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
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.