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T-1 Failover

Posted on 2004-04-17
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Last Modified: 2010-04-11
Hello:

I am looking to create some sort of failover for our T-1 line.  At this point, even dialup would work for us.

Our T-1 is plugged into a Cisco 1600 series router.  I would like to use this hardware if possible.  I read somewhere that Cisco supports failover.

I'm not sure what additional information you will need.  Thanks for the help.
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Question by:ddotson
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by:dean_dodd
ID: 10848707
What model is your router exactly?  The 1603R has a ISDN interface that you could use as a failover?
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by:makana
ID: 10850780
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by:ddotson
ID: 10851619
This is the 1601.

Makana:  your link is refering to the PIX firewall.
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by:dean_dodd
ID: 10852516
Is the T1 plugged into the serial or the WAN interface?  You could get a ISDN WIC card for your spare WAN interface if the T1 is using the serial.
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Author Comment

by:ddotson
ID: 10855911
Does this router support a failover situation if I were to get another WIC card installed?
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Expert Comment

by:jhair
ID: 10855971
The 1601 does support failover. you need an alternate interface, isdn is the best and most economical solution. You also need the firewall feature set for your router. This is a lot of configuration, but works well when completed.

One question If your T1 goes down enough to think about a failover perhaps you need a different provider for your T1. A T1 should be up 99-100% of the time it should be very reliable.

If you are using a provider that is not the primary clec in your area, you might consider switching to your clec for you T1 service. Less equiment on a T1 is best. The other consideration is the distance from your local provider to your office. The farther away the more repeaters hence the more likely hood for problems.  If you are experiencing significant downtime force your provider to tell you how many repeaters are in the loop and replace them one by one until your reliabilty is close to 100%

good luck
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by:ddotson
ID: 10856931
Can you advise as to the "firewall feature set"?

We only have access to one provider, so changing isn't an option.  I would say that we have 99 percent (or better) uptime, but we are a public safety entity, and lives are on the line.  I can't settle for anything less than 100%.
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by:dean_dodd
ID: 10857435
With the WIC ISDN card you would then be able to configure the ISDN dialup to connect in the event of your T1 failing.

Do you have any firewall solution at the moment?  I'm not sure why someone has suggested above that you would need the firewall feature set for your router, this is not needed to configure the Failover.

It would be done by setting different Metric Value's for each route on the router.  To let you know the best way of setting this I'd need to know what routing protocols the router is running.
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Author Comment

by:ddotson
ID: 10857990
There is no firewall solution on this router.  I'm not sure what you mean by routing protocols, unless you mean TCP/IP.  Sorry - I'm not completely up to speed with this stuff!
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by:dean_dodd
ID: 10858138
TCP/IP is a routed protocol, routers run Routing protocols such as RIP, IGRP, OSPF.  Could you do a show run on the router and post the result?
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by:pseudocyber
ID: 10858440
Quote: "we are a public safety entity, and lives are on the line.  I can't settle for anything less than 100%."

You need to upgrade your router to a more robust system with multiple interfaces and power supplies.  You need multiple (perhaps 3) ISP's ideally with 3 entry points into your building.  You need a UPS for your whole network, not just your router.  You might even need a generator.  After obtaining multiple providers with mult paths, you need a router capable of doing load balancing or equal cost multi-pathing.

This is if you need 100% uptime ...
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Author Comment

by:ddotson
ID: 10861176
Dean:  I wish that I could.  The router technically belongs to another agency and I don't have access to it.  However, it appears that you have provided me with enough information to go to the agency that does own it and begin designing an alternate connection, would you agree?

Pseudo:  I agree with you.  I work to acheive as much of that as possible given our budget etc.  We've got the power situation nailed down.  The router is on a UPS, which is tied into our generator.  Multiple datapaths is the next project.  I might add that this isn't a line tied into the internet - more like a MAN.

BTW, we are a relatively small entity...
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by:pseudocyber
ID: 10861231
OIC.  In that case ... I'd put in two routers.  With a routing protocol such as Dean suggested.  You could have one being the main connection over the T1 and a second router (or connection) with dialup - such as ISDN.  You could also use Frame Relay but it's not dial up.  You could get a cheaper second connection and filter the traffic eligible to mission critical.  So, if the main fails, the failover picks up the traffic.

I would use two routers for maximum redundancy.

Then implement a routing protocol that could sense degradation or failure (such as OSPF or EIGRP).  You could also implement HSRP between the two routers so there would only be one gateway for the network - the main router would own the route until there was an issue and then HSRP would move it over to the backup route.

HTH
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Expert Comment

by:jhair
ID: 10861249
dean dodd is indeed correct I should have specified you MAY need the firewall feature set. Cisco does recommend this for programming failover.  My apologies.

You should investigate a more robust solution if you can not have any down time. Your provider if you only have availability to one, can route ISDN through a different office than your T1 in case of a failure. And a third solution is old fashioned dial up, because you could mobilize to any line in case of failure.
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Author Comment

by:ddotson
ID: 10861289
In layman's terms:  Can I get this second router to use a simple dialup connection?  In terms of mission critical traffic, dialup would be fast enough to limp ourselves along.  It would just be text-type data passing back and forth, whereas our T1 carries everything.
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pseudocyber earned 100 total points
ID: 10861383
Yes.  You could configure dial on demand routing and connect a modem to the auxillary connection.  Then, you could configure one router to dial another over a Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) and maybe get around 36-56Kbps.  You would want to put an access list on the dial up connection to limit it only to mission critical traffic.
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by:dean_dodd
dean_dodd earned 50 total points
ID: 10861620
If peoples lifes at risk then really a more robust solution should be put in than just a ISDN backup but I think everyone in IT understands that we can only do the best with the money were given.  You should be able to contact your T1 supplier and know what to ask for with the information provided, you'll probably find that you have a ISDN backup dial included in the package from your ISP most do.

I would consider putting in a second router something like a 1603 that has a ISDN builtin then have 2 Serial WIC's as the link between the 2 routers running RIP or similar.  There are lots of ways, best speak with the supplier to find the solution that meets your budget.
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Author Comment

by:ddotson
ID: 10902359
pseudo: I also asked this question of my account rep at CDWG.  He contacted his Cisco person who advised that we could connect a modem to the AUX port...  You and Cisco are right on.

I split the points as both of you lended a good share of information.  Thanks to all who chipped in.
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by:pseudocyber
ID: 10902367
Thanks.
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