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Nexland Pro800Turbo Load Balancing Router Review 141

An anonymous submitter writes "Found this review today over at Apparently this router can load balance two broadband connections like DSL, Cable, or T1. The router can also act as a backup feature in case one of the broadband connections goes down, the router will automatically switch to the connection still working." At $400, it's not gruesomely expensive either, and I guess if you're willing to pay for two broadband connections anyway... The spec sheet (PDF) has more information.
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Nexland Pro800Turbo Load Balancing Router Review

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  • Load balancing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PhysicsGenius ( 565228 ) <physics_seeker AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday June 30, 2002 @04:07PM (#3796647)
    This story warms the cockles of my heart. I really love it when a little guy is gets back at big, faceless corporation by putting resources together in unexpected ways like this. I mean, here he is, buy two connections and getting 1.8 times the bandwidth! And for only a modest outlay of $400! Ingenious and I bet the DSL/cable providers are beating their heads trying to find a way to discourage this kind of activity which must really eat into their profits.

    I just can't stop laughing.

  • by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Sunday June 30, 2002 @04:08PM (#3796652) Homepage
    Because hardware based solutions are always faster. All pro video encoding is done with hardware mpeg cards instead of slow software. Chances are if you have a site that requires load balancing $400 isn't much of an investment.

  • Good lord.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 30, 2002 @04:14PM (#3796668)
    First, this router has been out for a long while.

    Second, 2 WAN connection AND modem/ISDN backup is sweet for an out of the box solution. Not a bad price, as already stated.

    However, and third, a regular PC with a DFE-570tx or it's successor, the 580tx, by Dlink, allows 4 10/100 ports per pci slot. And regular 10/100 nics can be found for less than $10 shipped. You could build a machine for about half the price with greater future expandability.
  • OKay (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Sunday June 30, 2002 @04:24PM (#3796701)
    This is not a load balancer for server farms.

    This is for, say, having 2 internet connections and using them both. Getting cable & dsl at home and making use of both of them.
  • by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Sunday June 30, 2002 @04:26PM (#3796707)
    How does LVS help me use my calbe & dsl at the same time. I have 3 or four workstations on my network at home.. a mac, a couple windows boxes, and a linux box.

    Now I want ot get DSL & Cable, and use both at the same time.

    That's not a problem that LVS solves for you.

    That's the kind of thing this box does.

    This is about the home or small office user making use of multiple internet connections efficiently and easily for their networking needs.
    Yeah, of course you can do this with linux... but lvs isn't it.
  • by Insanity ( 26758 ) on Sunday June 30, 2002 @04:42PM (#3796751)
    After two long and useless pages that guide us through the setup screens on the router, we get a test of half-life pings, and downloading from two websites. To add insult to injury, the reviewer uses IE, which is known to report little more than crude approximations of transfer rates.

    The half-life pings aren't telling us anything, as it's a well-known fact that pings jump when your connection is saturated. It doesn't matter if you're multiplexing two of them.

    Win2k/XP can both report raw ethernet throughput using perfmon. This would have been a much more useful and reliable benchmark.

    Too many issues are left unaddressed: does this solution double your upload or download rate to a single host? Are you accessible through a single IP, and if so, which one of your broadband connections is used for this?

    Can anyone who's actually used this provide some insight?
  • NexLand Security (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Juhaa ( 588855 ) on Sunday June 30, 2002 @04:56PM (#3796795)
    I have been unsatisfied with the Pro800Turbo. It is not able to properly act as a DNS relay when working with multiple WANs (ISPs); if one of the ISPs goes down, the unit sometimes fails (so much for the backup capabilities); and the unit just hangs every now and then.

    I have complained to Nexland technical support numerous times about the DNS problem. I purchased the router several months ago, and all they've come up with so far is the obligatory "try the new firmware" (which didn't solve the problem).

    I would not recommend purchasing the Pro800Turbo at this time, as the hardware/firmware is just not good enough yet (and the tech support is not able to compensate for this shortcoming).

    I am now on a multiplexing BSD implmentation (OpenBSD), the two feeds are load balanced pretty nicely (and using just an old P5 box). I don't believe I'd ever go back to the NexLand box again. Also, Linux people might be interested in load balancing in their kernels, I've not tried it msyelf, if someone has please let me know if it's worth looking into.
  • by mstrebe ( 451943 ) on Sunday June 30, 2002 @05:38PM (#3796925) Homepage
    Software solution? Are you kidding? I don't know of any software that runs without a computer underneath it, and it's damned difficult to put together a reliable machine with a case and four network adapters for less than $400.

    Software isn't free. It requires hardware. When you get dedicated hardware and software that can be configured by someone who doesn't frequent slashdot, you've got a compelling solution.

    Anyway, I installed this box at a client site four months ago (two Covad DSL lines), and it's been flawless the entire time. I highly recommend it for situations where better bandwidth isn't available. It's about as easy to configure as a Sonicwall, not quite as easy as a Linksys. Web managed with a gotcha or two in the UI.

  • Re:Inaccuracy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alrescha ( 50745 ) on Sunday June 30, 2002 @06:55PM (#3797193)
    "Not necassarily. On switches a collision should never happen. Hubs, on the other hand, collisions are commonplace since the bandwith is shared. What he described are relaly the only two reasons that a collision should occur on a switch."

    Collisions can happen on a switch any time two packets (or more) are generated on the wire at the same time. This could be the switch itself and the host at the other end of the cat5. It can happens often on a busy segment (you don't *want* it to happen often, but...).

    The original quoted description of collisions is just wrong. The collision light on an Ethernet device has absolutely nothing to do with IP addresses.

  • Explanation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by evanh23 ( 584055 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @11:39AM (#3800755)
    Correct me if I am wrong, but I'm pretty sure there are quite a few people on slashdot that are confused as to what this device actually does. It is a load balancer for the connections. What this doesn't mean, you hook a DSL line and a cable line to it and get the sum of the two speeds. What it does mean, is that for outgoing connections, you have seamless integration of two lines for redundancy purposes.

    For example: once the two lines are plugged in, when you are surfing around and hit a website, the router automagically picks which connection (DSL/cable) the request goes out on. If one of the connections happen to be down, it picks the one which is not (thus the load balancer part).

    One interesting thing to note though. It may actually seem like the sum of the two connections from an application standpoint. Examples being web browsing and ftp'ing.

    In web browsing, I know that in IE and Mozilla, you can select the number of outgoing connections that the browser will use in fulfilling a web request. So you could end up getting the http reponse (text-only) from one connection and using the other (seperate outgoing web request) to retrieve the images on that page. In most cases, you would likely speed up graphics heavy pages quite a bit.

    In ftp'ing, some of the clients (along with the download managers) allow you to use multiple tcp streams to receive your downloading file. The software has a file to receive which it starts multiple receives going. In theory, you could run say, 1 tcp stream per connection, and be receiving the same file over the two connections independently, but achieving an overall rate equal to the sum of the two speeds.

    The whole thing kinda reminds me of the pigeon-hole principle in a wierd sorta way.

    But anyway, I imagine a linux/BSD solution to be cheaper (given low-end hardware requirements).


Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!