How to combine multiple internet connections seamlessly?
October 13, 2015 12:20 PM   Subscribe

I have two internet connections at home that I would like to combine for benefits of reliability and speed.

- One is an ADSL line (I haven't purchased a router yet).
- The other is a 3G/LTE connection using a Huawei B593 Router (which can be connected to via wifi or ethernet).

I'd like it to be as seamless as possible, where our devices see a single wifi connection. If one link goes down (for example in the middle of a Skype call), there should be no interruption in service.

So the solution that it seems I need is to bond the internet connections and there are ways in both software and hardware to do it. Am I right in assuming that hardware would be better?

What router or combination of network equipment should I get to handle this? Budget is $500, unless you want to convince me otherwise.
We can ignore data usage constraints for now.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How technical are you? You should be able to do this with an Edgerouter Lite, but it may not be available in the GUI configuration.
posted by primethyme at 12:30 PM on October 13, 2015

Also, I don't think it's realistic that you'll be able to fail over from one connection to another and have a Skype call go uninterrupted. Any given connection (e.g. a audio/video stream) is going to be happening over one of the two links. If the one it's on fails, the connection is going to have to be re-established. From the Skype side, it's going to look like you're coming from a different IP. Ideally it should only be a short blip, but you're probably going to have to reconnect. That's just a limitation of how IP works. Certain applications may be able to ride it out more smoothly; e.g. having the video/audio stop for a few seconds and then re-start vs. having the call hang up and need to be re-connected, but it'll never be 100% seamless.
posted by primethyme at 12:39 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would do this with a NUC or similar box and pfSense myself. There will probably be some noticeable dropout no matter what solution you use when one connection goes down, but it should usually pick back up in several seconds. Try it out by making skype calls with your phone and toggling the wifi and data on and off during the call.
posted by mattamatic at 12:43 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Technical is fine. I'm fine investing time to set it up initially, but would want that it be stable once running.

Perhaps I was over-ambitious on the uninterrupted Skype call example, a brief interruption would be fine.

primethyme - would the Edgerouter Lite share a connection wirelessly?
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 12:46 PM on October 13, 2015

The Edgerouter is just a router, not a wireless access point. You'd need to combine it with one or more wireless access points.
posted by primethyme at 12:49 PM on October 13, 2015

So here's how one might go about it with Cisco gear.

Here's a cookbook for doing it with a FortiGate device.

This thread looks at that EdgeRouter Lite and OpenVPN. Kinda. And if you spend more time Googling "redundant vpn" + various low-end prosumer networking hardware (The various EdgeRouter devices, Mikrotik, etc) you'll likely find more.

You really want to tunnel traffic from your local site to a concentrator somewhere so that you have a consistent IP address and connection to the greater Internet no matter what your local connections are doing. As primethyme points out, this is unlikely to occur in a device that is both a router and a wireless access point. Buy those separately.
posted by straw at 12:55 PM on October 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

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