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What free/Open Source distribution/firewall can I use to consolidate Internet Bandwidth for home PCs?

Posted on 2009-05-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
How can I use two cable modem connections from different ISPs to provide increased bandwidth for all computers (or even a single PC) in my home?

I have found a number of Linux firewall distributions that claim to balance between the two, however I have been unable to find one that will allow a single PC to actively use bandwidth from both providers. I would like to find one that could intelligently combine the bandwidth where the specific application can support it, but falling back to diverting different traffic to different connections would suffice?

I can clarify more if need be.
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Question by:caldwelljt
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6 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:0ren
ID: 24299736
you can use a linux machine with squid installed on it as a proxy server.
use iptables for firewall.
is that what you mean ?
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Kerem ERSOY earned 2000 total points
ID: 24300515
Hi,

First of all you can use any Linux Distro. they support Load Balancing. It will require you to work on the config files a bit.

Also there are integrated security gateway distros built around Liinux/FreeBSD such as:

pfSense does it:
http://www.pfsense.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=40&Itemid=43  (there's some basic info on this page)
So as ClarkCo1nnect:
http://www.clarkconnect.com/ (Basic info is on their homepage also)

But it seems that it's getting to be a hot topic and it seems that further versions of firewall distros such as SmoothWall and IPCop (I believe in this order ;-)) will start to provide load balancing as well.

Another alternative is to use a cheap DrayTEK ADSL Router (DrayTEK is a amaller firm but they do thier R&D in house and have nice and cheap products). They support load balacing given that the second interface is connected through provided ethernet connector not directly to ADSL PPPoE/PPPoA.
check their products here:

http://www.drayetk.com.tw


Hope this helps.

Cheers,
K.
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by:Kerem ERSOY
ID: 24300528
Oops sorry for my typo for DrayTEK's homepage it whould read:

http://www.draytek.com.tw/

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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Kerem ERSOY
ID: 24303309
One More note: Generally this type of configuration does not generate more speed. But it can generate more bandwidh. This is only one way in that you can increase available bandwith according to number of connections/users. Let assume you're downloading a file with FTP and it opens 4 different connections then if 2 of the connections were from the 1st ADSL line and other 2 are form the second line then you see an improvement because using aggregate bandwith from both lines. But if you are downloading using only one single connection then your data will be arriving from either from one of the lines or the other. The only way to distribute the traffic among these  two lines is the involvement of your ISP and you have links that support dynamic routing so that your ISP could send the packets to both your interfaces using line capacity, or in round-robin fashion if both lines are identical in capacity.

Cheers,
K.
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Expert Comment

by:jar3817
ID: 24308428
I've been working on this at work (with a dual T1 and a cable connection) and from my research, it can't be done easily.  Sure you can share the connections and load balance, but you can't get 1 PC to use both connections at the same time to double your speed. With route caching, it's even hard to get 1 PC to use 2 connections for consecutive connections, unless you specify by port or something (ie ftp goes out dsl1 and www goes out dsl2)
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Author Comment

by:caldwelljt
ID: 24483208
I'm sorry for the long delay in awarding this. I went with pfsense, I followed the instructions on their site to setup load balancing and am able to get double the bandwidth in certain circumstances.

In order to get "double the bandwidth" it is necessary to use applications which connect more than once and/or to more than one destination. i.e. Using a download manager such as FDM to download larger files. Thanks for all the input!

p.s. I really like the simplicity of pfsense, and it's ability to expand out and do lots of other things with packages/etc.
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