WINS International, LLC doing business as Xincom markets inbound and outbound load balancing IPv4 routers with automatic failover and recovery.
Pictures of the router as I received it from Xincom. I purchased the router through Eagle Computer for $214.95. I got free shipping because I added a computer case making my order over the $250.00 minimum.
|Model||Inbound Load Balancing||VPN|
Inbound load balancing is for multiple internally hosted web servers for example. This capability is handled by a DNS server in the router which returns the corresponding IP address of the web server with the least load. You would have to designate the internal DNS server as authoritative for your domain.
VPN Gateway-to-Gateway including failover capability creates site to site IPSec tunnels.
The Xincom website provides more specific details for each product. I will not attempt to repeat Xincom's sales and marketing literature.
This review only tests the XC-DPG502 outbound load balancing and failover between two different ISPs: a Motorola SURFboard SB3100 cable modem to Cox Communications High Speed Internet and a BroadMax LinkMAX HSA300 (non-Earthlink firmware) ADSL modem to DSLExtreme.com. The VPN and QoS capabilities are not tested.
The router's ports support automatic crossover so a crossover cable is not required to the router. This is especially nice on the WAN ports as you can never tell just by looking at the RJ-45 port what is required. Typically, you would need to use the supplied cables (as if you can keep track of what cable goes to what device), trial and error (typical), or read the fine manual (yeah right).
I connected WAN1 to the cable modem which uses DHCP to acquire it's IP configuration (IP address, subnet mask, gateway, and DNS servers). SMTP and NNTP (Usenet news) must be accessed from the given IP address. Since I'm on the west coast, smtp.west.cox.net and news.west.cox.net are the respective host names.
WAN2 is connected to the ADSL modem which uses a static IP configuration. I actually have three non-consecutive IP addresses available to me, however I did not attempt to configure the other IPs with this router. SMTP must be accessed from the assigned IP address to smtp.dslextreme.com. news.dslextreme.com can be accessed from any IP address as it requires login/password authentication to get Usenet news articles. Thus, it is a speed benefit to connect through WAN1 as it is faster.
Initial setup for the two WAN ports was painless once connected to the default 192.168.1.1 IP address of the router, and I was back on the web in a matter of minutes. An initial configuration wizard steps you through setting up the two WAN ports. Default load balance share is 50/50.
Screenshots of the web configuration pages are available here.
Initial Configuration Wizard
50/50 load balanced outbound traffic through both WAN ports is enabled. A DHCP server from 192.168.1.1/24 is enabled by default serving 192.168.1.2 to 192.168.1.100. Web browsing works. Outgoing SMTP e-mail may not work yet as SMTP traffic will need to be forced through one WAN port or the other.
A note about the web configuration pages. In an old review I read, Internet Explorer was the only browser supported. I did all my testing with Mozilla Firefox 1.0.7 in Fedora Core 4 [specifically Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7.12) Gecko/20050922 Fedora/1.0.7-1.1.fc4 Firefox/1.0.7]. Frames are used excluding the use of Lynx and other non-frame capable browsers. If Firefox asks you for the admin/password for each and every page you visit, exit Firefox and restart it.
I'll just go down the left navigation frame from the top indicating what I configured. Screenshots of the web configuration pages are available here.
This page is configured by the initial configuration wizard.
A DHCP server from 192.168.1.1/24 is enabled by default serving 192.168.1.2 to 192.168.1.100. A list of DHCP clients is available here. MAC address to Reserved IP addresses (DHCP reservations) can be set in Advanced Setup: Host IP.
Initially set to 50%, I changed Load Share on WAN1 to 100% to attempt to force NNTP traffic out WAN1 only. It did not work.
Azureus BitTorrent client requires inbound port forwarding which I expected UPnP to handle automatically. My load distribution is very skewed with almost all traffic going through WAN2. Even if I set Load Share to 100% to WAN1, WAN Status shows almost 100% to WAN2.
Advanced Setup. Inbound port forwarding is configured in Virtual Server and Custom(er) Virtual Server. Inbound and outbound port forwarding can be configured in Special Application. I did not configure any of these settings.
