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(Yes, I’ve seen this question which is very similar, however my specs include the word gigabit. Also the only current answer to that question was written by someone that didn’t understand the meaning of “dual-WAN” and made an incorrect assumption about its meaning.)

I’m looking for a gigabit multi-WAN (or dual-WAN) Router for use in an automatic failover application. I have a problematic cable connection which fails several times a month. With my current level of home automation I can simply no longer accept that failure.

The cable modem is already a separate device (i.e. not an all-in-one combo device). I have also already purchased a Netgear LB2120 4G cellular modem, which was supposed to also handle the failover routing (oddly the cable company blocks the device as a failover router, I can use it as a modem behind another router tho). LB2120 also has no means of external configuration. At the moment switching internet connections is as manual as walking in and swapping plugs, which doesn’t work if I’m not home.

I’ve also already tried purchasing, and recently returned to vendor, TP-Link TL-ER5120 v3 which should have solved the problem, but doesn’t because it has an odd firmware bug which seems to block ports on the local network. (Specifically in testing port 3389–I suspect many others). There is a bizarre long email chain with TP-link support where the initial entry level support associate validates my claim “in the lab”. She passes the case to “senior level support” who consistently argues there is no problem found, and continues “coaching” me on setup. There are several really odd things that make me suspect about the “senior” techs understanding of his job, he insists: Static IP (not DHCP reservation) must be used, he also insists the client end (not the server end) be assigned the static IP, and finally he admits he is not using 5120 v3 but an older 6120 model that is “very similar” to mine. He consistently tells me I don’t understand what to do, that I’m not following his instructions (even though I tried it his way and sent screenshots proving that I did). There is also now another user in the TP-link public forum same complaint

Requirements include:

  • Gigabit router, Multi or dual WAN with load balance/failover configurable options.

  • DHCP server, with reservations

  • Port Forwarding (i.e. opening an external port pointing to a specific internal IP and port).

  • No WiFi required (I already have a wired dual band AP in a centrally located position that provides excellent WiFi coverage).

  • not Enterprise level pricing (I can find this router many times over for $900+, however hardly any under $200, and only about one under $100).

  • ~50 clients connected between a mix of wired and WiFi (but any gigabit router should handle that).

  • configureable remote access (I shouldn’t actually need, but the fact the the Netgear LB-2120 has none exposes the potential need)

So to further reiterate, this router must have the ability to handle at least two internet (WAN) connections, one primary and one failover.

Edit 2020-05-30: (this question has gotten a lot of attention just lately). As indicated in the comments to the marked answer, two year ago I purchased the Ubiquiti ER-X. I was very happy with the choice, however 2 years later, I’ve just recently upgraded to the ER-12. The three elements that factored into the upgrade. 1) primary internet was upgraded to 1000Mbps (the ER-X didn’t perform well, even with hwnat enabled). 2) the router was running a VPN which was rarely used but slow for streaming video 3) the added hardwire ethernet jacks allowed me to eliminate a switch. Configuration and scripts transferred almost without modifications.

  • Not an actual answer since I can't point out an actual device, but have a look at MikroTik - don't know if they are available in the US though. I set up a failover on one of their lowest end devices, the Hex S. Works by pinging the Google DNS via a forced route and sets the WAN accordingly. Fully scriptable. mikrotik.com/product/hex_s – Jan Dorniak Aug 6 '18 at 18:22
  • @JanDorniak actually I had not, but I’ll check it out. It looks like several under $100 are capable of multi-wan but they don’t advertise it as anything other than 5 port. – Tyson Aug 6 '18 at 19:10
  • What you need to now is that even the cheap ones work under their RouterOS which allows you to define any port as WAN. It's the same OS as in their top-tier offerings. Actually I know networking guys who prefer MikroTik over Cisco. – Jan Dorniak Aug 6 '18 at 20:17
  • As I wrote earlier - the Hex is perfectly capable of failover, it was even with an LTE modem plugged into USB (a Hi-Link one). – Jan Dorniak Aug 6 '18 at 20:20
  • Although from the point of view of configuration that LTE modem was just another interface. – Jan Dorniak Aug 6 '18 at 20:21
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What you need is a product from one of the enterprise-level (or enterprise-like...) manufacturers. All of them have this in one form or the other, and they are usually not expansive at all (though most of them lack wireless, it is not required by you.)

Ubiquiti EdgeRouter is probably the most known one of this genre. Then there's (as pointed out by @Jan Dorniak in the comments) MicroTik, and also UTT and other smaller brands.

But you need to be aware that all of these devices - given their enterprise-like status - while they are highly customizable and configurable, it is usually not as simple as the (dumb...) Asus or TP-Link and the likes, so there might be some learning curve to get to know them and be able to configure everything.


Ubiquiti has the perfectly capable EdgeRouter X for as low as $55. But if you are willing to pay up you can get the much more powerful (specs, but not necessarily needed) Edgerouter 8 Port Router for about $300. And in the middle there's the EdgeRouter POE if you can benefit of some PoE ports.

Here's a help article (and see links in the bottom) on how to configure the failover on Ubiquiti: https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/articles/205145990

And, as mentioned, you can also look at UTT, for instance the UTT ER518 for just $54.

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  • This is very helpful. Ubiquiti’s documentation seems much clearer and clean compared to mikrotik’s. – Tyson Aug 7 '18 at 2:14
  • And there's a bigger community as well to look in forums etc. – Yisroel Tech Aug 7 '18 at 2:24
  • I must admit - setting up that fallback took me around 6 hours! One question - does Ubiquiti support SSH access? – Jan Dorniak Aug 7 '18 at 7:49
  • Yes, it does. I'm using SSH public-key authentication for more secure login. – Yisroel Tech Aug 7 '18 at 9:58
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    Update: A month later I couldn’t be happier. I even added a script to the router to send me a push notification when cable internet goes down 👍 – Tyson Sep 8 '18 at 23:03
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Another option is to roll your own.

Inspired by a series of articles by Jim Salter on Ars Technica about building a Homebrew router, we moved routing functionality of our network onto our application server and it has been working well.

Hardware

The server itself is Dell R220 (shallow 1U) with a four Ethernet ports. Our main network is plugged into one port, our DSL modem into another, and our cable modem into another, leaving us a spare port for network link aggregation later if necessary. We even have a DMZ machine for one of the modems attached via a VLAN.

The server cost us less than $150 including shipping and is obviously old, but serviceable server grade kit with ECC memory rather than a built-to-a-price-point mini PC with restricted CPU performance (and power consumption). Any free server on your network with enough Ethernet ports may be suitable instead though.

Software

We run Proxmox as the host operating system (ZFS root pool for the win), then run OPNsense in a virtual machine as our router, with the modem Ethernet ports & DMZ VLAN only being accessible from within the VM.

We also run all of our Docker instances on this machine, so it would be powered on 24/7 anyway, and the extra load of the router VM is relatively small, even when maxing out internet use.


This solution is one I would consider for any network that is any more complex than a simple one-line one-modem/router combination.

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    I actually built a spin on the ars box with some adjustments (firewalld for firewall management and dnsmasq rather than bind9 and dhcpd). they do gigabit on gigabit fiber and its pretty sweet so far. Not too sure about the 'software' side of a dual wan - there's a few options out there but never got around to trying it – Journeyman Geek May 31 at 11:05
  • Yeah, OPNsense runs dnsmasq under the hood, but adds a fairly flexible GUI in front of it. Our experience of it as an amd64 version pfSense has been pretty positive, even if my other half does object to BSD on principle. *8') – Mark Booth May 31 at 12:15

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