two connections, one home
September 7, 2008 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Because of all the crap that’s going on with ISPs blocking BitTorrent users and putting in bandwidth caps, I’m getting a second home Internet connection. What’s the easiest way to manage this, and is there a router (either hardware or software) that can be configured to send different types of traffic over different connections?

We have a SnapGear SG565 at the office, and this does a great job of switching over from one Internet connection to the other if one has a problem, but it doesn’t seem to be able to route based on protocol. I’d like to be able to send web traffic over one connection, and BitTorrent over the other. Any recommendations for a router that can handle this easily?
posted by baggers to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
One of the offices I work with just installed a Syswan SW24 Dual WAN Router. So far it looks like it will do what you want. On sale at newegg etc.
posted by and for no one at 3:26 PM on September 7, 2008

Linksys also has a "dual-homed" router that can use a 2nd internet connect as either a failover or in a roundrobin
posted by meta_eli at 4:14 PM on September 7, 2008

Best answer: If you have a PC with dual network cards, pfSense could work. It's basically a FreeBSD distribution, using OpenBSD's "pf" (packet filter), arguably one of the best. pf is also among the least-intuitive things I've ever used, which is why I'm almost obsessed with pfSense's web GUI. It explicitly supports dual WAN connections, but you could also implement rules for protocol filtering. (While you're at it, you can have it scrub packets, and even run a caching DNS forwarder to speed up DNS queries... Plus, pfSense does graphs, which I'm midly obsessed with.)

It does require a dedicated (it could be used as a desktop, but you'd have to run its OS, which would probably mean installing X and stuff by hand) computer with two network cards, but it needn't be even the least bit speedy.
posted by fogster at 4:31 PM on September 7, 2008

Something helpful for bit-shaping (but not so much for bandwidth caps) is to make sure your torrent program is using encrypted connections. When I figured this out, I saw my transfer rates go from trickle to several hundred kbps instantly. And now I can have all the linux distro dvds I could ever want!
posted by kaibutsu at 4:56 PM on September 7, 2008

Just shooting in the dark, but it occurs to me that web traffic is generally on a specific port. So you might be able to set up some kind of port-forwarding with a dual ethernet card setup, using one router for some ports and another for all the others.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:59 PM on September 7, 2008

A similiar question was asked here. What I would do is push all my web through a proxy and create a static route to the secondary internet connection for that proxy.

That said, I dont have any torrent problems with AT&T. Why are you keeping two ISPs? You should dump the one you think is causing the trouble. Also, did you make sure that the issue isnt you? Sometimes you need to turn down the global connections and throttle bandwidth to get usable downloads. Also what someone said above about enabling encryption.
posted by damn dirty ape at 5:59 PM on September 7, 2008

Best answer: Any non-specialized router will route based on best match on destination. Great for active/passive ISP failover, but won't be worth a hoot for what you want to do.

As soon as you do PBR (policy based routing ... that being routing based on source, or protocol, or port) is a lot hairier. Without paying serious bucks for something dedicated (a Cisco 3560 comes to mind as a "low end" L3 switch that'll do this), look at a software solution .... a mini linux or *bsd install will do the trick.

Google will give you many pages of information from which to start.
posted by devbrain at 6:37 PM on September 7, 2008

Response by poster: thanks for the suggestions, all. i'll look into pfsense and the syswan box.
posted by baggers at 7:33 PM on September 7, 2008

An alternative option is a subscription VPN service with decent bandwidth. Cheaper than a 2nd line, and it will bypass all filtering as the ISPs daren't start filtering VPN traffic yet as it will annoy the business users. Torrent-freedom or relakks spring to mind. This is only of use if it's just throttling you need to beat rather than quotas, as of course you'll still use the full quota you would otherwise.
posted by ArkhanJG at 6:22 AM on September 8, 2008

hijack: is complimenting one sucky dsl connection with another dsl connection (and by that doubling your speeds on the cheap) difficult to do?
posted by krautland at 6:36 PM on September 10, 2008

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