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I'm based in London (if it matters).

I've been a long-time BT Broadband user, and have scaled up to their highest home/office package, but it's still too slow especially in the evenings. So I have now installed a Virgin Broadband link into my home office as well. SpeedTest.net gives me 6Mbps BT / 20Mbps Virgin, with 1Mbps/1.5Mbps uplink. Big improvement.

Now here's the issue: I don't want two distinct broadband networks in my home. I want to combine them both, so that the various computers (mainly macs but also a couple of PCs and a few other devices) don't have to choose. What's the best router to do this, on a budget? I have heard of Hotbrick and Peplink?

Another small complication: my BT Broadband has a fixed IP address so that I can serve some small web pages out of an old mac. I'm assuming that won't be a problem as inbound requests to that IP address will not be affected as will only come down the BT Broadband link? If I were to get a fixed IP address on the Virgin side (if possible), how would I load balance on incoming requests too?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 1 down vote accepted

PFSense. It's free and open source FreeBSD distro with a great web interface and heaps of documentation. It will run on any POS you have lying around the house (I've deployed it on a Celeron 900). Just put in as many network cards as you have networks (3 usually, 1 LAN and 2 WAN).

What you CAN do is set up both your ADSL connections as WAN's, and set up Load Balancing (Round Robin style) to balance HTTP connections over both connections.

What you can NOT do is combine these connections into a uber-26Mb connection. You will still have two distinct links, and the router will choose which link to use for each and every request.

We use it in our home/office here with two 10Mb ADSL2+ links and it works very well. The only issue is with HTTPS as some banks will kick you out when two different IPs are used to access their site, but that's easy fixed, you just tell PFSense to send HTTPS traffic over the one connection only.

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Thanks - very useful. –  Thomas Browne Dec 20 '09 at 21:40
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Unless they are going to give you a BGP feed (which they will not do I suspect) you cannot easily combine the two.

The only way I can immediately think of would be to have a VPN tunnel back to some common location. Otherwise, when you send a packet, it will have (through NAT probably) one IP address or the other. The opposite ISP should reject the packet if it were to come out that wire, but many do not.

If they WIlL give you BGP and you can route your own IP space through both, problem solved, just throw up a Cisco, get BGP set up, and run.

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No, they will not give a BGP feed on ADSL. Never ever. –  pauska Nov 30 '09 at 20:38
    
I have had a BGP feed over ASDL twice before in my life, both on business class service. –  Michael Graff Nov 30 '09 at 20:44
    
"just throw up a Cisco, get BGP set up, and run" - you make it sound so simple! Also probably doesn't quite fit with "Budget" ;) –  Mark Henderson Nov 30 '09 at 23:39
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The billion bipac 7800 might do what you want it has adsl and broadband connections - it might only do a failover but you might be able to configure it to do what you want - I haven't got one yet. It's also good as it has gigabit ethernet and wireless n built in.

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I have used a Sonicwall TZ-170 in the past with a Cable and DSL line. They have a load balance WAN option that works OK. We experienced lost packets from time to time though. Ended up setting it up as just fail-over when the main WAN1 went down (ping test).

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Hmmm - i'd like both networks to actually get used. –  Thomas Browne Nov 30 '09 at 23:13
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I have setup the Linksys RV042 multi WAN router for a few clients and it is very easy to setup, while being very powerful. It will load balance for you as well as automagically failover between the two broadband connections if one fails. Another plus is that they have come down in price very nicely, less than $200.

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Nice one thanks Kevin. I will give this one a shot. –  Thomas Browne Dec 4 '09 at 20:57
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