosting my own web server for my outside users and I have two Internet connections provided by different ISPs. Can I us Untangle to load balance or failover the incoming traffic to this server? I imagine there would be some DNS issues to resolve, since the public address of this server would be different for the two different ISPs.

dduffy
dduffy

I learned of Untangle at my former employer, when we were trying to manage the internet activity of employees. I have since placed it on a box at my home to keep my kids off websites we do not want them to be on. This is a great product, especially for the price (Free).

libskrap
libskrap

What does it do to performance of internet access? and how is the support? I looked at their website, couldn't find the appliance they mentioned. I've been using the linksys dual lan load balancer / failover device. works pretty well, but no reports. Have you tried it? compare?

kmnair
kmnair

E-box would be very good for this and much more. Have a look at e-boxplatform.com.

tealnet
tealnet

There's no text mode configuration and you're right, there's nothing pretty about it. It doesn't even have any good graphs. But it does work and it's pretty darn stable. Get PRTG if you want cool graphs :)

tealnet
tealnet

Their entire pricing structure sucks. The balancer and fail-over should be free and included in the professional bundle, as should the Policy Manager, AD Connector, Remote Access Portal and PC Remote modules. Instead, you only get the Balancer in the pro bundle. You have to get the "Super" bundle to get the fail-over. It's dumb. Decent product though... I have a bunch of untangle boxes deployed and I rarely have problems.

tealnet
tealnet

A round robin DNS setup should accomplish that fairly well. There could be some issues depending on what you're hosting. But that's the only way you could accomplish that without BGP as far as I know.

b4real
b4real

The good thing about the Untangle series of products is that they just work. For your specific questions, I recommend you try it. That's the only way you will get an answer satisfactory. Further, Untangle keeps deep technical details witheld. So, you really don't know the deatils. There is overhead with this and any management solution for an Internet connection, but quantification of the overhead is near impossible.

Floop70
Floop70

I've been using Smoothwall with various addons for web filtering and it works pretty well, although there are a few things I don't care for on it. I am going to download and try Untangle to see how it works. The WAN failover / load balancing would be a very nice feature as we do have 2 DSL connections.

dirtDiver
dirtDiver

hey guys, wanted to point out a couple of things, the firewall is free, and the wan stuff is available as part of the professioal bundle. the structure is weird though - the failover is included in the balancer - but you can also get it separately.

tealnet
tealnet

No one said the firewall wasn't free. Spuluka was referring to paying for firewall features, specifically the failover and balancer. The balancer is NOT available in the Professional bundle, only the Super Bundle or as a stand-alone product... which is stupid.