Recently, Ubiquiti has begun equipping some of its consoles and gateways with two WAN ports so that users can create a redundant WAN link (connection to the wide area network, that is, the Internet). This helps to increase the scalability, adaptability and fault tolerance of the network. All these indicators are directly related to connection redundancy.
What is load balancing in simple words? This is the distribution of traffic between several Internet channels. Thanks to the extra space, there are no collisions in the data streams, delays are minimized, and the total amount of information passed is increased. This will be appreciated by organizations with active recruitment or strict quality of service requirements that cannot be met if there is only one WAN connection. The same principle works in regions where ISPs don't provide the right level of service, but other options are outdated and slow digital subscriber line (DSL) technology.
UniFi solutions have many tools for managing traffic along WAN backbones. You can increase network speed very simply: just by dividing the total stream into "sleeves". This is the fastest method. There is also a more targeted approach, which consists in configuring already configured routes. For example, if you release the main channel from the load in the form of traffic of specific networks (or devices) or outgoing data for a particular provider / domain (specified manually), then the data exchange speed will also increase. To do this, you just need to learn how to use the route control functions correctly.
In addition, you can assign your own bandwidth limits, which will depend only on your goals. There are a lot of scenarios in this case. For example, if you think that entertainment traffic on the main link is slowing down the transfer of important information, simply disable allocating resources for it and redirect all those extra gigabytes to the backup WAN backbone.
Fault tolerance refers to long-term uninterrupted operation. This is an equally important characteristic of both corporate and home environments. The subtleties of load balancing are not the easiest or most popular topic, so many users do not find it necessary to carefully configure it. For this reason, Ubiquiti products include an automatic failover feature in the event of a failure on the main Internet access line.
Summary and additional tips
So, when balancing the load, it is important to adhere to the following recommendations.
If the bandwidth of one of the WAN channels is constantly distributed among a large number of demanding clients, then we would advise considering the option of percentage balancing. And it will also be the best approach for areas and regions where Internet providers cannot guarantee users a continuous high-speed Internet connection.
When using two WAN backbones, one of them is usually slower than the other. Use it exclusively as a backup, unless it causes the main channel to overflow. By following this advice, you will ensure that important data has the highest priority and insure yourself against long downtime in case of accidents.
When you start load balancing yourself, consider the overall throughput of your environment. For a network with a speed of 100 Mbps, an 80:20 ratio is suitable, where 80% (80 Mbps) will be allocated to the main WAN connection and 20% (20 Mbps) to the backup. This will reduce packet loss. In addition, UniFi solutions are able to check the quality of the connection.
Before performing a failover, an internal algorithm will determine the reliability of the current connection by polling several servers. The control panel already has general recommended settings, but advanced users can add their own servers to manually trigger failover.
If it is not practical to conclude an agreement with a second provider, and you still need insurance in case of a disconnection, the easy-to-use and almost no-configuration Ubiquiti UniFi LTE access point will be the way out. It is equipped with an LTE radio module that provides redundant connectivity. If the monitoring tool detects failures on the primary trunk, it will automatically fail over to the backup link. With UniFi LTE, you can be confident in the reliability of your connection. In addition, it is a good choice for those infrastructures where two WAN lines of different providers are available.