router to support 2 ISPs into same network/mission-critical

Posted on 2006-04-07
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-29
Hi All,

I posted earlier about the best ISP to support a mission-critical day trading operation.

You guys came up with the good suggestion to get two ISPs, so that I can use one in case the other once goes down.

To set this up, somebody recommended: Linksys RV042/RT042
Somebody else told me this is a "consumer grade router" and I should get something better.

I absolutely need to buy the best/most stable one... cost is not a serious concern...but don't want to waste any money.

Can anyone recommend a specific product to support 2 ISPs coming into the same network, which will switch from one ISP to the other if one ISP fails?

Any/all advice appreciated.

(Any advice on most stable ISP in San Francisco would be great too!)

Thanks a lot!
Question by:tobal99z

Expert Comment

ID: 16405401
You could try using a Cisco Router (2800 series or higher depending on your requirements).  If you have a good knowledge of cisco products it would be farely easy to do.
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 16405525
I am not familiar with ISPs in SFO.  However, for routers, I can say that even the Cisco 1811 or 1812 would be better than a Linksys for reliability, support (with SmartNet contract), and flexibility.  Although note that the 1800 series are not modular like the 2800 series.  

Anyway, what kind of trading?  How many users?  How many potential sites in the near future?  Will you need multicasting?  With multiple ISP's, you may investigate the possibility of BGP multihoming but this requires high-end routers like the Cisco 7200 or 7600 series and is usually performed by big enterprises, not SMBs.  It also requires coordination with your ISPs.  This is not something you'd attempt on your own.  You'd need to hire a consultant.  Plus, the benefits may not outweigh the cost.  Otherwise, for small environments which sounds like yours, an 1800 or 2800 series as Tejas257 suggested would be the way to go as long as you carefully review the requirements with your users and ISPs.

Regardless, anything mission-critical requires more high-end gear than what Linksys-type companies can offer.  You just have to figure the cost of downtime.  If this downtime is acceptable financially, you can go with lower-end gear but regardless I'd suggest sticking with Cisco or equivalent if this is for a company.

This TCPmag article by Scott Morris may give you an idea on how to accomplish failover with Cisco routers on a small network with dual ISPs without BGP:

Expert Comment

ID: 16405706
It all depends on adminstative costs and security - the rvxx is a great solution for basic router/security needs with very little admin costs.  Any of the Cisco products are a good path to move to, but will require a greater knowledge for setup and adminstrative needs.  If budget isn't a major concern and your not comfortable with routing and security issues you should hire a local cisco reseller or other it consultant to help you out.
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Accepted Solution

slyskawa earned 500 total points
ID: 16406545
I was the one who recommended the dual wan linksys router in your other question.  If cost is not a concern, than I would recommend you contract with a local company to set this up for you.  Setting up dual ISP's for failover without using consumer grade routers requires someone with advanced networking knowledge of non-consumer grade routers.  The advantage of using a consumer grade router is that you are able to do the job yourself without advanced router/network configuraion knowledge.  Linksys is owned by Cisco and the RV line of products is very new, so Cisco had some imput in the design and development of this product.  Netgear also has a dual wan link small business router which would work, but I have no experience with it.

I have experience with using BGP and Cisco routers in a medium sized business environment and can tell you that it is not appropriate for your situation.  Setting up a Cisco router like the tcpmag article suggests will allow you to use one link and switch over to the other link on failure and I would highly recommend that you get a CCIE to spec out the proper equipment and set it up for you.  An advantage of the consumer grade routers is you can do the job yourself and they allow you to use both links at the same time.  You could always buy two consumer grade routers and keep one configured as a hot spare.
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 16406891
I agree with ALL of slyskawa's last comments.  Very well said!
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 16414546
Yes, BGP is applicable in their situation, if they have any internal resources they want to remain accessible in the face of a failure.  You'll need either a new Cisco 2800 or 3800 series router, or an older 7200, 7500, or similar unit for more advanced BGP work.  Do not try to do anything QoS or latency sensitive on a 2800, 3800, or 7200 if you happen to take full BGP routes - you'll see horrible latency or possibly packet loss once a minute around the clock.  The 7500 series is your minimum safe bet at that point.  I use numerous 7507s and larger boxes, and could not survive without them.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 16414561
Just read your earlier message where you said $150 per month was expensive.  Go with the consumer-grade gear.

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