Here's the setup:
* One ADSL 2048/512 connection (fixed IP) connected to a USR 9106 Wireless Gateway/Modem/Router
* One cable 512/128 connection connected to a Micronet SP888 Cable Router
* Two NIC's in one main computer running XP Pro.
* Another 3-4 computers are waiting for the answer to this question to be plugged into correct gadgets.
Aim: To share resources among the network and provide internet access to everything connected. (Can be an either/or solution with the cable and the ADSL, but the main machine has to access both - even if not simultaneously.)
Note: Please do not tell me to get a dual WAN router, as I can not locate them around where I live. Can get pretty much everything else, though. The issue is I'd like both connections to be available, preferably at the same time.
First off, let me state for the record that everything works, and they are at default settings. Now, a couple of questions:
1. Although both NIC's work together, I can choose via the XP control panel which NIC to activate and my WAN IP changes on the fly. What is actually happening, is one NIC receiving a redundant stream? Although only the active NIC handles the Internet, the other router's LAN activity lights are flashing as well, indicating that it's feeding the system some info.
2. What actually happens if I "bridge" these two connections from the Network Panel? I have tried this and could not notice any change on the WAN side - speedwise or ping times.
3. Does XP Pro maintain separate registry entries for each NIC? I have "optimized" the NIC going to the ADSL router with values for a PPPoE connection. Do these values also apply to the NIC handling the cable connection? (Each type of connection requires slighly different values, it seems)
4. What would be an ideal setup/values for a connection with the least latency? This is topmost priority as my son and I play online games, specifically StarWars Galaxies where ping times are cruical.
5. Right now, the USR sits at 192.168.1.1 - assigns me 192.168.1.3 via DHCP on one NIC, the Micronet at 192.168.1.111, giving me 192.168.1.4 on the other NIC. All 255.255.255.0. Technically works OK. Both routers respond to their setup pages, but only if turn off the other NIC. I can telnet to the USR unit and issue complicated unix commands. (Could have been a different segment, but I'm trying to discover things here) Is this a technically feasible setup? Can there be two DHCP servers/gateways in one IP segment ? Seems the XP has no way to manually assign priority on one NIC. Am I missing anything?
6. If I connected machines on both routers in this setup, will they see eachother? But this is really not the way I'd like to solve this. I would ideally like all machines to be able to choose one gateway or the other (cable or ADSL, so to speak) on the fly, still maintain DHCP / router capabilities, AND interconnectivity.
7. I have been reading about gateway/router computers running Linux for a more elegant solution. Can this venture provide me with redundant and/or load-sharing capabilities? Will it really be a more elegant and useful way to go? (maybe a proxy, as well?) I can scrape up another machine for this purpose, but being a novice, most info just flies over my head. Any useful pointers here?
I guess what I'm really looking for is "A guide for the network-challenged to integrate dual WAN capability and still maintain file-sharing among all machines on a network using a Linux box "..
I'm thanking you all in advance, and really looking forward to hearing your expert opinions on this. Cheers..