2 ISPs in a Home Network

Hi everyone,
I want to know how it would be possible to set up my home network to work with two ISPs. In my office, our IT person has it set up so that our VoIP phones go over a T1 line while our normal internet usage goes over Comcast cable. However, the computers are daisy chained off of the phones... meaning they are both plugged into the same port in the wall. How is this possible?

At home, I want to use one ISP for my VoIP service and for downloading large files while using the other ISP for basic internet. One of mu ISPs imposed an internet cap, so that's why I want to do this.

I would assume I would have to buy new equipment and reconfigure. Is this possible?
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Gladys KernsCommented:
At your office - your VoIP phones act as tiny little 2-port network switches allowing both the phone and the computer equal access to your core switch which is where the plug in your wall leads from your office.  At your core switch your IT guy has setup two internet gateways.  The VoIP phones access one gateway through the T-1 provider and your computers are configured to access the other gateway through your Cable provider.  This is a reasonably happy configuration if done right.

At home - it will be very difficult to tell your computer 'use this gateway for files over this size' because at it's core your network stack doesn't really "see" the file size you're attempting to download, etc.  There are a couple ways I might do this at home though:

*  write manual routing statements on your home computer for the sites where you might download large files causing them to route through your "non-cap" ISP.  

*  Have two NICs in your computer - each with a configuration for each internet provider.  Manually enable and disable the appropriate NIC as needed.  You could also do this with wires.

If it was my own house, I don't think I would battle it out with two distinct ISPs running at the same time in the same house.  I think I would simply ask one of them for a better plan and cancel the other.  Is your concern for QoS for your home VoIP phones... most modern VoIP phones use a small fraction of the bandwidth available through most home connections these days for your other internet surfing habits.

For example - if your home Comcast cable connection is 3mb-up and 10mb-down, a single high quality VoIP call would probably run you around 128kb/sec... at most 256kb/sec.  So even if you're running 3 simultaneous calls out of your house, you're still only using 0.75mb/sec of your available synchronous 3 and 10mb.

So save yourself some money.  :)
mfranzelAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your prompt reply! It is not that I automatically want the computer to select which ISP to use, but rather ME be able to choose..... ie be connected to one network for LAN and one for Internet. Is this possible to do if the computer has two NICs? This will also allow me to have a TOTALLY sperate network for guests/downloads etc and not clog my normal network.
Marius GunnerudSenior Systems EngineerCommented:
Your office has switches that distinguishes between voip and data and places voip traffic in one vlan and data traffic in another vlan. you could have this set up at home if you have a managed switch and a business class router. I am most familiar with Cisco devices but I am sure there are other less expensive devices on the market capable of doing this if you are insistent on setting this up.
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mfranzelAuthor Commented:
Would something like this be what I need? Is it hard to set up?

mfranzelAuthor Commented:
Or, is it just possible to have two networks plugged into a computer and disable internet on one network while only LAN is available?
Marius GunnerudSenior Systems EngineerCommented:
It is possible to have two networks connected to a computer and separate the two networks. However, I am not sure if it will do what you are looking to do with the VOIP.

As for the hardware, I believe after thinking about it, you can do what you want with just a 3560 catalyst switch.
Marius GunnerudSenior Systems EngineerCommented:
oops for got to add... an 8 port 3560 catalyst switch

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mfranzelAuthor Commented:
Purchased equipment recommended and worked great!
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