DHCP reservations are set here. It is not possible to update/rename the Host Name once added. You must delete and re-add with the new name.
Supported Dynamic DNS Services
There is no dedicated DMZ port. Instead, with Multi DMZ, you may assign up to 16 static IPs from the Public WAN side to Private LAN IPs or 1 dynamic IP from either WAN1 or WAN2 to a Private LAN IP. I only configured one inbound static IP.
Universal Plug and Play is disabled by default.
Most if not all ISPs only allow SMTP relaying from their own networks. Cox requires that I send all SMTP traffic to smtp.west.cox.net from the IP address I received from their DHCP server. DSLExtreme requires that I send to smtp.dslextreme.com from the static IPs I was assigned.
The Xincom has a setting to configure this simply:
Application: SMTP Binding: [ ] Enable to [ ] WAN1 or [ ] WAN2
You can enable SMTP Binding and assign all outbound SMTP traffic to always go out WAN1 or WAN2. This appears to work.
I believe this should have been made more generic by prefilling an entry in the Protocol & Port Binding form further down the page and marking it disabled. Making SMTP Binding a special entry implies it is handled differently from the form entries below.
I configured NNTP traffic destined for news.west.cox.net through WAN1 and HTTP traffic destined for 192.168.100.1 (the Motorola SURFboard SB3100) through WAN1. These two did not work.
The SNMP service is enabled by default. "private" community allows read/write. "public" community allows read only.
The configuration can be saved to a text file and uploaded/restored.
Since my minimum requirements were not possible with this router, I did not continue testing load balancing performance. Namely forcing NNTP and HTTP traffic for certain destinations out a specified WAN port.
I did notice a very uneven distribution however. Most of my traffic was going through WAN2, the slower ADSL connection instead of WAN1/cablemodem. I did not try to verify or identify the problem.
Failover occurred one to two minutes after disconnecting WAN1 port from the cable modem. The use of DNS servers from WAN1's DHCP client configuration was automatically replaced with DNS servers statically assigned to WAN2. Recovery was automatic once the connection was restored. Failover the other way works similarly.
If you do not require certain traffic to go out a specific WAN port (other than SMTP), then this outbound load balancing router may work for you. Unfortunately, I require it, so this router does not work for me.
Since Xincom Tech Support never returned my phone messages or e-mails, I have decided to return the router and pay the return shipping/handling charge. At least they didn't stick me with a 15% restocking fee.
Since my DSL contract was up for renewal, I decided to cancel the cablemodem connection and upgrade my DSL service to the fastest possible. Thus, I am no longer requiring a dual WAN load balancing / failover router.
|Internet Service||Downstream||Upstream||Monthly Rate|
|Cox Preferred cable (1 dynamic IP, no servers)||4mb||512kbps||$39.95 (bundled)|
|Cox Premier cable (1 dynamic IP, no servers)||9 Mbps||1 Mbps||$54.95 (bundled)|
|DSLExtreme ADSL (3 static IPs, servers ok)||384-1500 Kbps||128-384 Kbps||$44.95 ($47.16 total) per month for 1 year|
|DSLExtreme ADSL (8 static IPs, servers ok)||1500-3000 Kbps||384-512 Kbps||$49.95 ($52.16 total) per month for 1 year|
|DSLExtreme ADSL (8 static IPs, servers ok)||1500-6000 Kbps||384-608 Kbps||$59.95 ($62.16 total) per month for 1 year|
Well what about alternatives?
|Sonicwall TZ 170 with SonicOS Enhanced||
|PePLink MANGA Balance||
|NexLand ISB Pro800 Turbo||
|Edimax PermaLink PRI-682 Dual WAN Router with InBound & OutBound Load Balancing||
|HotBrick Dual WAN Firewall Router LB-2|
|Plaintree WaveSwitch dual WAN router||
|ITWIN Technology Prolink MH8021/MH8041 Multihome Load balance Router||
|IPSFailover.com PowerLink 1+ and 4+||
|Floppyfw with Dual Internet Links (obsolete link)||
Last updated: Sunday, 24-Oct-2010 11:20:36 PDT
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