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Load Balancing 2 T1s

By Charger Media ·
We have 2 T1s serving 2 seperate networks at my facility. I want to switch backbones on one of the lines and tie it into the other one, join the networks together and put a load balancer in front of it. Evidently the networks are tied somehow already, but they are on two different IP blocks. It's our sister company, so merging both lines together and load balancing them sounds like a viable solution.

My question is, Where do I start?!?

We are running NT/2000 servers, Cisco 2600, and Checkpoint firewall.

We had a line outage today for almost 4 hours which left the owner of our company very unhappy. When I get an email from him simply saying, "this is not good!", means it's time for me to present a solution ASAP.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Ryan

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Load Balancing 2 T1s

by Some Guy in Seattle In reply to Load Balancing 2 T1s

There's a difference between "load balancing" and "line redundancy". It sounds like the owner is unhappy at the outage so line redundancy is probably what you're looking for. Since you already have everything you need to set this up (a 2600 router- may have to increase the RAM), look into getting a BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) routing option from both of your ISPs. BGP will provide redundancy in the event one line goes down (in fact, if it is set up right, no one will even notice).

Hopethat helps,

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Load Balancing 2 T1s

by Charger Media In reply to Load Balancing 2 T1s

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Load Balancing 2 T1s

by McKayTech In reply to Load Balancing 2 T1s

It sounds like you not only want to implement load-balancing but also redundancy with automatic failover (and I assume that both lines are going to the Internet?).

Ideally, such a plan would include using two different vendors for the T-1s, different cable routes for the local loop and fully redundant equipment. However, that definitely has a cost associated with it.

With your existing equipment, your biggest challenge may turn out to be the firewall. But where I would start would be tosketch out a plan using the routers to provide redundancy. There are a couple ways of accomplishing that, from using static routes with different metrics for each network to using the Cisco IOS failover mechanism to swap from one line to the other. One you have that figured out, then you'll want to think through how this is going to affect the firewall configuration.

I think your idea is sound but you might also look at the history of data circuit failures to see if this would have prevented any of them. For example, if both T-1s are from the same vendor and that vendor's switch pukes during an upgrade (as happened to me twice last week), both lines are down and you haven't accomplished your uptime goal. If your outages have been from equipment failure, having spares ready to swap out might be cheaper and more effective than making the system transparently redundant end to end.

paul

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Load Balancing 2 T1s

by Charger Media In reply to Load Balancing 2 T1s

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Load Balancing 2 T1s

by Charger Media In reply to Load Balancing 2 T1s

Thanks for the info. Line redundancy is exactly what I'm looking for. But wouldn't there also need to be a load balancer since there would be 2 networks essentially functioning as one line? I would like to allocate 65% of the joined bandwidth to ourcompany and the remaining to our sister company. Presently they are extremely underutilizing their bandwidth.

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Load Balancing 2 T1s

Line Redundancy isn't always the best answer, I had a client with that design in Pac-Bell land (2 T1's) and one went down, but the session was still connected, therefore, the router didn't see that there was nothing going through, to the router,'theline was up'. To the network, that was obviously wrong. Please take this into consideration before setting up your stuff. Load balancing, although rougher on the router, it could definately pay off in the long run,,, which 2600 are you running anyways? and what IOS?

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by Charger Media In reply to Load Balancing 2 T1s

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by Charger Media In reply to Load Balancing 2 T1s

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