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RV042 vs RV016 Loadbalancing more than 2 ports?

Discussion in 'Cisco Small Business Routers and VPN Solutions' started by Martijno2000, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. Martijno2000

    Martijno2000 Network Guru Member

    "10/100 16-Port VPN Router RV016 Linksys
    Features up to 7 Internet ports for load balancing and connection redundancy"

    This feature can it be used on the 10/100 4-Port VPN Router
    RV042?? Maybe through firmware update etc? Is there some firmware that adds some features like the load balancing stuff? So it uses one or more LAN ports as WAN ports for load balancing...
    If I want to use like 3 internet connections at one time. I know the RV042 can use 2 internet connections but is there someway to mod "flash" it so it can use more links?

    Right now I have a WRT54G with 1 wan port and internet through a wireless connection but I can't combine them into 1 connection...If someone knows a method to team(load balance) them I'd like to hear it also. That way I wont need the RV042 for now...for loadbalancing.

    I want to use 2 connections one by wireless and one connection (ADSL) at the same time, and I was thinking about hardware loadbalancing..since I can't find a software solution...(maybe somebody??)
  2. noaaah

    noaaah Network Guru Member


    The RV042 cant be flashed to use more links as far as I know..
    There are a max of 3 interfaces in the RV042, not counting the virtual interfaces.

    Theres two WAN port interfaces, IXP1 and IXP2. And theres a LAN port interface, IXP0 that connect to the switch. I may have got the interface numbers wrong, but there are only 3 interfaces in the RV042.

    I'm not sure of how the RV016 gets its 7 interfaces, unless it has 8 different "network cards", with the 8th one attached to a 8 port switch and configurated for "LAN", and with the other 7 interfaces switchable between WAN and LAN. I havent had hands on experience with the RV016, so dont quote me here.

    RV082 is in the same boat as the RV042 as far as I know - it has 2 WAN ports, and only has 3 network interfaces max.

    So to answer your question, no, the feature of using up to 7 internet ports (or more than 2) for load balancing and connection redundancy cannot be used with the RV042 or RV082.

    Theres a slim chance that the switch chip can be programmed to have extra "network" interfaces, but I highly doubt it. Why spend more money for a more advanced chip in the RV042/RV082 and not use it?

    You can have the RV042 use more than 2 internet connections at a time, but you will have to do more than flash modify it. Looking at the board, theres solder tabs for a MiniPCI card header. So you can buy a MiniPCI card header and then solder it onto the RV042 board. Then you can get a MiniPCI wireless network card and plug it in. The firmware wont detect it, since its not setted up for wireless cards.. But then again, Linksys may have compiled wireless card and PCI support into the kernel. Either way you will need customized firmware to take advantage of the wireless network card.

    Theres also another reason why you dont want to use RV042's style of load balancing. Fragmentation.

    Say, you're like me and u're on AIM. U're also surfing the web at the same time. As you use more bandwidth than the DSL can handle, some data will be sent through the wireless interface. You decide to re-arrange your buddy list (yes, real life story). AIM sends packets to AOL's servers to let AOL know that you're moving such and so from this group to this group in your buddy list. But, you connected to AOL through your ADSL, and the "buddy list change notification" packet was sent through the wireless card. AOL gets it, sees its not from your IP address even though it may have your session ID (or whatever else) on it, and silently discards it as a "hack" attempt or so. You dont know that your buddy list is screwed up until you log into AIM again.

    That happened to me. The problem with RV042's way of load balancing is that it does it on a bandwidth basis, and doesnt keep the same connection for TCP/IP connection. What i mean is..

    TCP is a connection oriented protocol, and the RV042 should have support for recording ALL active TCP sessions and then any data for that session should be sent through the same internet connection. Say computer A connects via connection 1 thru RV042 to server B, using TCP, call that session 01. Any data for that session should go through connection 1, no matter what. Even if theres zero bandwidth left in connection 1, the data should be queued and not sent through connection 2.

    The reason why the RV042 doesnt fully support this is because in most instances of loadbalancing.. You let your ISP know that you want two connections and you want load balancing between them. The ISP will then tie the two connections together on their end, and set it up so it seems that no matter which of the two connections the data comes through, it seems to come from the same IP address. This keeps AOL and other picky servers happy.

    At the very least, if the router sends data through the other internet connection THAN the internet connection used to estabilished the original TCP connection.. The router should rewrite the TCP/IP header so that the destination server would think that the packet came from the original internet connection used to estabilished the said TCP connection. In other words, a bit of packet spoofing - but as long as it spoofs the IP of the original connection, it should be ok.

    Either wait for customized firmware, if it'll be written, or use an old computer for load balancing between two or more internet connections. I'm not sure what software out there does load balancing, but in theory, what I've said above should work because most firewalls and SPI programs keep track of packets going out. It shouldnt take much more coding to use the same thing to redirect packets through WAN0 or WAN1.

    I just wanted to let you know that you could use the RV042, but it doesnt support up to 7 connections, and that its load balancing isnt all what its thought to be.. But its pretty good. Except for when my AIM buddy list got screwed.
  3. Martijno2000

    Martijno2000 Network Guru Member

    Thanks noaaah for your reply. I've been working on that software balancing thing but still no result. That's why I wanted to know things about the hardware load balancing solutions. Bad thing what happend to your AIM... Do you know some kind of load balancing/teaming that works better than the linksys RV series? Hardware/software? I started another topic last week about load balancing etc but still no real solution to my problem. Thanks for you explanation about the linksys, really appreciate it.

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